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.

Students receive personalized feedback on assignments from their instructor, as well as responses from classmates on discussion board forums and peer reviews. All instructors have extensive 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 are 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. 

Spring Online Classes 

April 2 - June 10

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)
Instructor: Jonathan Callard

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. You can choose one of two paths, working either on sections of a memoir or on personal essays in a variety of styles. You will learn how to structure 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.
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Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp 
Instructors: Ploy Pirapokin (5 weeks) and Bridgette Shade (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, but you'll also get double the deadlines and support.
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Find Your Niche: Writing for the Web // NEW!
Instructor: Becky Tuch

Writers are often told that they need to have an online presence, but this task can feel overwhelming, even daunting. This course will introduce you to the "best practices" for web writing and help you dive in successfully. We will look at examples of outstanding personal blogs, op-eds, news pieces, and think-pieces in order to understand why certain pieces resonate with readers; we’ll also consider pieces that don't quite hit the mark in order to understand what's missing. We’ll explore different approaches to web writing, so that you may try a variety of techniques and build on your own interests and strengths. The basics of crafting article pitches, self-promotion, and cultivating persistence will also be covered.
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Flash Essay
Instructor: 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 1000 words. Life is made up 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, you will generate a list of potential essay ideas and identify key details and imagery to help you dig into the heart of those stories. You will also write up to five flash pieces of varying lengths. 
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Foundations of Creative Nonfiction (A)
Instructor: Danita Berg

This ten-week online class will introduce you to the fundamentals of creative nonfiction, exploring both the techniques used to gather information and the literary skills needed to turn bare facts into compelling narratives. You will learn the basics of interviewing, immersion, research, and other reporting skills; write three different types of essays; and receive feedback from your instructor and peers.
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Introduction to Audio Storytelling & Podcasting 
Instructor: Rhonda Miller

Podcasting is the new blogging—an easy, effective way to share information or personal stories with a wide audience. This five-week course will help you get started, with overviews and discussions of how to choose equipment, what programs to use, and how to distribute your podcast. You’ll also have opportunities to practice interviewing, writing for broadcast, and editing audio.
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Shapes of Stories // NEW!
Instructor: Waverly Fitzgerald

First drafts are seldom well-structured; it is up to the writer to find the ideal shape to hold a story. This course will expand your writer’s toolkit by experimenting with a variety of structures employed by writers of essays and articles, including the narrative arc, braid, collage, frame, circle, faucet, digression and hermit crab. You will read great examples and then try out each shape, if only briefly. Over the course of 10 weeks, you can choose to write about one subject using these different shapes or let the shapes inspire an essay you hadn’t planned to write.
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The Space Between: Writing from Photographs // NEW!
Instructor: James Polchin

Often, as nonfiction writers, we start with memories and experiences. But memories are incomplete—and can be inaccurate. For this reason, writers sometimes rely on photographs as a type of evidence or proof. But a photograph is a complicated artifact—an object, an image, a memory touchstone. Drawing on photographs that intrigue, haunt, or prompt forgotten memories, this course explores the rich possibilities of the space between photograph and experience. This course will offer new approaches for students at all levels—from those looking for inspiration to those working through an ongoing project. Plus, writing from photographs can make the work of starting a piece of writing easier by giving you a concrete moment to describe, reflect, and expand on. Description is both showing and telling, and the process of describing can open up a whole world.
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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, you will be encouraged to post 300 words of new writing, and at the end of the week you will choose 1,000 words from the week’s work (or elsewhere) to submit to your instructor for comment. This course will help you tackle your memoir by providing firm deadlines, writing exercises, and weekly feedback. Along the way you'll also develop the habit of writing regularly.
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Writing the Personal Essay (A)
Instructor: Meghan O'Gieblyn

Each of us has stories that are worth telling, but how can we fit the messiness of our lives through the narrow corridor of an essay? How can we resuscitate those moments on the page so that they live in readers’ imaginations with the same force and freight as when we experienced them? How can we dramatize events so that they attain the qualities of literature? Over the course of ten weeks, you will learn the building blocks of writing a personal essay—establishing a compelling narrative persona, creating strong characters, conjuring vivid descriptions, and building satisfying plots. Most important, you will learn how to connect your experiences to larger truths about our world. To do so, we’ll dissect the work of published authors and tweeze out for examination various elements of the personal essay. We will also look at contemporary trends in creative nonfiction, discussing recent developments in voice, essay structure, and hybrid genres. You will write three 3,500-word essays, as well as participate in optional writing assignments and class discussions.
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Please follow the links below for more information:

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