Discover the best online writing courses to help you take your career and craft to the next level.
I spent a year taking a traditional in-person writing class. We covered topics like writing short stories and personal essays. It was fun to meet other writers, but a conventional writing class involves traveling to a location at a set time each week. It’s often hard to do this with a job and family commitments.
New and experienced writers can choose from a plethora of online writing classes. You can learn a specific topic related to the craft at your own pace. No matter what you write, write books, articles, blog posts, and so on, there’s an online writing course for you.
Online writing courses provide valuable lessons for new and established writers. No matter your skill level, you can continually improve and build new skills with the help of industry experts. Some of my most valuable skills have been gained from online classes.
Using online writing courses can open up opportunities to further your career. This could include launching your online blog with articles, publishing your non-fiction or fiction book, beginning a copywriting career, or delving into journalism. Whatever your passion is, online courses are a great way to develop your skills and start your next adventure.
Learn from the world's best teachers and instructors about writing, business, creative pursuits and more. It's affordable and includes dozens of hours of high-quality lessons that you can't get anywhere else. It costs just $10 per month.
- What to Do Before Starting a Writing Course?
- The Best Online Writing Courses
- 1. The Successful Writers’ Club
- 2. Masterclass
- 3. The Novelry
- 4. CreativeLive
- 5. Udemy
- 6. Storylogue
- 7. Writers Village University
- 8. Your First 10k Readers
- 9. Self-Publishing Formula/Ads for Authors
- 10. Authority Pub-Academy
- 11. Brandon Sanderson’s Writing Lectures at Brigham Young University
- 12. Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting
- 13. SkillShare
- 14. Coursera
- 15. Writer’s Digest University
- 16. Bookfox
- 17. Grammar Lion
- 18. LitReactor
- Why You Can Trust Us
- Best Online Writing Courses: The Final Word
- FAQs on The Best Online Writing Courses
- Masterclass Resources
What to Do Before Starting a Writing Course?
Establish Your Goals for an Online Writing Course
The first step towards improving your writing skills is to understand 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.
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. For example, a non-fiction writer probably has different creative goals than a novelist. The former may want more clients, whereas the latter may be interested in world-building. So 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 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. Some of these classes are available today, whereas others only open their doors several times a year.
Set Your Course Budget
Next, you must determine how much you are willing to invest in a course. For example, if you are new to online learning, you might want to try free online courses like Brandon Sanderson’s lectures for genre fiction writers.
You can check out affordable courses like Udemy or The Successful Writers’s Club. Then, 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.
Remember, set your budget for what you can afford now and what is suited to your skill set. You can always note down interesting courses and add them to your wishlist to revisit at a later time. It is better to start small and build up to more comprehensive courses than pay for something above your skill level out of pocket.
The Best Online Writing Courses
1. The Successful Writers’ Club
I teach new writers how to share their stories, make an impact and get paid to write. With a plethora of experience, I share my insights into what makes a great book and how you can achieve your writing goals. By pulling from my writing, I share skills that will help you write online, get paid and make an impact. I also delve into popular topics like publishing a book, blogging and SEO for writers. The club comprises a series of mini-courses for writers and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
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!
- Getting paid as a freelance writer
- How to find readers using blogging and SEO
- Lots more… I record new mini courses regularly
Instructor(s): Yours truly
Course Schedule: Self-paced
Recommended for: This course is suitable for bloggers, aspiring non-fiction authors, and freelance writers.
Pricing: It only costs $20 per month
With thousands of courses to choose from, Masterclass provides a professional platform for acclaimed experts to share their knowledge. In addition, Masterclass offers writing classes focusing on the craft and theory of fiction and non-fiction writing. Where else will you find talented authors talking about their writing process and style in such great detail? Click here to read our detailed Masterclass review.
Each lesson 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 non-fiction. In addition, students can pick from over a dozen Masterclass courses for writers.
Course Schedule: The course is self-paced.
Recommended for: From fiction to creative non-fiction 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.
3. The Novelry
The Novelry supports writers from the twinkling of an idea to submission to their literary agency partners. In addition, the Novelry offers online creative writing courses for the budding author keen to complete a novel. Founded by award-winning Booker-listed novelist Louise Dean, The Novelry supports writers from the twinkling of an idea 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.
CreativeLive is an exciting 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 more practical than Masterclass offers. However, 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.
These writing classes are recorded in a live studio by instructors teaching or presenting to other writers. It’s an exciting way to learn because you can see the audience’s reactions and get ideas from their questions 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.
Instructors: 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 and fiction and non-fiction writers.
Pricing: The cost varies depending on the class. Classes start from $20.
These Udemy classes cover everything from critical concepts like basic grammar and punctuation to freelance writing, self-publishing, and blogging. 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 critical concepts like basic grammar and punctuation to freelance writing, self-publishing, and blogging.
Typically, these writing classes involve the instructor recording a video from their 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. In addition, consider taking the Secret Sauce of Great Writing by former Wall Street Journal editor Shani Raja. His other course writing with flair is popular.
Instructors: 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 an excellent place to start if you’re new to online learning, as the classes don’t cost much, and you can buy them anytime.
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.
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 his excellent book Storynomics.
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, emphasizing screenwriting and business writing. These lessons typically involve McKee speaking straight to the camera from his office.
The materials aren’t as well-organized as those in a Masterclass or CreativeLive. I had to use the search feature to find suitable lessons. 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. I attended Robert McKee’s in-person business writing class several years ago 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, and anyone who wants to improve their storytelling skills.
Pricing: You get access to all lessons for $19.97 (paid monthly) or $197 (paid annually).
7. 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, 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.
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 emphasis on video learning than in 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 the workshop. I joined this website for three months before moving on. That said, it struck me as a valuable 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, a one-year Writers’ Village University membership costs $99.
8. Your First 10k Readers
This online writing class is aimed at fiction and non-fiction authors who want to self-publish and sell more books. The instructor is Nick Stephenson, an author from the United Kingdom. Self-publishing is an underrated pathway to becoming a successful author. Nowadays, self-publishing has become the new normal. With the influx of social media, it is possible to self-publish, self-promote, and self-market.
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 process 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, 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 suits 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.
9. Self-Publishing Formula/Ads for Authors
Both of these courses are taught by bestselling author Mark Dawson, a noted indie author from the United Kingdom. He’s also an expert in book marketing through paid advertising.
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 ads to sell your books, including Facebook, YouTube, and Amazon ads. In 2016 and early 2017, I struggled to earn a profit from selling my books on Amazon. But, thanks to Dawson’s second course, I learned how to run profitable Amazon ads, making me an excellent monthly return on my books.
Instructor(s): Mark Dawson is a British thriller author. He has reportedly earned $450,000 a year 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 established authors who want to increase their profits.
Pricing: This course, in its entirety, costs around $497.
10. Authority Pub-Academy
I haven’t taken this writing class, but many other indie authors recommend it. 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 nearly ten years, which is encouraging. I will update this online writing course review when I take it.
Instructor(s): Steve Barrie and Barrie Davenport have published nearly 100 books.
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
In 2016, Brandon Sanderson recorded a course focused on writing fantasy books. Then, 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.
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 world-building techniques and genre fiction writing.
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 them. Still, Sanderson’s classes are free and an excellent introduction to learning online for aspiring fiction authors.
Instructor(s): Brandon Sanderson is a famous American fiction author specializing in fantasy. Notable 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 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. Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting
Copywriting is a specialism for non-fiction writers that involves writing words that sell. In the past, I’ve taken several types of copywriting classes and enjoyed reading many books about this art. Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting is the most popular online writing class for copywriters. Many noted online writers recommend it.
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, and copywriters who want to improve business writing skills.
Pricing: The course in its entirety costs $497.
Students can take a class on almost anything by participating in nearly 30,000 classes. You can watch unlimited lessons while your subscription lasts, but when it expires, you lose access. With unlimited access, this course is brilliant if you want to scale up your skillset in multiple ways. Read our Skillshare review
Key Concepts: Writing, coding, graphic design
Recommended for: This course is suitable for bloggers, freelance writers, and creative entrepreneurs.
Pricing: Free trial available
By partnering with established colleges and universities, you can gain access to valuable certificates by completing specializations.
Key Concepts: The Creative Writing specialization contains multiple courses you can participate in, including short stories, narrative essays, and memoirs. Coursera is a fantastic option for writers seeking official qualifications and certificates and learning from industry leaders.
Instructors: Coursera’s Creative Writing course includes Brando Skyhors (Visiting Assistant professor of Creative Writing), Amy Bloom (Distinguished University Writer in Residence and Director of the Shapiro Centre for Creative writing, Amity Gaige (Visiting Scholar in Creative Writing), and Salvator Scibons (Frank B. Weeks Visiting Professor of English).
Course Schedule: This course is self-paced and lasts 3-6 months.
Recommended for: Those who want to get a headstart on their writing career or to achieve college-level coursework and qualifications
Pricing: $49 per month
15. Writer’s Digest University
Writer’s Digest University provides a creative writing crash course for those beginning their writing career. With a fantastic reputation of being an established magazine since 1920, you can get the best start to begin your first exciting writing project.
Key Concepts: The class teaches common concerns, such as deciding on the point of view and beating writer’s block.
Instructors: Ran Walker, winner of the 2019 National Undie Author of the Year Award.
Course Schedule: This is a 12-week course
Recommended for: Those who are ready to take the next to begin their writing career.
Bookfox is created by John Matthew Fox, a former college professor, editor, and writer. His course is packed with helpful information for writers looking to create an excellent children’s book. This course has 14 lessons, which take as long as you want as it is self-paced.
The content provides you with everything you need to know to write and publish your book. This includes writing, proofreading, editing, finding an illustrator and agent, and getting your book on the shelves! It’s a must-have course for serious writers.
Instructor: John Matthew Fox
Course Schedule: This course is self-paced
Recommended for: Children’s book writers
17. Grammar Lion
This Grammar Lion course is perfect for those looking to upgrade their grammar skills or learn the art of proofreading and copyediting. The course material involves:
- Identifying parts of speech.
- Reviewing sentence structure.
- Discovering different verb forms.
- Learning about the different tenses.
This course allows one-on-one discussions with the lecturer to learn new skills. As well as this, you have access to 12 comprehensive lessons, each delving into a different topic that will improve your grammar.
Instructor: Ellen Field
Course Schedule: This course is self-paced and lasts 12 weeks.
Recommended for: Beginners looking to elevate their grammar schools
With interesting elements weaved into the coursework, this writing experience is like no other. For example, the course “Writing the Weird” features assignments that look at surreal and bizarre literature to find and examine the writing within these novels that makes them stand out.
Key Concepts: This course examines humanity, structure, setting, and resolution within a story’s plot.
Instructor: J.S. Breukelaar (finalist for the Ladies of Horror Fiction Award).
Course Schedule: 4-week schedule that you can work through at your leisure.
Recommended for: Writers within niche genres.
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 a copywriter.
I’ve spent thousands of dollars taking writing courses in college and online. I consider writing courses a crucial part of my development as a writer. I also sometimes commission other writers to review these courses to get another point of view.
Best Online Writing Courses: The Final Word
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.
FAQs on The Best Online Writing Courses
Do creative writing courses help?
Creative writing courses help if you complete the course and also write and share your short stories or pieces. In addition, 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 be a challenge as you’ll have to cultivate a regular writing habit and adapt to getting feedback from other writers, even if 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.