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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWriters, like musicians, athletes, and even astronauts have to constantly strengthen their skills. For writers, attending classes is one good way to do that. But writing classes have their pros and cons. How do you assess which class is right for you?

Tips for Choosing a Writing Class

1) The class should be challenging, but not so difficult that you can’t do the assignments or understand the terminology being used.

2) Check the instructor’s background and credentials. Has he or she had work published, and if so, what? Call the program director or registrar to find out if the instructor’s gotten positive reviews from past students. Check out the instructor and his or her work online. Just do a Google search.

3) Ask around. People in your neighborhood, library, church, gym, or even your poker buddies might know of writing classes that are what you’re looking for.

4) Find out what the format of the class is. Some writing classes require that you not only produce your own work, but that you read and critique your classmates’ writing. This is a great way to expand your knowledge about writing, but if your time is limited, you might find that requirement too onerous.

5) Don’t forget the discussions of peripheral issues that can further enhance your writing. Will the class cover issues like overcoming writer’s block, making time to write, staying inspired to write, and publishing your work?

6) Choose a writing class based on your writing goals. If you want to complete a particular writing project within a certain amount of time, take a class where you’re expected to turn in a piece of writing or read a passage from your work each week. Most of my students take my classes year after year, partly to maintain the discipline and momentum of writing regularly.

Do You Shy Away from Writing Classes, or do you take them? What have you gotten out of them?

To help you with your writing, you might be interested in 3 (or 4) Terrific Books for Aspiring Writers.

For lots more tips about writing, follow me on twitter @lynettebenton. And I’d love for you to subscribe to this blog. Thank you.

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6 Responses to “How to Choose a Creative Writing Class”

  1. I think writing classes can provide benefits, as long as they don’t take the place of writing in your daily life. ;) They’re also a great way to meet and network with fellow writers and, if the teacher’s great, strengthen your downfalls. I don’t take them myself, but I am taking a social networking/blogging class from Kristen Lamb right now… It’s fantastic.

    We writers should be continually learning. Thanks for your post. I imagine many will benefit!

  2. Glad you liked it, Susie.

  3. I think it helps for writers to learn craft from professionals; often writers in critique groups aren’t advanced enough to teach a writer the mechanics of the craft. In my writing classes, I teach students who’ve been in writing groups, and learned a lot there, but still lack knowledge of a good deal of the basics of creative writing and copywriting.

    Thank you for your comment. I’m a fan of Kristen Lamb!

  4. Melinda says:

    These are great suggestions! I took a few writing classes over the summer (wrote about it here: http://writerssherpablog.com/write-better/what-to-expect-from-an-online-creative-writing-workshop/) and had mixed feelings about them. I think I tend to jump in too quickly sometimes. Your suggestions remind me of the importance of being picky and knowing exactly what I want to gain from the program. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for your comment, Melinda. Yep, take you time and assess what you need and what the class has to offer.

    And, now, I’m going to check out your own take on the topic.

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