5 Online Writing Workshops for Emerging Writers

March 23, 2016

Do you lack the time to complete a writing degree or the funds to travel to an in-person writing workshop? These online workshops, taught by experienced faculty and populated by students who are serious about their writing, might be the solution.

 Online writing workshops

1. Gotham Writer’s Workshop

At the Gotham Writer’s Workshop, their philosophy is that writing is a skill that can be taught. Although they have many in-person courses at their Manhattan headquarters, they also teach online courses. Whether you’re writing a screenplay, a novel, a personal essay, or even need some career guidance, there’s a course for you. In addition, they also host the exclusive online writing workshop of the literary journal Zoetrope: All-Story.  To get a feel for what their online courses are like, they offer an online tour.

These courses are structured like in-person workshops, with limited class sizes and feedback from instructors. However, they are not held in real-time (with the exception of an optional weekly chat session), so you can work through the material when it fits your schedule. Plus, they hold several contests throughout the year that reward writers with free classes!

Registration Deadline: Year-round, varies by workshop.
Price: $125–$400
Duration: 3–10 weeks
Instructors: View a full list of faculty here.

2. 24PearlStreet

24PearlStreet is a series of online workshops hosted by the Provincetown-based Fine Arts Work Center, a nonprofit that supports the development of new writers and artists. The workshops cover poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and craft, offering courses like “Staying True: Authenticity and Voice” and “Translation as a Creative Practice.” Courses are offered at different experience levels, and time commitment can vary depending on whether you take a one, four, or eight-week course. Each course is capped at fifteen students and is eligible for continuing education credits.

Registration Deadline: Year-round, varies by workshop.
Price: $500 (see here for potential discounts)
Duration: 1, 4, or 8 weeks
Instructors: View a full list of 24PearlStreet faculty here.

3. UCLA Extension

One of the oldest continuing education programs, UCLA Extension offers several online writing workshops through their Writers’ Program, and should definitely be on your list if you’re interested in TV writing and screenwriting. 

While most workshops fall between four and eight weeks of discussion and instruction, there are also four-day intensives and extended master classes that take up to nine months to complete. Additionally, the program offers certificate programs, continuing education credits, and financial aid. Their Writers’ Program also has a YouTube channel of writing tips and readers for potential students to check out. 

Registration Deadline: Depends on the class, but many are coming up in April.
Price: $395–$760
Duration: 4–8 weeks
Instructors: Depends on the course, but you can browse catalog here.

4. Writer’s Digest University

Did you know that the popular writing publication also provides writers with a wealth of online workshops? Writer’s Digest University has seventy-six courses currently listed on their website that cover all aspects of writing—from “Short Story Fundamentals” to “How to Create, Market, and Sell Your E-Book.” Over the course of a workshop, students will hone their craft through online discussion, instruction from professional writers and editors, and feedback from both instructors and other students. Most workshops are at least a month in length, but there are some bootcamp courses that spend a few days intensely focusing on a specific topic. If you already have a draft and are only seeking feedback, WDU also offers several critiquing and editing services.

Registration deadline: Year-round, varies by workshop.
Price: $147–$800
Duration: 4–12 weeks
Instructors: View a list of Writer’s Digest University faculty here.

5. The Writers Studio

Founded in 1987 by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz, The Writers Studio offers a series of workshops in fiction and poetry designed for both beginning and experienced writers. They have in-person workshops, from Amsterdam to Tucson, but began an online workshop program in 2001. Students are encouraged to complete four levels, but you can take as few or as many as you choose—even take a break and pick up where you left off. (Check out Level I here.) All Writers Studio faculty have experience in both fiction and poetry and go through a three-year training program that prepares them for the unique instruction of the program. Browse success stories from their students here.

Registration Deadline: Year-round, varies by workshop.
Price: $405–$495
Duration: 10 weeks
Instructors: View a full list of faculty here.

by KM Bezner


At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year-round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

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