Online Classes

Tell your story, better.

Creative Nonfiction's online classes give you the opportunity to learn in a small classroom environment on your own time. Write at night, on your lunch break... even in your underwear. All you need is an Internet connection and a little motivation.

Participants receive personalized feedback on assignments from their instructor, as well as responses from classmates on discussion board forums and peer reviews. All instructors have university teaching experience and/or are working professional writers. Conversation, firm deadlines, and feedback help keep you writing and improving your work throughout the class. Small class sizes help foster community and an online workshop vibe.

Whether you're just starting out or looking for an advanced class to help you refine and polish your work, we have a course for you. Class sessions begin in January, April, June, and September. Because of the flexible nature of our courses, we can gladly accept students from all across the globe. Learn more about all of our classes here.

See what past students have to say about our growing writing community, and read some publishing success stories from our students. 



Fall Online Classes 

September 11 - November 19

Please note: it is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our Director of Education, Sharla Yates, at yates[at]creativenonfiction[dot]org.

Advanced Memoir & Personal Essay (A) 

Instructors: Jonathan Callard or Lisa Ohlen Harris

This class is designed for those who have already explored the basics of personal writing and wish to move on to a larger project or more challenging forms. Participants can choose one of two paths, working either on sections of a memoir or on personal essays in a variety of styles. Class members will learn how to structure their chapters or essays, how to incorporate research into personal writing, how to develop character, how to use descriptive language effectively, and more. We will examine personal essays and memoir chapters from published authors to analyze their writing techniques, and discuss ways to use those techniques in our own writing. If participants wish to submit work that does not strictly fit the assignments given they can arrange to do so with the instructor. 
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Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp 

Instructors: Bridgette Shade (5 weeks) and Waverly Fitzgerald (10 weeks)

You want to do it. You mean to start that writing project ... eventually. Now is the time to put excuses aside and start your writing project. Creative Nonfiction's special boot camp sessions will do just that by providing firm deadlines, writing exercises, and weekly feedback. Along the way you'll also develop the habit of writing regularly which will serve you all year long (and well beyond!). After 5 weeks, if you've completed the minimum number of assignments, you'll have an essay of between 3,000 and 6,000 words, or at least a dozen passages to use as starting points for future essays.
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Five weeks not enough? Sign up for a full 10-weeks of Boot Camp. Not only will you get a discounted rate; you'll get double the deadlines and support.  
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Flash Essay

Instructors: Jenna McGuiggan

Some experiences beg us to write about them, but we often feel overwhelmed when trying to capture the whole story at once. In this class, we'll explore the art of flash nonfiction and short essays—pieces that tell a complete story in no more than 750 words. Life is comprised of moments: Big, showy ones, and small, quiet ones—many of them infused with deeper meaning. Sometimes we can easily articulate a moment’s meaning, but often we can only make sense of it peripherally. In a flash essay, the moment and the meaning must be distilled to their purest essence. Through a series of writing exercises, participants will generate a list of potential essay ideas and identify key details and imagery to help them dig into the heart of those stories. Students will also write up to five flash pieces of varying lengths. 
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Foundations of Creative Nonfiction (A)

Instructors: Michael Busk

This ten-week online class will introduce writers to the fundamentals of creative nonfiction, exploring both the techniques used to gather information and the literary skills needed to turn bare facts into personal and compelling essays. Participants will learn the basics of interviewing, immersion, research, and other reporting skills, will write three different types of essays, and will receive feedback on their work from the instructor and from each other. 
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Historical Narratives 

Instructor: Marty Levine

Have you ever been fascinated by a true historical story? The tools of creative nonfiction are exactly right for turning historical finds into vivid characters and scenes. Even when you can’t interview your characters or directly observe them in action, you can still write great nonfiction narratives from the rich materials of history. Whether you’re just beginning or deep into researching a piece (especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of material you could use), this class will show you how to bring the past alive. 
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Spiritual Writing 

Instructor: Jessica Griffith

We will read selections from essays and memoir in the spiritual writing genre and try composing our own versions of this material. We will ask, what, if anything, can make nonfiction writing “spiritual”? How to write about something so personal and powerful and share it with an audience of differing beliefs or traditions? How to move beyond the saccharine to illuminate a truth? Participants will choose a spiritual question or subject to explore in-depth, and will investigate this topic by writing two 500-word pieces and one article/essay of up to 4,000 words. We will focus on getting started, gathering material, and revising for publication. Writers from all backgrounds and faiths are welcome. 
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The Thirty Minute Memoir

Instructor: Joelle Fraser

Patterned after our popular Boot Camp course, this class is designed to help break the potentially overwhelming task of writing a memoir into manageable daily writing. Each week will focus on a different aspect of memoir writing, from opening chapters to scenes involving dialogue. Monday through Thursday, participants will be encouraged to post 300 words of new writing, and at the end of the week they will choose 1,000 words from the week’s work (or elsewhere) to submit to their instructor for comment. You must post at least two times per week (during the Monday- Thursday span) in order to receive feedback from me for your Friday 1000-word post—ensuring that you’re motivated to stay on task. By writing for 30 minutes a day (or longer, if you choose), you’ll finish the class with 60 pages of a memoir draft. 
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New! The Revision Workshop 

Instructor: Nadine Kenney Johnstone

First drafts are fun to write, but great writers know that it's in revision that a piece of writing truly takes shape. Many published writers admit that they are not amazing writers, but excellent revisers, and that makes all the difference. This 5-week workshop will guide participants through the steps of effective micro- and macro-revision and the peer review process, and will conclude with advice on how to submit work for publication to newspapers, literary magazines, and other publishers. Participants will submit one essay of up to 4,000 words for feedback from both their instructor and their fellow students, and will then revise and will share passages of revised work for class comment. 
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Writing The Personal Essay (A) 

Instructor: Meghan O'Gieblyn

In this class we’ll take a close look at the writing and research skills needed to write a personal essay, and refine them over the course of 10 weeks. We’ll discuss how to best use essential literary elements such as detail, dialogue, structure, and description, as well as how to collect information through interviews, research, and other methods. Participants will complete three essays, and will also be given optional shorter exercises that can later be developed into longer works. There will be substantial time spent on revision, that magical process that takes a pleasant anecdote and turns it into a breathtaking essay. Participants will receive personal feedback on their work from the instructor and feedback from other class members via Group Review sessions. 
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New! Writing The Tough Stuff

Instructor: Melissa Petro

Everyone experiences personal difficulty at some point in their lives. Writers often find that we want to write about loss, grief, trauma, or major life changes in order to both understand how our personal narrative has changed us, and to relate our changed self to the world. The course will present strategies for strong creative nonfiction writing about these subjects, and discuss cross-disciplinary research in creating trauma narratives. Each week will include a written lecture, specific reading recommendations tied to the lecture, and a writing assignment. 
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Please follow the links below for more information on upcoming and future sessions:

If your question is not answered in the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact Sharla Yates, Director of Education, at yates@creativenonfiction.org.