Online Course

Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp 5-week

January 09 - February 12, 2023

Level Fundamentals

    Write every day, no matter what.

      Additional Information

      Kick-start your writing with our most popular class. Start that long-delayed project, develop essential writing habits with daily writing prompts, and reach your goals.

      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, daily writing prompts, 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 2,000 and 4,000 words, or at least a dozen passages to use as starting points for future essays.

      Course Schedule

      Week 1: Generating ideas

      During this week we will focus on finding a topic or topics that you can feel passionate about as you begin to write, and ways to help your readers be as excited about your subject as you are. This week’s exercises will cover a wide variety of subject matter to help you explore several different possibilities for your writing focus. If you already have a subject in mind, you can forgo the exercises and simply write 300 words per day on your chosen subject.

      WEEK 2: YOUR WRITING LIFE

      Finding time to write and overcoming your own doubts can be two of the biggest obstacles to moving ahead with your writing. This week’s lecture will discuss some practical approaches to addressing these problems, and the exercises will keep you writing through the week.

      Week 3: Overcoming writer’s block 

      Almost every writer experiences writer’s block at some point in his or her career, but the writers who actually go on to have a career are those who find ways to fight through. This week’s lecture will focus on the potential causes of and solutions to writer’s block, and the exercises will focus on ways to continue pieces you have already begun but are having trouble finishing.

      Week 4: Stretching your limits

      During this week we’ll discuss the ways in which experimenting with different factors—structure, unusual patterns of language, the timeline of an event—can help you to see your topic from a new angle and keep on writing. These same techniques can also bring new life to topics that are written about frequently, to help your piece stand out in the crowd. The exercises for this week will ask you to stretch your limits; you are also welcome to continue working on a longer piece instead of using the prompts.

      Week 5: Review, re-mix, revise

      This week we’ll consider ways in which returning to familiar subject matter can serve as a catalyst for creating new work.  Exercises will explore the hidden potential of well-worn subjects.

      View Complete Syllabus

      Course Instructor

      Course Registration

      $260.00

      5 in stock

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      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 [email protected].

      Hear from our Students

      Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

      Read Success Stories

      Testimonials

      I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

      Catherine O’Neill

      Online Course FAQs

      • What day and time is my online course?

        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 classes 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 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 you can share when the class is completed. For this reason, in our classes you are invited to submit longer pieces 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 are your community standards?

        Creative Nonfiction is committed to creating a welcoming and comfortable experience for all staff and participants regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disabilities, neurodiversity, physical appearance, ethnicity, nationality, race, age, or religion.

        We expect that staff and participants will treat each other with respect in all interactions. We will not tolerate discrimination or harrassment in conjunction with any of our programs. Harassment could include but is not limited to:

        • Repeated disruption of classes, lectures or discussion
        • Deliberate intimidation
        • Unwelcome sexual attention
        • Comments or displayed images that harmfully reinforce structures of oppression

        Community posts violating any of these guidelines can and will be removed from the page at any time. Anyone asked to stop harassing behavior is expected to comply immediately.

        Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or critique in good faith. Reading and writing, by their nature, include exposure to controversial, challenging, and sometimes offensive language. We encourage all participants to follow the peer review guidelines provided by their instructor.

        When you join a course you agree to…

        • respect others and respect their writing;
        • maintain the privacy of all submitted work;
        • treat others with respect;
        • not infringe on anyone’s copyright;
        • not harass, abuse, threaten or impersonate another user; and
        • not use libelous, obscene, or abusive work.


        Online Communication Guide

        Online communication happens without the benefit of body language and tone. Therefore, it can be easy to misinterpret. The following tips may help participants engage in civil, intelligent, vigorous discourse without impugning the personal dignity of others:

        1. Start from a position of generosity (i.e. assume that people mean well)
        2. Address your post to someone or to the group. Instead of “Hey” or just jumping in to your post, try “Hi All” or “Hi [Name].”
        3.  Don’t be afraid to use emoticons and/or exclamation points! 🙂
        4. Please avoid ALL CAPS whenever possible, as they tend to come off as RUDE or YELLING.
        5. Avoid harsh or offensive language of any kind. If you’re in doubt, try rewording or reconsidering your post.
        6. Sarcasm is very difficult to convey in writing — best to avoid it.
        7. When interacting with your peers, please consider that some may have limited experience with English, online education, and/or creative writing. It’s a good rule of thumb not to write anything you wouldn’t say if that person were standing in front of you.
        8. Often writers from underrepresented groups are asked to explain everything for an assumed monolithic audience (often cis/white/hetero/masculine/able-bodied, etc. etc.). As you respond to peers’ work, keep in mind that you may not be the writer’s intended audience, and leave room for the possibility that the writer is writing for a group of which you are not a member. (For more on this, listen to this episode of Code Switch for an in depth conversation.)

        See your course for additional feedback guidelines provided by your instructor.

      • How do I find my course archive?

        All course work is saved in Wet.Ink. When the course closes, you can find the archive by logging in to your account, and choosing “Past Classes.” Archives include course content (lectures, readings, writing prompts, etc.), your posts and writing submissions, and any feedback given on your writing. The course archive will not include your classmates’ writing submissions.

      • What do the course levels mean?

        FUNDAMENTALS—open to all levels.
        Our fundamentals courses are designed for those who are new to writing or new to creative nonfiction, as well as those who could benefit from a back-to-basics review on how to effectively and intentionally use elements of the writer’s craft.

        INTERMEDIATE—prerequisites suggested. 
        Our intermediate courses are designed for writers who have some experience either in the genre or CNF’s courses. Past course participation is not required, but we do recommend starting with one of our fundamentals courses, especially Foundations of Creative Nonfiction.

        ADVANCED—prerequisites for enrollment. 
        Our advanced courses are for writers who have completed two previous online courses (not including self-guided courses) with Creative Nonfiction (one must be an intermediate level course).