Being able to write isn’t something you’re just born with For most people it’s an acquired skill that you have to work at. Sure, there are people who aren’t naturally as good at writing as others, but there are ways to hone those muscles, some without ever leaving your house. There is a plethora of online writing courses available to teach you a lot of different lessons about a lot of different kinds of writing. Here are 7 particularly effective online writing courses for aspiring writers.
If you want to do the work I’m doing more now, blogging for a notable website, then this is your best bet. Successful blogger Sophie Lizard has a writing course almost as awesome as her reptilian surname. She’ll send you a new email every day for 28 days, each with one small step you can do to become a better or more marketable writer. By only asking you to do one thing at a time, it reduces the risk that you’ll become overwhelmed. Instead, it’s one of the few online writing courses that can seamlessly fit into your schedule. As someone who has benefitted from the knowledge Sophie shares on her blog (it’s how I got my job at Lifehack!) I highly recommend it.
One of themost important tutors in my freelance writing education was Carol Tice. Specifically, her e-books and email courses were extremely helpful. Here’s one in which she offers a 1-hour podcast and transcript, plus “fear-busting tips from 17 pro writers.” The podcast covers how to move forward even when you’re worried about failing, take on new kinds of freelance projects, and stop being such a perfectionist. It includes a story of how one successful freelancer made a career out of writing even though, at the beginning, he didn’t know a word of English! Tice also has more in-depth online writing courses that you have to pay for, but those are on a more seasonal basis.
Mediabistro’s Digital Journalism Certificate Program offers a lot of practical training in creating content for new media platforms. The curriculum was put together by media pros who know how to produce multimedia packages, utilize social media in a lot of different ways, and write and edit for the web. You get to choose your electives, giving you the chance to learn more about podcasting, blogging, online video and other mediums. It’s definitely pricey, but Mediabistro has a good reputation. For one, it has one of the best job boards for careers in old and new media. Plus, it’s much more of a full-fledged program than the previous two online writing courses on this list. If you’re looking for an extensive learning experience in journalism, this is a good option.
Mediabistro has another high quality but much less expensive online writing course. It’s for brand writing, which is writing for a company in a way that matches their image. It’s one of the most marketable kinds of writing, a must-have skill for people working in public relations, marketing and even for small business entrepreneurs. You’ll learn how and why people display such fierce brand loyalty. Ever wonder why people are so in love with their Apple products or Google apps? This is where you can find out. By the end of the course you will have a brand writing dossier with your mission statement, a repositioning brief, examples in email and social media, and more.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from writing for companies, Creative Writing 101 is about writing something more personal. This is a six week program that forces you to write in ways you haven’t before. You’ll get ways to find new ideas, feedback from an instructor, new writing techniques to use, good writing habits to implement, and a stronger awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. All this in a low-pressure environment.
If you’re absolutely determined to see your name on the big screen, you might be serious and crazy enough to pay out big money for a course from the prestigious New York Film Academy. There aren’t many places you’ll find a better education in screenwriting (you definitely won’t find it on the internet). This is one of those online writing courses that, for the right person, might be worth its enormous cost.
Want to try something a bit more eclectic? You can give writing comics a shot. Comics is a really interesting medium that’s much more than capes and tights, and with Andy Schmidt’s Comics Experience course you can learn from the best how to add words to pictures. All the online writing courses on this list are great, but this is probably the most fun.
Featured photo credit: Gene Wilburn via flickr.com