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Online Classes

Join CNF's growing online writing community.

Since 2011, Creative Nonfiction's online classes have helped thousands of writers from all over the world tell their stories better. Check out our winter course offerings. 

Our 5- and 10-week classes offer firm deadlines, a flexible schedule that fits your needs, and feedback to help you keep writing and improving your work. And the small class sizes (no more than 14 students per class) help foster community and connection. 

Whether you're just starting out or are looking for an advanced class to help you refine and polish your work, we have a course for you. Classes are offered Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer term.

See what past students have to say about our growing writing community; read some publishing success stories from our students; learn more about our instructors; and see a complete list of our past classes

Self-Guided Course

November 4 - December 1

Write Your Memoir Month » 

This self-guided course is designed to help break the potentially overwhelming task of writing a memoir into manageable daily writing assignments. Each week’s lesson, revealed on Mondays, will focus on a different aspect of memoir writing, from opening chapters to scenes involving dialogue. Daily writing prompts will keep you motivated and moving ahead with your project.

Winter Online Classes 

January 6 - March 15

Note: We offer three levels of online courses: FundamentalsIntermediate, and Advanced.


PERSONAL ESSAY TRACK—yearlong writing program.
NEW! Start this winter and make 2020 the year you take your personal essay game from good to great.

Pathway to the Personal Essay » 

This thoughtful progression of four of our best online writing classes will help you learn (or revisit) the fundamentals of the genre, develop your craft, enrich your knowledge, and sharpen your skills.


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.

Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp (5- or 10-week) »

Instructors: Ploi Pirapokin or Bridgette Shade
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.

Foundations of Creative Nonfiction »

Instructor: Lori Jakiela
Your introduction to the genre. Learn how literary techniques can help you turn bare facts and memories into compelling personal and journalistic essays.

Thirty-Minute Memoir » 

Instructor: Joelle Fraser
Manageable daily writing assignments will help you break down the task of writing a memoir.


INTERMEDIATE —suggested prerequisites. 
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.

Eureka! Science Writing »

Instructor: Chelsea Biondolillo
Gain writing and research skills—everything from general literary techniques to interviewing and fact-checking—that will help you craft engaging nonfiction about scientific discovery, research, and policy.

Flash Essay »

Instructor: Jenna McGuiggan
Distill experiences, big or small, into their purest essence. 

Memoir and Personal Essay: Beyond the Basics »

Instructor: Jonathan Callard
Tackle a big writing project in this class intended for writers who are ready to take their writing to the next level.

Shapes of Stories »

Instructor: Waverly Fitzgerald
Expand your writer's toolkit by experimenting with a variety of essay structures.

The Building Blocks of Personal Essay » 

Instructor: Meghan O'Gieblyn
Learn the building blocks of writing a personal essay and connect your experiences to larger truths about our world.

Writing the Lyric Essay: When Poetry & Nonfiction Play »

Instructor: Joanna Cooper
Experiment with form.


ADVANCED—required prerequisites for enrollment.
Our advanced courses are for writers who meet one of the following qualifications: 1) you have completed two previous courses with Creative Nonfiction (one must be an intermediate level course); or 2) you have an MFA in creative nonfiction; or 3) you have published widely. 

Advanced Historical Narratives »

Instructor: Marty Levine
Hone your approach, pinpoint your main characters, organize your prospective piece, and bring the past to life.

Advanced Memoir: From First Sentence to Resolution » 

Instructor: Kase Johnstun
Refine and refresh work in progress and take up the challenges of longer sections and full-length manuscripts: how to start, how to write "critical chapters," how to find a resolution to your story, and how to incorporate the world surrounding your story using scene, research, and detail.

Advanced Personal Essay: Finding a Way Through » 

Instructor: Peter Mountford
Transform actual people and events into characters and plot elements, and turn your personal anecdotes into publishable essays.

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 yates[at]creativenonfiction[dot]org.

Is there a course that you'd like to take that isn't being offered? You can request a course here and we'll notify you when it's being offered again.

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 yates[at]creativenonfiction[dot]org.