Creative Nonfiction: Part 1

Creative nonfiction is nothing like the tedious essays you might have suffered through learning to write in school. Instead it allows you to use all the tools of the fiction writer to develop factual material, whether or not that material is based on your own life. Develop and refine your nonfiction writing skills through one-on-one guidance from an experienced writing instructor. Includes a professional critique of your writing.

At a glance

What: Creative Nonfiction: Part 1

When: Start anytime, complete within 1 year

Where: Online

Cost: $175

Continuing education credit: 20 hours (2.0 CEUs)

Instructor: Julie Tallard Johnson

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For additional information, contact Laurie Scheer: 608-265-3972

What we cover in the 7 lessons

  1. Gathering material
  2. The Personal Essay
  3. Writing about family
  4. Writing about place — home and away
  5. Literary journalism
  6. Research
  7. Continuing your life as a writer, including tips on publishing

Each lesson includes an excerpt (sometimes more) from the top writers in creative nonfiction today. We’ll guide you through reading these excerpts as a writer, seeing what you can glean for your own work from each. A final optional writing assignment involves a 250-word excerpt from either your own work or someone else’s that illustrates what we’ve been studying.

How the course works

You can start this writing course anytime, and there are no required hours to participate. It's all done with one-on-one correspondence with the instructor using email. We have writers from around the world participating in our workshops. A lot of great writing gets accomplished via email. Because of the one-on-one nature of our workshops, you'll find them an excellent "coaching" or mentoring situation that will keep you going. And if you want to just work on your own — hey, that's fine too. Of course you can do the suggested exercises on your own without the feedback if you'd rather do that. We're also here throughout the year if you have questions.
Review the current technical requirements for students in Learn@UW online courses.


Course includes the 7 lessons, email access to your instructor, and a thorough critique of 2,000 words of your creative nonfiction.

Credit: You will earn 2.1 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) when you complete the course.

Contact: For more information about Creative Nonfiction: Part 1, contact Laurie Scheer at or call 608-265-3972.