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Benefits of Taking a Writing Course

November 16, 2017

 

 

As a writer, do you ever feel as if you’re stuck? That your skills as a writer have hit a wall? I’ve discussed in a previous blog the benefits of having a writing group, but I’d like to lay down some more info on other resources, namely writing classes.

 

If you had great electives back in high school or went to college, you may have taken the opportunity to sign up for a writing class. That class may have focused on poetry, fiction, non-fiction, fantasy/sci-fi or whatever, but I’m sure you felt that your writing improved over the course of the class. Hopefully.

 

If you are beyond your “school years” and have never taken a writing class, I have some other great suggestions for you:

 

NaNoWriMo

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about NaNoWriMo and how there are many towns/cities where writing groups are held for those participating in the National Novel Writing Month (the month of November, for those of you unfamiliar). If you sign up on their website, they actually will send you motivating messages and/or writing prompts, and many of those writing groups probably meet outside of November as well. I know this isn’t a class, but getting together with fellow writers can be a class of sorts, if a bit less organized.

 

You can take the opportunity to meet with a group near you even if you’re not participating in NaNoWriMo and you may find a great group of people whom you’d love to work with in a small private writing group. Initiating may not be your strong suit, but it could benefit you for years to come if you meet with other writers, such as those meeting to discuss NaNoWriMo work, and establish a network of fellow-writers in which you can exchange stories, ideas, suggestions, etc.

 

Online Writing Class

Not too fond of the idea of meeting with a writing group? Perhaps you would enjoy taking an online writing course instead. These online classes would give you the opportunity to select a writing style you’d wish to focus on and give you lessons and/or reading material in which you can expand your knowledge in certain areas. Most, if not all of these courses would provide you with writing prompts or exercises to challenge your writing. If this sounds promising to you, I suggest you give it a go and sign up for a class!

 

Now, there is a plethora of resources for online courses out there, whether it is through a college or university or independently advertised. Either way, I’ve found a few promising ones I’ll share with you here:

 

OpenLearn

There’s a site I came across that offers FREE courses of all kinds. That’s free! Now, I haven’t taken any myself so I don’t know how professional they are or whether they’re worth taking, but if I can improve even a little bit through one of their courses, I’d say it was worth it.

 

They call themselves The Open University, and the name speaks for itself. I checked out a course called: “Start writing fiction: characters and stories”, to see what the classes might be like. They give a quick little course description followed by a list of things you should be able to do after the completion of the course.

 

From the intro page you can navigate to ‘course content’ and even ‘course reviews’ to help you decide to take the course or not. This particular course give you a list of eight full weeks of course content, some of which includes: creating convincing characters, building your story, reading as a writer, and more. If you click on individual weeks it will lead to a page that may have a video to watch/listen to, and they also give you the option to read over the transcript. The main objective of this class seems to be for you to gain the tools and knowledge needed to create and form your own short story. This course does include peer edits/review and commentary, which may be too uncomfortable for you, but it’s for you to choose.

 

Udemy

If the course above (or similarly organized courses) sounds unappealing to you, perhaps you’d be interested in another online source for classes. Udemy does charge for their courses, but often they are set at a discounted rate. As you can imagine, a huge database such as this has a wide variety of courses for you to choose from. Some may be similar to the one described above, or there may be some arranged uniquely to accommodate those of different learning types such as those who do better with visualization, hands-on style, auditory learning, etc. This site also provides you with user feedback so you know which courses would be most beneficial for you and your needs.

 

So, I’ve given you a few ideas on how you can improve your writing if you feel a little stuck. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. I highly recommend that you try one of these sources or even try to set up your own writing group. There is so much room for growth as a writer, no matter the amount of experience you have. So take a look and try it out! Happy writing!

 

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