Creative writing classes

15 Creative Writing Classes To Improve Your Skills in 2020

As writers, we could all use a bit of improvement in some areas. Unless you’re a writing guru, chances are that you have a particular weakness that’s hindering you from reaching your full potential – perhaps you have a tendency of using the same vocabulary, or have developed poor writing habits over time.

Regardless of what your challenge is, you can always find creative writing classes beneficial to your writing journey. A majority of these courses are affordable and they don’t take up too much of your time, which makes it easy for you to improve your skills as you continue earning as a writer.

If you’ve been searching to add some industry knowledge or further develop your writing skills, we’ve put together this guide to creative classes that are worth considering.

Why Take Creative Writing Classes and Workshops?

No matter how good you are, you can always benefit from a writing workshop or online course. Here are a couple of ways that we’d justify going back to school.

It trains you to appreciate constructive criticism

Often, sharing the content you’ve created is an unnerving experience, especially in situations where you anticipate a bit of critique. As a result, a majority of writers prefer to play it safe and they’ll only seek feedback from close friends and family. This way, they’re guaranteed of receiving ample praise and very minimal criticism.

While there’s nothing wrong with asking for feedback from colleagues and allies, it robs you of the chance to challenge yourself and reach full potential.

When you take an online writing course or attend your workshop, you expose your work to the very best. This presents a chance to receive critiques that can help you become a better writer in the long run.

Sure, getting negative feedback on your content can be a bit rough at first. However think about it this way: once you work on those minor errors, you can become one of the best creative writers there has ever been.

Besides, it also prepares you for the future. So when you finally publish your first book, you’ll embrace both the positive and negative criticism you receive.

Interact with other writers who share your passion

Attending an online writing class or workshop is an excellent way to meet individuals who share in your passion.

Some creative writing classes are structured in such a way that the student has to partake in discussion forums. This is a great way to be a part of a writing community. Considering how lonely a writer’s life can be, this is a splendid opportunity to socialize and make new friends.

Try something different

Writers are a group of people that can identify as creatures of habit. Often, we find peace of mind in familiarity, including sticking to the same style or tone of writing.

While there’s nothing wrong with using the same writing technique, it’s nice to challenge your skills and move out of your comfort zone. Writing workshops and online classes present the ultimate opportunity to try something new.

The good thing about enrolling for creative writing classes is that you can try a new skill as many times as you want without the fear of failure or being criticized. With every new thing you learn, you’ll become a better writer.

Learn from industry experts

One of the primary reasons why writers take creative courses is for guidance. Sure, you can learn plenty from reading books and watching YouTube tutorials. If you want to learn from industry-leading experts, online writing courses are your best bet.

A majority of these courses are compiled by professionals. Even with platforms like Udemy and SkillShare, you may come across several courses that are offered by recognized experts in the writing industry.

Top Creative Writing Classes

1.   MasterClass

Originally it was necessary to attend university to be able to learn from experts in a particular field. You also had to pay a ton of money for several years. With creative writing courses like MasterClass, you can now learn from the best wherever you are. All you need to do is sign up on the website, pay a small fee, and you’re good to go.

Once you’ve made the payment, you’ll have access to different creative writing courses taught by the best professionals. You’ll learn comedy writing from Steve Martin, screenwriting from The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, dramatic writing from David Mamet, as well as how to write thrillers from bestselling author James Patterson.

Another aspect that makes MasterClass different entails the high quality of its content, not only in production but also the composition of courses. You’ll notice that the developer spent a good amount of time working with the instructors to come up with a course outline that benefits the learner.

The MasterClass courses range anywhere between 2 and 5 hours, with each lesson lasting for 6 to 20 minutes. Also, a majority of courses have about 18 lessons, although a few are much longer.

You have the option of choosing between a single class and an all-access pass. Each single class sets you back $90. But with the all-access pass, you’ll be able to watch any class with zero limitations. This option costs $180 per year, or $15 if you choose to pay monthly.

Given these statistics, we recommend the all-access pass as it’s more economical than paying for each course individually.

2.   Udemy

Udemy is another platform that allows you to hone your creative writing skills. One feature that sets Udemy courses apart is the fact that a majority of their courses are incredibly affordable. With most of them, you won’t have to spend more than $20 each. 

Once you sign up on your preferred Udemy course, you’ll receive knowledge via a virtual learning experience. The benefit of using this approach is that any student around the globe can partake in a course they like.

However, it is important to note that this training platform does not offer any college credits. The system is designed in such a way that emphasizes on enrichment as opposed to accreditation.

What Udemy lacks in accreditation, it makes up for in the massive volume of courses. Frankly, no other avenue offers writing courses that cover such a broad territory. Some of the things you’ll learn from Udemy are:

3.   DIY MFA

One aspect that’s crucial to becoming a top-notch creative writer is improving your craft. While there are many ways to accomplish this goal, the best approach is to read regularly so as to gain motivation and learn new techniques, as well as practice your writing and receive adequate support from mentors and fellow writers.

DIY MFA is an online writing course that helps you achieve all three objectives in one go. In full, this program is known as the do-it-yourself path that can help you get a master’s degree in fine arts. Regardless of where you are in your writing journey, this online course will help you become the best creative writer you can be.

This path was started by one Gabriela Pereira while she was pursuing her MFA at the New School in New York. As she was undertaking her studies, she discovered three principles that are key to getting a MFA degree.

It is these principles that she shares with students in the DIY MFA course. The three fundamentals are:

  • Writing with focus
  • Reading with purpose
  • Building with community

The course goes for $499, which can be paid in three monthly installments of $199. I understand that this is no small fee, but compared to the amount you’d pay for a traditional MFA, it’s much cheaper.

Once you make a payment, you’ll get:

  • 10 modules of resourceful materials for the course
  • Detailed video lessons comprising of audio recordings and slides
  • Worksheets for each lesson
  • Membership to a private course website, where you’ll have round-the-clock access to materials pertinent to your course
  • A private Facebook group, which helps you engage in essential discussions outside of class
  • Group discussion calls, presenting the opportunity to make inquiries and connect with other writers

4.   Skillshare

Dubbed the “Netflix of learning”, Skillshare is another legit platform that helps you improve your creative writing skills. Their business model entails paying a fee (either monthly or yearly), after which you’re given access to your chosen course.

The masterminds behind this learning platform are Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong, who launched the site in 2010. Since 2017, Matthew Cooper has held the title of CEO for this organization.

Like MasterClass, Skillshare offers different types of creative classes, one of which is creative writing. Some of the most interesting concepts you’ll learn from Skillshare creative writing classes are:

In addition to providing an array of courses to pick from, another aspect that sets Skillshare apart entails the affordable pricing plans. If you’re on a tight budget, you can opt for the free version, which allows you to watch predetermined video classes. However, you won’t get access to each class you want.

The Premium package costs $99 if you pay yearly and $15 if you pay on a monthly basis. This one grants you access to:

  • Their entire collection of more than 20,000 classes
  • Curated online workshops
  • Benefits on products and services with partnered brands
  • Ability to download videos on mobile apps for offline use

Lastly, there’s the Team package that goes for $99 yearly per user. This pricing plan is tailored for groups of people who can all get registered under the same account. The maximum number of individuals who can be registered under one account is 19.

5.   CreativeLive

If you’ve ever searched for high-quality courses as a creative artist, you’ve probably come across CreativeLive. But in case you haven’t, here’s a detailed review so you know what to expect.

As the name suggests, this is an online-based learning platform focused on creators. Whether you’re a writer, a photographer, or graphic designer, this program is perfect for boosting your skills.

On the surface, it might sound like your typical online learning course, but there’s one thing that sets CreativeLive apart: it only works with experts in each field.

Unlike Udemy, not everyone is allowed to create and share their course. Instead, CreativeLive hires industry-leading professionals in each field. When it comes to writing, you’ll get to learn from the likes of Jeff Goins, Jennie Nash, and Lisa Cron.

In addition to learning from the very best experts, we like that their classes are extremely extensive. All the courses provide in-depth details of each topic. These courses are also well-structured, and every student receives organized lesson plans, worksheets, and bonus resources. Better yet, these courses can be downloaded on any Android or Apple smartphones for offline viewing.

Since CreativeLive offers different creative writing classes, the amount of money you pay will depend on the specific course you choose.

At the time of writing, courses like Writing Your Story, which is offered by Joyce Maynard, goes for $111. This course comprises of 26 lessons, which are shown in high-quality video. Plus, you have the option of streaming or downloading and viewing offline on your PC or mobile.

If you’re looking to hone your narrative writing skills, the course Telling Your Truth Through Writing is a better option. This one is completely free and it’s offered by Ayelet Waldman.

6.   Writers’ Village University

If you’re looking for a creative writing course that will help you improve your fiction writing skills, the Writers’ Village University is an excellent option. In addition to offering classes, this online platform allows you to interact and become a part of a community of fiction writers.

Though it sounds new, Writers’ Village University has been around since 1995. This makes it one of the oldest online training platforms for writers.

With a history that spans more than 20 years, it’s not surprising that the company has such well-structured courses. Once you visit the website, you’ll come across a variety of writing classes. Whether you want to learn how to write poetry, essays, or craft thrillers, there are specific courses that teach you just that.

One thing you’ll notice about Writers’ Village University is that it doesn’t emphasize as much on video tutorials as other online training platforms do. Instead, students receive a series of written coursework and assignments via email. The assignments can be submitted online to the online writing tutor.

Another aspect that sets this creative writing class apart is the fact that students receive support from a community of writers. Plus, the writing course is extremely affordable.

The starter package costs $30, and it comes with a 30-day trial. If you like the program and want to learn more, you can subscribe to a 1-year membership that costs $99. But once you become a member, you only need to pay $69 for an annual renewal.

7.   Coursera

Another excellent training platform is Coursera. It was established back in 2012 by two computer science professors from Stanford University. Since then, it’s been improved immensely and now offers dozens of courses including creative writing classes.

Important to note is that Coursera doesn’t come up with the learning coursework. Instead, the developers work in conjunction with educational institutions, top universities, and government agencies to create expertly coordinated courses online. 

Unlike other online platforms, Coursera offers a couple of accredited degree programs. In total, there are more than 2,700 courses and more than 250 specializations. When it comes to writing courses, the platform gives you a certificate of completion if you successfully finish the Creative Writing Specialization test.

Are you looking to improve your creative writing skills? If you are, one of the courses we recommend is The Craft of Character by Amy Bloom. It covers concepts such as:

  • Dialogue
  • Guide to conceive a character
  • Ways to refine and develop your character
  • Making your characters matter to readers

Another course you can take is Creative Writing Specialization offered by Wesleyan University. Here, you’ll learn the three core creative writing genres, namely: short story, narrative essay, and memoir. Other creative writing classes that you can enroll for are:

How much do Coursera writing courses cost? Well, there’s no fixed price for all the courses. Some are offered free of charge, but these don’t come with a certificate. For those writing classes that aren’t offered for free, you’ll have to pay either a subscription fee or for each individual class.

A majority of specializations are available on a subscription basis that costs about $39 to $79 a month. The good news is, most of these come with a 7-day free trial, and this gives you time to decide if the course you’ve chosen is ideal for you. Once the trial period elapses, you will be billed.

8.   Your First 10,000 Readers

Are you an author or blog writer and would love to increase your readership? If so, you’ll find Your First 10,000 Readers very resourceful. Remember that regardless of how good a writer you are, without an audience, your content won’t have a significant impact.

Your First 10,000 Readers is an online training program compiled by the incredibly successful author and businessman, Nick Stephenson. According to Nick, following the basics outlined in this course should help you earn a decent amount of money from your content or books. 

So how does this creative writing course work? It consists of 6 modules, which cover everything you need to know about promoting your book and earning mega-profits. Here’s a rundown of the first four modules:

  • Module 1: in this section, you learn how to make the most online retail platforms to market your book. There are 4 video tutorials in this chapter, and each teaches you a different concept. You’ll get to learn how online retailers work, and how to get your book to rank highly. You’ll also be taught how to price your book and tips you can use to get it featured in Deals of the Day.
  • Module 2: in this chapter, you learn how to drive traffic to your book. Best part is, the strategies employed that the author teaches won’t cost you extra money. Essentially, you learn how to use keywords and metadata to drive traffic to your content, and this could eventually turn to leads.
  • Module 3: this section trains you how to convert traffic to long-term subscribers.
  • Module 4: this chapter teaches you how to interact with your audience. There are several videos in this module, each covering an essential topic.

In the first video, you learn some of the reasons why customers decide not to purchase a particular book. The second video gives you tips on how to prepare your readers to buy your book, while the third explains psychological tactics.

To get access to this online course, it’s a good idea to join Nick Stephenson’s email list. The reason for this is that the course is opened only a few times per year.

9.   The Open University

FutureLearn is the online learning program offered by UK-based Open University, which is a long-established and reputable educational institution. The fact that this program is run by the Open University is one of the things that makes it stand out.

This university has been offering formal degrees and other qualifications to distance learners since it was founded in 1971.

Another thing we love about FutureLearn online platform is that it offers accredited courses. These courses are administered in conjunction with top colleges like The University of Edinburgh and University College London.

You will also find courses that are offered by global education institutions like the European University Institute and Shanghai International Studies University.

For creative writers, one of FutureLearn’s online courses that can be of benefit to you is Start Writing Fiction. You can enroll for the 10-week program that’s available for free or pay $64 to get unlimited access.

As you might have guessed, this course emphasizes on fiction writing. Thus, you’ll learn everything you need to know regarding this topic such as editing techniques, writing prompts, and more.

FutureLearn has partnered with experts in the field to provide informative and detailed tutorials. Once you sign up, you’ll receive pre-recorded interviews featuring successful authors like Patricia Duncker, Louis de Bernières, Abdulrazak Gurnah, and Alex Garland.

Better yet, this platform gives students the opportunity to interact with their fellow writers. Here, they can have discussions about a particular topic, trade work, and offer constructive criticism.

10.   Storylogue

If you’ve not heard about Robert McKee’s digital training workshops, then you’re in for a real treat. Robert is a renowned author, lecturer, and story consultant. His book, and now seminar series dubbed “Story” is one of the most sought-after guides for screenwriting.

Robert published this book in 1997 to supplement the 30-hour screenwriter courses that he’s taught to thousands of students all over the world. More than 20 years after he released this book, Robert McKee now offers his screenwriting courses in a digital format.

If you want to learn from this screenwriting guru, all you have to do now is enroll for the Storylogue course. This online platform is aimed at instilling knowledge and providing mentorship to upcoming screenwriters.

Once you sign up and become a member, you’ll be granted unrestricted access to the whole library of lessons, interviews, Q&As, and discussions with Robert McKee that have occurred since the inception of this platform in 2010.

There are two payment options to choose. If you decide to pay on a monthly basis, this will set you back $19.97 per month. However, if you opt for the annual payment, you’ll only have to pay $197 for the whole year.

11.   LitReactor

As we mentioned earlier, a writer’s life can sometimes feel lonely. Due to this, you might find it difficult to stay motivated. Plus, in the absence of feedback, it can be challenging to find ways to improve your skills. This is where online learning platforms like LitReactor come in handy.

It was developed by the same team that designed Chuck Palahniuk’s website, which has actually hosted a couple of writing classes. Thus, LitReactor follows a similar pattern; that is, it blends captivating content and nifty gaming mechanics to persuade writers to not only gain new skills but also new allies.

Once you visit the site, you’ll notice that it’s divided into four key areas:

  • Online writing classes
  • Writers workshop
  • Magazine
  • Community

Under online writing classes, the program enlists the help of veteran authors and industry experts to host classes that cover a broad range of concepts. All the classes are offered online so you’ll be able to participate remotely. You will then receive comprehensive feedback on your writing tasks and have an opportunity to take part in discussions.

Examples of upcoming classes that you can sign up for are:

Immersive Fiction by Kathe Koja
Writing Gothic Fiction by Francesca Lia Block
Short Story Mechanics by Richard Thomas

One thing that sets LitReactor apart is that students can interact with fellow writers and receive constructive criticism on their work. So under workshop, students submit their original work to be reviewed by their peers.

The workshop follows a give-and-take approach. Simply put, you can upload as much content to be reviewed but you also have to assess your peers’ work and provide feedback based on your individual assessment. Don’t be afraid to critique other students’ writings. This is how you evolve as a writer, and it helps you improve the quality of your own pieces.

12.   Authority Pub Academy

One cannot talk about self-publishing without S J. Scott’s name coming into mind. He’d been marketing his books online for a long while, and when the ebook craze was going on back in 2011, he was among the first authors to dive headfirst and try it.

Having published more than 70 books has aptly earned him the title “the king of self-publishing”. Not only that, he’s in charge of the blog “Develop Good Habits”, and with the help of his writing partner Barrie Davenport, they founded Authority Pub Academy.

Taking into account that the two founders are also best-selling authors, Authority Pub Academy offers everything you’d expect from an online-based creative writing class. It’s essentially a self-publishing course that trains authors how to write, publish, and establish their brand.

The course constitutes 6 information-packed modules, which will take quite a while to get through. The good thing about these modules is that they don’t have any fluff content. Every detail that’s been included is crucial to an author looking to establish their brand and book business.

The six modules are:

  • Setting the author mindset and cultivating a writing habit
  • Niche focus and researching a perennial bestseller
  • Guide to outlining, writing the first draft, and editing
  • How to pre-publish and set up your book in KDP
  • Lead magnets, reviews, and strategies to launch your book
  • How to go about advanced marketing and scale up your author library

The self-publishing course goes for $597. You also can pay this in two installments of $348. Thankfully, the course is available to you after payment without a time limit, so you can take it anytime you want.

13.   The Crafty Writer’s Creative Writing Course

Fiona Veitch Smith is a renowned author and scriptwriter, as well as the brains behind The Crafty Writer’s online course. Fiona’s creative writing class is aimed at helping aspiring and current writers master their art and create content that attracts more readers and buyers.

This course takes the student through the fundamental principles required to become a dedicated writer. Some of the things you’ll learn are:

  • Tips to unveil your personal writing style and tone
  • The fundamentals of writing a short story
  • Guide to choosing an effective point of view
  • How to locate and utilize writers’ groups, contests, and communities
  • The fundamentals of publishing and marketing a book

The Crafty Writer’s comprises of several assignments and tasks that students are required to complete. However, they don’t have to participate in any live chats or sessions.

Unfortunately, the program is not set up in such a way that students receive individual feedback from their tutor or peers. You can still ask questions in case you find yourself grappling with any part of this course.

This online course emphasizes on helping students find and create their own community of support, and to evaluate and revise their own written pieces.

14.   English Composition Class

To become an excellent writer, the first thing you need to do is master the basic writing skills. The English Composition Class, which is compiled and offered by Arizona State University, serves as a good introduction to the basic writing principles.

The course is taken over the course of eight weeks and instills essential skills in a learner. Though basic, these skills are vital as they serve as the building blocks to the student’s writing journey. Through this course, you’ll gain a better understanding of the English language and learn to write in a way that stands out.

The course requires you to successfully complete a couple of writing assignments and craft a reflection piece on every concept you learn. Contrary to The Crafty Writer’s, here you’ll receive detailed assessment and feedback on your work. You also get an opportunity to interact with other learners.

A few of the topics covered in this course are:

  • How to customize your writing to address your audience needs
  • How to apply critical thinking skills when it comes to writing and reading
  • Which style conventions and methods are good for improving your writing
  • Using technology to your advantage so as to write more efficiently
  • The secret to unlocking your creativity
  • Tips to develop good writing habits

Perhaps the best thing about this creative writing course is that it’s available for free. However, if you want to add a “verified certificate” to your credentials, you’re required to pay $49 to get the certification.

15.   Self-Publishing School

If you’d like to learn how to publish your books on retail sites such as Amazon, the Self-Publishing School is the perfect course for you.

The course is taught by US indie author and entrepreneur Chandler Bolt. It’s primarily designed to teach you how to write a book accurately, and how to publish it and start earning a good income from it.

Sadly, this course is not available throughout the year. So the only way to know when it’s being offered is by joining the instructor’s email list. It’s also pricier than others, going for $697.

Our Creative Writing Class Picks:

Best free: English Composition Class
Best on a budget: The Open University
Best overall: MasterClass

In summary, creative writing classes present the perfect opportunity to expand your writing skillset without having to go back to school. These courses can be taken from the comfort of your home and during your own convenient time. The best part is, they help you learn an array of things ranging from how to grow your readership to getting your book published.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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