woman attending online creative writing workshop

These Are the Very Best Online Creative Writing Workshops

12 min read

From the comfort of one’s home, online creative writing workshops offer unparalleled access to a wealth of knowledge, mentorship from acclaimed authors, and the camaraderie of fellow writers. Whether you’re a budding novelist, a poet in the making, or a seasoned author seeking fresh perspectives, attending an online creative writing workshop can be a transformative experience. These workshops not only refine your writing skills through detailed feedback and rigorous exercises but also provide a platform to explore new genres, overcome writer’s block, and connect with a supportive network of peers and industry professionals. For anyone serious about honing their craft and navigating the complexities of the literary world, enrolling in one of the best online creative writing workshops is a step toward realizing your writing ambitions. From Gotham Writers Workshop to Catapult, read on to learn more!

Why Should I Attend an Online Creative Writing Workshop?

Participating in creative writing workshops offers a multitude of benefits for writers, ranging from beginners to seasoned professionals. Workshops offer young writers valuable opportunities for growth, collaboration, and rejuvenation, ensuring that their creative journey continues to evolve and enrich both their work and their personal satisfaction.

Even accomplished and experienced writers can derive substantial benefits from attending creative writing workshops. Despite their success, the learning and development process never truly ends for writers who are committed to their craft. Below are a few reasons why we encourage writers of all ages and experience levels to attend creative writing workshops throughout their careers.

Feedback on Your Work

One of the most significant benefits of attending a workshop is receiving constructive criticism from both peers and experienced instructors. This feedback can highlight areas of strength and areas needing improvement that you might not have noticed on your own.

Improvement of Writing Skills

Through exercises, assignments, and the critical review of your work, you’ll gain insights into the craft of writing. Workshops often focus on specific aspects of writing, such as character development, plot structure, dialogue, and more, helping you to refine your skills in these areas.

Exposure to Diverse Perspectives

Being part of a workshop exposes you to the viewpoints and interpretations of other writers. This diversity can broaden your own perspective, inspire new ideas, and encourage you to consider alternative approaches to your writing.

Motivation and Discipline

The structure of a workshop, with its deadlines and commitments, can provide the motivation and discipline necessary to dedicate time to writing. This can be especially beneficial for those who struggle with procrastination or finding regular time to write.

Community and Networking

Creative writing workshops foster a sense of community among participants. They offer an opportunity to meet and network with fellow writers, which can be both inspiring and supportive. These connections can lead to future collaborations, publication opportunities, or simply the formation of lifelong friendships.

Learning from Published Authors

Many workshops are led by experienced authors who bring real-world insights into the writing and publishing process. Learning from their successes and challenges can provide valuable lessons and inspiration.

Increased Confidence

By sharing your work and contributing to discussions, you’ll build confidence in your abilities as a writer. Positive reinforcement from peers and instructors can bolster your self-esteem and encourage you to take risks in your writing.

Publication Opportunities

Some workshops offer pathways to publication or showcase student work through readings, anthologies, or connections to literary agents and publishers. These opportunities can be a significant step forward for emerging writers looking to enter the publishing world.

Exploration of New Genres

Workshops often encourage participants to experiment with different genres and styles, which can be a powerful way to discover new talents and interests. For accomplished writers, this can mean breaking out of their comfort zones and taking creative risks that might lead to groundbreaking work.

The Ability to Stay Current

The literary landscape is continually evolving, with new trends, genres, and publishing opportunities emerging. Workshops can keep experienced writers abreast of industry changes, helping them to stay relevant and adaptive in their careers.

Access to Teaching Opportunities

Many experienced writers attend workshops not only to learn but also to teach. Sharing their knowledge and experience can be deeply rewarding. It also allows them to give back to the writing community while refining their own understanding of the craft as they articulate it to others.

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Even the most successful writers can encounter creative blocks. Workshops can stimulate creativity through prompts, exercises, and discussions, helping writers to overcome obstacles and re-engage with their work passionately.

Enhanced Editing Skills

By critiquing others’ work, accomplished writers can sharpen their editing skills, gaining insights that are applicable to their own work. This process can improve their ability to self-edit and catch nuances they might have missed.

These Are the Seven Best Online Creative Writing Workshops

As we have outlined above, creative writing workshops can be an invaluable investment in your development as a writer, providing a rich blend of practical benefits, personal growth, and professional opportunities. However, not everyone has the time or money to attend well-regarded in-person workshops around the world. Thankfully, several online creative writing workshops have gained recognition for their quality, community, and the opportunities they provide for writers to hone their craft. Below are seven of our favorite online creative writing workshops in the United States.

Gotham Writers Workshop

Gotham Writers Workshop now offers a wide array of online courses that cater to writers worldwide. Founded in New York City in 1993, Gotham has expanded its reach beyond its physical classrooms to provide an inclusive and dynamic online learning environment. Their online offerings encompass a wide range of genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and more, designed to accommodate writers at every stage of their journey—from complete beginners to seasoned veterans.

What sets Gotham Writers Workshop apart is its commitment to quality education and accessibility. Each online course is structured to ensure interactive and comprehensive learning experiences, facilitated by experienced instructors who are also accomplished writers. These courses not only focus on the craft of writing but also on the practical aspects of publishing and the writing life. Through detailed feedback, engaging assignments, and a supportive community forum, participants can hone their skills, develop their unique voice, and connect with a diverse group of peers.

Gotham also offers specialized services such as private coaching and professional feedback on manuscripts, making it a versatile option for writers seeking personalized guidance. Whether you’re looking to dive into a new genre, polish your manuscript, or simply find your footing in the writing world, Gotham Writers Workshop provides a nurturing space to grow and explore creatively.

Explore their online classes here.

The Writers Studio

The Writers Studio, founded by poet and teacher Philip Schultz, an esteemed Pulitzer Prize winner, in 1987, is celebrated for its unique approach to teaching creative writing. This institution distinguishes itself through a method that emphasizes voice and persona, encouraging writers to explore and develop different narrative voices to enhance their storytelling abilities. The Writers Studio offers a range of online workshops designed to cater to writers at various levels of expertise, from beginners to those more advanced, across genres including poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.

The online workshops at The Writers Studio are structured to provide a supportive and nurturing environment where writers can grow and experiment under the guidance of experienced instructors who are themselves accomplished writers. The curriculum is crafted to help students understand the nuances of literary techniques and the emotional truth behind writing, fostering a deep connection between the writer and their work.

Through personalized feedback, rigorous exercises, and a focus on crafting a distinct narrative voice, participants are encouraged to delve deeper into their creative potential and discover new aspects of their writing. The interactive online format ensures that regardless of geographical location, writers can access the resources and community support they need to advance their writing skills. The Writers Studio’s commitment to fostering literary talent and its innovative teaching approach make it an invaluable resource for writers seeking to refine their craft and find their unique voice in the literary world.

Learn more about virtual workshops here.

UCLA Extension Writers’ Program

The UCLA Extension Writers’ Program is renowned for being one of the most prestigious and comprehensive continuing education writing programs in the nation. Situated within the University of California, Los Angeles, this program offers a wide array of online courses that cater to writers of all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners. The program’s strength lies in its diverse course offerings, which cover genres ranging from fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, to screenwriting, playwriting, and beyond. This broad spectrum ensures that regardless of a writer’s interest or career stage, there’s a course tailored to their needs.

One of the defining features of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program is its faculty, which comprises accomplished writers, editors, and industry professionals who bring real-world experience and insights into the classroom. This direct connection to the writing and entertainment industries provides students with invaluable knowledge and practical skills that are current and market-relevant. The instructors not only mentor students through the nuances of craft and technique but also offer guidance on the business aspects of writing and publishing, including how to navigate the path to publication and how to pitch and sell a screenplay.

Accessibility for Distance-Learning Students

The online format of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program makes it accessible to aspiring and established writers globally, allowing for a vibrant and diverse community of learners. The interactive online courses are designed to foster a rich learning environment where students can engage in lively discussions, participate in workshops, and receive personalized feedback on their work. This supportive community aspect is a cornerstone of the program, encouraging collaboration and networking among students and faculty alike.

Additionally, the Writers’ Program offers certificate programs for those looking for a more structured and comprehensive learning path, including certificates in Fiction Writing, Creative Nonfiction Writing, and Screenwriting. For writers seeking to hone their craft, gain industry insights, and join a community of like-minded individuals, the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program stands out as a premier choice.

If you live or work in Los Angeles, the Extension Writers’ Program in-person workshops are held Thursday through Sunday on August 1st through 4th this year. Learn more here.

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Former faculty at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop have included Kurt Vonnegut.

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, housed within the University of Iowa, holds a prestigious position in the literary world as one of the most esteemed graduate-level creative writing programs globally. Established in 1936, it has the distinction of being the first creative writing degree program in the United States and has since become a seminal breeding ground for some of the nation’s most distinguished writers. The Workshop awards an MFA in Creative Writing and is renowned for its rigorous, supportive environment that fosters both the artistic and professional growth of emerging writers.

At the heart of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop experience is the workshop itself—a critical, yet supportive seminar where students submit their work for peer review under the guidance of one or more of the program’s faculty members. This intimate setting encourages a deep, constructive examination of each student’s writing, with an emphasis on refining and developing their unique voice and style. The faculty at Iowa is comprised of highly acclaimed writers who are as committed to teaching as they are to their own literary endeavors, providing students with mentorship that is both inspiring and practical.

Graduates of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop have gone on to win virtually every major literary award, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Guggenheim Fellowship, among others. The Workshop’s alumni network is vast and influential, providing valuable connections and opportunities within the literary and publishing worlds. For aspiring writers seeking to immerse themselves in a program with a rich legacy of nurturing exceptional literary talent, The Iowa Writers’ Workshop represents the pinnacle of creative writing education, offering an unparalleled environment in which to hone their craft and prepare for a successful career in writing.

Online Course Opportunities

While the Workshop is primarily known for its residential MFA program, it occasionally offers online courses and summer sessions that allow writers who are unable to commit to a full-time, on-campus program the opportunity to experience its transformative approach to writing. These offerings, though less frequent, reflect the Workshop’s commitment to literary excellence and education, providing participants with a taste of its storied pedagogy and community.

GrubStreet

GrubStreet, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the largest and most innovative creative writing centers in the U.S., offering a comprehensive range of workshops, classes, and events designed to support writers of all levels and genres. Founded in 1997, GrubStreet has grown from a small collective of writers into a thriving nonprofit organization committed to empowering writers, building community, and elevating the craft of writing. Its offerings include workshops in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and more, making it a versatile hub for literary education and collaboration.

Diverse Resources for Writers

A standout feature of GrubStreet is its inclusive approach to writer education. The organization provides a wide array of online classes, making its resources accessible to a global community of writers. These online workshops are designed to replicate the supportive and interactive environment of their in-person classes, offering live sessions, peer feedback, and individual attention from instructors. GrubStreet’s faculty consists of accomplished writers and educators who bring a wealth of practical experience and passion to their teaching, ensuring that students receive high-quality instruction and mentorship.

Beyond workshops, GrubStreet hosts a variety of events and programs aimed at fostering a vibrant literary community. These include the annual Muse and the Marketplace conference, one of the preeminent writing conferences in the U.S., which brings together writers, agents, editors, and publishers for workshops, discussions, and networking opportunities. GrubStreet also offers dedicated programs for teen writers, scholarships for underrepresented voices, and fellowships to support writers in their professional development.

Writers.com

This platform has carved out a significant niche in the digital learning space by providing a wide array of writing classes that cater to a diverse range of interests and skill levels. From fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction to more niche genres like memoir, personal essay, and even food writing, Writers.com offers courses that appeal to virtually any aspiring or established writer seeking to hone their craft or explore new literary territories.

What distinguishes Writers.com from other online writing workshops is its deep commitment to fostering a supportive and engaging learning environment. The platform’s courses are led by a roster of experienced instructors who are not only accomplished writers but also passionate educators. These instructors bring a personal touch to their online classrooms, offering detailed feedback, personalized mentorship, and the encouragement necessary to help students grow as writers. The class sizes are intentionally kept small to ensure that each student receives ample attention and feedback on their work.

Writers.com‘s flexible online format is designed to accommodate the varied schedules of its international student body, allowing participants to engage with course materials, complete assignments, and partake in discussions at their convenience. This flexibility, coupled with a robust curriculum that emphasizes both the art and craft of writing, makes Writers.com an attractive option for anyone looking to improve their writing skills, find community, or simply get started on their writing journey.

In addition to its comprehensive course offerings, Writers.com fosters a sense of community among its students and alumni, encouraging collaboration, sharing of resources, and mutual support. This community aspect is a vital component of the Writers.com experience, providing a network of peers that can offer encouragement, advice, and inspiration long after a course has ended. For writers seeking a flexible, supportive, and enriching online learning experience, Writers.com offers a valuable resource to help them achieve their writing goals and advance their literary careers.

Catapult

Founded in 2015, Catapult quickly established itself as not just a publisher of high-quality literary fiction and nonfiction but also as a center for writing education, offering a wide array of online workshops, classes, and seminars. These educational offerings are designed to cater to writers at every stage of their journey, from beginners to more experienced authors seeking to refine their skills or navigate the complexities of the publishing world.

What sets Catapult apart is its commitment to creating a vibrant, supportive community where writers can grow and thrive. The online workshops are led by accomplished authors, editors, and industry professionals who bring a wealth of practical knowledge and insights to their teaching. This direct connection to the publishing industry is invaluable for students looking to understand the intricacies of getting their work published and making a mark in the literary world. Catapult’s classes cover a broad spectrum of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essay writing, and more, ensuring a rich and diverse learning environment.

In addition to its educational programs, Catapult also offers a platform for writers to showcase their work through its online magazine and publishing arm. This integration of publishing and education under one roof provides a unique opportunity for emerging writers to not only learn the craft but also to gain visibility in a competitive market. The organization’s emphasis on community is evident in its regular hosting of readings, book launches, and other literary events, which foster connections among writers, editors, and readers.

Final Thoughts on Attending an Online Creative Writing Workshop

For women who have stories to tell, ideas to explore, or dreams to realize through the written word, online creative writing workshops offer an empowering and accessible avenue to hone your craft, find your voice, and connect with a community of like-minded individuals. These workshops not only provide the tools and guidance to sharpen your writing skills but also create a supportive space where your unique perspectives and experiences are valued and celebrated. By engaging with these online platforms, you can break through barriers of distance and time, making it possible to pursue your passion for writing from anywhere in the world.

Whether you’re looking to embark on a journey of personal expression, aiming to publish your work, or seeking the camaraderie of fellow women writers, online creative writing workshops are a rich resource waiting to be tapped. Let these workshops be your launching pad into the literary world, where your voice can resonate with readers and contribute to the diverse tapestry of human experience. Embrace the opportunity to grow, inspire, and be inspired—your story is important, and the world is eager to hear it.

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