Modern Love Essay Workshop

Learn how to get your piece published in The New York Times Modern Love column from a two-time Modern Love author

  • sections:
  • Discussions Thursdays 8-9pm ET, 2 sessions full schedule

We all have a love story to tell. Or a break up story. So what distinguishes the personal essays that make it to the pages of The New York Times' Modern Love column? What makes them rise to the top of the hundreds of submissions the column receives each week?

In this intensive workshop, Paula Derrow, former articles director at Self and two-time Modern Love author herself, will share what makes a personal essay Modern Love worthy. She will work with you to edit and critique your personal essay, shaping it into a unique, polished work that is on its way to being ready for Modern Love, and other similar markets.

By the end of class, you will have:

A polished personal essay and a road map for what you need to do next to get it published.

Admission requirements:

Students should have a completed essay (no more than 1,500-words, the length of a Modern Love) ready to workshop. Apply with a note to explain your interest in this topic and the essay you would like to workshop.

Paula Derrow has consulted for Good Housekeeping,, and is the former articles director of Self, where she edited the "Self Expression" column and published writers including Cheryl Strayed, Jane Smiley, and Julie Powell. She has been published in The New York Times' Modern Love column, SELF, Cosmo, and Woman's Day. She's also worked at Glamour, American Health, Harper's Bazaar, The New Yorker, and Lifetime Television for Women. Paula is the editor of Behind the Bedroom Door: Getting It, Giving It, Loving It, Missing It, a Publisher's Weekly-starred anthology of essays by women about sex in real life.

  • "Paula's course resulted in my being published in The New York Times' Modern Love column. Her suggestions take a personal essay from 'a good idea' to publishable."

    Liza Monroy

  • "Paula gets to the heart of the personal essay. She inspired me to finish essays I had been toying with in my mind for a long time, and I have submitted my first essay for publication."

    Glenn Gordon

  • "I was immediately impressed with Paula's style. I wrote a piece shortly after the class that ran in Runner's World. Thanks, Paula!"

    William Braine

  • "Paula convinced me that my writing was not only publishable but also worth publishing. With her encouragement and honest critique I placed pieces in The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine. I can't commend Paula highly enough."

    Erica Rex

  • "Paula has a knack for getting to the essence of an essay and pointing out what a writer can do to make a piece stronger and have a better arc."

    Christine Koubek

  • "If you want to know how to improve your writing and better your chances of getting published, take Paula's class. I highly recommend it."

    Rebecca Shalomoff

  • "Paula is an extremely smart, talented, and thoughtful instructor who brings great knowledge and insight to her classes. I acquired invaluable information and tools to better improve my writing."

    Yitta Mandelbaum