1. IT CAN BE THE FASTEST WAY TO THE TOP.

When was the last time you saw someone who hasn’t been published before get a byline for a feature-length news story, theater review or profile prominently displayed in a major newspaper or magazine? Probably never. Yet my students of all ages have debuted provocative personal essays in The New York Times, Newsweek, Harper’s Magazine, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York magazine, Slate, Salon, Self, Elle and Marie Claire. People want to read them and top editors want to print them, often on a daily basis. Sixteen spots that fall under The New York Times umbrella alone publish personal essays from freelancers, including the new online Townies and Anxiety columns.

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