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How to Write a Performance Review

Employers and employees find value in performance reviews. The feedback can range from guidance to praise, thus allowing for both parties to engage in discussion regarding what’s working and what isn’t. It’s for that reason leaders need to learn how to write a performance review using these guidelines.

Regular Feedback is Critical

While a performance review typically has a bi-annual schedule, that doesn’t mean regular feedback in-between those dates shouldn’t be happening. Therefore, look up how to write a performance review sample, and use that as your springboard for regular feedback. In doing so, your employees are sure they won’t be hearing about their performance during their first review. When looking up how to write a sample performance review, you’ll find that they’re comprised of many fundamental components including communication, teamwork and collaboration skills, problem-solving, accuracy and quality of work, dependability, and attendance, and meeting deadlines.

Utilize the Employee’s Job Description

When you’re unsure where to begin, utilize the employee’s job description as a springboard for their performance evaluation sample. In doing so, you’ll can determine if they satisfied all the requirements and responsibilities of the job description’s listings. You’ll also be able to determine if there were aspects of the job description where they were lacking. Be sure the job description is up-to-date before working on the performance review. That way, you’re sure the position hasn’t undergone any changes since the job description was written.

Use Key Points

When writing the performance review, focus only on key points. For example, if the review is about whether or not the employee is achieving their goals, focus on those key points. Examples of performance goals samples include that the employee must complete a certain level of tasks before being considered for a promotion. Some sample resolutions if the employee is not achieving their goals would include that they would implement a strategy for meeting their goals and then set up another check-in with you to assess their progress.

Request Feedback from Colleagues

When writing the performance review, it’s essential to solicit feedback from colleagues who have worked closely with them. This action is often referred to as obtaining 360-feedback because you’re receiving feedback for the employee from his coworkers, boss, and any other relevant staff. Use of coworker feedback samples includes asking employees what they like or appreciate about their coworker, when they thought their coworker did a great job, or what they would like to see change about a situation.

Keep Track of Performance

When learning how to write performance reviews, keeping track of an employee’s performance is part of achieving that goal. You’ll be working with sample performance comments from other employees, as well as logging their attendance, following policies, how well their meeting deadlines, and if they’re achieving their goals. When working on these tasks, you may need a logbook sample that includes information about their daily job performance. For example, the ledger sheet sample could consist of information about if accidents occurred if it’s a factory or cash overages if you’re in the retail industry. It’s essential to keep policies on-hand, like a cash management policy sample or sample IT policies, for example, to ensure they’re up-to-date and ready to present during the performance review.


creative writing online workshop

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Gotham is now offering Online and Zoom (videoconference) classes.

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We teach the craft of writing in a way that is clear, practical, and inspiring. Explore our wide variety of courses for adults and teens, as well as our One-on-One options. New classes are starting all the time, offered both in person and remotely.

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Spring classes are now available for enrollment , on Zoom, Online, and in NYC!

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Two sharp stories each month—fiction and nonfiction. Presented with text, audio, and original art.

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Scholarships for Writers of Color are available to all people of color who aspire to improve their writing skills, either in the fields of creative writing or elsewhere.

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The story goes that Ernest Hemingway won a bet by writing a short story that ran fewer than ten words. We would like to make a similar bet with you. Write a great short story in ten words or fewer.

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Here you will learn how to navigate the ins-and-outs of the publishing business and you’ll write (and refine) the most important selling tool for your book—the query letter. All under the guidance of an established literary agent.

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Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize

Every year, the Selected Shorts program at Symphony Space hosts the Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Contest. The winner will have his or her work performed and recorded live at Symphony Space in NYC.

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The tools needed to write are quite simple—pen and paper, or electronic device. But it’s useful to have advice and information within easy reach. We’ve put together all kinds of resources to guide your journey as a writer, including Gotham books.

The Gotham Experience

We believe everyone has a story to tell. And we like to help people tell their stories better. We’ve been practicing this philosophy for more than two decades, and it’s made us the leading private writing school in the world.

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The 10 Best Online Creative Writing Classes of 2023

Best Online Creative Writing Classes badge

The stereotype of the writer starving in their garret while waiting for inspiration to strike is far from the truth for today’s authors. Writers work in many fields, and the best of them get where they are through education and practice. A good writing course will feature a knowledgeable instructor, along with the opportunity to practice the skills they are teaching. To help you determine the best one for your own needs, we’ve sifted through the top options and reviewed the 10 best online writing courses below.

Our Ranking Criteria

The best online writing courses offer you the chance to take your natural writing skills and shape them into a form that will open the doors in your chosen field. Whether you want to pen tv sitcom scripts or write the next great American novel, the best online writing course for you will take you further than you would be able to go on your own, helping you develop professional-level skills that will allow you to obtain the job of your choice. We based our decisions for the best courses on the following criteria.

Basic Ranking Criteria

There’s no one factor that makes a writing course the best. Instead we looked at multiple aspects for each of 74 online classes and factored them all into our final ranking. In our first pass, we looked at basic ranking criteria:

Time to complete. Although it’s important to have the time you need to thoroughly understand what you’re learning, no one wants to spend more time in class than is necessary. Some of our chosen classes are self-paced, others take less than an hour to one year.

Prerequisites required. None of our finalists has any prerequisites, which means that anyone with a basic understanding of the English language can participate and learn. If you do have previous writing experience, all the better — but it’s not necessary.

Flexible schedule. All but two of our choices feature a flexible schedule. Your life is busy, and for most people it is difficult to have to sign into the course at a specific time. Eight of our chosen courses allow you to take the classes and do the work as you are able, at a time that’s convenient for you.

Certificate of completion. A certificate of completion is not standard for writing courses. However, if one is available, it is often a plus to add the certificate to your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Advanced Ranking Criteria

Once we reviewed results for the basic ranking criteria, we looked at more advanced features which are specific to the topics of the courses. Since many of our finalists have different focuses (such as children’s literature or creative writing), we were more concerned that they each covered their topic completely, rather than covering the same things as the other courses.

10 Best Online Writing Courses Courses or Bootcamps

Coursera creative writing specialization by wesleyan university.

Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University

Intelligent Award: Top Pick

Coursera’s business model is somewhat different from many online education companies. It partners with established colleges and universities to offer classes at the higher-ed level. You don’t earn college credit for many courses, but can gain valuable certificates by completing specializations. The Creative Writing specialization consists of five courses that focus on three genres: short story, narrative essay, and memoir. Within those genres, you’ll learn about crafting characters and settings, writing descriptions, and developing your style, followed by a capstone class that will result in a completed story, essay or memoir. Throughout the specialization, you’ll have access to peer readers who can critique your work and suggest improvements. The course is taught by faculty at Wesleyan University who are published authors and trained in the creative writing process.

Who should take this course? This course is best for writers wishing to jumpstart or fire up their creative projects with college-level coursework.

Udemy Secret Sauce of Great Writing

Secret Sauce of Great Writing on Udemy

Intelligent Award: Most Affordable

One of the better-known names in the online education industry, Udemy offers both paid and free courses, and, as of April 2021, had more than 40 million students. As you might imagine, an undertaking that vast will have a broad range of quality among its products. One of the company’s many courses on writing, The Secret Sauce of Great Writing stands out. Taught by former Wall Street Journal editor Shani Raja, the class focuses on what Raja believes are the four ingredients of good writing: simplicity, clarity, elegance, and evocativeness. Understanding and using these four ingredients, Raja says, will take your writing from the mundane to the inspiring. And at this price — it’s free! — and with a minimal time commitment (the course runs less than an hour), it is a great way to give your writing a boost and possibly learn some techniques that can enhance your output, whether you’re writing press releases or your autobiography.

Who should take this course? Anyone looking for a short, inspirational course at no cost.

MasterClass Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television

Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television on MasterClass

Intelligent Award: Best for Multimedia Writing

Our top pick from MasterClass is Shonda Rhimes MasterClass on writing for television, although there are a number of excellent options for writers, including courses taught by Neil Gaiman, David Sedaris, and Joyce Carol Oates. Rhimes packs a lot into her 30 lessons, including how to create a compelling character, script structure, and writing authentic dialogue. But she also takes it beyond writing instruction, discussing editing, breaking into the industry, and showrunning, among other TV-centric topics. Your annual membership to MasterClass also gives you access to a pdf workbook and the opportunity to download the classes and watch them offline. Rhimes is one of the biggest names in television today and an engaging speaker who seems to relish letting learners in on all the secrets that got her to where she is today.

Who should take this course? Best for those with some script-writing experience, or anyone who wants to try their luck with the notoriously-difficult-to-break-into world of TV writing.

The Novelry Writing for Children

Writing for Children on The Novelry

Intelligent Award: Best for Children’s Literature

The Novelry offers several programs for children’s writers, ranging from the Classic Course Box Set, which allows you to work through 45 lessons at your own speed for $365, up to The Book in a Year Plan, which guides you from planning, creating, and writing a children’s novel to publishing within a year (costs $1,999). The latter includes nine one-on-one sessions with a children’s fiction tutor to help you shape your creation — a valuable benefit for budding writers. An interactive platform allows you to ask questions or add comments online. Classes are 15-20 minutes in length, and the company recommends that you allow one hour a day for your writing. The platform keeps track of your progress and offers feedback as you go.

Who should take this course? If you already have a great plan for a novel, the Book in a Year plan is ideal. If you’re still searching for an idea on which you can build a novel, try the Classic Course.

Writer’s Digest University Creative Writing 101

Writer's Digest University

Intelligent Award: Best for Beginners

If you are at the very start of your writing career, you should consider checking out Writer’s Digest University. A venerable name in the writing world, Writer’s Digest has been publishing a magazine for writers since 1920, and it has the professional chops to offer solid, comprehensive courses to both beginners and experienced writers. Creative Writing 101 is geared toward those who have an idea and the urge to write, but are not sure where to begin. The classes lead you in shaping your protagonist and antagonist and fleshing out the plot of the story while addressing common writerly concerns such as determining point of view and how to motivate yourself to write. The 12 sessions are available for $579.99, which is a bit on the steep side for what you receive, but the quality of the courses is generally excellent.

Who should take this course? Those who are at the beginning of their writing career without a strong sense of direction. It’s also good for established writers who would like a refresher on topics such as imagery and dialogue.

Bookfox Two Weeks to Your Best Children’s Book

Two Weeks to Your Best Children's Book on Bookfox

Intelligent Award: Best Editorial Support

Bookfox is the brainchild of John Matthew Fox, a former college professor, editor, and writer, who well understands the ins and outs of the publishing world. His courses, which include Two Weeks to Your Best Children’s Book, are packed with information. They delve far beyond the actual writing process, and include how to generate book ideas, the revision process, and, perhaps most importantly, how to successfully publish your book. He also touches on topics including finding an illustrator and agent as well as what you should know if you decide to self-publish. Fox himself teaches each class. The self-paced children’s book class has 14 lessons, which take anywhere from two weeks up to one year. As a one-man operation, Bookfox doesn’t have the highly-polished look and feel of companies like MasterClass, but Fox’s knowledge base more than makes up for his website’s lack of bells and whistles.

Who should take this course? Anyone who wants comprehensive information on the editorial and publishing process.

CreativeLive Writing Your Story

Writing Your Story on CreativeLive

Intelligent Award: Best for Memoir Writing

CreativeLive’s Memoir course, called “Writing Your Story,” is taught by celebrated novelist and memorist Joyce Maynard, who first came to public recognition following her account of her affair with J.D. Salinger, At Home in the World . She’s written several other books of an autobiographical nature along with 11 novels. Her teaching style is engaging and idiosyncratic, and involves numerous stories from her own life. If that piques your curiosity, you’ll find her course engaging and informative, with 26 lessons that range from 5-30 minutes long and discuss how to determine what to write, how to write it, and how to handle criticism and rejection. If you enjoy Maynard’s style of teaching, note that there are several other courses taught by her, including How to Write a Full-Length Memoir and How to Write a Personal Essay.

Who should take this course? A great option for anyone who wants to tell their own story.

Grammar Lion A Grammar Refresher for All Writers & Editors

A Grammar Refresher for All Writers & Editors on Grammar Lion

Intelligent Award: Best for Grammar Review

Having a great story to tell is important, but unless you have the basic building blocks of writing, you won’t be able to tell it. This means paying attention to grammar, and it’s what the Grammar Lion Grammar Refresher course offers. Appropriate both for those who need to learn about grammar as well as accomplished writers looking for a review of basic material, the course starts out by identifying the parts of speech, reviews sentence structure, delves into verb forms, and discusses shifts in person, tense, and structure. One whole lesson is given to matters of clarity and logic, and course extras include helpful resources and a favorite books list. The instructor is Ellen Feld, an author, editor, and educator who has taught more than 44,000 students in her online grammar refresher courses. You can connect to Feld via a discussion forum or by private email. She also offers one-on-one editing services for an additional fee.

Who should take this course? Beginners who are learning grammar for the first time and experienced writers who need a refresh in the building blocks of language.

LitReactor Writing the Weird

Writing the Weird on LitReactor

Intelligent Award: Best Online Community

LitReactor’s courses are hip and decidedly off-center. Take, for example, the course Writing the Weird, taught by J.S. Breukelaar, a finalist for the Ladies of Horror Fiction award and author of Collision . Enrollment is limited to 16 students, who take a deep dive into surreal, fantastic, and otherwise bizarre literature to find and write the human elements that make a story stand out. The four week course is divided into four topics: humanity, structure, setting, and resolution. You’ll explore the work of writers from Kelly Link to Matt Bell, and discover how conventional narrative can be a starting point for delving into innovative and speculative fiction. Each week you’ll be given writing assignments that will be critiqued by Breukelaar and your classmates, and in the fourth and last week, you’ll develop a story from start to finish based on what you’ve learned. Depending on your job title, this class may be the least likely to get you a raise. But it just may be the most fun of all our finalists.

Who should take this course? Anyone with a taste for the off-beat and a willingness to stretch themselves and think outside of the box.

Gotham Writers Workshop Fiction Writing Level 1

Fiction Writing Level 1 on Gotham Writers Workshop

Intelligent Award: Best Supporting Materials

Gotham Writers Workshop has made a name for itself in the NYC region with in-person and Zoom classes, but it also offers well-regarded online classes. Level I classes, such as Fiction Writing I, max out with 16 students per class, so you are guaranteed personal attention from the instructor. Level II and III classes (which include the continuation of the Fiction Writing series), have a maximum of 14 students. You can access each class and do the accompanying exercises anytime during the week for the 10 week workshops. The online interface makes it easy to submit work and read critiques from instructors and fellow students. Lessons are text-based rather than video, and there is a wealth of accompanying materials, such as reading lists and podcasts, to help you extend your learning experience.

Who should take this course? Anyone who prefers text-based lessons; those who want to interact personally with their instructor and peers.

Online Course Comparison Chart

Tips for succeeding in an online writing course, 1. consider the cost, how much do online writing classes cost.

Online writing courses are offered at a broad range of price points, our cheapest option is free, and the highest is nearly $2K. Generally, the more personal one-on-one time you have with an editor or your instructor, the more you’ll pay. LitReactor, for example, has a vibrant online community and regular feedback from your instructor, and costs $350 for the roughly four-week class.

Many of our choices are paid for in one lump sum when you sign up. A few, however, follow Coursera’s model of charging by the month or year. Also, keep in mind that some of our choices, such as MasterClass, give you access to all courses for the membership fee. So, if you have the time and interest, your $180 annual fee at MasterClass could net you literally dozens of courses in a range of topics.

Will my employer pay for me to take the course?

If you work in the communications industry, or in any industry that values good, clear writing skills, you may be able to have all or part of your writing course fees paid for by your employer, especially if you can show them how the course will benefit them. It’s worth asking your boss or your HR supervisor if they will help out with the cost.

2. Get your tech squared away

You shouldn’t need any special software or hardware to take an online writing course. You will need a good internet connection and a computer that is loaded with the most recent version of your chosen browser and system files. Most courses are formatted to work on both desktop computers and other devices, such as your tablet or smartphone.  One handy app if you use Google Chrome is the company’s Video Speed Controller , which allows you to speed up or slow down HTML5 video, as needed.

3. Use the right study resources

One resource that many writers swear by is a good style guide. There are several of these, and you can generally find out which style guide your company uses with a quick question to the marketing or communications department. Here are the most common:

Frequently Asked Questions About Writing Courses

What jobs can you get after completing a writing course.

Few people are full-time authors. But the vast majority of professions, from legal work to health care, require those who can write clearly and concisely. According to the government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook , a full-time writer earns an average of $67,120 a year — but you can earn significantly more, depending on your job skills and professional area.

Are there free online writing courses?

Yes. In fact, one of our ten best choices is Udemy, which offers a broad range of free courses. In general, however, the old adage about how you get what you pay for holds true — the best, most well-designed courses will usually have a cost attached to them.

How long is the average online writing course?

Online writing courses vary from less than an hour to up to a year. Since most offer a flexible schedule, you can do them when you have time available. Keep in mind that in addition to lectures you’ll be watching or reading, you may also have exercises to complete, which take additional time.

Are online writing courses worth it?

They can be. Like many things in life, you will get as much out of it as you put into it. If you are taking a course for personal enrichment, all our chosen courses should benefit you. If you’re looking for professional advancement, a course with a certificate of completion may be a good idea, so you can show the certificate to your boss when done.

What are the best online writing courses?

There are probably hundreds of online writing courses — we looked at nearly 75 for this review. The best online writing courses are the ones we’ve featured above. The best writing course for your needs will depend on what you are looking to get out of it. If you’re hoping to write a best-selling children’s book, for example, the best writing class might not be Shonda Rhimes’ MasterClass. You’d be better off choosing an option like The Novelry’s program or John Matthew Fox’s Bookfox.

Best Online Creative Writing Classes

Masterclass is our best overall writing course to learn the art of writing.

creative writing online workshop

We recommend the best products through an independent review process , and advertisers do not influence our picks. We may receive compensation if you visit partners we recommend. Read our advertiser disclosure for more info.

Creative writing is often focused around writing fiction (but may also include nonfiction), which can feature any type of writing from poems to short stories, novels, and more. Online creative writing classes help you learn how to become a better storyteller, produce completed manuscripts, and publish your work. Since the classes takes place over the internet, you can study anywhere. The best online creative writing classes offer a rich curriculum, provide a good value for the cost, and are taught by experienced professionals.

Here, we've rounded up our top picks for prospective students to learn about creative writing from the comfort of their own homes. Some online courses even offer certifications upon completion to pursue creative writing as a career. Compare top options to find the best price range, topics, and class schedule to help you get started. 

Best Online Creative Writing Classes of 2023

Final Verdict

Can I Teach Myself Creative Writing?

Can you make a living off of creative writing, methodology, best overall : neil gaiman teaches the art of storytelling.


Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling took our top spot because the course has a robust curriculum and is taught by an award-winning author.

Short, engaging videos

Access content from your computer or smartphone

Easy-to-digest video lectures

No instructor feedback

Masterclass subscription required

No student collaboration

We like this class because students learn many creative writing techniques from a world-renowned fiction writer. The course is a series of 19 short video lectures, which include:

As you watch the nearly five hours of content, you'll learn the fundamentals of writing stories (including how to make your story feel real), find unique angles to explore, develop your writing voice, create compelling plots, characters, settings, and dialogue, and edit and improve your work. You’ll also write short stories, understand different writing genres, and learn tips for getting unstuck when you have writer’s block. 

This course of study is self-paced, so you won’t receive any feedback on your writing. You can access the videos on your smartphone or computer.

There are no requirements to enroll. However, you can only access the class if you have a Masterclass subscription, which currently costs $180 for the year. Once you have a Masterclass membership you can take any course offered. If you’re dissatisfied with the learning platform, you can email customer service within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

Best for Beginners : Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go

Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go gives new writers the foundational information they need to complete a piece of creative work.

Rich curriculum including various genres, literary techniques, the writing process, and more

Instructor and peer feedback


Course access ends after six weeks

Must adhere to a schedule to participate in discussions

Not all course requirements are included in enrollment

We like Beginning Writer’s Workshop because it’s designed to quickly turn a true beginner into a confident writer with a publication-worthy piece. When you finish the six-week, 12-lesson course, you’ll know how to:

The class includes 24 hours of instructional content. For the first six weeks, you’ll get access to two new self-paced lessons per week. Lectures include reading material and videos.

There’s also an online discussion board where you can post questions and talk about the lectures. Discussions only remain open for two weeks after a lesson is released. So, while you can study when it fits your schedule, you’ll want to keep up with the work.

The course is facilitated by Carmen Marquez, a journalist, writer, and teacher. They’ll reply to any inquiries you post on the discussion board within 24 to 48 hours. You’ll also have the opportunity to get feedback on your writing from the instructor and other students. 

The class costs $149. A new round of the course begins every month, so you can get started when it’s convenient for you.

Best for Certification : Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University

Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University is our choice for this category because it offers a certificate upon completion, allowing students to use the knowledge gained for their career path. As a bonus, this class is free, so students can access content from the school at no cost.

Access to free content from a well-regarded school

Self-paced study

Free trial and "audits" allow students to view material before purchasing

No feedback or interaction without a subscription to Coursera

Does not include lessons on literary style

May take up to six months to complete

The course is hosted by Coursera, an online learning platform. Coursera gives you the option to “audit” the class at no charge, allowing you to view all of the included videos and reading materials without subscribing to the platform.

The specialization includes four classes you can audit:

Each class features a few hours of content, and you can take them in any order and on your own time.

As you go through the lessons, you’ll learn how to:

The course of study has multiple instructors, all with backgrounds in English or creative writing.

If you want a more interactive experience that includes writing assignments, access to a discussion board, or feedback on your work, you’ll have to purchase a Coursera membership for $49 per month. The company offers a seven-day free trial, so you can test it out before buying.

Having full access will also allow you to obtain a certificate of completion once you’ve finished the specialization.

Best Live Class : Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers

Gotham Writers

Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers is our best pick for live classes because it features weekly live lectures via Zoom. Students are also offered feedback for their writing while learning about both fiction and nonfiction.

Live, interactive meetings

Writing feedback available

Includes both fiction and nonfiction

Course is somewhat pricey

Registration fee required

No certificate offered upon completion

We like this class since you can learn about creative writing in a fully interactive environment and get your questions answered in real time. The course is designed specifically for newer writers or experienced writers looking for a refresher.

The six-week class meets for three hours a week and features:

Between lectures, you’ll also complete writing assignments and get feedback on your work. The course has multiple instructors, all with education and experience in writing.

You must be 18 or older to take the course. The class is offered on various days and times, so you’ll have to look online to see which option fits your schedule.

Creative Writing 101 costs $319 for the online or Zoom classes. The company also charges a $25 registration fee per term, but you might be able to find discounts or promotions to reduce the cost.

Best for Writing Critique : UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing

UCLA Extension 

UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing is our choice as best for writing critique because the class features small, weekly breakout sessions to workshop student writing.

Small group workshops for detailed feedback

Guest lecturers

Offers lessons on writing in multiple styles

Limite to 12 students; not always available for enrollment

Requires students to be present for 3-hour weekly class

This class allows you to learn from and work closely with instructors, writing experts, and other students. The course is limited to 12 students and is designed to help learners explore creative writing.

The Introduction to Creative Writing course runs for six weeks and meets live over Zoom for three hours weekly. In each class meeting, you’ll start in a breakout session to discuss the writing assignment and how you’re feeling as a writer. Then, you’ll transition into a lecture with a guest expert about topics like fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, and poetry.

Throughout the class, you’ll:

The course has several different instructors who are all accomplished writers.

Since this is a beginner course, you won’t get graded on the writing you produce. Instead, you’ll be evaluated based on assignment completion, the feedback you provide to your peers, and overall participation.

The course costs $485, and if you need to withdraw, you must do so within two weeks of the start date to receive a refund.

Best for Creative Non-Fiction : Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing - You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing won this category because the class specifically focuses on creative nonfiction. While the class is short, it's also the most affordable on our list, and it's a great introduction to the topic for curious students.

Specific focus on creative nonfiction

Most affordable option for beginner writers

Certificate of completion given

No writing feedback available

Only 2 hours of lectures available

Not in-depth on each topic compared to similar courses

If you’re interested in writing true stories rather than fiction but still want that creative element, you might want to consider creative nonfiction, like personal essays and memoirs. We like this class because it helps you dive into the world of creative nonfiction at a budget-conscious price.

The $19.99 course is self-paced and includes nine modules and 26 video lectures. The modules include:

During the nearly two hours of lectures, you’ll learn the skills required to write creative nonfiction pieces, such as memoirs and essays, the basic building blocks of storytelling, such as plots, characters, and scenes, and several writing techniques and literary devices. You’ll also learn: 

Although you won’t get any feedback from your instructor, the class includes writing projects you can complete independently and quizzes to review your learning. To supplement the lectures, you’ll also have access to downloadable resources like templates and graphics.

Your instructor is the creator of the class, Trace Crawford. Crawford has more than 20 years of writing and teaching experience.

You don’t have to meet any particular requirements to take this course. It’s designed for any curious writer. 

In case you’re unhappy with the class, it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. When you finish the last lecture, you’ll receive a certificate of completion. You’ll also have lifetime access to the content.

Best Ivy League Class : Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction

Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction is designed for intermediate to advanced writers interested in applying their skills to creative fiction. This is not a course for beginners, but rather an in-depth study that concludes with each student finishing their own short story or the first chapter of a novel.

Students learn creative writing from Ivy League professors

Offers formal experience in creative writing

Students will complete their own short story or the first chapter of a novel by course end

Intended for graduate students with strong writing skills

Considerably more expensive than others

Students must enroll in degree program

Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction course is a great choice for graduate-level students to focus on their creative writing skills. The course covers several topics, including:

The course is split into two sections: Students study plot and structure in various creative writing works, then apply this knowledge in the second half of the course to write their own short story or the first chapter of a novel.

As an Ivy League class, online students receive all the benefits of professor feedback and student collaboration that they'd receive in-class. However, students must enroll with the Harvard Department of Continuing Education to register.

There are countless online creative writing classes available, so it may be hard to choose the best course for you. Investigate any online creative writing class before you enroll to select an option that can help you finish and publish your creative masterpiece.

However, Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling is an excellent place to start your search. The content comes from an award-winning author and is designed to inspire you, help you develop your voice, and teach you new creative writing techniques.

Compare the Best Online Creative Writing Classes

Frequently asked questions, what do you learn in an online creative writing class.

Creative writing classes teach topics like genres of writing, outlining ideas, developing a plot and characters, and storytelling. Specific classes vary from course to course, but many include lessons about editing your work and establishing productive writing habits. The class may also include a peer-critique component to improve your own editing skills by reviewing other writers' work.

Should New Writers Take an Online Creative Writing Class?

New writers can and should take an online creative writing class. Some classes are designed especially for beginners so that learners can get the foundational information that they need. Taking an entry-level class can help you decide if creative writing is right for you and what direction to take as a writer.

How Can an Online Creative Writing Class Help Me Improve My Writing?

An online creative writing class can help you improve your writing in several ways. You'll learn about new literary techniques, refresh your knowledge about writing basics, find your unique voice, overcome writer's block, refine your work, and establish productive habits. An online creative writing class may also include personalized feedback from the instructor to hone your skills further.

How Much Do Online Creative Writing Classes Cost?

Online creative writing classes vary in cost. You can access some courses for free, while others are priced at several hundred dollars or more.

Are Online Creative Writing Classes Worth It?

Depending on your career goals , online creative writing classes can be worth your time, effort, and money. If you’re a hobbyist writer, it probably makes sense to stick with short, budget-friendly courses. But if you’re a writer by trade or would like to become a professional writer, it may be worth investing a more substantial number of hours and dollars into your development.

It's possible to teach yourself the fundamentals of creative writing when it comes to practicing narratives and storytelling, and many writers start without a formal education. However, creative writing classes can help you hone in on skills like developing characters and plots, writing in different styles, editing your work, and more.

Many writers and authors make their living from creative writing. Creative writers may focus on producing books, or they may write poetry, short stories, biographies, and other fictional or non-fictional works. The best creative writing classes can also teach you about submitting your work to publishers to develop a career .

We closely evaluated 10 online creative writing classes before making our selections. We considered the course curriculum, instructor credibility, and value. We also accounted for any unique features.

All of our choices offer a rigorous course of study for a fair price and are designed to help creative writers hone their craft and get ready for publication.

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The Writers Studio

The Original School of Creative Writing and Thinking, est. 1987

Online Level 1

About online level 1 courses.

Our Online Level I workshop is an introduction to the philosophy on which The Writers Studio was founded in 1987 by Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Philip Schultz. Persona writing, a method of borrowing the voice and temperament of accomplished writers, offers writers the imaginative distance and perspective they need to overcome their negative inclinations, their fear of self-exposure and endless doubt. This method also helps writers try on different voices, or personas, to develop narrative and lyric voices to be used as a tool for unlocking one’s most intimate and private stories and turning even their most difficult subject matter into inspiration for writing fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.

Weekly exercises based on short pieces of published work are turned into assignments designed to introduce students to various literary styles and approaches and broaden their sense of what is possible in their own work. As the student’s understanding of technique deepens so does the clarity and emotional power of the writing. Teachers provide written weekly critiques of each student’s work, a degree of attention nearly unheard of elsewhere. The teacher also leads weekly one-hour discussions of technique via Google Meet or typed chat.

To take a class, all students need is a computer or tablet with an internet connection. A link to our friendly online classroom is emailed to you after you register, and tech support is available throughout the class.

Available Online Level 1 Intro to Fiction & Poetry Courses

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The Online Creative Writing Program makes it easy to take courses taught by instructors from Stanford’s writing community. Thanks to the flexibility of the online format, these courses can be taken anywhere, anytime—a plus for students who lead busy lives or for whom regular travel to the Stanford campus is not possible. These courses are open to all adults, and we encourage all levels of writers to enroll.

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4. The Best Online Writing Workshops Give Constructive Feedback

The feedback you receive in creative writing workshops will often prove the most valuable aspect of the course. Because most workshops are run by writers with Masters or Doctoral degrees, they’ve spent a fair amount of time giving and receiving feedback in competitive and community settings. As a result, they know a ton about the craft skills that make for good literature, and they know how to transmit those skills to their students.

Most importantly, a good writing instructor will tell you what you’re doing well in your writing.

The feedback you receive in online writing workshops will vary by the scope of the workshops and the backgrounds of the instructors. You might receive feedback on:

Most importantly, a good writing instructor will tell you what you’re doing well in your writing. When you write a really great simile , have well developed characters , or find a moment of deep insight, your instructor will highlight this.

While it’s good to know what needs to be improved, writers can’t begin to improve until they also know what works in their poems and stories. This is how you build a foundation for good writing: start with what works, and sculpt from there. Writing workshops are the best spaces to build this foundation!

5. The Best Online Writing Workshops Focus on Craft

The best online writing workshops are centered around the craft of writing. Unlike English and composition classes, which focus on grammar, literacy, and the mechanics of language, creative writing workshops look at using these mechanics to write compelling, effective stories. And, in a writing workshop, you don’t just use the rules, you get to break them!

In a writing workshop, you don’t just use the rules, you get to break them.

The craft elements you focus on will vary based on the kind of course you’re in. If you’re taking poetry writing workshops, for example, you’ll focus on employing effective literary devices and studying different forms of poetry .

Likewise, in novel writing workshops, you might study elements like plot , point of view , and the art of storytelling .

Good writing workshops will break down great literature into the components that make it great, allowing you to read like a writer and employ these craft skills in your own work. And, learning the craft of creative writing helps you with everyday tasks, like sending emails or expanding your vocabulary.

6. The Best Online Writing Workshops Respect Your Creativity

The workshop is a space of unfettered creativity. Writers get to share their ideas, their experiences, and their creative, collaborative minds in the same space, making workshops the place to experiment with ideas. Of course, this is only possible if the workshop respects your creative authority.

We don’t “earn” the title of “writer,” we simply are writers, and a good writing course will uphold your integrity and creative vision, no matter where you are in your writing journey.

What does respect for your creative authority mean? It means that no one judges, criticizes, or condemns you for your writing and ideas. The best writing workshops will:

Most importantly, this is true no matter how “new” you are to creative writing workshops . Whether you’ve submitted the first poem you’ve ever written or your thousandth, you deserve the same level of respect as everyone else in the room. We don’t “earn” the title of “writer,” we simply are writers, and a good writing course will uphold your integrity and creative vision, no matter where you are in your writing journey.

In a writing workshop, you may encounter many different ideas, but you also encounter the freedom to accept or reject those ideas. It’s your writing. You get the final say!

7. The Best Online Writing Workshops Create Community

What is a writing workshop without community? Writing can be a lonely practice, but a writing community makes all the difference. The best creative writing workshops foster a sense of community. In fact, many writers have come away from our courses with friends and writing partnerships that last for years and years!

A writing community can give you the motivation to create, the license to experiment, and the potential to learn even more about the craft of writing.

A writing community can give you the motivation to create, the license to experiment, and the potential to learn even more about the craft of writing. Because we all have very different literary backgrounds, we all have studied different authors and elements of the writing craft. When we write in a community, we naturally share what we’ve learned with one another, creating a culture of growth and inspiration.

Additionally, a strong writing community creates valuable feedback. When you write alongside people who know and enjoy your work, it is much easier to give and receive feedback, especially when these writers know what you’re trying to accomplish.

Many well-known authors throughout history have been a part of valuable writing communities, such as The Beat Poets, Stratford-on-Odeon, and these famous writing groups . Writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and when you enroll in community-oriented online writing workshops, you foster the kinds of relationships and connections that can sustain your literary career.

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8. The Best Online Writing Workshops Motivate You to Write

Because writing is often solitary, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get work done. Taking online writing workshops pushes you to put words on the page.

Sometimes, the biggest barrier is beginning, but creative writing workshops will spark your writing practice.

For one thing, these classes cost money, and when you’re spending money to write and learn about writing, you’re more likely to actually write and learn about writing.

But, it’s not just the monetary transaction that motivates writers in adult writing workshops. Your course might provide you with:

Some writing workshops are even designed to motivate you, such as our class Write Your Novel! The Workshop With Jack . Sometimes, the biggest barrier is beginning, but creative writing workshops will spark your writing practice.

9. The Best Online Writing Workshops Jumpstart a Writing Habit

Because writing workshops require you to submit work every week, students will have to set up a consistent writing practice in order to meet these deadlines. Not only does this prepare you for your life as a published author (where deadlines are less flexible), but this also helps you master a key aspect of the writing life: a consistent writing habit.

To make the most of creative writing workshops, try to find time to write every day.

Writing every day isn’t just good advice, it’s essential to building a writing life. Writers who want to build careers out of their work, or at the very least publish books some day, will have to dedicate time every day to their work. When you engage with language each day, you build the skills necessary to write good books, and you also keep yourself creatively motivated. This is true especially for the days that are hardest to write on.

Of course, most of us lead very busy lives. How do we steal time as artists? Here are some ideas:

These ideas won’t work for everyone, and it all depends on your schedule and lifestyle. Nonetheless, to make the most of creative writing workshops, try to find time to write every day. It’s best to write at the same time every day, but if your schedule doesn’t allow this, sneak time wherever you can. Balancing a career, a family, and a writing life isn’t easy, but when the work calls, you’ll find time to answer!

10. The Best Online Writing Workshops Broaden Your Literary Horizons

As writers, it’s important for us to know our literary history. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to read every piece of classic literature to start writing—in fact, many books published in the 19th century could never be published today.

If you want to publish your own work some day, it’s important to know what else is being published today.

But it does mean knowing the craft skills that went into both classic and contemporary books. It especially means having a sense of the contemporary literary zeitgeist. If you want to publish your own work some day, it’s important to know what else is being published today.

The best creative writing workshops broaden your literary horizons. When you read classic literature, you get a sense of the foundations of contemporary writing, and the ways that writers before us expanded the possibilities of literature as a whole. When you read contemporary literature, you get a sense of today’s publishing landscape and what people are looking for in the writings of today.

(If you plan to publish books by querying literary agents , reading contemporary work is crucial, because you need to have good comps in your query letter. Comps are books that have been published recently and are similar, in some ways, to your own.)

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to write like other authors. In fact, far from it. It’s better that you learn to write like yourself , because your most valuable asset as a writer is your voice. But, when you expand your literary horizons, you engage with literature and make decisions on what you do and don’t want to do in your work.

What do you like to read? What do you want to never read again? The more you read, the more you hone your own voice as a writer. Great writing workshops introduce you to literature that provokes these kinds of questions.

11. The Best Online Writing Workshops Provide a Creative Outlet

One of the best reasons to take online writing workshops is that they give you an outlet for feelings and creativity.

Writing workshops are a great supplement to a healthy writer’s life.

This is the result of the various reasons listed above for taking writing classes. By building community, creating a writing practice, and engaging with literature, you inevitably nourish your creativity. In doing so, you nurture a healthy space to explore your ideas and emotions—an essential aspect of any writer’s life.

Now, even the best online writing workshops can’t replace the benefits of therapy. We’re not saying you should ditch your therapist for a class. But we are saying that writing workshops are a great supplement to a healthy writer’s life, because they create safe spaces for you to experiment with your work and explore your emotions freely on the page.

This is true even for writers of genre fiction or persona poetry. It’s true for participants in fiction writing workshops and memoir writing workshops. We gravitate to writing in part for its emotional release, and a great online class in creative writing will nurture this release. Between the prompts, community, and writing habits that a creative writing workshop fosters, you’re sure to come away from your workshop with renewed emotional health.

what is a writing workshop?

12. The Best Online Writing Workshops Provide Next Steps

The best creative writing workshops are the beginning of your writing life, not the end. When your workshop ends, you should come away with new ideas for writing, new publication opportunities to pursue, and new friends and mentors to nurture your writing journey.

The best creative writing workshops are the beginning of your writing life, not the end.

Throughout the workshop, you’ll find new opportunities for continuous growth. You might find a list of literary journals to submit to, new readings to stimulate your writing, further creative writing workshops to attend, or simply the emails and social media accounts of students you really enjoyed working with.

If you’re ready to move on to the next level of your writing, your instructor will provide you with next steps. And, if you want to learn more outside of the classroom, contact the instructor about this. We’re always excited by writers who want to keep learning and learning!

The Best Online Writing Workshops

Of course, we’re partial to our own workshops at . Since 1995 we’ve offered the best fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and book writing workshops around the internet, inspiring thousands of writers to embark on their writing journeys, find their voices, and get published.

We offer both single-day webinars and multi-week workshops in all genres, and also offer opportunities for private coaching with our instructors. If you’re looking for the best, you’ve already found it. Drop us a line if you have any questions!

Check out our full schedule of upcoming classes here.

In addition to, here are some online writing workshops that we’ve found offer fantastic creative writing education:

In Creative Writing Workshops…

You get to find great literature, meet fellow scribblers, build a writing habit, and, most importantly, take your writing journey to the next level. Why wait? Enroll in an online writing workshop today!

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Sean Glatch

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Thanks for the information it’s really enlightening

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