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Why should you be interested in finding the best online writing courses for new writers? Because being able to effectively and clearly express yourself through writing is an essential communication skill needed in both our professional and personal lives.
Understanding and knowing how to use the basic elements of composition, provides the framework for sharing thoughts and ideas in a way that is easily understood and responded to. This can seem daunting to the beginner. To help with that, here are six of the best online writing courses for new writers.
1. Getting Started in Writing
This course, offered by the well-respected Writer’s Digest University, is a great place to start if you are interested in writing but not sure which direction you want to go with it. Beginning with review of basic grammar and going on to explore several styles of writing, this is a thorough introduction to crafting with words.
There are no certificates or exams offered with this class, but you will have the opportunity to get valuable feedback from the instructor and your peers.
- Website: WritersOnlineWorkshops.com.
- Certificate: No.
- Exam: No. You will, however, receive feedback from the instructor and your classmates.
- Cost: $379.99 USD.
2. Creative Writing 101
Gotham Writers Workshop has offered writing instruction in New York City and online since 1993. Their Creative Writing 101 course covers fiction, non-fiction, journaling, and how to use language to show, instead of telling the readers what you want them to know.
The class format is a series of lectures with written exercises to support what is learned. This six-week class is also available via one on one tutoring for $995 USD.
- Website: WritingClasses.com.
- Certificate: Individual certificates are offered as proof of completion. These may also be listed on your resume.
- Exam: No. Students receive feedback on their writing and on assignments.
- Cost: $299 USD plus a $25 USD registration fee per term.
3. Creative Non-Fiction 101
Creative Non-Fiction 101 is another offering from Gotham Writers. Skills taught in this class include writing reviews, character profiles, how to write an article versus an essay, travel writing, creating a personal narrative and writing a memoir. The format is six weeks of lectures reinforced by writing assignments. One on one tutoring is also available for $995 USD.
- Website: WritingClasses.com.
- Certificate: Individual certificates are offered as proof of completion. These may be listed on your resume.
- Exam: No.
- Cost: $299 USD, plus a $25 USD registration fee paid once per term.
4. Adventures in Writing
The best online writing courses for new writers are not always in a standard format. Stanford University offers this unique and fun writing class via their Stanford Online platform. This free class is presented as a series of graphic novel style videos that teach style, audience, voice, punctuation, and argument.
All five modules will take a total of 4-6 hours to complete. Feedback is in the form of interactive exercises that reveal correct and incorrect answers. Instructors in Stanford’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric compiled the lessons, and the graphics were done by student illustrators.
- Website: Stanford.edu.
- Certificate: No.
- Exam: No.
- Cost: Free.
5. Grammar and Punctuation
Having a good command of grammar and punctuation is foundational to accurately composing your thoughts; this class can help with that. It is offered by the University of California, Irvine, via Coursera. Coursera is available as Android and iOS apps. You can use the app to access the course material.
The class is self-paced with a suggested commitment of 4-5 hours per week. Auditing is free and provides access to assignments and lectures but no feedback or certificate is given.
- Website: Coursera.org; Coursera is also available as iOS and Android apps.
- Certificate: A certificate is available with the paid version of the class.
- Exam: Quizzes and feedback are given in the paid version of the class.
- Cost: Free 7-day trial and then $49 USD per month after that. You may also choose to audit the course for free but no certificate will be issued.
6. Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go
Taught by Ann Linquist, this class covers not only the basics of writing fiction and creative non-fiction, but also touches on topics relevant to writers of all skill levels. You will learn how to find your voice, how to overcome doubt, avoid clichés, how to effectively utilize dialogue, and more.
Of the best online writing courses for new writers listed here, this class is the most detailed in how to approach the writing process. The class is six weeks long, has two weekly assignments and a final exam.
- Website: ed2go.com.
- Certificate: Yes, may be printed after completion of the course.
- Exam: Yes.
- Cost: $149 USD.
Whether you are trying to boost your resume, are a lifelong learner, or have always wanted to be a writer, taking a class is good way to get started. Learn about basic grammar, punctuation, the different forms of writing, and how to use and trust your creative abilities. Doing this online using chats and other interactive platforms, can be just as effective and rewarding as a traditional classroom.
If you take, or have taken, one of the six best online writing courses for new writers we have reviewed here, we would love to hear from you. Please share your experiences and thoughts on the content of these classes and the platforms they use, including the Coursera app.