The Best Online Writing Courses: Detailed Reviews

What are the best writing courses available right now? New and experienced writers can choose from a plethora of online writing courses. No matter what you write, write books, articles, blog posts and so on, there’s an online writing course for you.

What to do Before Choosing a Course?

The first step towards improving your writing skills is to understand that online writing classes vary widely in price, content, and theme. Before picking a class, decide what part of the writing process you want to learn more about and your budget.

Establish Your Goals for an Online Writing Course

Before spending money on a course, it's a good idea to reflect on what you write, who it's for and your ideal learning goal.

A nonfiction writer probably has different creative goals to a novelist for example. The former may want to land more clients, whereas the later may be interested in world-building.

Here are several questions to ask yourself before handing over your credit card details:

  • Are you a new writer looking for something to inspire you to start writing?
  • Do you need help with writer's block?
  • Are you trying to hone your writing style?
  • Would you like to write your first book?
  • Or perhaps you want to pen and publish a personal essay?
  • Do you need help with novel writing?
  • Do you want to increase your revenue by self-publishing your book on Amazon?
  • Are you a freelance writer who wants to develop better business writing skills?
  • Would you like to improve your brand storytelling skills?
  • Or do you want to hone everyday writing skills, like self-editing?
  • Do you need help launching and marketing a potential best-seller?

Online writing courses exist for all types of creative and business pursuits!

These courses can help you improve several aspects of your writing skills.

For example:

If you want to study the art of writing, consider Masterclass or the Novelry.

If you want to improve your copywriting skills consider Freedom Machine or Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.

If you want to learn how to write and sell more books, try courses by Dawson or Stephenson.

Some of these classes are available today, whereas others only open their doors several times a year.

Set Your Course Budget

Next, you need to determine how much you are willing to invest in a course.

If you are completely new to online learning, you might want to try out free online courses like Brandon Sanderson’s lectures for genre fiction writers.

You can check out affordable courses like Udemy or Write Your Book.

Once you have covered the absolute basics of the writing format through free online courses – step up to a more advanced paid class like Masterclass or Chandler Bolt’s course.

Can Writing Skills Be Improved?

Well, of course.

You can improve your writing skills by taking creative writing classes online or in a classroom.

During my late 20s, I spent two years of my life taking creative writing classes and nonfiction writing classes in the Irish Writer's center in Dublin, Ireland.

Twelve of us met in an airy room on the second floor of an old Georgian building for two hours every Monday evening.

We discussed works of fiction by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and nonfiction by the likes of Montaigne.

We also workshopped each other's creative nonfiction pieces and explained what we liked and disliked about them – before heading for beers to a nearby pub!

Back then, I enjoyed spending time in the company of other aspiring authors who wanted to improve their writing skills.

Why?

Well, if you want to become a writer or an author, some of the people close to you, like friends or family, probably have little interest in the art of writing.

It's particularly encouraging to get feedback and support from other writers who have more writing experience than you.

But I couldn't keep taking the same writing class… and for a while, I felt lost.

Then I discovered online learning. I found a wealth of writing classes online that have shaped the way I write today.

Just like anything, I quickly understood the pros and cons of online classes versus learning in a classroom.

List of Top Fiction, Nonfiction, and Business Writing Courses

Click on each course in this list to jump to the review directly.

Fiction Writing Courses

Before we begin, let's define what is included by fiction writing:

  • Prose and poetry.
  • Novels – thrillers, romance, fantasy and science fiction.
  • Screenplays and short stories.

The courses in this section teach you different writing techniques that you need to craft compelling stories.

(All of them are not dedicated fiction writing courses, but they are still beneficial for fiction writers. )

Some of the courses also teach you how to write and self-publish a book from scratch!

These courses helped me learn about topics like writing style, self-editing, self-publishing and marketing.

Some focused on the craft of writing while others offered tactics that work right now on book stores like Amazon.

Nonfiction Writing Courses

What exactly is nonfiction?

Writing a memoir, educational blog post, personal essay, etc. is generally considered as nonfiction. This is also referred to as creative nonfiction.

These courses can help you to weave facts and ideas to create an engaging narrative that can hook your audience.

Masterclass taught me about how successful non-fiction authors like Malcolm Gladwell approach their craft, while Your First 10K Readers helped with book marketing.

Business Writing Courses

This section will focus on websites that teach courses related to blogging, copywriting and marketing that help entrepreneurs or marketers write articles that convert (or even get over writer's block).

Storylogue taught me how businesses and copywriters can use stories to connect with their audience, while Freedom Machine offers a roadmap to profits for new bloggers.

The Best Online Writing Courses (Detailed Reviews)

Here are the detailed reviews of the best online writing courses you can take right now.

1. Masterclass

James Patterson
Masterclass is our top choice

Masterclass offers writing classes that focus on the craft and theory of fiction and nonfiction writing.

Where else will you find talented authors talk about their writing process and writing style in such great detail?

Click here to read my detailed Masterclass review.

Key Concepts:

Each of the lessons is between five and ten minutes long and you can watch them on your mobile or desktop. They also come with downloadable materials like PDF worksheets and notes.

You can also engage with other writers and students. If you're lucky, one of the celebrity tutors may even workshop your piece!

Instructor(s):

Masterclass superstar writing tutors include: James Patterson, Malcolm Gladwell, Margaret Atwood, and David Mamet.

You might want to consider Patterson's class if you write fiction and Gladwell if you write nonfiction.

Course Schedule:

The course is self-paced.

Recommended For:

From fiction to creative nonfiction to script-writing – Masterclass has courses for every kind of writer including novelists, bloggers and aspiring authors. You'll learn about everything from character development to getting published.

Pricing:

These classes are relatively affordable and cost approximately $100. You can access digestible materials from great writers who are usually inaccessible.

2. The Novelry

Novelry

The Novelry offers online creative writing courses for the budding author keen to get a novel done.

Founded by award-winning Booker listed novelist Louise Dean, The Novelry supports writers from the twinkling of an idea through to submission to their literary agency partners.

I recently interviewed Louise Dean for my podcast and she has a great approach that helps writers finish a draft in 90 days.

Course Schedule:

Self-paced.

Recommended For:

Fiction writers.

Aspiring novelists.

3. CreativeLive

Creative Live

CreativeLive is an interesting alternative to Masterclass.

Rather than featuring celebrity writers and authors, many of CreativeLive instructors are entrepreneurs, bloggers, and online personalities.

Having taken several of these classes I found them to be more practical than what Masterclass offers.

If Masterclass provides the theory, CreativeLive provides the steps you must take to succeed at blogging or book writing.

Click here to read my detailed CreativeLive review.

Key Concepts:

These writing classes are recorded classes in a live studio by instructors teaching or presenting to other writers.

It's an interesting way to learn because you can see the reactions of the audience and get ideas from the questions they have for the writing instructors.

Again, the materials are readily digestible. With some exceptions, the lessons are between five and 15-minutes long.

The CreativeLive writing classes also include downloadable PDFs, exercises and worksheets. You can watch the materials on your desktop or through the CreativeLive app on your mobile device.

If you're unsure where to start, consider Wired for Story: How to Become a Story Genius by Lisa Cron.

Instructor(s):
Notable instructors include New York Times best-selling authors Ramit Sethi and Tim Ferriss.

Course Schedule:

The course is self-paced.

Recommended For:

CreativeLive has classes for bloggers, fiction and nonfiction writers.

Pricing:

The cost varies depending on the class. Classes start from $20.

Creative Live: Free Live Online Classes
Free/From $10

Master your craft, your passion, or something new

with creative classes taught by the world’s best.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

4. Udemy

Secret Sauce Course

Udemy is the supermarket of online learning. It also has courses on hundreds of topics other than writing.

You can choose from dozens of different writing classes of varying standards.

These Udemy classes cover everything from key concepts like basic grammar and punctuation to freelance writing to self-publishing to blogging.

Key Concepts:

Typically, these writing classes involve the instructor recording a video from his or her office, sometimes supported by a PowerPoint presentation.

However, the quality of the lesson materials varies widely from class to class, so make sure you read the reviews before buying one.

Consider taking the Secret Sauce of Great Writing by former Wall Street Journal editor Shani Raja. His other course writing with flair is popular.

Instructor(s):

Many of the instructors on Udemy are less well-known than CreativeLive or Masterclass.

Course Schedule:

The course is self-paced.

Recommended For:

Udemy is a good place to start if you're new to online learning as the classes don't cost much and you can buy them any time.

Pricing:

Udemy online writing classes are cheap to start with and often sold at a discount. The cost varies depending on the class. Classes start from $9.99.

5. Storylogue

StoryLogue

Run by screenwriter, author and creative instructor Robert McKee, Storylogue is one of the lesser-known online writing classes available today.

It's based on what McKee teaches in person and in his excellent book Storynomics.

Key Concepts:

Robert McKee’s in-person workshops cost several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on where and when you take them.

However, the online writing class Storylogue distills what McKee knows about storytelling with an emphasis on screenwriting and business writing. These lessons typically involve McKee speaking straight-to-camera from his office.

The materials aren't as well-organized as a Masterclass or CreativeLive.

I had to use the search feature to find suitable lessons. That said, they've updated the user interface since I was a member.

The slight emphasis on screenwriting may also deter some writers.

Instructor(s):

Robert McKee is an author, lecturer and story consultant. He consulted on business storytelling for companies like Microsoft, Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Time Warner, and Siemens.

Several years ago, I attended Robert McKee's in-person business writing class in Kerry. He was an engaging and inspiring instructor. At one point, McKee became so passionate about a story that his eyes watered.

Course Schedule:

The course is self-paced.

Recommended For:

This course is suitable for screenwriters, content marketers, anyone who want to improve their storytelling skills.

Pricing:

You get access to all lessons for $19.97 (paid monthly) or $197 (paid annually).

6. Writers Village University

Writers Village University

Writer's Village University is a popular online writing class and community aimed at fiction writers.

The emphasis here is on the community. So consider Writer's Village University to be an online version of your local creative writing group.

It's been around since 1995 too, making it the oldest writing class in this review.

I joined for two months out of curiosity, even though I don't write much fiction.

Key Concepts:

The website contains an active forum. There are over 200 different short classes you can take at your pace. They cover topics like writing poetry, crafting thrillers, essay writing, and more.

There's less of an emphasis on video learning than other classes featured in this review. Instead, you receive a series of writing assignments via email.

You can then submit your homework assignments to your online writing tutor and other students to workshop. I joined this website for three months before moving on.

That said, it struck me as a useful resource for fiction writers who hunger for a community.

Instructor(s):

It is a community of writers.

Course Schedule:

Click here for more upcoming courses.

Recommended For:

These courses are suitable for fiction writers who want the support of other writers.

Pricing:

It costs $30 for a 30-day trial. After the trial period, one-year Writers' Village University membership costs $99.

7. Your First 10k Readers

Writing Course 2

This online writing class is aimed at fiction and nonfiction authors who want to self-publish and sell more books.

Key Concepts:

I took this course in 2017. It walks you through some basic and more advanced book marketing strategies that work.

For example – It teaches you the strategy of self-publishing a short book that you offer for free. This book serves as an introduction to your series or a reader magnet. The goal of this free book is to encourage people to buy your next book.

Instructor(s):

The course is offered by British indie author Nick Stephenson who is known for his thriller novels.

Course Schedule:

Stephenson only opens this course several times a year, so you'll need to join his email list first.

Recommended For:

This course is suitable for authors who want to earn money from self-publishing books.

Pricing:

This course in its entirety costs around $595. However, you can sign up for a free training session.

8. Self-Publishing School

Self Publishing School

The course teaches students how to write and self-publish books on Amazon quickly and easily.

Key Concepts:

Bolt's teaching methods may not apply to every type of writer. My literary creative writing instructor from the Irish Writer's Centre would baulk at the idea of writing a book so quickly.

However, if earning money with e-books is your goal, you can learn a lot from Bolt.

Instructor(s):

US indie author and entrepreneur Chandler Bolt runs this online writing class. Check out my interview with him here.

Course Schedule:

Bolt only opens the doors for his course several times a year. Join his email list to avoid missing this opportunity.

Recommended For:

This course is suitable for aspiring writers who want self-publish books on Amazon.

Pricing:

This course in its entirety costs around $697.

9. Self Publishing Formula/Ads for Authors

Mark Dawson

Both of these courses are taught by bestselling author Mark Dawson.

Key Concepts:

Self Publishing Formula teaches the basics of writing, publishing and promoting a book on Amazon and other stores.

Dawson's second course Ads for Authors will help you sell more copies of your book.

He explains how to use various types of ads to sell your books including Facebook ads, YouTube ads, and Amazon ads.

In 2016 and early 2017, I struggled with earning a profit from selling my books on Amazon.

Thanks in part to Dawson's second course, I learned how to run profitable Amazon ads that earn me a nice return on my books each month.

Instructor(s):

Mark Dawson is a British thriller author. He has reportedly earned $450,000 a year just by publishing books on Amazon!

Course Schedule:

Dawson only opens the doors to his courses a few times a year, so join his email list first.

Recommended For:

This course is suitable for aspiring indie authors or even established authors who want to increase their profits.

Pricing:

This course in its entirety costs around $497.

10. Authority Pub-Academy

Authority Pub-Academy

Authority Pub-Academy is an online learning class run by noted indie authors and entrepreneurs Steve Barrie and Barrie Davenport over at Authority Pub.

Key Concepts:

I haven't taken this writing class, but it comes recommended by many other indie authors.

I have browsed the curriculum, and it's similar to what Bolt, Dawson, and Stephenson teach.

In other words, this course walks you through the basics of writing and self-publishing a book that sells. The course contains six lessons with multiple lessons in each one.

Some lessons include:

  • The Current State of Self-Publishing
  • How to Research and Pick A Winning Niche
  • How to Create A Bestselling Topic
  • Ten-Day Free Book Launch Strategy
  • How to Create a Facebook Ad For Your Books

This writing course has been around for around six years, which is encouraging. I will update this online writing courses review when I take it.

Instructor(s):

Over the years, Steve Barrie and Barrie Davenport have nearly published around 100 books amongst themselves.

Course Schedule:

The course is self-paced.

Recommended For:

It’s suitable for aspiring writers who want to learn about self-publishing.

Pricing:

The course in its entirety costs around $797.

11. Brandon Sanderson's Writing Lectures at Brigham Young University

Brandon Sanderson

(source: https://www.tor.com/2016/06/24/brandon-sanderson-video-lectures-writing-sci-fi-fantasy/)

In 2016, Brandon Sanderson recorded a course, which focused on writing fantasy books. He uploaded these classes and published them as a YouTube playlist.

Now, you can take Sanderson's curriculum online in the same sequence as his students.

Key Concepts:

I don't write fantasy stories (at least, not anymore), but I watched nearly a dozen of Sanderson's writing classes.

I was fascinated to hear him describe his techniques on world-building and writing genre fiction.

That said, some of the classes are hard to follow because of background noise. Also, the classes were typically between 30 and 60 minutes long, and it took me a long time to go through all of them.

Still, Sanderson's classes are free and a good introduction to learning online for aspiring fiction authors.

Instructor(s):

Brandon Sanderson is a famous American fiction author who specializes in fantasy. Noted works of his include the Mistborn series and his conclusion to the Wheel of Time series.

Course Schedule:

You can watch all of his videos at your own leisure.

Recommended For:

These lectures are a great introduction to online writing courses. It is suitable for fiction writers (specifically fantasy).

Pricing:

You can watch all of his lectures for free!

12. Write Your Book

Write Your Book

I teach new writers and aspiring authors how to write their first nonfiction book.

Key Concepts:

I cover topics like

  • What it takes to go from the blank page to a finished book
  • Conquering writer's block once and for all
  • Editing that messy first draft like a pro!

Instructor(s):

Yours truly

Course Schedule:

Self-paced

Recommended For:
This course is suitable for bloggers, aspiring nonfiction authors, and freelance writers.

Pricing:
It only costs $197!

Watch a free lesson

13. Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting

Copywriting is a specialism for nonfiction writers that involves writing words that sell.

In the past, I've taken several different types of copywriting classes and I enjoyed reading many books about this art.

Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting is the most popular online writing class for copywriters.

It comes recommended by many noted online writers ranging from James Altucher to Jon Morrow.

Key Concepts:
I haven't taken this online writing class yet, but it's on my list. I will update this writing class review with more information when I complete this class.

Instructor(s):

American Writers & Artists, various copywriters

Course Schedule:

Self-paced.

Recommended For:

Suitable for bloggers, freelance writers, copywriters who want to improve business writing skills.

Pricing:

The course in its entirety costs $497.

14. Freedom Machine

Freedom Machine will help you write engaging posts that capture the hearts and minds of your readers.

Key Concepts:

Jon Morrow also teaches the specifics behind earning a healthy income from writing online.

Instructor(s):

Jon Morrow from Smart Blogger runs this writing course.

I've taken many of Jon's courses over the years and he has forgotten more about blogging and writing online most people will ever learn.

Thanks to Morrow's courses, I've written for sites like Lifehacker, Fast Company and Forbes.

Course Schedule:

Self-paced.

Recommended For:

This course is suitable for bloggers, freelance writers, creative entrepreneurs.

Pricing:

Jon offers the first part of Freedom Machine for free. The course in its entirety costs $2000.

15. SkillShare

Skillshare is an online learning community. Students can take a class on almost anything by participating in almost 30,000 classes. You can watch unlimited lessons while your subscription lasts, but when it expires, you lose access.

Key concepts

Writing, coding, graphic design

Instructors:

Varies

Pricing:

Free trial available

Recommended For:

This course is suitable for bloggers, freelance writers, creative entrepreneurs.

Read our Skillshare review

Why You Can Trust Us

I’ve written and published dozens of articles for newspapers, magazines and online publications including, Forbes and Lifehacker. I'm also a best-selling non-fiction author, a trained journalist and copywriter.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars taking writing courses in college and online. I consider writing courses a key part of my development as a writer. I also sometimes commission other writers to review these courses to get another point of view.

FAQs on The Best Online Writing Courses Today

Do creative writing courses help?

Creative writing courses help if you complete the course and also write and share your short stories or pieces. It helps if you can take a course alongside other students and an experienced teacher.

Are writing-intensive courses hard?

If you haven't written much before, they can prove challenging as you'll have to cultivate a regular writing habit and adapt to getting feedback from other writers, even it's negative.

Are writing courses worth it?

They are if you pick a course from a reputable instructor that solves a particular problem. For example, I took a book marketing course that doubled my book sales and earnings over time.

Author

Choose The Best Online Writing Classes Today

The Bottomline

What other online writing classes would you like me to feature in this review? How do you plan to develop your English writing skills? Please let me know in the comments section below.

*Please note, the cost of some of these writing classes varies depending on when they are launched.

Pros

  • These courses are meant for independent study so you can learn at your own pace. Some courses don’t even have homework assignments, writing exercises or time constraints.
  • Google may not have all the answers. It’s just not enough to browse through articles on writing tips. Online courses give you exclusive information and learning materials.
  • If an online writing tutor uses your writing as an example for the class, it can help you gain visibility.
  • If an online writing tutor uses your writing as an example for the class, it can help you gain visibility.

Cons

  • They sometimes lack the personal touch of classroom writing courses.
  • You can’t have face-face interactions with fellow writers.
  • Some courses have no instructor feedback.
  • The quality and price varies greatly.
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