Center offerings: Frequently Asked Questions
Why take online writing courses with the Center for Creative Writing?
Because not only will we help you become a stronger writer, we will guide you to better awareness of your unique creative process so you will keep writing.
- a focus on the moment of creative inspiration, and on how to cultivate creativity in our lives,
- reverence for the creative process as much as for the created product,
- and our philosophy of meeting writers where they are in their writing lives.
Plus, your registration fee gets you so much more than just six weeks of writing instruction. Registrants gain immediate and indefinite access to our password-protected platform, where we engage in conversation around writing, offer weekly prompts, and invite anyone to post drafts and ask for feedback at any time, at no extra cost. Center writers are invited to monthly Zoom gatherings led by Center teachers, who give an informal presentation on a writing topic or technique, along with a prompt so we can "write together" (i.e., turn cameras off, write for a bit, then reconvene as a group for reflection and optional sharing). Enjoy these benefits and more by becoming a Center writer.
Who would benefit from taking an online writing course with the Center for Creative Writing?
We welcome writers from all backgrounds and levels of experience, from aspiring and practicing to established writers. Some of our courses are very much geared toward aspiring writers, while others will have the most value for writers with more practice. See individual course descriptions for more insight into a course’s suitability for you, or contact us for a complimentary consultation.
Inclusivity Statement: The Center for Creative Writing is committed to welcoming writers of all levels and backgrounds into our community. We do not practice or tolerate discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, class, spiritual practice, ability, or age. Our online writing courses and private writing guidance services are for everyone, though we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who is being discriminatory, abusive, or threatening to another student or teacher. Due to their close personal nature and atmosphere, we might offer certain writing retreats only to people who identify as women, or only to people who identify as men.
What do you mean by "aspiring writers" and "practicing writers"?
We define aspiring writers as those who want to write, or want to return to writing after a long time away. Practicing writers have a little more experience with writing itself and with giving and receiving feedback in a writing group or class. The most experienced practicing writers are perhaps even working and/or published writers who seek inspiration and guidance to jump-start existing practices and develop larger works-in-progress.
What is the format and time commitment for an online writing course?
Our courses run year-round in six-week sessions. In the first five weeks, you will generate new and original writing and respond to readings and lessons provided by your teacher. In the sixth week, you will choose one of those five pieces of writing to revise according to the feedback from your classmates and teacher. You can expect to spend one to two hours or so completing each of your six weekly assignments, and another half an hour or so responding to the work of your classmates.
How many people are in a course?
Our virtual classrooms are small and intimate, comprising anywhere from two to eight participants per session. The exception is Writing through Trauma to Truth, which is a private, one-on-one course, or generative writing sessions, which are also one-on-one.
When does the class meet?
There are no required meeting times for most courses (exceptions will be noted on individual course descriptions). You can write according to your own schedule and submit your assignments weekly at your convenience, any time prior to the deadline of midnight EST on Sundays.
What computer skills and programs do I need?
To take one of our online writing courses, you need:
- An email account
- The ability to click links, view videos on YouTube, and download/view PDF documents
- A basic familiarity with Office software (i.e., Microsoft Word).
The Center for Creative Writing hosts our online courses on Wet Ink, a platform specifically designed for conducting writing courses. Upon registration, you will receive an invitation to create a free profile on Wet Ink. Doing so is as quick and easy as creating any social media profile. Once you are set up on Wet Ink, your teacher will add you to her course and you will begin receiving emails through the platform. It is very easy to use, but should you ever have questions, your teacher is available by regular email to help. Wet Ink also has a very responsive and knowledgeable customer support team.
Besides my registration fee, do I have to purchase anything?
No. Some courses even come with a free PDF textbook.
How do I interact with my classmates and teacher?
Most communication will take place via email and within the Wet Ink platform. Some teachers use conference calls to hold feedback sessions. See individual course descriptions for more information.
How is my writing evaluated?
With care and compassion. We ask all participants to encourage the creative efforts of their classmates by focusing on the strengths of the writing and making thoughtfully-worded suggestions for improvement. We will not criticize your writing. Our courses are about process as much as product. If you want to write, we want to help—by providing an inspired, supportive community within which to develop self-confidence while exploring your style and direction.
Can I continue if I like the course and my teacher?
Yes! Most of our courses have at least a part 2, if not more. For returning students, we offer regular discounts and the option of one or more generative writing sessions (continuation sessions with the same format and deadlines of regular six-week sessions, but with no readings or formal assignments—just your original writing and feedback from your teacher and classmates). Many of our students branch out and take other courses, too, or attend our retreats to meet teachers and/or classmates in person and deepen their study. Contact us to discuss your options.
What is your policy on withdrawals, deferrals, or refunds?
Out of respect for the course’s format and other participants, we do not encourage deferrals or withdraws unless in the event of major illness or emergency. We hope all members of our writing community will recognize that registering for an online writing course or writing retreat is a commitment to not only themselves, but to their classmates and teacher.
Still, we know illnesses and emergencies happen. If a student registers for a course and has to withdraw, we offer the option to defer registration for that course for up to six months, as long as notice of withdrawal is given before the first assignment deadline (midnight on the first Sunday of the six-week session).
If a student must withdraw after submitting the first assignment, the teacher will provide the remaining assignments to the student. If any or all of the remaining assignments are submitted within two weeks of the course’s end date, the teacher will provide short feedback on each assignment. Through this policy, we hope all registrants will be able to benefit from our course content and the attention of our teachers, even in the event of illness or emergency.
If a student registers for a retreat and is then unable to attend due to extreme illness or emergency, we will offer a credit or deferral in the amount of the registration fee less any prepaid lodging expenses.
By completing registration for any course, retreat, or private writing guidance services, you are agreeing to these terms. Please contact us with any questions about our policies.