8 Best Online Writing Courses to Start Your Writing Journey

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Getting into one of the best online writing courses is a fantastic decision for any writer, no matter if you’re just starting out or looking to sharpen your skills. These courses offer the flexibility to learn at your own pace, from anywhere in the world, with guidance from experienced instructors.

With a plethora of options available, finding the right course can be a game-changer, providing the tools and insights needed to elevate your writing. Each course has its unique strengths, catering to different genres, skill levels, and writing goals. The key is to identify which course aligns best with your writing aspirations and learning style.

Choosing the right platform and instructor can significantly impact your learning experience. So let’s take a look at some of the best online writing courses you should definitely choose from if you’re serious about writing.

Best Online Writing Courses

Here are some of the best courses on the market to start or significantly improve your writing journey.

I looked at things like content quality, instructor expertise, student feedback, and flexibility while creating this list, so no matter which one of these you choose, you will not be wrong.

1. MasterClass: Writing

best online writing courses masterclass

MasterClass has revolutionized the way people learn writing by offering classes taught by literary legends and best-selling authors, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this.

It’s a platform where aspiring writers can gain unparalleled insights into the craft of writing, directly from the masters of the field.

Whether you’re interested in fiction, non-fiction, screenplay writing, or poetry, MasterClass provides an opportunity to learn from the very best.

Features

MasterClass stands out for its high-quality production, engaging lesson plans, and exclusive access to learning from world-famous authors like Dan Brown, Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, etc.

Each writing course consists of video lessons, accompanying workbooks, and interactive assignments. The platform covers a wide range of writing genres, with classes led by figures such as Margaret Atwood on creative writing, Malcolm Gladwell on non-fiction, and Aaron Sorkin on screenwriting.

Beyond the craft itself, these courses often go into the personal writing processes, challenges, and successes of the instructors, providing both inspiration and practical advice.

Pros:

  • Exceptional Instructors: Learn from woeld-famous authors and writers at the top of their fields.
  • Comprehensive Content: Courses cover a breadth of topics, from the fundamentals of writing to the specific genres.
  • Flexibility: Accessible anytime, anywhere, MasterClass allows you to learn at your own pace and according to your own schedule.

Cons:

  • Cost: The annual membership might be expensive for some, especially those looking for just one specific course.
  • Lack of Personal Feedback: The platform does not offer personalized feedback on assignments, which might be a downside for learners seeking interactive or tailored critique.

The quality of the lessons on MasterClass platform and the depth of insight offered exceeded my expectations by far.

Margaret Atwood’s lessons on creative writing, in particular, were not just educational but deeply inspiring, offering a blend of practical advice and philosophical thoughts on the art of storytelling.

While the lack of personal feedback was something that I didn’t quite like (I mean, I want to know how my effors are affecting the quality of my work, after all), the community forums were a space for discussion and real support from fellow learners.

MasterClass offers an invaluable resource for writers of all levels, providing insights and teachings from the world’s most successful authors. Its courses are beautifully produced, content-rich, and highly engaging, making the art of writing accessible to a global audience.

While the platform may come with a price tag and lacks one-on-one interaction, the quality of instruction and the convenience of learning at your own pace make it a worthwhile investment for anyone serious about improving their writing skills.

2. Gotham Writers Workshop

2. Gotham Writers Workshop

Gotham Writers Workshop is a New York City-based writing school that extends its reach globally through its online courses.

It has built a reputation for excellence over the years, offering aspiring writers a wide offer of classes across different genres, including fiction, non-fiction, screenwriting, and poetry.

Gotham prides itself on its practical approach to teaching writing, emphasizing technique, feedback, and the development of a writing community.

Features

The Workshop offers interactive online classes that closely mimic the experience of an in-person workshop. Courses are led by experienced writers and educators who provide detailed critiques of student work.

Each class includes lectures, writing exercises, and the opportunity for students to discuss their work with peers. Gotham Writers Workshop also offers specialized courses, such as children’s book writing, article writing, and memoir writing, among others.

Beyond classes, the Workshop provides students with resources such as writing contests, webinars, and free events.

Pros:

  • Diverse Course Offerings: Catering to a wide range of interests and levels, from beginners to more advanced writers.
  • Interactive and Community-Oriented: The workshop format fosters a sense of community and provides valuable feedback from instructors and peers.
  • Expert Instructors: Courses are taught by published authors and seasoned professionals, offering students insights from within the industry.

Cons:

  • Cost: Some courses can be relatively expensive, which might limit accessibility for some aspiring writers.
  • Time Commitment: The interactive nature of the courses requires a significant time investment, which may be challenging for those with busy schedules.
  • Limited Personal Attention: While classes provide interaction and feedback, the size of the classes may restrict the amount of personalized attention each student receives.

Participating in a Gotham Writers Workshop course was a transformative experience for me. The structured, supportive environment pushed me to improve my writing in ways I hadn’t managed when working alone.

The feedback from my instructor was insightful and encouraging, while the critiques from other students were invaluable.

Balancing the coursework with my daily responsibilities was sometimes challenging, but the progress I made was well worth the effort.

Gotham Writers Workshop stands as a beacon for aspiring writers seeking to hone their craft through a structured, community-oriented approach. With a wide array of courses taught by experienced professionals, Gotham offers something for every writer.

Despite the challenges of cost and time commitment, the benefits of improved writing skills, valuable feedback, and a supportive community make Gotham Writers Workshop an excellent choice for those serious about their writing journey.

3. The Novelry

The Novelry

The Novelry is a standout online writing school offering courses specifically designed to support novelists at every stage of their journey, from the first flicker of an idea to the final polish before publication.

Founded by a bestselling author, Louise Dean, The Novelry prides itself on its practical, inspirational courses that are as rigorous as they are supportive, making it an amazing option for novelists worldwide.

Features

The Novelry offers a variety of courses tailored to different aspects of novel writing, including idea development, drafting, and editing.

One of its flagship offerings is the “Book in a Year” program, which guides writers through the process of completing a manuscript within twelve months. Courses are structured around daily lessons that can fit into a busy schedule, providing flexibility for writers.

Additionally, The Novelry offers one-on-one coaching sessions with published authors, providing personalized feedback and advice.

The platform also fosters a vibrant community, giving writers a space to share experiences and encouragement.

Pros:

  • Tailored to Novel Writing: Courses are specifically designed to address the challenges and nuances of novel writing, making them highly relevant for aspiring novelists.
  • Flexibility: The daily lesson structure allows writers to progress at their own pace, accommodating those with demanding schedules.
  • Personalized Support: The opportunity for one-on-one coaching sessions with experienced authors offers invaluable personalized guidance.

Cons:

  • Cost: The comprehensive nature of the courses and the personalized coaching sessions mean that The Novelry comes with a significant price tag, which may not be accessible to everyone.
  • Intensive: The courses, especially the “Book in a Year” program, require a considerable commitment of time and effort, which might be challenging for some writers.
  • Focused on Novels: Writers interested in other forms of creative writing might find the focus on novel writing too narrow for their needs.

Starting The Novelry’s “Book in a Year” program was a pivotal moment in my writing career. The structured approach broke down the overwhelming task of writing a novel into manageable daily goals, making the process less daunting.

The personal coaching I received was transformative, offering direct feedback that honed my writing more than any general advice I’d previously encountered.

While the investment was significant, both in terms of time and money, the progress I made was invaluable. Completing my manuscript felt like a true achievement.

The Novelry stands as an exceptional resource for anyone serious about writing a novel. Its specialized focus, combined with flexible course structures and the opportunity for personalized guidance, offers a unique blend of inspiration, discipline, and support.

While the commitment required is substantial, the potential rewards — a completed novel and improved writing skills — make The Novelry a worthwhile investment for dedicated novelists ready to take their work to the next level.

4. Coursera: Creative Writing Specialization

Coursera: Creative Writing Specialization

Coursera’s Creative Writing Specialization, offered in partnership with Wesleyan University, provides an accessible and comprehensive online learning experience for aspiring writers.

This specialization is designed to introduce students to the craft of creative writing through four core courses covering the essentials of narrative, short story, memoir, and novel writing.

A capstone project rounds out the specialization, giving students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned by crafting a complete, polished piece.

Features

The Creative Writing Specialization includes courses that focus on the key elements of creative writing, including character development, plot structure, and the crafting of powerful prose.

Each course combines video lectures from experienced authors and Wesleyan faculty with interactive assignments and peer feedback sessions. This blend of instruction and hands-on practice is aimed at fostering a deep understanding of creative writing techniques.

The specialization also offers flexibility, allowing students to work at their own pace and schedule, which is ideal for those balancing writing with other commitments.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive Curriculum: Covers a wide range of creative writing aspects, from the basics to more advanced techniques, providing a solid foundation for any aspiring writer.
  • Flexibility: The self-paced format allows students to progress through the courses according to their own schedules and availability.
  • Peer Feedback: The peer review process offers valuable insights from fellow writers, which can enhance learning and improve writing skills.

Cons:

  • Lacks Personalized Instructor Feedback: While peer feedback is valuable, the lack of direct, personalized feedback from instructors may be a drawback for some students.
  • Certification Cost: While Coursera offers financial aid, students looking to obtain certification will need to pay, which might not be feasible for everyone.
  • Self-Motivation Required: The self-paced nature of the specialization demands a high level of self-discipline and motivation to complete.

Embarking on the Creative Writing Specialization on Coursera was an enriching experience that broadened my understanding of the craft. The flexibility of the course allowed me to integrate learning into my busy life without overwhelming me.

Engaging with other students’ work and receiving their feedback on mine was particularly beneficial, though I sometimes wished for more in-depth critiques from the instructors themselves.

The capstone project was a challenging but rewarding opportunity to apply the skills I had developed throughout the specialization.

Coursera’s Creative Writing Specialization is an excellent starting point for anyone looking to dive into creative writing or enhance their existing skills. Its comprehensive curriculum and flexible learning environment make it accessible to learners worldwide, while the peer review system fosters a supportive community of writers.

While the specialization could benefit from more personalized instructor feedback, the depth of knowledge offered and the practical experience gained through the capstone project make it a valuable resource for aspiring creative writers.

5. Udemy: Writing Courses

Udemy: Writing Courses

Udemy, a popular online learning platform, offers a wide array of writing courses catering to various interests and skill levels. From creative writing and fiction to non-fiction, copywriting, and blogging, Udemy provides aspiring writers with the opportunity to develop their craft under the guidance of experienced instructors.

With its affordable pricing and on-demand access, Udemy stands out as a versatile resource for anyone looking to enhance their writing abilities.

Features

Udemy’s writing courses are characterized by their diversity, covering nearly every genre and aspect of writing one can think of. Each course is created and taught by an expert in the field, offering insights and practical advice based on real-world experience.

Courses typically include video lectures, written materials, assignments, and quizzes to help reinforce learning.

Another key feature of Udemy is its lifetime access to purchased courses, allowing students to learn at their own pace and revisit materials as needed.

Pros:

  • Wide Range of Topics: Whether you’re interested in crafting compelling fiction, mastering copywriting, or starting a blog, Udemy has a course to match nearly every writing interest.
  • Affordable Pricing: Many courses are offered at reasonable prices, making it easier for individuals to access quality education without breaking the bank.
  • Lifetime Access: Once you purchase a course, you have unlimited access to its content, offering ongoing value and the flexibility to learn on your schedule.

Cons:

  • Variable Course Quality: Since any expert can create and sell courses on Udemy, the quality and depth of content can vary widely between courses.
  • Lack of Accreditation: Courses on Udemy do not offer accredited certifications, which may be a consideration for those looking to add formal qualifications to their resume.
  • Self-Motivation Required: The self-paced nature of the courses means that students need to be disciplined and motivated to complete the coursework and practice their skills.

Picking a course from Udemy’s rich selection of writing courses was both exciting and overwhelming. I eventually settled on a course focused on creative writing techniques.

The affordability and comprehensive content provided by an experienced author made it a valuable learning experience. The flexibility to learn at my own pace was crucial, given my busy schedule.

However, the absence of structured feedback meant I had to seek out peer review groups to gauge my progress effectively.

Udemy offers an expansive and accessible platform for writers of all levels to improve their craft at their own pace and budget.

The platform’s vast course selection means there’s something for everyone, though the quality of courses can vary.

While the lack of formal accreditation and the need for self-motivation might deter some, Udemy’s affordable prices and lifetime access to course materials make it a compelling option for individuals looking to enhance their writing skills on their own terms.

6. Scribble: Writing for New Writers

Scribble: Writing for New Writers

Scribble: Writing for New Writers is an online course designed specifically for beginners looking to take their first steps into the world of writing.

This course aims to make the writing process simple and transparent by covering fundamental techniques and encouraging new writers to develop their unique voice.

Scribble provides a supportive environment where writers can learn the basics of storytelling, character creation, and the elements of strong writing across various genres.

Features

The Scribble course is structured to be approachable and straightforward, making it an ideal starting point for those who have little to no formal writing experience.

It offers video tutorials, writing prompts, and exercises that focus on the essential aspects of writing, such as plot development, character building, and crafting engaging narratives.

One of the key features of Scribble is its emphasis on practice and feedback, with opportunities for students to share their work with peers and receive constructive critiques.

Pros:

  • Beginner-Friendly: The course is designed with new writers in mind, providing clear, easy-to-understand guidance that builds confidence.
  • Interactive and Engaging: Writing exercises and prompts encourage active participation and help students apply what they’ve learned.
  • Community Support: The platform fosters a sense of community among learners, offering a safe space to share work and exchange feedback.

Cons:

  • Limited Advanced Content: While excellent for beginners, writers with more experience may find the content too basic for their needs.
  • Self-Paced Learning Requires Discipline: Without structured class times, students must be self-motivated to progress through the course.
  • Feedback Quality May Vary: As feedback comes primarily from peers, its helpfulness can vary depending on the experience and engagement of other students.

As a novice writer, I found Scribble: Writing for New Writers to be exactly what I needed to kickstart my writing journey.

The lessons were digestible and engaging, removing the intimidation factor of starting to write. The writing prompts were particularly helpful in sparking creativity and getting me into the habit of writing regularly.

While I sometimes wished for more in-depth feedback, the community was overwhelmingly supportive, making the overall experience positive and encouraging.

Scribble: Writing for New Writers is an excellent resource for individuals looking to start their writing journey. Its beginner-friendly approach, combined with interactive exercises and a supportive community, provides a solid foundation for new writers.

While those seeking advanced instruction may need to look elsewhere as they progress, Scribble’s welcoming environment and focus on the fundamentals make it a great starting point for anyone interested in exploring their potential as a writer.

7. Reedsy Learning

Reedsy Learning

Reedsy Learning offers a unique approach to writing and publishing education through its bite-sized, email-based courses.

Catering to both new and experienced writers, Reedsy Learning provides free courses on a wide range of topics, including writing, editing, publishing, and marketing. Each course is designed to be digestible and actionable, making complex subjects accessible to everyone.

With industry professionals as instructors, Reedsy Learning clears the understanding of the journey from manuscript to published book.

Features

The standout feature of Reedsy Learning is its format: courses are delivered directly to your inbox in daily emails, each taking only a few minutes to read.

This design makes it easy to incorporate learning into a busy schedule. Courses cover a variety of subjects, from the fundamentals of novel writing to the specifics of self-publishing and book marketing strategies.

Additionally, Reedsy Learning offers the flexibility to start courses at any time, allowing learners to progress at their own pace.

Pros:

  • Accessibility: The email-based format and short, daily lessons make it easy to learn on the go, fitting education into even the busiest schedules.
  • Free Courses: Reedsy Learning provides its courses free of charge, offering valuable insights without financial commitment.
  • Expert Instructors: Courses are created by industry experts, providing learners with high-quality, reliable information based on real-world experience.

Cons:

  • Limited Interaction: The email format offers minimal opportunities for interaction with instructors or fellow students, which can limit the depth of learning and engagement.
  • No Personalized Feedback: Unlike more interactive courses, Reedsy Learning does not provide personalized feedback on assignments or writing.
  • Broad Overview Rather Than In-Depth Training: Courses are designed to give a broad overview of topics, which may not satisfy those seeking in-depth or advanced instruction in specific areas.

I found Reedsy Learning to be an incredibly convenient way to sharpen my skills and expand my knowledge of the publishing industry. The daily emails served as a gentle nudge to keep learning, and I appreciated the ability to absorb valuable insights in just a few minutes each day.

While I sometimes missed the chance to dive deeper into topics or to interact with others, the quality of the content and the convenience of the format made it a worthwhile addition to my learning routine.

Reedsy Learning is an excellent resource for writers and publishing professionals looking for a straightforward, efficient way to enhance their knowledge and skills.

The platform’s free, email-based courses make learning accessible to anyone, regardless of their schedule or budget.

While the format may not suit those seeking comprehensive training or interactive learning experiences, Reedsy Learning’s concise lessons and expert insights provide a solid foundation for anyone looking to navigate the complexities of writing and publishing.

8. Writers.com

Writers.com

Writers.com stands as one of the pioneering online writing schools, offering a wide range of courses since it started its work in 1995.

Offering courses to writers at all levels, from beginners to advanced, Writers.com focuses on improving writing skills across various genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and more.

With its commitment to small class sizes and personalized attention, the platform provides an intimate learning environment that promotes growth and community among its students.

Features

Writers.com distinguishes itself through its interactive, workshop-style courses that emphasize personal feedback and instructor engagement.

Courses are conducted via a combination of written lectures, assignments, and peer critiques within a supportive online classroom setting.

The platform boasts an impressive roster of experienced instructors who are not only accomplished writers but also dedicated teachers.

Another notable feature is the diversity of its course offerings, which are regularly updated to include specialized topics such as memoir writing, flash fiction, and narrative poetry, ensuring that there’s something for every writer.

Pros:

  • Experienced Instructors: Courses are led by published authors and seasoned educators, providing students with high-quality guidance and mentorship.
  • Personalized Feedback: The emphasis on small class sizes ensures that students receive detailed, constructive feedback on their work, fostering improvement and confidence.
  • Wide Range of Courses: With a broad selection of genres and topics covered, writers can find courses that match their specific interests and goals.

Cons:

  • Course Fees: The cost of courses can be a consideration for some students, as prices vary depending on the length and level of the course.
  • Self-Discipline Required: The online, self-paced nature of the courses demands a high degree of self-motivation and discipline from students to keep up with assignments and participate actively in peer critiques.
  • Limited Instant Interaction: While courses offer in-depth interaction over time, the asynchronous format may not suit learners who prefer real-time discussions or immediate feedback.

My experience with Writers.com was transformative. Enrolling in a short story writing course, I found the structured feedback from my instructor invaluable in making my technique better and deepening my understanding of the writing process.

The collaborative atmosphere encouraged not only learning from the instructor but also from other students, whose perspectives made the experience all the richer.

While managing course fees required some budgeting, the investment in my development as a writer was undoubtedly worthwhile.

Writers.com provides an enriching platform for writers looking to hone their craft under the guidance of experienced professionals. The platform’s dedication to personalized feedback, coupled with its diverse course offerings, makes it a valuable resource for writers at any stage of their journey.

While the cost of courses and the discipline required to succeed in an online learning environment might pose challenges, the benefits of improved writing skills, a supportive community, and the guidance of accomplished instructors make Writers.com a commendable choice for those committed to advancing their writing.

Conclusion

Navigating through the best online writing courses can seem daunting at first, but it’s an step towards achieving your writing goals. These courses not only provide the technical skills needed to succeed but also offer a community of like-minded individuals to inspire and motivate you along your writing journey.

Whether you’re beginning your writing journey or looking to refine your craft, the best online writing courses offer a rich resource for learning and growth. Take the time to research and choose a course that fits your needs, and you’ll find it can open up a world of creativity and opportunity.

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Stefan

Stefan is the CEO of Automateed.

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