Frequently Asked Questions
Questions? Start Here.
What day and time is my class?
Our courses run asynchronously; meaning, you will NOT need to be online at any particular time. Assignments for CNF classes are given on a weekly basis; you should submit each assignment by a given deadline, but in most classes you will have at least an entire week to complete the assignment. We realize that our students live in many different areas and have different work schedules, so classes are designed to be flexible. Courses feature one live conference session, which does require that you be online at a particular time; however, participation in this session is completely optional, and instructors make an effort to offer times that can accommodate most students. This is scheduled by the instructor after class begins.If you are not able to participate in the live conference you will still be able to view a recording of it during the remaining weeks of the class. Please note that there are no video conferences in boot camp courses.
What makes CNF’s online courses different from other online programs?
Some online programs work on a “synchronous” model, which requires you to be online at an assigned time each week. The asynchronous model used in our classes means that you do not have to be online at any particular time of day, and can approach the class assignments at your own pace throughout the week based on your schedule. While some optional events, such as class video conferences, do take place at a specific time, the majority of class activities can be completed according to your schedule.
Classes are small—limited to 14 students per section—which means you’ll receive individual attention and feedback on your work.
Good writing instructors not only need to be skilled writers, but also need to have experience in teaching what they know to others. That’s why all of our instructors are professional writers with extensive teaching experience.
Substantial and Meaningful Writing Assignments
Many online writing programs ask you to complete short writing exercises each week, and only near the end of the class are you invited to write a single essay or chapter. At Creative Nonfiction, we recognize the value of exercises, but also believe that completing an essay or chapter is the best way for developing writers to really explore how all the elements of creative nonfiction work together. Writing complete pieces also leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and with work that you can share when the class is completed. For this reason, in our classes you are invited to submit longer essays multiple times during a course. See course syllabus for more information.
Sense of Connection
We realize that it is difficult to find one’s writing community—which is why we now offer every new student membership to a Community Page where you can meet with other CNF students, during and after class.
When do you offer courses? How long are they?
Our terms include 5- and 10-week courses and run in fall (September-December), winter (January-March), and spring (April-June). In summer (June-July), we offer only 5-week courses.
The course I’m interested in is sold out. Is there anything I can do?
Sometimes spaces open up as people’s schedules change. If you’d like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please contact us here.
What if I have a piece that I’ve already written and want feedback on? Can I submit that for critique?
Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp is designed to help writers get started on a new project, or continue an existing project where they may be stuck. If you want to post short sections of existing work each day you can do that, but you cannot receive feedback on more than 1,000 words each week. If you would prefer to have your instructor read an entire longer essay or chapter that you have already written, we recommend that you try one of our other courses.
What if I have a busy week coming up (or I’m going out of town) and can’t post 300 words during any of the days during the week? Can I post everything on the weekend?
You must post 300 words per day for at least 3 out of the 5 weekdays in order to receive feedback, so posting everything at the end of the week won’t work.
What if I get caught up in a particular prompt or writing session and write more than 300 words?
Great! You can post as much material as you write in a given day. However, at the end of the week you will still need to choose 1,000 words for your instructor and classmates to comment on.
Do I have to post my work at any particular time of day?
No. You can post your work at any time of day or night, but you must post on 3 separate days to get credit for posting 3 times in the week.
Do I need any particular software or video capabilities to be able to take an online course with CNF? Does it matter if I have a Mac or a PC?
The only specific software/hardware requirement is a webcam for the optional video conference (does not apply to boot camps). If you do not have a webcam, you can join the meeting by phone. Aside from that, CNF courses use a web-based platform that does not require any software other than a web browser (ideally, Google Chrome). The course platform is compatible with both Mac and Windows systems and can also be accessed from a smartphone or tablet. All class materials will be posted on the class website or will be found on web pages that are linked to the class website.
We recommend using a word processing program (e.g. Microsoft Word or Google Docs) to compose your writing; if you do not have a word processing program currently installed on your computer, you can download one here for free.
Do I need any particular computer skills to participate in the course?
The program used for CNF courses is designed to be easy to use. If you can write and send emails with attachments and are generally comfortable online, you should have no problems. We’ll send you login info for your course two days before your class starts, so that you can familiarize yourself with the system.