Online Writing Classes – A win-win for writers!
By Julie Rowe
It seems there’s been a baby boom in online classes. Where just a few years ago, there was only one or two RWA chapters offering classes (KOD & Outreach International were among the first), there are now at least twenty chapters offering online classes and workshops. And that number is growing. Also growing are the ranks of private workshop providers, usually writers who’ve gone into business recruiting, hosting and moderating online writing workshops.
As the owner/moderator of the Announce Online Classes loop, I’ve been promoting classes from RWA chapters and other reputable groups, for over four years now. When I started in January of 2006, I was posting maybe 20 class listings for any given month. Now, I’m posting anywhere from 40 to 75 classes every month. That’s a lot of different classes to choose from…every month!
For the writer interested in learning from successful authors in every genre of romance and experts in a variety of fields, from psychologists to ex-FBI agents, the selection of online classes couldn’t be better. Fees range from free (for chapter members) to $55, and every number in between. Which, when you consider some “professional” university-type writing courses cost into the hundreds of dollars, is an incredible deal.
I’ve personally taken as many as three courses at once, and while it was a bit of a juggle to keep up, all three were workshops offering unique information from authors and teachers I respect. I felt the lectures, interaction and general availability of the instructor was worth its weight in gold.
There’s great value in the flexibility of online classes, too. Most classes are taught over an email loop, where everyone sees every email sent to the loop, so students learn from each other as well as the instructor. Your instructor might be in New Zealand, with students in Canada, Europe, Japan and the USA, and everyone is able to participate equally. But, if you just don’t have time to participate, you don’t have to. You simply archive all the emails and read them at your leisure at a future date that’s more convenient for you.
It’s this kind of interaction that’s the true advantage of online classes. Anyone with a computer and internet access can take an online class taught by expert, best-selling authors and no one has to leave their house to do it.
Workshop providers, instructors and RWA chapters are also becoming more and more creative with the types of classes they’re offering. Topics like conflict and plot are being taught from unique angles and targeting specific genres. Writing related classes, on topics like couples therapy and how a real special forces soldier is trained, are cropping up in droves…and they’re proving to be very popular.
Here’s a sample of some of the sixty one classes that were offered in July and August:
- Dialog That Dazzles with Lori Wilde.
- His Personality Ladder with Laurie Schnebly Campbell.
- Riveting Revisions – The Key To Getting Published with Lynne Marshall.
- Help I’ve Lost My Muse with Lois Winston.
- How to Write Romantic Suspense with Instructors Heather Graham and Leslie Wainger.
- Craft Your Fiction Query Package with CJ Lyons.
To help prospective students make decisions about which classes to take, I’ve begun creating surveys for workshop participants to fill out to share their experience. These surveys will also be used by instructors and workshop providers to help them build better workshops and learning environments.
The low monetary and time cost in online workshops, make them a total win!
A double Golden Heart finalist in 2006, Julie Rowe has been writing medically inclined romances for over ten years. She's also a published freelancer with articles appearing in The Romance Writer's Report, Canadian Living, Today's Parent, Reader's Digest (Canada) and other magazines. All writers are welcome to join her email loop Announce Online Classes (email@example.com). You can contact Julie through her website www.julieroweauthor.com