Online Course

Summer Boot Camp

July 12 - August 15

Level Fundamentals

You want to do it. You mean to do it. You’re going to do it! Ensure that you will get around to that summer writing by joining.

Additional Information

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 2,000 and 4,000 words, or at least a dozen passages to use as starting points for future essays (or some combination of the two).

Course Schedule

Week 1: Generating ideas—what can I write about?

During this week the lecture will focus on finding a topic or topics that you can feel passionate about as you begin to write, as well as 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. Those who already have a subject in mind can forgo the exercises and simply write 300 words per day on the chosen subject.

Week 2: Your writing life—creating a schedule and a support network

Finding time to write and overcoming your own doubts can be two of the biggest obstacles to moving ahead with your work. 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 those 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

This week you’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

During the final week of class you’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 Registration

$310.00

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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.

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Testimonials

I think your classes are great. You are doing excellent work for the writing community at large, and I thank you.

Mendy Knott

Education FAQs

  • 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).

  • 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 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.

  • 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 (July-August), we offer only 5-week courses.