Top 12 Online Creative Writing Courses For 2021 [Self-Paced]

This tutorial compares and reviews the best Online Creative Writing Courses to help you learn creative writing via online courses:

Creative Writing courses have now become an essential part of any individual’s development. Be it a business plan, newsletter, content marketing, content writing, blog, screenplay, script, story, novel, poem, social media content, or an advertisement; writing plays a crucial part everywhere.

Freelance writing and Ghostwriting have also become pretty famous among people hoping for an independent income source or who want to follow their passion. Online writing courses offer an in-depth and self-paced education with relevant skills to perform any kind of writing job required or available.

Online Creative Writing Courses For Self-Paced Learning.

Online Creative Writing Courses

Such courses comes in handy when professionals hope to increase some credentials on their resume. Sometimes a writing certificate or a skill may land you with a good promotion or a handsome salary. Freelance writers also hope to make an independent career by offering various writing services to their clients.

In this light, a writing course becomes fairly important and in the following listicle, we will review some top courses which will help you decide which courses are suitable for you to get started in writing careers. Some courses are paid and some are free, it depends on the learner whether to get a certificate or just the skill and knowledge.

Types Of Writers And Writings

  1. Authors: They write novels, stories, and short stories or even articles, columns, and essays.
  2. Ghostwriters: They write novels, articles, blogs, etc but they don’t take the credit for their work.
  3. Freelancers: Write articles, stories, blogs, etc, and are paid on an assignment basis.
  4. Content Writers: They write content for a specific product, topic, idea, or market. They can be paid on an assignment basis or salary basis.
  5. Copywriters: They write marketing campaigns, ad slogans, or publicity material for a product or a company.
  6. Script-writers: They write play scripts, film scripts, and ad scripts, basically they write for the visual medium.
Fact Check: According to the comparative analysis of people report, the number of writers and authors, opting to become professional writers in the U.S. from 2011 to 2019, has steadily increased and more people have opted for an independent career.

The below graph shows  the number of writers and authors in the U.S. 2011-2019:

Number of writers and authors in the U.S. 2011-2019

The graphs below show how the ‘gig-economy’ has grown in developed countries. People have chosen to be freelancers rather than working for some company. According to Freelancing in America report, we will soon reach the time when freelancers will contribute most to a country’s economy.

Freelancing in America report

survey

FAQs Regarding Writing Courses

Q #1) What to study to become a writer?

Answer: The abstract but fit answer would be- The World, but if the learner is interested in formal education, he/she can opt for a degree course.

Nowadays, many universities provide online degrees, and some are listed in this article too. Although if one doesn’t want to pursue a formal course, there are many free and certificate courses available to study and enhance one’s knowledge and skill.

Q #2) Are writing courses worth it?

Answer: Every course and the instructor shares something that’ll come in handy in one’s development as a writer. It is up to the learner to grasp and practice the skills.

Q #3) How do I start a writing career?

Answer: If you’ve already written a manuscript, you should contact the publishing houses. If you’re just starting and need a platform to write then try blogging sites like WordPress etc which let you host your blog. If you already have a good writing portfolio, you can even contact companies that hire content writers or copywriters.

Last but not the least, pitch your portfolio to a company and offer to work for them as a freelancer.

Q #4) How to write better?

Answer: The answer is only practice. Write daily. Build a schedule and take out at least 4 hours from your routine to write. Start a blog or write anything, but- WRITE!

Q #5) How to improve English language skills?

Answer: You can find almost all basic English language courses on the Internet, free. Practice your skills with such courses and try to read something daily which will build your vocabulary.

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List Of Top Online Writing Courses

Here is the list of popular online writing courses:

  1. Wesleyan University Creative Writing Specialization
  2. Gotham Writers Online Writing Classes
  3. Reedsy Learning Courses
  4. Udemy Creative Writing Courses
  5. edX Creative Writing Courses
  6. FutureLearn Creative Arts and Media Writing Courses
  7. OpenLearn Creative Writing
  8. SkillShare Online Creative Writing Classes
  9. Emory Continuing Education Creative Writing
  10. Universal Class
  11. Writers.com Online Writing Courses
  12. Masterclass Creative Writing Classes

Comparing Best Online Creative Writing Courses

Name of the Course and PlatformIs the platform especially made to teach writing?Free CoursesType of subscriptionDurationPricing
Wesleyan University Creative Writing Specialization NoYesYearly and Individual4 WeeksFree (for enrolment)
SkillShare Online Creative Writing Classes NoYesYearly and monthlyDepends on the number of video lessons$19/mo or $99/yr.
Gotham Writers Online Writing ClassesYesNoIndividual10 weeks and 6 weeks$300-$400
Writers.com Online Writing CoursesYesNoIndividual5 weeks to 10 weeks$200-$500
Masterclass Creative Writing ClassesNoNoYearly, Monthly and Individual.Depends on the number of video lessons$15/mo or $180/yr

Let us review the courses enlisted in this tutorial with their pros, cons and other useful informations.

#1) Wesleyan University Creative Writing Specialization- Coursera

Best for Authors, Essayists, Bloggers.

Wesleyan University Creative Writing Specialization

Coursera remains one of the best choices when we are looking for an academic treat for our brains. It is not only beneficial for knowledge-hungry enthusiasts but also for professionals who want a raise or a promotion. Wesleyan University’s creative writing course provides a beginner level effort in the world of creative writing.

There is no screening for admissions, and anyone can try their hands. Despite being free, the instructors of this course are professional writers and professors. The course is self-paced and supports individual freedom of schedules.

Schedule: Self-paced.
Type: Online video lectures and online assignments.
Duration: Each course is 4 weeks long.
Pricing: This is a free writing course.

Pros:

  • Absolutely free.
  • No screening.
  • At the end of several assignments, the course sponsors grant various discounts and offer on their products.
  • Write-bros provide 80% off on their memberships and also 30% off on the writing software ‘Scrivener’.
  • The online writing community Scribophile offers a 30% discount on their memberships.

Cons:

  • The course is at beginner’s level, so if you’ve already studied creative writing at College, this course mightn’t come in handy.
  • Due to no screening, the assignments are also judged at a superficial level and an in-depth critique is not offered.

Website: Wesleyan University Creative Writing Specialization


#2) Gotham Writers Online Writing Classes

Best for Content writers, Copywriters, Authors, Fiction/Non-Fiction writers, etc.

Gotham Writers Workshop

If you’ve ever been to New York City or even seen the city featured in films, you’ll recognize the ‘Gotham Box’. Gotham Writing Classes were started by Jeff and David, two enterprising and independent individuals, in 1993. It became pretty famous in New York city for students, professionals, or just learners all around.

In 1997, they started their online course and since then they’ve never fallen short of admissions. Gotham offers almost every kind of genre course; from creative writing to fiction, from article writing to non-fiction, it has everything included. The crowd is generously kept less so that each individual is given due attention.

Schedule: Self-paced with a real-time interaction per week.
Type: Online video lectures with once-a-week Zoom interactive class.
Duration: 10-week workshops and 6-week classes.
Pricing: $300-$400/ workshop

Pros:

  • Available both online and offline.
  • It is a fairly reputed institution.
  • It also organizes free events all around the year.

Cons:

  • Costly- each course is $300-$400/ workshop.
  • The online courses are not real-time. Although there is once a week live session.
  • After you’ve finished, the institution takes no guarantee of a job offer.

Website: Gotham Writers


#3) Reedsy Learning Courses

Best for beginners in any field of writing.

reedsy learning

Reedsy has beautifully designed a snap-shot tutorial for every kind of writer. Reedsy offers a smart and free 10 day tutorial on various topics (as we choose). This 10 day tutorial is mailed to us page-by-page, which helps in time management and also ensures that the learners do not simply mug-up the topics.

The course is not institutionally curated, so generalized courses like ‘Creative writing 101’ or ‘Fiction 101’ might not be found here. Examples of some courses are: ‘How to find your target audience’ or ‘How to write a suspense novel’.

Duration and Schedule: Self-paced.
Type: Provides reading material through mails.
Pricing: Free writing course

Pros:

  • Absolutely free.
  • Highly time-effective.
  • Builds up a daily routine of learning something new.

Cons:

  • Offers just a sneak peek into the world of writing.
  • Only to develop an interest in the particular genre and not to gain proficiency from it.

Website: Reedsy Learning Courses


#4) Udemy Creative Writing Courses

Best for almost every genre of writing.

udemy

Udemy, like Coursera, offers a variety of online courses on streams of subjects. The difference is that at Udemy, individuals can themselves create courses, but at Coursera, they accept only institutionalized learning. So, if you’re looking for a change in your writing schedule, or are bored of ‘Creative Writing 101s’, you should absolutely try Udemy.

It will offer you a fresh perspective of people working in the same field as you. It’ll also generate a sense of being a part of a writer’s community. At Udemy, you are in for the kind of ‘Pink Floyd’ self-paced and rebellious education. You might also learn different ways in which writers sustain themselves.

Suggested reading =>> 70+ Best Udemy Courses

Schedule: Self-paced.
Type: Online video lectures and assignments.
Duration: Depends on the number of video lessons.
Pricing: $5-$177

Pros:

  • Self-paced, independent learning.
  • Varied individual perspectives.
  • Real-time experienced teachers.
  • The fee is low (for now).

Cons:

  • No job guarantee.
  • Sometimes the teachers might not be as professional as we think.
  • Many courses, so the selection of a good course becomes difficult.

Website: Udemy Creative Writing Courses


#5) edX Creative Writing Courses

Best for full-time students in writing.

edX Creative Writing Courses

edX, like Udemy and Coursera, is an elaborate learning platform. The catch is that edX is not just a platform but the whole institution (or many institutions together). edX provides different types of courses on different streams of interest and from multiple institutions.

Universities like Berkeley, Cambridge, Washington, etc have teamed up with edX and they now offer full-time online courses up to the level of a Master’s program. For the general fee, learners can get their degrees online.

edX also offers Micro-graduate, Micro-postgraduate, or certificate programs to learners and students who wish to do introductory courses before joining full-time degrees.

Duration: Varies with the type of course.
Type: Online video lectures and assignments.
Schedule: Self-paced.
Pricing: Depends on the course.

Pros:

  • Effective for people who want to continue their education while working.
  • The courses are ‘fool-proof’ because they are provided by reputed institutions.
  • edX offers a great chance to learners who want to study in good institutions but cannot afford travel and accommodation along with the course fee.

Cons:

  • Students lack a harmonious university environment.
  • Some courses are of high cost and some are even higher.
  • The professors cannot take live sessions daily and so real-time learning is missing.

Website: edX Creative Writing Courses


#6) FutureLearn Creative Arts and Media Writing Courses

Best for Beginners, Copywriters, Content Writers.

future learn

FutureLearn is another online platform that provides micro-credential courses. These courses become essential while applying for multi-disciplinary jobs or positions. It is natively British and most of the courses provided are run/managed by different facilitators, which may or may not belong to the institution maintaining the course. The different courses provide a well-served buffet for a learner.

There are three kinds of subscription schemes:

  1. Free; with limited course material benefits
  2. Certification for a specific course (involves fee)
  3. Unlimited; which provides subscription with certification on all FutureLearn courses for a year.

There are mixed reviews on the functioning of the courses, some learners loved it while others have complained about subscription shams and certification problems.

Schedule: Self-Paced.
Type: Online video lectures and assignments.
Duration: Depends on the specific course.
Pricing: $279 for an unlimited subscription.

Pros:

  • Free learning on most of the courses.
  • Self-paced learning from home.
  • Provides clear basic concepts for beginners.

Cons:

  • Less practical experience.
  • Some users have complained about shams.
  • Some users have complained about below-par learning material.

Website: FutureLearn Creative Arts and Media Writing Courses


#7) OpenLearn Creative Writing

Best for Beginners, especially for lifelong learners.

open learn

OpenLearn is run by The Open University, which is again natively British. It is an open learning initiative that aims to provide free education to all. Almost all OpenLearn courses are free, and after the course, the learners are provided with an official completion badge.

Some courses which pertain to, say, a Bachelorette or a Masters Degree are fee-based and at the successful completion of such courses, you are officially provided with the specific degree from The Open University (which might or might not be valid in the learners country concerning the credit system).

All the degrees hold the same standards as the degree of any other reputed British University, and so they maintain the class.

Schedule: Self-paced
Type: Online video lectures.
Duration: Lifelong.
Pricing: Free online writing course

Pros:

  • Life-long learning material.
  • ‘Earn while you learn’ where learners can gain recognition after course completions.
  • A social platform for universal education.

Cons:

  • Most courses are highly basic.
  • Since there is no subscription-based certification for the free courses, a learner cannot officially claim the course on their CVs.

Website: OpenLearn Creative Writing


#8) SkillShare Online Creative Writing Classes

Best for short-term writing skills like essays, short stories, copywriting, content writing, blogging.

skillshare

SkillShare is the Netflix of the entrepreneur world. This platform is a New York baby and was built 10 years ago.

First of all, it is not made for educational purposes, neither its courses are certified. All the courses are skill-based i.e. entrepreneurs, creators, etc share their relevant skills, which made them who they are rather than sharing boring theoretical renaissance nostalgia.

It is a great place to grow for people who are looking to enhance their independent qualities and want to be self-sustained in the future.

Duration: Depends on the number of video lessons.
Type: Online video lectures.
Schedule: Self-paced.
Pricing: $19 (monthly) and $99 (yearly)

Pros:

  • Real-world skills.
  • Self-paced and interesting course material, in other words, learners can gain ‘Skill and Chill’
  • Gives a free trial before learners take a subscription.
  • Has many free courses that do not require a paid subscription.

Cons:

  • Reviewers have said that not all teachers are great.
  • No certification, so learners can only use the skills to enhance their abilities and not officially show them off.
  • Too many ads on the free courses which become irritating.

Website: SkillShare Online Creative Writing Classes


#9) Emory Continuing Education Creative Writing

Best for students or professionals choosing to be full-time writers.

Emory Continuing Education Creative Writing

The ECE runs as a branch of Emory University itself. ECE certificate programs are based on non-credit systems, i.e. a sum total of hours and assignments are required for completion of a course and not a divided sum of hours distributed among sub-courses (as happens in the for-credit system).

Students having an ECE certificate are not labeled matriculated under Emory University but the courses are nevertheless accredited to Emory University. It is a venture for professionals seeking snap-skills to develop their CVs and also promote personal growth.

ECE offers a well-framed creative writing certificate course which may be helpful to professionals or freelancers trying to gain some extra income or make a shift in their careers.

Duration: 6-months or annual sessions.
Type: Online video lectures and assignments.
Schedule: Self-paced.
Pricing: $425/course

Pros:

  • A reputed university skill-certificate.
  • Well experienced instructors.

Cons:

  • Does not offer much variety.
  • High fees($425) per elective course.

Website: Emory Continuing Education Creative Writing


#10) Universal class

Best for all genres of writing.

universal class

There are more than 500 writing courses available at UniversalClass. From grammar basics to solid business-plan-writing, Universal class offers you a great deal of variety if you’re looking for polishing your basics or becoming a full-time writer. Similar to other MOOCs, these courses also stand on a subscription basis.

These also offer you a monthly, yearly, bi-yearly, and even a tri-yearly subscription. Although the subscription is somewhat costlier than other MOOCs($189)/yr, Groupon and other libraries offer premium coupons and offers which reduce the pricing to even $89. For some customers, the subscription has been free due to multiple coupons.

Schedule: Self-paced
Type: Online video lectures.
Duration: Depends on the number of video lessons.
Pricing: $189/yr

Pros:

  • The content material and variety are huge, so the learner can get almost any genre of course.
  • Like every other MOOC, this is also self-paced.
  • All the courses are certified.

Cons:

  • The subscription fee is higher than other MOOCs.
  • Some users have complained about not understanding the course material.
  • Some users have complained about the lack of generosity among customer care.

Website: Universal Class


#11) Writers.com Online Writing Courses

Best for professional full-time writers of any genre.

writers.com

Gen Z might not be familiar with Writers.com as it has very fewer ads running throughout the Internet, but that’s just because it doesn’t need that many! Writers.com has been a pioneer in online learning platforms and especially online writing classes. It is basically a full-blown writing school accessible 24/7.

The unique quality of Writers.com is that it offers even private classes for an individual learner or even a group of friends, which is not the case with other MOOCs. Started in 1995,Writers.com has great reviews with its learners. The instructors even offer genuine feedback and critique on your written work.

Basically, the aim is to bring talented writers out of the boring and cyclical content and make the learner enthusiastic about their chosen field.

Schedule: Self-paced with interactive real-time sessions.
Type: Online video lectures and Zoom interactive sessions.
Duration: 5 weeks to 10 weeks.
Pricing: $200-$500.

Pros:

  • Instructors offer passionate and genuine feedback and analysis.
  • Mostly has positive reviews.
  • The platform only concerns itself with writing and teaching the art of writing, so that makes it special.

Cons:

  • The courses are heavy in terms of a subscription fee (ranging from $200-$500)

Website: Writers.com Online Writing Courses


#12) Masterclass Creative Writing Classes

Best for authors, poets, and professional writers.

masterclass

Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, David Mamet, R.L. Stine, these are the common names you’d find at the Masterclass reception. The masterclass is probably the most famous online learning portal, offering courses and classes on many subjects by World-famous personalities of their respective fields.

The aim is to bring out the philosophy and techniques used by World-class professionals when they are trying to build their masterpieces. There are assignments and course materials available.

The best thing is that Masterclass is not affiliated with any institution or University and so the course material is prepared and taught by the magnanimous instructor himself/herself. The only disadvantage is that it’s too costly.

Schedule: Self-paced.
Type: Online video lectures and course materials.
Duration: Depends on the number of video lessons.
Pricing: $15/month and $180/year.

Pros:

  • Learning from world-famous instructors, who are almost legendary in their respective fields.
  • The courses are sharp and crisp, there is no ‘throwing-around’.
  • The courses are filled with practical examples which makes it very easy for the learner to understand.

Cons:

  • The Subscription fee for the monthly subscription is too high compared to other MOOCs. Although individual rates of courses vary from instructor to instructor.

Website: Masterclass Creative Writing Classes


Conclusion

There is an enormous number of courses available to learn the art of writing online, but it depends on the level and comfort of the learner to choose the appropriate course. If one is just a beginner, then one should first opt for some free online creative writing courses, possibly on Coursera or Reedsy. These courses could give the learner a head’s up on what’s going to come next.

Once the beginner studies some free basic courses, they should then try out writing and analyzing their own mistakes and difficulties. Once the problems or gaps are known, it is easy to decide on the type, of course, one wants to opt for.

For people who’ve already done some writing and are looking to build a parallel career based on their writing skills or are trying to strengthen their CVs; certificate courses might come in very handy. By giving the specified amount, one can self-pace themselves towards their credits and earn a major certificate. Most MOOCs can help with this.

For writers who want more personal experiences, feedback, critique, etc should opt for Gotham Writer’s Workshop, Writer’s.com and if you have some good money saved even Masterclass is a great option.

Our Research:

  • Total possible alternatives for online courses on creative writing researched–27
  • Total shortlisted online courses on creative writing–12

Our reviews are based on analysis and customer experiences. The courses mentioned above have to be analyzed with a specific perspective and need. They do not configure to ranks in any order.

=> Contact us to suggest your listing here.