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7 Online Writing Courses Every Writer Should Know About

7 Online Writing Courses Every Writer Should Know About

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.

1. Be a Freelance Blogger

Be A Freelance Blogger

    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.

    Price: $99

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    2. Make a Living Writing

    Make A Living Writing

      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.

      Price: Free

      3. Digital Journalism Certification Program

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      Digital Journalism Certification Program

        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.

        Price: $1650

        4. Brand Writing

        Brand Writing

          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.

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          Price: $385

          5. Creative Writing 101

          Creative Writing 101

            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.

            Price: $324

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            6. Screenwriting at the New York Film Academy

            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.

            Price: $4,500

            7. Comics Experience

            Comics Experience

              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.

              Price: $595

              Featured photo credit: Gene Wilburn via flickr.com

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              Matt OKeefe

              Freelance Writer, Marketer

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              Last Updated on February 21, 2019

              How to Stop Information Overload

              How to Stop Information Overload

              Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

              This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

              As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

              But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

              How Serious Is Information Overload?

              The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

              This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

              When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

              We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

              No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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              The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

              That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

              Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

              Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

              But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

              Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

              Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

              When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

              Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

              The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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              You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

              How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

              So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

              1. Set Your Goals

              If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

              Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

              Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

              Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

              2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

              Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

              First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

              If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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              • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
              • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
              • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

              If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

              (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

              And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

              You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

              Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

              3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

              There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

              Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

              Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

              Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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              4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

              Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

              This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

              Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

              The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

              Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

              Summing It Up

              As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

              I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

              I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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