About Our Classes

Class vs. Workshop


Writing Salon classes offer students an opportunity to explore creativity and develop craft. Our classes usually consist of writing exercises, lectures, discussions, readings, and optional sharing of one’s work. In some classes, there is optional out-of-class homework as well as feedback from peers and the instructor. There may be workshops in which the instructor and students discuss student writing, but these workshops are not the class’s central focal point. Enrollment is most often capped at 14. Classes are best suited for writers who would like to generate new work, participate in a writing community, and learn writing skills and strategies.


Writing Salon workshops focus almost exclusively on the development of students’ writing and critiquing skills. With the instructor serving as workshop leader, students spend the majority of class time discussing each other’s work. Commitment level is higher for workshops since students are often expected to work on their own writing and read their classmates’ writing outside of class. To create an intimate environment and to ensure each student receives ample workshopping time, workshops are often capped at 9 or 10 participants. Workshops are best suited for writers who have taken writing classes in the past and who have work that they’d like to develop and revise as well as an interest in offering feedback on classmates’ work.


Community Space

A creative writing classroom is a dynamic setting consisting of participants with different backgrounds, learning styles, and writing experiences. You will be exposed to unfamiliar language and wide-ranging viewpoints as part of the creative process and sharing of work.

The Writing Salon wants all students to feel safe to write, express their ideas, and share their work. We also want you to feel united as a cohort of writers. To that end, we encourage you to be open-minded and considerate as you encounter diverse and even divergent approaches to the craft and study of writing. Bring a hopeful, caring attitude and a curiosity to group discussions and to the reading of classmates’ work. At the same time, remain conscious of your own voice, power, and privilege, aiming to ensure that, during class, everyone has a seat at the table.

The Writing Salon does not tolerate offensive language and behavior—whether racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise—that is designed to harm others and disrupt the class. Depending on the circumstances, the instructor may report disruptive incidents to Writing Salon staff and ask individuals to leave class.


Privacy & Confidentiality

Trust, privacy, and respect are central pillars in a creative writing classroom, enabling everyone to experiment more freely as creators and critical thinkers. To secure a trusting bond with classmates and to maintain a unified cohort, please do not disclose, publish or use any classmate’s personal information, ideas, or creative work outside of class without the expressed consent of that individual. At the same time, use care and restraint when sharing a classmate’s personal information, ideas, and creative work within the class itself and, in special circumstances, consider whether permission from that individual may be necessary ahead of time.


Language & Content Notification

In a creative writing class, you will sometimes encounter complicated and challenging topics and themes, both in published work and in the work of fellow classmates. It’s important to take care of each other, particularly when we share creative work and respond to each other’s work, for we all bring our own vulnerabilities and worldviews to the classroom.

We can protect and preserve our bond in a classroom by letting each other know about language and content, when necessary. While everyone has different levels of receptivity to language and content, The Writing Salon has found that a language and content notification is most helpful when using derogatory terms (e.g., racial epithets, homophobic slurs) and/or emotionally challenging content and sensitive topics such as abuse, rape, extreme violence, and suicide. We strongly encourage the use of language and content notifications when sharing creative work.

Language and content notifications should include a clear statement as well as accompanying notes or commentary, whether written or verbal. Additional commentary is often helpful in order for the group to support the writer. Apart from preparing readers for charged language and content, a language and content notification can prompt a valuable discussion that will help the writer with the delicate craft decisions that come up in a piece that is polarizing or emotionally challenging.


In Person

The Writing Salon has run classes in this format since 1999. In-person classes take place at our San Francisco location. Most classes are capped at 14 participants. The cap for workshop-style classes ranges from 8-12 participants.


Online – Live Zoom Videoconference

Our most popular online class format, the Zoom videoconference simulates an in-person classroom experience as closely as possible in an online format. To attend classes, you’ll need a phone, tablet or computer and access to the internet. You can participate in the class from wherever you’d like, whether on your living room couch or in your office.


Online – Daily Write Round Robin

When Jane Underwood, founder of The Writing Salon, started the Daily Write Round Robin, she created not just a writing course but a vibrant community, one that has continued and grown for well over a decade. In this course, participants receive daily writing prompts from facilitator Kathy Garlick and engage in partner exchanges via email. Writers in all genres and at all levels of experience take this class. All participants are expected to commit to the class for 20-30 minutes each day. The class is offered multiple times throughout the year in a 3-week, 6-week, and 8-week format.


Online – Wet Ink Workshops

Our Wet Ink workshops are designed to bring the intimacy and support of a classroom workshop into the online sphere. The focus will be on giving and receiving peer feedback while the instructor guides, facilitates, and offers feedback of her own. Each course uses the online platform Wet Ink, which allows for clear, targeted commentary on submissions. Online workshops do not have scheduled meeting times, affording participants the opportunity to complete coursework according to their own schedule. Class sizes are limited to 10 participants.


Online – Mentorships

Our newest “class” format, the mentorship offers a unique opportunity for personal and intimate instruction. Students will work with a mentor one-on-one, via written correspondence over nine weeks, during which students will compile and send one “packet” every three weeks. The packet will consist of creative and critical work and a letter to the mentor. The mentorship is best suited for intermediate level writers and above. Each mentor typically takes on 3-5 mentees.

Zoom Guide for Students

The Writing Salon requests that you come to class prepared to manage your own Zoom experience. Please download the document below to ensure that you’re ready for the online experience in your class.

FAQ About Classes

Writing Salon classes are for writers 18 years old and up.

Yes! We welcome writers at all levels of experience. We’ll help you unlock your creativity and get started. All you’ll need is a desire to write and learn. Many beginning writers have gone on to take a number of classes at The Writing Salon and have built up confidence in their writing and overall communication skills.

We have no hard and fast rules regarding which classes to take or in which order to take them. We suggest picking the class that makes the most sense to you, based on your own writing goals and experience. If you can’t decide, narrow your options down to three or four. Then send us an email or give us a call.

Most of our classes are for writers of all levels of experience. Only a very few are designed solely for introductory, intermediate, and advanced writers. We like providing an opportunity for writers of all backgrounds and skill levels to learn in a single setting. We also want to help you grow, so if you want to challenge yourself more, we recommend looking into the classes that are intermediate or advanced. Likewise, if you’d like to be in a community in which your class members are all getting started as writers, sign up for our introductory offerings.

Student Guidelines

It’s our intention that these guidelines will help build a close-knit community in our classes and lead to a positive learning experience for all students.

The Writing Salon is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all students regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, appearance, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or class. It’s our intention that these guidelines will help build a close-knit community in our classes and lead to a positive learning experience for all students.


Engaging in Our Community

The Writing Salon is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all students regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, appearance, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or class. Please be considerate and respectful as you engage with your instructor and other participants.


Participating in a Creative Writing Classroom

A creative writing classroom is a dynamic setting consisting of students with different backgrounds, learning styles, and writing experiences. This pluralistic environment will help you grow as a writer and thinker. At times, you will be exposed to controversial and unfamiliar language as part of the creative process and sharing of work. We invite you to remain open-minded as you encounter diverse approaches to the craft and study of writing.


Communicating with Your Instructor

Your instructor is your main point of contact throughout the duration of your course. Please email your instructor should you have any questions, concerns, or feedback. If you have any special requests or desire certain accommodations, let your instructor know prior to the beginning of a class meeting.


Giving and Receiving Feedback

The Writing Salon is here to help you build confidence as a writer and a reader. When you offer feedback on classmates’ work, be as constructive and specific as possible. Focus on the work itself, not the writer. When you receive feedback, you might feel resistance. This is a natural part of the process. Stay open to feedback. Later you’ll determine what you wish to draw upon as you refine your work.

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