Crafting the Personal Essay and Resilient Editing Tips with Andrea Firth

Promo graphic for Writing Your Resilience Episode Nineteen: Crafting the Personal Essay and Resilient Editing Tips, includes photo on the left of the host Lisa Cooper Ellison a middle-aged white woman with silver curly hair wearing a blue dress and on the left guest Andrea Firth, a middle-aged white woman with shoulder-length brown hair wearing a black v-neck shirt

About Crafting the Personal Essay and Resilient Editing Tips with Andrea Firth

Brevity Blog editor Andrea Firth shares tips for getting published on the Brevity Blog, the difference between writing memoir and personal essays, and how to develop resilient editing practices. 



Transcript for Crafting the Personal Essay and Resilient Editing Tips with Andrea Firth

Please note: This transcript has been edited for clarity and flow.

Lisa [0:52]

I was introduced to Andrea Firth in 2022 through our mutual colleague, Alison K. Williams. A few months after this introduction, we met at the HippoCamp Literary Conference, and we’ve been in touch ever since. Andrea is one of the editors at the Brevity Blog and co-founder of Diablo Writers’ Workshop where she teaches creative writing and provides developmental editing. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from St. Mary’s College of California. She was a finalist for the Missouri Review’s 2021 Perkoff Prize in nonfiction and her work has appeared in Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, Allium and The Coachella Review, among others. During our interview, we took a deep dive into resilient editing, the difference between the essay and memoir, and what the Brevity Blog is looking for. Before we get to our conversation, I have a couple of questions for you. What small moments in your life beg to be written about? What kinds of feedback inspires you to continue? What feedback deflates you? What might you have to say about the writing life that could benefit others? I hope you’ll ponder these questions as you listen along. Now, let’s get to my conversation with Andrea Firth.

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Show Notes for Crafting the Personal Essay and Resilient Editing Tips with Andrea Firth

Brevity Blog editor Andrea Firth shares tips for getting published on the Brevity Blog, the difference between writing memoir and personal essays, and how to develop resilient editing practices. 

Andrea’s Bio: Andrea A. Firth is a writer, editor and educator living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an Editor at Brevity Blog and cofounder of Diablo Writers’ Workshop where she teaches creative writing and provides developmental editing. Andrea has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Saint Mary’s College of California. She was a finalist for The Missouri Review‘s 2021 Perkoff Prize in nonfiction, and her work has appeared in Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, Allium, The Coachella Review among others. Learn more about her and read her recent work at www.andreaafirth.com.

Resources Mentioned During This Episode: 

Episode Highlights

  • 4:00 The Difference Between Memoir and Personal Essay
  • 7:00 Exploring the Inciting Incident for Your Essays
  • 14:00 Common Struggles Essayists Have: Aboutness
  • 21:00 The Power of the Braided Essay
  • 25:00 Resilient Editing and Workshopping
  • 34:00 Submitting to the Brevity Blog

Connect with Andrea: 

Connect with your host, Lisa:

Sign up for Psychology of Character Development for Memoirists: https://janefriedman.com/the-psychology-of-character-development-for-memoirists-with-lisa-cooper-ellison/

Produced by Espresso Podcast Production: https://www.espressopodcastproduction.com



About Your Host


Lisa Cooper Ellison is an author, speaker, and trauma-informed writing coach with an Ed.S in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has spent the last two decades helping clients and students turn difficult experiences into art, and currently teaches courses in memoir, the psychology of writing, and the book proposal. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Huffpost PostHippocampus Literary Magazine, and Kenyon Review Online, among others. 


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