Frequently Asked Questions

Questions? Start Here.

  • What makes CNF’s online courses different from other online programs?

    Flexibility
    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.

    Intimate Classes
    Classes are small—limited to 14 students per section—which means you’ll receive individual attention and feedback on your work.

    Experienced Instructors
    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.

  • What is your refund policy for the Yearlong tracks?

    We understand that life can get in the way of your plans. We want you to be able to get the most out of your course, and our refund policy is designed to balance your need for flexibility with our deadlines and obligations to our teachers.

    By 5 pm on the Monday before Winter term begins:

    You may request to be removed from the yearlong track program for a refund less a $95 processing fee.

    If you transfer to another course, you will be removed from the yearlong track program and refunded the remaining balance less a $50 processing fee.

    By 5 pm on the Monday before Spring term begins:

    You may request to be removed from the yearlong track program for a refund less the cost of the winter course and a $95 processing fee.

    If you transfer to another course, you will be removed from the yearlong track program and refunded your remaining balance less a $50 processing fee.

    By 5 pm on the Monday before Fall term begins:

    You may request a transfer credit less a $50 processing fee.

    There are no refunds available at this time.

  • What are the course dates?

    Terms for 2021

    Winter: Jan 11 – Mar 21

    Spring: Apr 12 – Jun 20

    Summer: Jul 12 – Aug 15

    Fall: Sep 13 – Nov 21

  • I’ve registered for the yearlong track. Now what?

    Enrolling in a Pathway means you are automatically enrolled for specific Winter, Spring, and Fall term courses.

    Two days before each term begins: You will receive an invitation with instructions on how to log into your course in Wet Ink, our online platform. At this time, you can become familiar with the classroom, read your instructor’s announcements, set your avatar, and meet with others on the Community Page. On the first day of class, you’ll receive a welcome announcement from your instructor and access to week one’s materials.

    In early May, we will email you a unique code so you can enroll in the Summer term course of your choice. Unlike the Winter, Spring, and Fall terms, you will need to enroll in your summer class through the Creative Nonfiction website. You will receive an invitation to your course two days before it begins.

    After each course closes: You will receive a zip file of your content from the class. You’ll also continue to be a member of our Creative Nonfiction Writing Classes’ Community Page. With this membership, you will be able to share writings and calls for submissions, recommend books, and stay connected to other writers. You can decide how frequently you want to receive notifications by changing the settings in your Wet Ink profile.

  • I’ve already taken one of the courses in the Pathway. Can I subsitute a course and remain on the yearlong track?

    Depending on when you took the course, we may be able to swap the course you’ve already completed for another 10-week course at the same level. If you’d like to explore this option, please email [email protected]

  • Can I set up a payment plan?

    Indeed! If you need to set up a payment plan, please reach out to us by emailing [email protected] We have two payment plan options:

    $505 down payment, followed by eight weekly payments of $105 (total cost $1345)

    $505 down payment, followed by eleven weekly payments of $80 (total cost $1385)

  • What kind of feedback can I expect from my instructor?

    For each long assignment, you will receive detailed feedback from your instructor—big-picture comments about how the writing is working as a whole as well as in-line comments addressing tone, dialogue, word choice, etc. In addition to longer assignments, some instructors assign shorter weekly exercises for which they provide a brief response. Finally, students are always welcome to private message the instructor at any point during the course with additional questions.

  • I’m only interested in getting the instructor’s feedback on my work—why do I have to participate in the online discussions or the peer critiques?

    To create a better, more dynamic classroom experience for all, you are required to participate weekly in class discussions in order to receive instructor feedback on your work. If you are primarily interested in working one-on-one with a professional writer, please consider our manuscript review program.

  • I’m going to be away for part of the time that the class is in session—does this mean I shouldn’t take the course?

    If you will miss only one or two weeks of a ten-week class, this does not pose a problem; you can reach out to your instructor to submit the assignments ahead of time (or, if you choose, skip them). You should let your instructor know at the beginning of the class which weeks you will miss. If you think you will have to miss more than two weeks, it is probably best to wait for another term.

  • How much interaction can I expect to have with my instructor and with other students in the class?

    In our courses you can expect to:

    * receive personalized feedback on work from your instructor

    * comment on your peers’ writing and receive peer critiques in kind

    * discuss ideas with your instructor and peers

    * exchange writing, ideas, and book recommendations with other writers in our Community Page during and after classes are over

  • How many students are in each course?

    Our sections have a maximum of 14 students and a minimum of 6. Courses often fill up before registration ends; registering early ensures that you receive a space in the course of your choice.

  • How many hours per week will the coursework take?

    This depends largely on your own interests and dedication to the course. We ask that all students read the lecture and assigned readings and post at least once per week in the class discussion; this should take about 2 hours per week. Other commitments include submitting peer critiques and participating in (or watching) video conferences. Finally, most students wish to submit all major writing assignments for the class in order to receive instructor feedback, and here the time commitment is highly variable. Some students write only on the weekends, while others write or revise for some time each day to produce these works. Still others join the course with essays already written. Your writing time is a large part of the time commitment, and it is up to you to determine how much writing time you will need in order to produce pieces for critique.

  • Do I need to be online during a particular time or day in order to participate in a course? Does it matter what time zone I’m in?

    You will NOT need to be online at any particular time. Assignments for CNF courses are given on a weekly basis. You should submit each assignment by a given deadline, but in most courses you will have at least a week to complete the assignment. We realize that our students live in many different areas and have different work schedules, so courses are designed to be flexible. Courses feature one live conference session, which requires you to be online at a particular time; participation in this session is completely optional, however, and instructors make an effort to offer times that can accommodate most students. 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.

  • 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.

  • Can the work I write in a CNF course be published in Creative Nonfiction or True Story?

    Creative work that is reviewed and/or commented upon by your instructor cannot be submitted to Creative Nonfiction or True Story without substantial revision. Specifically, our editors will not consider a submission for publication if more than 25 percent of the work has been read by Creative Nonfiction’s online instructors. You are welcome to submit work to the magazines that meets the above conditions, but you will not be given preference over authors from the general submission pool.

  • Can I submit work I have already written for instructor feedback?

    Yes. We ask only that you stick to the word limit for each assignment. Additionally, please try to make sure that the writing you submit for feedback fits the course; for example, an Experimental Forms course might not be the best place to submit the first chapter of your traditional book-length memoir.

  • I’ve enrolled in a class. What happens now?

    Two days before your course begins, you’ll receive an invitation with instructions on how to log into Wet Ink, our online platform. At this time, you can become familiar with the classroom, read your instructor’s announcements, set your avatar, and meet with others in the Community Page. On the first day of class, you’ll receive a welcome announcement and access to Week One’s materials.

    Below is the structure of a typical online class. Please note that some classes (such as CNF Boot Camp and self-guided courses) follow a different format. More details are available in individual class descriptions.

    Each week provides:

    *written lectures and a selection of readings


    *discussions of assigned readings and other general writing topics with peers and the instructor

    Some weeks also include:

    * writing prompts and/or exercises

    * opportunities to submit full-length essays for instructor and/or peer critiques

    * optional video conferences during Week 2

    Aside from the live conference, there is no need to be online at any particular time of day. To create a better classroom experience for all, you are required to participate weekly to receive instructor feedback on your work.

    After your course closes, you will receive a zip file of your content from this class as well as the lesson materials. You’ll also continue to be a member of our Creative Nonfiction Writing Classes’ Community Page. With this membership, you will be able to share writings and calls for submissions, recommend books, and, generally, stay connected. You can decide how frequently you want to receive notifications by changing the settings in your Wet Ink profile.

  • Do you offer any scholarships?

    Unfortunately, we do not offer scholarships at this time.

  • Do I need to be online during a particular time or day in order to participate in a class?

    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.

  • How many students are in each class?

    Our classes have a maximum of 14 students and a minimum of 6. Class sections often fill up before registration ends; registering early ensures that you receive a space in the class of your choice. 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 [email protected].

  • How do the online courses work?

    Creative Nonfiction’s online classes are designed to accommodate people with busy schedules and other commitments. Many students have full-time jobs or child- or parentcare responsibilities, while others have more free time to devote to their writing. The flexible class schedule means that you can participate in the way that best fits your schedule.

    Our online course terms include 5- and 10-week classes and run in fall (September-December), winter (January-March), and spring (April-June). Summer term offers 5-week classes only (June-July) and a great choice for students, travelers, or those wanting to try something new without the commitment of a longer session.

    Our *self-guided courses run before and after each term (sometimes overlapping in dates).

    Descriptions of our current classes can be found here.
    A list of our previous/upcoming classes can be found here.

    *Self-guided courses and webinars differ from our other online courses in significant ways.


    You’ve enrolled in a class. Now what?

    Two days before your class begins, you’ll receive an invitation with instructions on how to log into Wet Ink, our online class platform. At this time, you can become familiar with the classroom, read your instructor’s announcements, set your avatar, and meet with others in the Community Page. On the first day of class, you’ll receive a welcome announcement and access to Week One’s materials.

    The information below outlines the structure of a typical online class. Please note that some classes (such as CNF Boot Camp and self-guided courses) follow a different format. More details are available in individual class descriptions.

    Each week provides:

    • written lectures and a selection of readings
    • discussions of assigned readings and other general writing topics with peers and the instructor

    Some weeks also include:

    • writing prompts and/or exercises
    • opportunities to submit full-length essays for instructor and/or peer critiques
    • optional video conferences during Week 2.

    Aside from the live conference, there is no need to be online at any particular time of day. To create a better classroom experience for all, you are required to participate weekly to receive instructor feedback on your work.

    After your course closes: you will receive a zip file of your content from this class as well as the lesson materials. You’ll also continue to be a member of our Creative Nonfiction Writing Classes’ Community Page. With this membership, you will be able to share writings and calls for submissions, recommend books, and, generally, stay connected. You can decide how frequently you want to receive notifications by changing the settings in your Wet Ink profile.

  • Yearlong Track FAQs

    I've registered for the yearlong track. Now what?

    You are now enrolled for Winter, Spring, and Fall term classes.

    Two days before the term begins: You will receive an invitation with instructions on how to log into your course in Wet Ink, our online class platform. At this time, you can become familiar with the classroom, read your instructor’s announcements, set your avatar, and meet with others on the Community Page. On the first day of class, you’ll receive a welcome announcement from your instructor and access to week one’s materials.

    Early May: We will email you a unique code so you can enroll in the Summer term course of your choice. Unlike the Winter, Spring, and Fall terms, you will need to enroll in your summer class through the Creative Nonfiction website. You will receive an invitation to your course two days before it begins.

    After each course closes: You will receive a zip file of your content from the class. You’ll also continue to be a member of our Creative Nonfiction Writing Classes' Community Page. With this membership, you will be able to share writings and calls for submissions, recommend books, and stay connected to other writers. You can decide how frequently you want to receive notifications by changing the settings in your Wet Ink profile.

    What are the course dates?

    Terms for 2021

    Winter: Jan 11 – Mar 21
    Spring: Apr 12 – Jun 20
    Summer: Jul 12 – Aug 15
    Fall: Sep 13 – Nov 21

    How many students are in each class?

    Our classes have a maximum of 14 students and a minimum of 6. You may see a few familiar faces in your courses, such as others in the yearlong track program, but you will also have the opportunity to meet and work with new students each term. 

    I've already taken one of these courses — can I subsitute a course and remain on the yearlong track?

    Depending on when you took the course, we may be able to swap the course you've already completed for another as long as they are the same length (10 weeks) and level. If you'd like to explore this option, please email [email protected]

    Do I need to be online during a particular time or day in order to participate in a class? Does it matter what time zone I'm in?

    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. Winter, Spring, and Fall courses feature one live conference session that does require you to be online at a particular time; however, participation in these sessions is completely optional, and instructors make an effort to offer times that can accommodate most students. 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 during Summer term.

    How many hours per week will the class take?

    This depends largely on your own interests and devotion to the class. We ask that all students read the lecture and assigned readings, and post at least once per week in the class discussion; this should take about two hours per week. Other, less regular commitments include submitting peer critiques and participating in (or watching) video conferences. Finally, most students wish to submit all major writing assignments for the class in order to receive instructor feedback, and here the time commitment is highly variable. Some students write only on the weekends, while others write or revise for some time each day to produce these works. Still others join the class with essays already written. Your writing time is a large part of the time commitment for the class, and it is up to you to determine how much writing time you will need in order to produce essays or chapters for critique.

    Do I need any particular software or video capabilities to be able to take an online class with CNF? Does it matter if I have a Mac or a PC?

    The only aspect of the class that has a specific software/hardware requirement is the webcam for the optional video conference (during Winter, Spring, and Fall terms). Aside from that, CNF classes are taught using a web-based class program 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 of some sort to compose your writing; if you do not have any type of word processing program installed on your computer, you can download one here for free.

    Do I need any particular computer skills to participate in the class?

    The program used for CNF classes 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 the class website two days before your class starts so you can familiarize yourself with the system.

    Can I submit work I have already written?

    Yes. We ask only that you stick to the word limit for each assignment. Additionally, please try to make sure the writing you submit for feedback fits the course; for example, our Experimental Forms course might not be the best place to submit the first chapter of your traditional book-length memoir.

    How much interaction can I expect to have with my instructor and with other students in the class?

    In our courses you can expect to:

    • receive personalized feedback on your work from your instructor
    • comment on your peers' writing and receive peer critiques in kind
    • discuss ideas with your instructor and peers
    • exchange writing, ideas, and book recommendations with other writers on our Community Page 

    I’m only interested in getting the instructor’s feedback on my work—do I have to participate in the online discussions or the peer critiques?

    To create a better, more dynamic classroom experience for all, you are required to participate weekly in class discussions in order to receive instructor feedback on your work. If you are primarily interested in working one-on-one with a professional writer, please consider our manuscript review program.

    What kind of feedback can I expect from my instructor?

    For each assignment, you will receive detailed feedback from your instructor—both in-line comments addressing tone, dialogue, word choice, etc., and bigger-picture comments about how the writing is working as a whole. In addition to longer assignments, some instructors assign shorter weekly exercises for which they provide a brief response. Finally, students are always welcome to private message the instructor at any point during the course with additional questions.

    I'm going to be away for part of the time that a class is in session—does this mean I shouldn't take the track?

    If you will only miss one or two weeks of a ten-week class, this does not pose a problem; you can reach out to your instructor to submit the assignments ahead of time (or, if you choose, skip them). You should let your instructor know at the beginning of the class which weeks you will miss. If you think that you will have to miss more than two weeks of class, it is probably best to wait to join.

    Will the work I write in these classes be published in Creative Nonfiction or True Story?

    Creative work that is reviewed and/or commented upon by your instructor cannot be submitted to Creative Nonfiction or True Story without substantial revision. Specifically, our editors will not consider a submission for publication if more than 25 percent of the work has been read by Creative Nonfiction’s online instructors. You are welcome to submit to the magazines work that meets the above conditions, but will not be given preference over authors from the general submission pool. 

    Can I set up a payment plan?

    Indeed! If you need to set up a payment plan, please reach out to us by emailing [email protected] We have two payment plan options:

    • $505 down payment, followed by eight weekly payments of $105 (total cost $1345)
    • $505 down payment, followed by eleven weekly payments of $80 (total cost $1385)
       

    What is your refund policy?

    We understand that life can get in the way of your plans. We want you to be able to get the most out of your course, and our refund policy is designed to balance your need for flexibility with our deadlines and obligations to our teachers.

    By 5 pm on the Monday before Winter term begins

    • You may request to be removed from the yearlong track program for a refund less a $95 processing fee.
    • If you transfer to another course, you will be removed from the yearlong track program and refunded the remaining balance less a $50 processing fee.

    By 5 pm on the Monday before Spring term begins

    • You may request to be removed from the yearlong track program for a refund less the cost of the winter course and a $95 processing fee.
    • If you transfer to another course, you will be removed from the yearlong track program and refunded your remaining balance less a $50 processing fee.

    By 5 pm on the Monday before Fall term begins

    • You may request a transfer credit less a $50 processing fee.
    • There are no refunds available at this time.

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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 [email protected]

     
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