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The Best Online Writing Courses in 2023 [Fiction, Business & More]

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best online writing courses

The Best Online Writing Courses in 2023 [Fiction, Business & More]

Home / Learning / The Best Online Writing Courses in 2023 [Fiction, Business & More]
best online writing courses
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Have you ever picked up a piece of literature that doesn’t cut it? Whether it was the language, style, or plot, it just didn’t seem to grab your attention or keep you engaged. 

I don’t know about you, but I would simply put it down and find something better to read.

This can be every writer’s worst nightmare.

If thoughts like this are plaguing your creativity and keeping you up at night, it’s time to set things right. You need to develop good writing skills in order to write with clarity and ease. 

So what can you do to refine your writing skills?

The easiest way to do that is to enroll yourself in top-rated writing courses. The right course can improve your focus, creativity, drive, and productivity. 

Ah, but this is much easier said than done!

A quick search on the internet for the best writing course will make your head spin – there are just so many options. 

So I’ve taken the liberty to hand-pick several online courses that I believe can help you improve your writing skills. Of course, some writers may find other courses more suitable. But that's okay since every writer has a unique talent. At the end of the day, it’s all about learning and implementing new techniques to take your writing capabilities to the next level.

Let’s begin by learning how to choose the right course. 

How to Choose an Online Writing Course?

The key to your success depends greatly on the course you choose. Therefore, I’ve highlighted some important elements you need to consider before you select an online writing course:

Identify Your Goal

Different writers face different stumbling blocks depending on where they stand in their writer’s journey. 

For instance, a new writer may need direction on how to put their thoughts into words, while a freelancer who is already writing blogs may be searching for ways to tweak their style.

So before you choose any writing course, make sure you have a goal in mind – What benefits do you expect to gain from the writing class?

Specify a Budget

There are countless free online courses to help you get started in the right direction, but most advanced courses come with a price tag. At some point, you will need to take an advanced course to enhance your skills. 

The amount of money you can spend will narrow your choices. Therefore, the cost of a course can become a limiting factor.

Recognize Your Time Constraints 

Many online courses are self paced. That means you can go through them at your own pace and take as much time as you need. 

But the amount of free time you have will determine the number of lessons you can take and how often you'll be able to take them.

Usually, a multi-week course produces better results. In fact, there are very few single-lesson courses I can think of that allow writers to master a particular skill. So in order to learn and develop a flair for writing, review your schedule to understand how much time you can spare.

The Type of Writer You Are

The type of content you write will also influence your goals – and ultimately, the course you enroll in.

What type of writer are you?

There are several categories that writers can be classified into, but I like to keep things simple. So I’ve divided them into three different types:

  • Fiction

Fiction writers have creative minds with a knack for storytelling, building new characters, and creating a plot. There are multiple genres of fiction, such as prose, poetry, short stories, novels, screenplays, and scripts.

  • Nonfiction

Nonfiction writers focus on telling the truth. This requires diligent research, careful planning, and in-depth investigations. Common genres of nonfiction writing (also known as creative nonfiction) include journalism, autobiographies, memoirs, personal essays, and crime reporting.

  • Business Writing 

Business writing is a bit different. Even though you’re stating facts, you need to ensure you educate, entertain, convince, or entice the readers. The most common types of business writing include content creation for marketing, advertising, blog posts, articles, SEO, technical writing, etc.

Qualification of Instructors

Ideally, you want to learn from the best. That means the instructor should be someone who has had experience in the field – outside the classroom. 

So when searching for online writing courses, be sure to check the background and credentials of the instructor. For instance, if a teacher lacks real-life experience in the topic they’re teaching, you may need to look elsewhere. 

Student Reviews

The best way to find out if a course is worth your time, money, and effort is to look at reviews that previous students are offering. After all, they can tell you whether they feel motivated enough to complete the course.

In my opinion, perhaps the best online writing courses are those where teachers offer personalized feedback and critique your writing. So make sure to ask how much interaction participants receive from their instructors.

The Winners Revealed

Okay, let’s cut to the chase. 

I know you’re looking for the name of the best course.

So here are the ones I feel can help writers from all three categories:

The best course for fiction writers is The Ninety Day Novel (The Novelry). It offers greater personalized interactions that allow fictional writers to make greater progress in completing their books.

The best course for nonfiction writers is Creative Nonfiction 101 (Gotham Writers Workshop). Again, I believe that the one-on-one attention you can get in this writing class can make a world of difference to your writing. 

The best course for business writers is Writing With Flair: How To Become An Exceptional Writer (Udemy). It offers a deep dive into business writing. But what sells the course to me is the vast background experience the instructor has to offer. 

As mentioned earlier, these are merely my opinions. Several others offer great features as well. So don't be afraid to explore online writing classes besides the ones I mentioned to help you expand your knowledge base.

But to help you get started, here's an in-depth review of some excellent writing courses from each category that I believe can make a considerable impact on your writing habit.

The Best Online Writing Courses – Our In-Depth Reviews

Fiction Writing Courses

These courses usually focus on tips to improve writing style and overcoming writer’s block. Some even help writers with self-editing, self-publishing, and marketing works.

Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling (Masterclass)

Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling (Masterclass)

Neil Gaiman is the award-winning author of renowned works such as Stardust, Coraline, and The Sandman. He’s been teaching as a professor of the arts at Bard College for the last five years. But his love for teaching and desire to reach a lot of budding writers made him consider doing his first-ever online class.

In this course, Neil Gaiman discusses his approach to imaginative storytelling. He teaches how to build new ideas, convincing characters, and vivid fictional worlds.

Through this course, you’ll learn how to find your unique voice and develop your story with a breath of fresh air.

  • Ideal for: Fiction writers looking to perfect the art of storytelling
  • Presenter: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 19 lessons (4 hours 49 minutes)
  • Media format: Online video lectures and downloadable instructor guides
  • Unique features 

Neil Gaiman offers insightful tips as well as several exercises to give fictional writers a push in the right direction. With innovative ideas on how to build stories, you’ll be able to write better than when you started.

  • Price and payment method: Billed annually for $180 (at $15 per month
  • Other benefits 

Once you subscribe, you'll get access to every course available on Masterclass, fiction as well as nonfiction writing. You’ll find countless talented teachers discussing their personal writing processes and styles. 

Some other exceptional courses you should look into include:

  • James Patterson Teaches Writing
  • Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
  • Amy Tan Teaches Fiction, Memory, and Imagination

Courses are added regularly, so don’t forget to keep checking. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to interact with instructors that occasionally happen to pop into student forums.

Lastly, by joining Masterclass, you become a member of a community of students who are also on a journey to writerdom.

The Foundation of Fiction – Writing Mastery (Udemy)

The Foundation of Fiction - Writing Mastery (Udemy)

The Foundation of Fiction is an engaging, inspiring, and comprehensive fiction writing course that can help you create a fictional masterpiece. The course focuses on all the six universal foundations every great work of fiction must include: a character, dialogue, a point of view, narrative style, setting, and a plot.

Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell teach the course. Jessica is an award-winning author of more than 20 novels and has over ten years of professional experience writing commercial fiction. On the other hand, Joanne, a Ph.D. in English Literature, teaches writing classes to youngsters in New York City.

The duo offers an in-depth approach to fictional writing that will empower you to write better and leave you more inspired to write. They promise that you’ll be transformed into a more confident writer with better writing abilities by the end of the course.

Jessica and Joanne take storytelling examples from popular books and movies to help you grasp the concepts discussed in their lectures. More importantly, they offer prompts and tips to spark your imagination and get your creativity flowing.

  • Ideal for: For beginners and advanced fiction writers who need:
    • inspiration for creative writing
    • help writing sophisticated, compelling, and dynamic stories 
  • Presenter: Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell
  • Length: 56 lectures divided into 8 sections (6 hours)
  • Media format: Online video lectures and 31 downloadable resources 
  • Unique features:  

This interactive course is full of fun writing exercises to develop the skills, confidence, and inspiration you need.

It has two learning tracks (Foundation and Advanced), offering flexibility to students to learn at their own pace and skill level.

The Foundation Track covers the basics while the Advanced Track dives deeper into the six areas of fiction writing.

  • Price and payment method: one-time payment of $89.99
  • Other benefits 

Receive lifetime access to the course on mobile devices and TV

Certificate of completion

The Ninety Day Novel (The Novelry)

The Ninety Day Novel (The Novelry)

This novel writing course is designed to help build your skills and confidence to write your own novel in – 90 days. (Yes, it is possible!)

Louise Dean designed this course to share her novel-writing process and get you through the six phases of writing:

  • Inspiration and Preparation – Highlights the importance of developing good writing habits and explains how to create a novel idea.
  • Construction – Build the core of your story, including characters and the plot.
  • The Swim – Break down the craft of writing.
  • The Heat Phase – Push past mental roadblocks.
  • Enlightenment – Study a successful novel and understand how and why it works.
  • Home – Push through the final stages and complete your novel. 

As an award-winning novelist who has published four novels, Louise knows what it takes to become a successful novelist.

Therefore, she has several award-winning novelist coaches for different fiction genres to help you learn how to plot, outline, and create characters based on your novel’s needs. 

Under their guidance, you’ll have the support to get your novel finished. Regardless of the tutor you choose (Kate Riordan, Tasha Suri, Jack Jordan, Emylia Hall, Katie Khan, Polly Ho-Yen, or Mahsuda Snaith), they are all experienced and published authors.

  • Ideal for: Aspiring writers looking for one-on-one coaching or writers who have finished a first draft and need personalized assistance with editing
  • Presenter: Louise Dean
  • Length: more than 100 actionable lessons for 3 months
  • Media format: online course 
  • Unique features 

Experienced tutors offer personal guidance as you write your novel and finish it in record time.

You get multiple online mentorship sessions with a tutor (30-minute one-to-one Zoom calls).

The course is a comprehensive step-by-step guide full of practical tips and easy-to-follow instructions.

  • Price and payment method 

The Novelry offers annual membership plans. However, each tier is priced depending upon how much personalized interaction you need from your author tutors. The basic plan is $425 a month for 3 months. But if you need tutor feedback, it’s priced at $499 a month for 3 months. If you need more tutoring and live coaching sessions to get your idea into a complete first draft, you must pay $1450. And to get your first draft into the final manuscript, it’ll cost $1550.

  • Other benefits 

Daily support and one-to-one coaching

Certificates issued upon completion

By joining this novel writing course, you'll be a part of a global writers' community.

Even though members can join weekly classes and sessions, they can also attend live sessions with world-class authors.

Nonfiction Writing Courses

These courses aim at finding ways to create an engaging narrative that informs your readers. They’re commonly found in magazines, newspapers, books, and blogs.

Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing (Masterclass)

Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing (Masterclass)

People read nonfiction not for entertainment but rather for a purpose. For instance, readers could be in search of information about someone or something. So your job as a nonfiction writer is to find the topic and write about it with sophistication.

Malcolm Gladwell teaches that the best way to do that is to inhabit someone else's world and represent it to readers in a captivating narration. As an award-winning journalist, a bestselling author, and a great public speaker, Malcolm has a world of experience to back the lessons that he teaches.  

In this course, you will learn how to research topics, craft compelling stories and titles, and present data in an interesting way to readers. More importantly, you'll be able to excel at your craft and differentiate yourself from others as you transition into a professional writer.

  • Ideal for: Aspiring writers and anyone who wants to polish their creative processes
  • Presenter: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Length: 23 video lessons (4 hours 54 minutes)
  • Media format: Online video lectures and downloadable class workbook containing lesson recaps, class assignments, and supplemental materials
  • Unique features 

The conversational style of Malcolm’s teaching allows viewers to get a glimpse of his writing philosophy.

The Office Hours is a place for subscribers to ask questions to Malcolm and get critiques on their work.

The Lesson Discussion is a comments section where participants can express their ideas and exchange thoughts. Additionally, it offers a platform for like-minded individuals to connect and get more inspiration.

  • Price and payment method: Billed annually for $180 (at $15 per month)
  • Other benefits 

Once you subscribe to this writing class, you get access to 100+ courses available on Masterclass. But no matter which one you select, you’ll find talented teachers discussing their personal writing styles and their journey about becoming notable writers.

Creative Nonfiction: Write Truth with Style (Skillshare)

Creative Nonfiction - Write Truth with Style (Skillshare)

Creative nonfiction requires writers to write compelling, leisurely written stories with true ideas and characters. And that’s what makes this type of writing perfect for online magazines, journalism, and blogging.

Susan Orlean, a longtime New Yorker staff writer and best-selling author of 8 novels, focuses on developing and polishing the creative process of nonfiction storytelling. 

In this class, Susan discusses her writing process and helps students learn how to transform ordinary topics into exceptional, memorable stories. She uses her acclaimed Esquire magazine story “The American Male at Age 10” to showcase her unique approach to nonfiction writing.

This dynamic instructional course consists of on-demand videos, class projects, and downloadable resources. During this course, participants are prompted to write a nonfiction short story of 1000 words from the ground up.

  • Ideal for: Aspiring freelancers, active writers who want to develop nonfiction writing skills, or individuals curious to master the power of language
  • Presenter: Susan Orlean
  • Length: 15 Lessons (1 hour 49 minutes)
  • Media format: online videos along with downloadable resources
  • Unique features

As an acclaimed journalist, Susan Orlean has a lot to offer in this two-hour course. Writers can recognize the potential in events around them by catching insightful cues. This course teaches people how to look at incidents from a different angle in a way that captivates readers.

  • Price and payment method: Skillshare offers a limited free tier. Users can upgrade to a Skillshare Membership to access the class. Premium membership costs $8.49 per month (billed monthly) or $31 per year (that’s $2.61 per month).
  • Other benefits 

Get unlimited access to over 20,000 inspiring online classes on Skillshare taught by industry leaders and working professionals.

Creative Nonfiction 101 (Gotham Writers Workshop)

Creative Nonfiction 101 (Gotham Writers Workshop)

Nonfiction writing is getting more diverse and creative. That means you need a comprehensive understanding of the styles and techniques.

This course will help you learn and perfect all the styles of creative nonfiction, such as memoirs, personal essays, feature articles, profiles, reviews, and travel writing. As you learn how to create each one, you’ll be able to explore all your options before settling on a particular niche.

  • Ideal for: Beginners or any writer who wants a refresher in nonfiction writing. Students must be 18+.
  • Presenter: several established instructors, including Michael Dunphy, Jil Picariello, Cullen Thomas, Beth Livermore, Anni Irish, and Joselin Linder
  • Length: 6 topics (6 weeks)
  • Media format: Online lectures/ Zoom classroom sessions/ in-person in New York City
  • Unique features 

Only 14 writers are allowed in the class. This ensures everyone gets personal attention when they receive feedback on their writing assignments and exercises. You can attend creative writing classes in various ways: online but not real-time, Zoom real-time class, in-person in New York City, or a one-on-one private session.

  • Price and payment method 

Registration fee $25, paid once per term

Online: not real-time tuition cost: $319

Zoom: real-time video conference session tuition cost: $319

NYC: in-person tuition cost: $335 (on hold now)

One-on-One session cost: $1195

  • Other benefits

People can opt for more personalized interactions when enrolling for creative writing classes, such as real-time Zoom classes and one-on-one sessions. However, they will have to pay extra for such creative writing courses.

How to Write Non-Fiction (The Creative Penn, Teachable)

How to Write Non-Fiction (The Creative Penn, Teachable)

If you're looking for a step-by-step guide to help you write a nonfiction book, then this course is for you. It will help you build the right mindset, validate ideas through research, and structure and organize the material while writing your first draft. More importantly, it will help you learn how to edit, publish, and market your book appropriately.

As a completely self paced online course, you can watch videos when you like or download the audios and listen to them at your own pace.

  • Ideal for: Writers who want to
    • build authority in this niche
    • share their story about a personal experience with others
    • use a book as a lead generation tool for their business 

Note: This course is not appropriate for academic writing.

  • Presenter: Joanna Penn
  • Length: 70 videos grouped into 5 modules (16 hours
  • Media format: Videos for every lesson with downloadable audio and slides as well
  • Unique features

Learn at your own pace in your preferred format. Audio lectures allow them to listen on the go.

The course includes short snippets of interviews from Joanna's podcasts where bestselling authors outline important aspects of the course.

If you feel the class isn’t for you, simply ask for a full refund within 30 days.

  • Price and payment method : There are two payment options: 

Pay $297 in full upfront or 

Pay 6 monthly installments of $50 per month

  • Other benefits 

After paying for the course, you receive lifetime access to the materials, even content that is added in the future.

When you buy How to Write Non-Fiction first, you can avail a discount on other courses.

Even though the course is self-contained, there’s a private, members-only Facebook group where you can ask Joanna questions and interact with other writers. 

Business Writing Courses

These courses focus on teaching entrepreneurs or marketers about writing short-form content for a living. This includes copywriting, blogging, digital marketing content, etc., to contribute to a business’s bottom line.

Writing With Flair: How To Become An Exceptional Writer (Udemy)

Writing With Flair - How To Become An Exceptional Writer (Udemy)

This course is among the bestsellers on Udemy, already totaling more than 118,000 students.

Shani Raja shares his secrets to exceptional writing so that you can transform a dull piece into a captivating one.

Shani is the former editor of The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Financial Times, and Bloomberg News. Plus, he’s edited for well-known companies such as Microsoft and IBM and taught advanced writing skills to many professionals. So he's got a fair share of trade secrets to tell. 

During the course, Shani focuses on mastering the four basic aspects of writing: simplicity, clarity, elegance, and evocativeness. 

You’ll become a more confident, competent, and sophisticated writer by applying his ‘secret sauce‘ to your blogs and business writings.

  • Ideal for:
    • Corporate writers
    • Communications professionals
    • Marketing executives
    • Government and non-government agencies
    • College and university students
    • Blog writers
    • Job hunters
    • Journalists
    • Small, medium, and large business owners
    • Book writers
    • Bloggers
    • Authors
    • Copywriters
    • Editors
  • Presenter: Shani Raja
  • Length: 79 lectures divided into 7 sections (7 hours 15 minutes
  • Media format: on-demand video and downloadable resources
  • Unique features 

Besides English, the course is available in closed captions in 7 other languages: French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish

  • Price and payment method: one-time payment of $89.99
  • Other benefits

Full lifetime access

Certificate of completion

Writing Articles (LinkedIn Learning)

Writing Articles (LinkedIn Learning)

A well-written article effectively communicates ideas and stories in an easy-to-follow and credible style that connects with readers. That’s exactly what Starshine Roshell aims to do in this course.

As a journalist and communications consultant, Starshine teaches how to write and publish articles the right way. She discusses the proper approach to article writing, including researching a topic, pitching the story, and polishing the piece before publication. 

Starshine has written for the New York Post, The Week, eBay, and the University of Southern California. She has years of experience as a news reporter, syndicated columnist, travel writer, and journalism professor.

  • Ideal for: Individuals who want to
    • learn best practices for business writing
    • develop compelling, impactful writing
  • Presenter: Starshine Roshell
  • Length: 5 chapters (30 minutes)
  • Media format: online videos and chapter quizzes
  • Unique features 

This course is part of a learning path found on LinkedIn Learning entitled Develop Your Writing Skills.

Subscribers can discover how to communicate clearly with clear, convincing, and well-organized ideas. More importantly, they learn the appropriate format for the intended audience.

  • Price and payment method 

Access to LinkedIn Learning is through a subscription model. 

Pay $29.99 for a monthly subscription

Or $19.99 per month for an annual subscription.

Both plans offer the first month free.

  • Other benefits 

Once you subscribe to LinkedIn Learning, you can access thousands of other classes on the platform. 

Certificate of completion

Accelerated Program For Six-Figure Copywriting (American Writers & Artists Institute)

Accelerated Program For Six-Figure Copywriting (American Writers & Artists Institute)

Copywriting is a growing field, so it’s time to learn about copywriting from expert copywriters. 

This well-structured course presents all the basics you need to know about copywriting. You'll learn crafts such as the psychology of sales, elements of a sales letter, how to use storytelling techniques to sell, and how to find clients. As you progress through the guide and complete the various exercises, you’ll be able to build the right skillset and launch your copywriting career.

The course includes a virtual textbook and a plethora of additional resources, such as access to an online copywriting community, career tips, a library of successful sales letters, and more.

So yes, you’ll have everything you need to break into the copywriting industry, especially knowledge about skills that work best.

  • Ideal for: Bloggers, freelance writers, and copywriters who want to improve business writing skills.
  • Presenter: Various copywriters, including Paul Hollingshead, Brian Kurtz, Brain Clark, Charlotte Hicks, Casey Hibbard, etc.
  • Length: 13 Chapters (518 pages), self-paced
  • Media format: presented in an attractive virtual textbook format
  • Unique features 

This step-by-step guide to copywriting is full of simple and powerful techniques.

It's a clear and easy-to-understand course about the separate parts of the copywriting process. 

Offers hands-on training.

Receive feedback on assignments.

Additional materials for writing exercises

Bonus webinars and reports

  • Price and payment method: one-time payment of $497
  • Other benefits

One a subscriber, you can access other courses on AWAI, the online community of copywriters, The Golden Thread (a weekly newsletter full of the latest marketing tips and advice), (a site that lists job openings for copywriters), etc.

Over to You

A dedicated writer will constantly strive to get better. But this is not something that you can do overnight. Nor should you expect to see instantaneous results after taking a single crash course or workshop. You’re going to have to work consistently on improving your writing skills, especially if you want to become successful.

So what should you do?

Besides enrolling in top-rated online courses like the ones listed above, you need to write more often and gain more experience. Getting support from a mentor and asking for their feedback can significantly improve your skills. 

So, have you decided on a course (or courses) that can allow you to reach your writer's potential?

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