Writing

Helping writers everywhere, aspiring and experienced, to improve their craft and achieve their goals

UW-Madison Continuing Studies’ Writing program offers writing classes and workshops in-person and online, manuscript critiques, two annual writing retreats, and the Midwest’s premiere writing conference, Writers’ Institute. Our instructors are world-class experts—published authors, accomplished instructors, agents, publishers, and editors.

Writer's success story

Sally J. Pla sells 4 books since attending UW writer’s retreat
Sally J. Pla, of San Diego, CA, formerly of Wisconsin, is the author of The Someday Birds (HarperCollins), a novel for young people that received a Junior Library Guild Selection for 2017 and a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Sally has also sold John Lockdown is in the Building!, also from HarperCollins, to be published in 2018. A third novel has been optioned by the same publisher. In addition, her first picture book, Benny, The Bad Day, and Me, illustrated by Ken Min, will be published in 2018 from Lee & Low.

Pla will be among the guest speakers at the October 2017 Wisconsin Library Association Conference.

The author got her start in instructor Christine DeSmet’s first-novel section of the Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat in 2008. Sally notes the UW summer retreat was her first-ever writing retreat experience. “Do the writing for its own sake, because trying to craft a beautiful story is always the most important goal. And whatever follows, follows… Who knows?”

More success stories»

Writing instructor Christine DeSmet shares a One-Minute Manuscript Makeover, encouraging writers to clean up their clutter before submitting their work.

Upcoming writing classes and workshops
(Click class title for details and to register)
4 weeks; Tue, Jun 13-Jul 18, 6:30-8pm (no class Jul 4, Jul 11)  •  $65
Mon-Fri, June 26-30, 9:30am-12:30pm  •  $385 until May 16, $435 after
6 weeks: Wed, Sep 20-Nov 15, 2-4pm (no class Oct 4, Oct 18, Nov 1)  •  $575
Fri-Sun, Nov 3-5  •  Fees vary
Online writing classes
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $135
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  1-6 units; Unit: 0.6 CEUs, $85 | All 6 units: 3.6 CEUs, $430 (save $80)
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $175
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $195
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 2.0 CEUs, $165 | Option 2: 3.0 CEUs, $195
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $175
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 2.0 CEUs, $135 | Option 2: 3.0 CEUs, $175
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 1.0 CEUs, $135 | Option 2: 2.0 CEUs, $175
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 2.0 CEUs, $125 | Option 2: 3.0 CEUs, $150
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $125
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 1.0 CEUs, $135 | Option 2: 1.3 CEUs, $175
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $195
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $125
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $125
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $125
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 1.0 CEU, $125 | Option 2: 1.5 CEUs, $145
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $395
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $165
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $165
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $165
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 1.2 CEUs, $225 | Option 2: 9.0 CEUs, $425
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 1.0 CEUs, $135 | Option 2: 2.0 CEUs, $175
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 2.0 CEUs, $135 | Option 2: 3.0 CEUs, $175
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 1.0 CEU, $105 | Option 2: 1.3 CEUs, $145
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  $175
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 3.0 CEUs, $245 | Option 2: 9.0 CEUs, $490
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 3.0 CEUs, $245 | Option 2: 9.0 CEUs, $490
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 3.0 CEUs, $245 | Option 2: 18.0 CEUs, $525
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 1.0 CEU, $150 | Option 2: 2.0 CEUs, $175
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Option 1: 1.0 CEU, $150 | Option 2: 2.0 CEUs, $175
Start anytime, complete within 1 year  •  Unit 1: 3.0 CEUs, $195 | Unit 2: 5.0 CEUs, $195 | Both units: 8.0 CEUs, $375 (save $15)
Conferences, retreats, more
An anthology featuring the works of writers and artists tied to the unique environs of Wisconsin’s rolling hills and other Midwest prairies.
Innovative instruction in teaching scientists to communicate clearly and effectively with a wide range of audiences. Classes have both for-credit and non-credit options.
We help all types of writers hone their skills and overcome roadblocks on the way to publication, successful freelance writing, or writing for pure enjoyment. We critique fiction and nonfiction, including nonfiction book proposals.
Our annual June retreat features sessions for beginners and advanced writers (including Master Classes), and offers optional graduate credits in English.
The novel-writing conference, providing professional instruction for all novelists, from aspiring to experienced. This annual fall conference is small, intensive, supportive, and all about the novel.
A place for sharing your news and views on writing and publishing. Each newsletter is filled with tips, funny stuff, wisdom, and camaraderie.
Held every spring, it's the Midwest's premier writers' conference, filled with 3 days of education, entertainment, and writing inspiration.

Summer programs for young writers (as well as teachers) through the UW-Madison School of Education’s Greater Madison Writing Project.