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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

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              Last Updated on August 15, 2018

              25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

              25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

              Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

              Or even better:

              What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

              You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

              Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

              How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

              The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

              In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

              • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
              • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
              • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

              As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

              Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

              Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

              But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

              his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

              5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

              Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

              But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

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              1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
              2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
              3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
              4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
              5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

              Who can use Excel shortcuts?

              There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

              • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
              • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
              • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
              • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

              Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

              With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

              25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

              Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

              1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

              If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

              2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

              If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

              If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

              3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

              Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

              =sum(

              …and then press F3.

              When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

              4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

              Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

              =match(

              …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

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              When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

              But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

              5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

              If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

              • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
              • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
              • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
              • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
              • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

              6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

              By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

              The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

              For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

              A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

              7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

              When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

              8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

              When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

              9. Use filtering

              Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

              It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

              To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

              10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

              Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

              Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

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              To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

              11. See formula results with F9

              If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

              Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

              12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

              If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

              13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

              Here’s how to use EDATE:

              =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

              =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

              14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

              Here’s how to use EMONTH:

              =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

              =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

              15. Remove spaces with TRIM

              TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

              16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

              In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

              17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

              When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

              And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

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              18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

              If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

              19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

              Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

              You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

              20. Use data validation

              This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

              • Create dependent drop-down lists;
              • Create drop-down lists;
              • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

              21. Use conditional formatting

              It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

              22. Use formula auditing

              This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

              The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

              23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

              Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

              It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

              24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

              INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

              25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

              OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

              The bottom line

              As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

              That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

              If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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