Year-Long Writing Projects

Note: All dates/times for any writing project/apprenticeship are scheduled to take place in U.S. Central/Minneapolis time zones.

The Loft's Novel Writing ProjectCreative Nonfiction/Memoir Writing Project, and the new Poetry Apprenticeship are year-long, intensive programs designed to help you finally complete your book. Each program offers:

  • instruction on writing craft
  • scheduled meeting and writing time
  • opportunity for rigorous reading and writing within a close-knit cohort
  • sharing of work as it is written
  • workshopping and guidance on revision
  • personal mentorship from the published author leading the cohort
  • sessions with special guests throughout the year to address aspects of craft and answer questions about next steps, including publishing
  • a culminating public reading 

Maybe you've had a great idea for a manuscript or poetry collection, but you don't know how to start. Maybe you keep hitting stumbling blocks when you sit down to write. Maybe you've got a draft, but parts of it just aren't working and you don't know how to fix them. Maybe you're unsure about how to polish your manuscript and don't feel confident that you're ready to pursue publication.

You want to know that your novel, memoir, or poetry collection is the best you can make it, so you'll join a small cohort for a year of rigorous reading, focused writing, meticulous revising, and deep study of craft. You’ll meet best selling authors, luminaries in publishing, distinguished booksellers, and local literary agents. But most importantly, you’ll develop the resources and relationships to move ahead with a writing life once your project is finished.

After 12 months, your manuscript(s) will be submission-ready, and you'll be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to pitch to editors and pursue publication.

The Novel Writing Project is led by novelist Peter Geye. For 2021, the Loft will offer one in-person cohort and one virtual cohort of the Novel Writing Project. Find more information about these cohorts, and our COVID-19 policy, below.

The Creative Nonfiction/Memoir Writing Project is led by memoir writer Nicole Helget. For 2021, the Loft will offer one in-person cohort and one virtual cohort of the CNF/Memoir Writing Project. Find more information about these cohorts, and our COVID-19 policy, below.

The Poetry Apprenticeship is led by poet Gretchen Marquette. For 2021, the Loft will offer one in-person cohort. Find more information about this cohort, and our COVID-19 policy, below.

2021 virtual cohorts and COVID-19:

NEW for 2021: Virtual Cohorts | Since March 2020, the Loft has pivoted to offer all of our (usually in-person) classes and events as virtual opportunities — including cohort meetings for our 2020 Year-Long Writing Projects, which are currently underway. We've had a lot of success with these online, Zoom-based meetings for this year's cohorts.

In order to make the Year-Long Writing Projects more accessible to writers who are not local to the Twin Cities, it is our intention to offer both an in-person cohort (see note below about this) and a virtual cohort for the 2021 Novel Writing Project and Creative Nonfiction/Memoir Writing Project. Circumstances may prevent us from ultimately providing the in-person cohort. Students may opt to sign up for the in-person OR the virtual cohort. The 2021 Poetry Apprenticeship will offer only a cohort which intends to meet in-person.

The Loft & COVID-19 | The Loft will be keeping all programming—including all sections of the writing projects—virtual through at least May 31, 2021. We remain mindful that pandemic conditions may require us to keep all cohorts virtual beyond that date. As you make a decision about participating in a 2021 writing project program, please be mindful that COVID-19 safety is requiring all in-person cohorts to meet virtually for some or all of the year. 

The Loft will continue to make decisions around COVID-19 safety and our programs in accordance with public health guidelines and recommendations. Any decision we've made to move in-person programs to virtual platforms are in the interest of our students, teaching artists, staff, and community members. We strongly believe these decisions have not impacted the quality of the programs we're offering.

In the event that the Loft is able to pivot programming originally intended to be in-person back to in-person meetings after May 31, we will communicate these changes as early as possible and work to support our students through the change. Please keep in mind that we cannot provide refunds or credits of any kind due to COVID-19 induced changes to programming; for this reason, please ensure you have the appropriate technology (computer, internet connection, ability to read and "write" electronically, etc) regardless of the writing project you register for.  See our refund policy in the FAQ document below for more information.

Details and Pricing

In previous years, the Year-Long Writing Project cohorts have filled up quickly; please plan ahead and register early!

Loft Member* Registration Opens: 10 a.m. CT on Wed., November 11

General Public Registration Opens: 10 a.m. CT on Thu., November 12

*You must be a Loft member by 4 p.m. on Friday, November 6  in order to receive the email invite for early Loft Member registration.

Due to COVID-19, we will take registration for the 2021 Writing Projects online or over the phone ONLY. We will not be in the office to take in-person registration. Visit or call 612-378-8999 to register.

One scholarship spot is available for each writing project. Please apply following the link below to be considered for this spot. Applications are due by Sunday, October 18th, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CT; scholarship applicants will be notified no later than 5:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, November 5th, 2020 of scholarship award status.

Tuition is $7,000 for the year when paid in full. Please see the Writing Project Detail PDF below for complete pricing and payment info. 

Writing Project Scholarships

The Loft is pleased to be able to offer one scholarship for each Year-Long Writing Project genre, for a total of 3 for 2021. You may apply for one scholarship. Applicants who are awarded a scholarship for the Novel and CNF/Memoir Writing Projects may choose between the In-Person and Online cohorts; keep in mind that our Poetry Apprenticeship program is offered in-person only. You can find application forms for each scholarship by clicking on the links to the "Project Specifics" pages above and scrolling to the bottom of the page. Applications are due by Sunday, October 18th, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CT.