Write the Perfect Personal Essay Pitch With Our Handy Chart

The topic you were born to write about is hidden in the letters of your name

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Whether you’re promoting a novel, shopping a memoir, or simply trying to get your first byline, it seems like everyone wants to write personal essays. The trouble is figuring out what to write about. Well, we have good news: the answer was in you all along. Specifically, it was hidden in the letters of your first name.

With our handy chart, you can finally figure out the personal essay you were born to write. Just find the first letter of your name in column A, the second letter in column B, and so on, and plug them into the pitch letter provided. (If you run out of letters in your first name, move on to your last—or throw your middle name in there, do what you want, we’re not your dad.) So for instance, if you’re Joan Didion, you’d look for J in column A, O in column B, A in C, N in D, and D (for Didion) in E—for the result “Dear whoever, please consider my multimedia essay about how writing about a horrible goose taught me the value of family.” Ms. Didion: we’ll take it.

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