Several years ago, I hit
a serious rut in my writing. I didn’t have any good ideas, I was getting
rejection after rejection, my queries lacked the necessary chutzpah, and
after a while I didn’t even feel I needed to write ever again, because I
felt that I wasn’t talented enough. I realized that I needed a booster
shot, something that would get me on the path to writerdom again. I
decided to take the next logical step and take an online writing course.
I knew that online
classes are a good way to sharpen up on what’s new in the industry and
how to get acceptance letters again. I decided to take a course on how
to Break into Magazine Writing at a local university, which offered
courses from business to travel writing and everything in between.
The class lasted several
weeks and consisted of series of online lectures, exercises, group
discussions, and of course, homework. The overall experience was great.
Not only did the instructor answered all my questions, I found out that
I could learn from the other students as well. There were not only
unpublished writers in our class, but also seasoned pros and/or
published writers like me that had hit a low in their career. The online
class provided just the right spark to get their creativity flowing
To my complete
astonishment, a few weeks after taking the class, I landed my first
assignment after a long time of no activity- a story for a spiritual
magazine that I queried in the past. I was ecstatic! Today, I still
write for that magazine as well as for
several others as a freelance book reviewer and a features
helpful tips on choosing an online writing course:
Do some research first: most universities have a Continuing Ed
program where they offer a variety of courses, writing among
them. Do you need a grammar refresher, a tutorial on writing for
children, or is your creativity blocked? Choose what course you
need most. Check with colleges and
universities in your area and see what they have to offer.
Consider the cost. Online writing courses are usually just a
fraction of the price compared with a regular writing course at
your local college or a university. You can save a lot of money,
but gain a lot of industry experience, since the instructors are
often industry experts.
Make sure that you schedule enough time for your class. It is a
good idea to tell your family not to disturb you at that time
because you’re studying. Have a good computer with Internet
access, which is required for most online courses.
Do your homework- online courses aren’t graded, and the
assignments are optional, but do them anyway. When you do,
you’re getting your money’s worth and gaining valuable
experience. Also, the instructor can comment on your work
directly, highlighting your strong points and your weaknesses.
Speak up! Don’t stay silent when the group discussions are going
on. Some of the students can be experts in one area or another
and one can learn a lot from them. They can also provide
valuable feedback on the homework posted to the group. Who
knows, you might even need them in the future, as experts for
one of your articles!
All in all,
taking an online writing course was a great experience and a whole lot
of fun. It gave me the energy necessary to finish up and start new
projects, and it did get my creativity flowing again. I’d recommend an
online refresher to any scribe, whether they’re a writing novice or a
About the Author:
Caroline Blaha-Black lives and writes in Denton, TX,
where she shares her living space with a husband, three cats, rat, and a
fat toad. She writes for various spiritual and women’s publications,
like Sage Woman, New Witch, and the Beltane Papers.