5 Best Writing Classes You Can Take Online
PSA: You don’t need a higher education or an MFA to become a great writer. Truth be told, you don’t need any form of classes—only your paper and pen—to get started on the next bestselling novel. Curriculum and instruction can help though, especially when you find yourself stuck in a writing rut or eager to learn more about your craft.
The list below includes a few of our favorite online writing classes, perfect for writers of all levels and genres. Consider gifting yourself a bit of structured creative time in 2023 and maybe some Zoom rooms you’ll actually want to hop into. We can’t wait to read what you write!
For more creative writing inspiration, try these 52 creative writing prompts.
Best For | Zoom classes and virtual workshops led by renowned instructors
Starting At | $75 for a 1-day seminar
Catapult offers one of the most extensive lists of online writing workshops and classes, and many of the instructors are renowned authors or literary magazine editors. Our team has taken a six-week essay course, a one-day editing seminar, and a creative nonfiction class—all online—and each one has far exceeded our expectations. Catapult is also excellent for connecting with other writers (the workshop component is one of the best we’ve experienced), and we’ve made and maintained relationships with writers all around the world. With online courses of all lengths and covering various genres, it’s perfect for everyone.
Best For | Self-led courses with the world’s best writers
Starting At | $15/month billed annually (access to all courses)
While you won’t get a workshop component with these courses, MasterClass is one of our favorite websites for learning about all things, including writing. The instructor list packs a serious punch, with big names like Shonda Rhimes, Margaret Atwood, David Sedaris, and Roxane Gay. This is a great option if you want courses you can take at your own pace and videos you can revisit again and again.
3. One Story
Best For | Short story and fiction writers
Starting At | $55 (three-day intensive)
One Story is a publication bringing people together through reading, writing, and learning about short fiction. In addition to its mission of publishing one short story at a time, the org offers affordable online writing workshops and classes throughout the year. Read one of the recent One Story issues here, and then browse the upcoming workshops to find the best fit for you.
4. Sackett Street Writers
Best For | Small-group writing workshops, advanced workshops
Starting At | $450 for 6-week courses
Another team favorite, Sackett Street Writers has been called a “top alternative to MFA programs” by Poets & Writers. The 8-week workshops offered online throughout the year are perfect for taking your craft to the next level. Most are in small group settings (9-10 writers), and while Sackett offers courses for all levels, some of the advanced workshops require a writing sample and application. This may sound a bit daunting, but it actually creates a challenging environment and an excellent cohort of writers to workshop with, so give it your best shot!
5. Write or Die Magazine
Best For | Mentorships, self-guided classes
Starting At | $12 for a self-guided course
“Writers need writers”—ain’t that the truth! Write or Die Magazine is an online hub offering writers resources, inspiration, and connection and accountability. The website has plenty of freebies and affordable self-guided classes to help you build a sustainable writing practice and overcome common fears and doubts associated with writing. If you have a serious project in the works, the platform also includes one-on-one mentorships and coaching. Sign up for the weekly newsletter for upcoming class announcements.
Bonus: Story Club With George Saunders
Best For | Ongoing interaction with writers and lessons from George Saunders, of course!
Starting At | $6/month (or $50/annually)
While not a traditional writing workshop per se, we love Story Club with George Saunders for the writing MFA we never applied for. Wrestling with the concept of story in a continuation of his latest book A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, each email (hosted by Substack and sent twice a week) includes guided readings and is both interactive and rigorous. You can also anticipate writing exercises and prompts, examples from Saunders’ vaults of files, and comment discussion threads about craft and writing life. Learn more about the structure and see past posts here.
Kayti Christian (she/her) is a Senior Editor at The Good Trade. She has a Master’s in Nonfiction Writing from the University of London and is the creator of Feelings Not Aside, a newsletter for sensitive people.