Maybe you are one of those people who just love making up stories and imagining scenarios in your head. If you can imagine a whole world but can’t seem to be able to transform it into words, then you should consider taking some creative writing courses.
It seems simple, just writing what you are envisioning, but in reality, it is a lot harder than you think.
Creative writing is not only about putting words on paper. It is about coming up with the best way to transmit them, to be able to engage the reader into the story.
If you have ever read a bad book with a great story arch you should know that having a good story is not the main thing. The most important thing is being able to transform it into words. Sometimes people need some help to do this.
So if you are thinking about taking creative writing courses, there are some things you should consider before starting.
Consider if you are willing to study hard.
Being a writer is a lot of hard work. It does not consist only on writing whatever is on your mind. It has much more involved into it.
You have to be willing to work hard, really study, and most of all, read a LOT.
If you are one of those people who can read only what he or she likes to read, then you should re-consider. Please mind that many assignments will not be about books you will necessarily enjoy.
In order to learn a little bit about everything, you will have to read different genres, different authors, and stories.
You might even need to study a lot about English language, correct phrasing or composition. Also, you will need to improve your grammar and more.
All of this means spending a lot of time and effort into the creative writing courses. If for you this is only a hobby, or you don’t want to have to do so much hard work, then you should think about it twice.
What kind of creative writing courses do you want to pursue
This is probably the first thing you should really consider when deciding which course to take. It is not the same to take a short course about a subject than to study a master or a high studies course.
First of all, the content is very different. A simple course might cover some topics, but it will rarely cover every topic related. Even if it does, it would be in a simple and lighter way.
University courses tend to go a bit more beyond the surface with the topics. This is good if you want to pursue a career in writing.
The next thing you should consider is what kind of degree do you need or want to get from your creative writing courses.
High studies tend to give a certificate. Usually, it is backed up by either a renowned university or studies center or by an institute. Even Standford has Online Creative Writing Courses, take a look
As for creative writing courses, they don’t usually give you a very useful degree. They are more focused on giving you some basic knowledge to start with.
What study method are you most likely to continue.
Some people are just too lazy to go to a class and prefer to have a virtual classroom. They prefer to get the education while not having to leave the comfort of their home.
And some other people are just too lazy to study on their own. They don’t like an environment with so many distractions. This is why they prefer just going to class and be “forced” to study at their rhythm.
To make it short, we are all lazy, but not in the same way. This is why you should consider about the way you want to learn.
They both have pros and cons, and it is up to you really deciding which one is you preferred studying style.
If you choose to do it online, you will be able to schedule your classes and organize them around your free time. I recommend you to have a regular schedule, and not just taking classes on your free time
Having a regular schedule helps you organize also your assignments. It makes you really think about the job you are doing. That way you know you have “homework” and don’t leave it to the last minute.
Also make sure to have a comfortable learning space, but not too much comfortable as you might fall asleep while studying. Make sure you take the classes at hours where you are not too tired or busy with other things.
You have to be able to give a time and space to the classes, so they don’t seem unimportant. You need to make them a part of your schedule.
On the opposite side, if you decide to go to classes, make sure the schedule works for you. Make it so you don’t have to run from one side of town to the other. It has to fit your schedule so you don’t have excuses to skip class.
Also, I recommend you to look for places with a nurturing and creative environment, where you will not get bored. Look for a place that is not too far away from your workplace or your home, as you might start to lose interest.
Research your institute
You don’t go to a doctor you haven’t heard anything about. Same goes for your creative writing courses. You shouldn’t go into a class on a place you haven’t heard anything about.
Sometimes, hearing nothing might be worse than hearing something bad. You should always research the place you wish to study on.
If you have decided into a real-life class, you should google places with creative writing courses near you. After you’ve done your research, call ahead and ask them as many questions you want. Keep asking things until you feel certain about the place.
There are websites where you can read about those places. Always read reviews from other people who have taken their classes.
After you have narrowed down into a few places you like, visit them before you decide on a place. You might not like the environment they have or how the school/institute works.
If you decide into a virtual place, make sure it is a known site. Make sure it is protected and has a low chance of scamming you.
You should always research virtual places, as there are many websites that offer creative writing classes. Please mind that many of them can use false or misleading information
A very good option for this is the specialization course from Wesleyan University via Coursera website.
Read your teacher’s work
An important part of researching the place you will be taking classes on is also taking notice on your soon-to-be teacher.
Most of the place’s websites include a summary of their teacher’s work. If you can, look for some examples of their work so you can read and decide.
If they don’t, you can usually call them and they will let you know this information. Find out at least the name of your teacher so you can research on your own.
Web sites often have this kind of information as well, as a way to promote their course, but make sure to research on your own as well, and don’t buy all the information they give you.
Read your teacher’s work, as you might not enjoy their type of writing or their style and can change your mind before spending your time and money into it.
Decide if you want to take a more specific type of creative writing.
There are different courses depending on the type of writing you want to create.
You can choose to have an overall course of creative writing or go with a more specific subject, like essays or short stories.
This depends on whether you have previous experience or if you are planning on going into a professional field as a writer.
If you are, you will most likely like to develop more on the specific field you want to pursue, and polish that topic.
It is always better to start with an overall course if you haven’t got any experience, but if you have a somewhat good experience on creative writing, you can choose a topic and work on it specifically.
At the end of the day, even if you develop one area, you can always change your mind at work in a different field from what you chose.
Make up your mind on how much you are willing to spend.
There are courses of all kinds of prices, depending on how much your budget is.
You can choose from general, very basic creative writing courses with a basic or none degree, which are usually cheaper, up until some very expensive and well-known universities which offer a full course.
With online courses is the same, you will have those on a range of “free” creative writing courses, up to some expensive ones.
Consider the investment, as well as the investment made by going to class (if real life class). Include transportation or gas, food, and others, and if it is too far away, also the time.
In a way, with creative writing, you will not spend much money on materials. You only need paper and pencil or a laptop to write, but you will probably have to invest some money on books
Whether books about English language, about creative writing, or essays and stories for you to read, you will have to spend some money.
Surround yourself with creative people and places
Most people think creativity is something that is innate. It either comes wired into your brain or it doesn’t. There are several types of creativity, and you can induce it if you surround yourself by stimulants.
These stimulants are different for everyone. For some, it can be a peaceful mountain in the middle of nowhere. For some other people, it can be a crowded market filled with people from all over the world.
The important part is to dare to think outside the box. Put yourself into situations that allow you to stimulate your imagination.
I challenge you to do different things you are not used to. Try meeting new people, and going places you have never seen before. All of these will work as an exercise to improve your creativity.
This can really boost your ideas and can make you get that “Eureka” moment, where your idea does not only get you a light bulb on, but you get a full Christmas tree turned on.
Doing this will not only be useful for you as a writer, but also as a person, and will allow you to keep developing in different areas, not only the professional one.
Practice makes perfection
The most important thing is to practice at any chance you get.
You can write on your on at any moment, you don’t really have to wait for an assignment.
Start with a short story, and then try writing something longer. You can get yourself some challenges like a short story a day for a month, and that way you push yourself into practicing more.
Practice does make perfection, and unless you practice constantly, you can’t get better.
Get yourself surrounded by other writers and don’t fear feedback
A creative environment involves other writers. You should not aisle yourself from colleagues but instead, create a network of writers that can usually give you some benefits.
You can meet new people and especially writers in the institute you decide into going, but if you choose to learn online, there are websites for writers to share their work and get to know each other.
Don’t fear meeting new people and to put yourself in situations where others review your job, as most of the time, the feedback is an excellent way to keep developing and growing.
You can organize events for you to share your work with each other and get other people’s feedback, or have them on websites where they do just that.
A great thing to do is to have a book club, where you share views on some topics, or exercises of creativity, where you all get a topic and have to write a short story based on it. On this website, you can look for local book clubs in your area. If you rather do it online, here are some online book clubs
The possibilities are endless, and if you are willing to do the hard work and develop yourself, there is no one who can tell you you’re not a writer.
How about you start practicing your creative writing by leaving us some feedback?