Are Writing Classes Worth the Outlay?

So, you’ve decided that you’re ready to focus on that book project you’ve been toying with for months or years. You’ve even come to the realization that you could use a little extra support in getting the project completed. The question is…what form should that support come in?

If you are considering a writing class, here are some things to think about. Ideally, a good writing class will provide you with:

  • weekly lectures or content on how to write well
  • practice writing and opportunities to generate written pages toward your final product
  • feedback from the teacher and classmates on your written work, with ideas on other options to consider and potential revisions
  • an opportunity to see what other writers are doing and to learn from them
  • inspiration and motivation to stick with the project

Even though I am an experienced writer and I write for a living, I will sometimes take a writing class to attain skills in a new area (say, op-ed or memoir writing). I also turn to classes for some of the writing I do in my personal life because I enjoy the sense of community, the feedback, and the deadlines.

As you consider whether a writing class is right for you, you may want to consider all of the positive benefits I’ve mentioned above, as well as the potential “downside” of a writing class compared to hiring an editor or co-writer. With a writing class…

  • The rate at which you produce material will be limited to the restraints of your own busy schedule. Writing classes can be great for helping you produce work, but they won’t magically add time onto your schedule.
  • You will need to find time to review your other classmates’ work and this can be burdensome.
  • Although feedback from your teacher and classmates is likely to be helpful and maybe even enlightening, there is simply not enough time during class to get intensive, one-on-one support for all of your challenges and questions.

Writing classes have some wonderful benefits—regular lectures that help you stay engaged in a project due to the sharing of helpful content, a supportive community of other writers, and deadlines that keep you focused.  Yet, one-on-one support also has its place. Stay tuned for the next entry in this two-part series, to learn more about the pros and cons of working with a private editor or co-writer to help you complete your next writing project.

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