Frequently Asked Questions

Questions? Start Here.

  • 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.

    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

Good news for subscribers to Creative Nonfiction magazine!

All current print magazine subscribers (Creative Nonfiction and/or True Story) also have access to our entire digital archive. That’s nearly 30 years’ worth of true stories, well told! 

* Not yet a subscriber? Creative Nonfiction magazine is a home for thought-provoking, remarkable, engaging narrative nonfictin. Sign up today!