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. 

Summer Online Classes 

June 25 - July 30

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.

Approaching Mystery: Writing Flash Memoir about Wonder and the Unexplained NEW!
Instructor: Joanna Penn Cooper

Flash poses a challenge: how to tell a meaningful story in few words. This course will show you how the flash memoir form is particularly suited to representing the mystery of the writer’s mind. Even as it remains grounded in the reality of lived experience, flash memoir can capture the absurd or surreal quality of everyday life. The short pieces you compose in this course could become foundations for longer works (essay/memoir) or remain stand alone "flash" pieces. Alternately, you could see them as writing practice, as a way to loosen up and access your creativity. You will explore the parameters and promises of creative nonfiction and how the particular conventions of the flash essay can be a rich source of inspiration.
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Creative Nonfiction Summer Boot Camp 
Instructors: Rhonda J. Miller or Waverly Fitzgerald

You want to do it. You mean to do it. You’re going to do it, really…a bit later. It’s the summer, after all, and you’ve got the time. But somehow that writing you’ve been meaning to get around to just never seems to happen. Creative Nonfiction’s summer boot camp is a 5-week course to ensure that you will get around to that summer writing, by providing firm deadlines, daily writing exercises, and weekly feedback. Along the way you’ll also develop the habit of writing regularly, which will serve you well all year long. At the end of 5 weeks, if you’ve completed the minimum number of assignments, you’ll have an essay of between 3,600 and 6,000 words, or at least a dozen passages to use as starting points for future essays (or some combination of the two).
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Digital Storytelling 
Instructor: Marissa Landrigan

Most of the text we consume today comes to us through a screen, and since anyone with an internet connection can share their stories, digital technology has made storytelling more accessible and more global than ever before. Through digital storytelling, you can invite readers to interact and experiment with your stories, rearrange or find your own path through the fragments of an essay, even “play” your first-person experiences. This beginner’s course is designed to help you discover ways to use digital communication technologies to enhance the inherent connective power of creative nonfiction—and will explore what changes and what stays the same, when you move stories from pure text to an interactive, multimedia environment, incorporating still images, sound, and/or video (and even video games).
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Eureka! Science Writing 
Instructor: Chelsea Biondolillo

In this class, you’ll take a close look at the writing and research skills needed to craft engaging nonfiction about scientific discovery, research, and policy, and practice them over the course of five weeks. You’ll discuss how literary elements such as scene, character development, and narrative can bring scientific topics alive for general readers, as well as how to document research and interviews to prepare for the fact-checking process. You will complete one essay, and will also be given optional short exercises that can later be incorporated into longer pieces. You will also discuss how to identify and query markets for science-based nonfiction and receive personal feedback on your work from the instructor and peers.
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Experimental Forms 
Instructor: Meghan O'Gieblyn

What are the limits of creative nonfiction? At what point does an essay leave the world of fact and enter the realm of fiction or poetry? Are the borders between these genres rigid and unyielding, or are they porous? How can a writer move seamlessly between them during the course of a single essay in order to communicate more effectively the complexity of his or her experience? In this class, you will explore a variety of strategies for innovation in nonfiction writing. You’ll study new exhilarating developments in the genre, encountering the work of many contemporary practitioners of the craft, and discuss which subjects lend themselves to these cutting-edge techniques. You will learn about experimental structures, hybrid forms, and nonstandard narrative perspectives, writing two short 500 word vignettes and one 3,000 word essay.
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Extraordinary Embodiment: Writing Chronic Illness & Disability NEW!
Instructor: Sonya Huber

Although illness and disability are universal human experiences, written works about these experiences can be narrowly categorized by publishers, editors, market forces and even reader expectations into “inspirational” narratives that limit your reflection and complex experience, shutting down your creative work and your inquiry. How do you write freely, understanding and pushing against the expected narratives that hold you back? This class is designed for those who have some experience with memoir and narrative essays and want to focus on writing about personal experiences with chronic illness and/or disability.
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Historical Narratives
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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I to Eye: Integrating Research into the Personal Essay
Instructor: Suzanne Cope

Have you wanted to take your essays beyond the personal? Perhaps integrate a researched or reported element or break into a new media publication? “I to Eye” explores the in-between of journalism and essay writing – sometimes called "personal journalism" or personal narrative woven with research or other reporting. Over this five-week course you will look at examples in the media and practice writing in variations of this form, finishing with a brief overview of how to pitch this genre.Whether you have an idea for integrating research into a finished essay, or want an introduction to the possibilities of personal journalism, this course will provide options for approaching your piece and guide you to toward a first and revised draft.
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Spiritual Writing 
Instructors: Jessica Griffith or Jonathan Callard

This course 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? You 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. The class will focus on getting started, gathering material, and revising for publication. Writers from all backgrounds and faiths are welcome.
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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 you 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. You will submit one essay of up to 4,000 words for feedback from your instructor and peers, and will then revise and will share passages of revised work for class comment.
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If your question is not answered in the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact Sharla Yates, Director of Education, at