Many modern students are realizing how inefficient learning in classrooms can be. Not only are there many distractions, but lots of time is wasted merely getting to and from class.

Additionally, the pace of classroom education is often generalized to appeal to everyone in the class. However, not every student learns at the same pace, and ultimately this means that some students will feel discouraged by the pace while other students will feel bored and unchallenged.

Online education is one approach geared towards mitigating these consequences.

Online education is a much more affordable option that allows students to learn at their own pace. This is because online courses often utilize videos that can be paused and resumed according to the student’s preferences. Additionally, most online courses allow students an unlimited length of time to complete the course.

Furthermore, online education is convenient because it allows the student to learn anywhere that can connect to the internet. This is especially beneficial for students who would otherwise have to commute to get to class.

Creative writing is one subject that is ideal for online education, as it allows students to write whenever and wherever inspiration strikes. Additionally, much of the traditional classroom work associated with creative writing entails editing and workshopping, which can easily be done online.

In this article, we discuss the 7 best online creative writing courses, emphasizing the advantages of these courses.

Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop 

This online creative writing course was created by California Institute of the Arts and is taught by Douglas Kearney, a poet and professor. It’s considered a beginner level class and takes 6 weeks to complete.

Additionally, this creative writing course requires 4-5 hours per week of effort and is delivered via the online platform Coursera.

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The Benefits of Studying Poetry

The bulk of this creative writing course consists of watching videos, reading modern poetry, and writing poetry.

This is one of the best creative writing courses because it focuses not only on writing poetry but reading it. Many creative writing courses that focus on poetry overemphasize the act of writing. Of course, this element of crafting poems is important. But, what occurs before and after a poem is written down is also important.

In fact, reading poetry transcends merely reading a poem written on a page. Considered more broadly, reading poetry entails interpreting your surroundings on a deep, poetical level. This level of analysis might even be the first step in becoming a poet, as you must garner poetical sensory information to inspire your poems.

The professor of this creative writing course also emphasizes the importance of revising your poems as well as editing the poems of your peers.

Editing is such a different process than writing. But, it’s arguably just as important. Over time, as you develop an editing style, this process becomes integrated on an unconscious level when you write. Gradually, your mind makes edits before words are even written down. In this sense, it’s critical to develop a unique editing style, as this is just another form of writing when you think about it.

If you are interested by any of these ideas, then this creative writing course would be perfect for you. Since it’s geared towards beginner writers, no background knowledge is necessary. Additionally, because this professor is a prestigious poet in his own regard, this creative writing course would be ideal for anyone considering a career in poetry.

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Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description 

This online creative writing course was created by Wesleyan University and is taught by Amity Gaige. It’s the 3rd course in a 5-part creative writing series offered by Wesleyan and is delivered by Coursera.

This online creative writing course takes 4 weeks to complete and requires 1-3 hours per week of effort.

The Benefits of Studying Setting and Description

What’s unique about this creative writing course is that it focuses on helping students craft settings for their writing.

This component of creative writing is often ignored in favor of character development and climax. But, the location of a story or novel, whether implied or explicitly stated, is a crucial factor that should be considered.

In fact, considering location can be a good way to break your writer’s block and get some words on the page. Many writers claim that their work arises from an environment that they could not stop thinking about. In this sense, location can be the inspiration for a piece of work.

This creative writing course will not only emphasize generating imaginative settings but also describing them through rich details and invigorating prose.

The Benefits of Creative Writing Exercises

Furthermore, the professor of this creative writing course emphasizes various exercise that students can perform that will help generate settings for their stories. This is a unique element of creative writing courses, as many professors overemphasize writing without teaching student’s practical ways they can get inspired.

Many professors tell their students that a richly lived life should provide plenty of material for their stories, and that the cure for writer’s block is to live more passionately. Yet, most students have already lived passionately. Merely being alive represents a passionate experience, as birth and childhood is one of the most fascinating and mysterious times of our lives.

The real key to cracking open your creativity is to enter the realm of your unconscious, where ideas swim like fish through the sea of your mind. These realms are the true generators of settings that form the basis for stories. Many meditative exercises exist to aid students with this level of self-awareness, and these exercises are introduced to students in this creative writing course.

Overcoming Writing Blocks and Procrastination 

This online creative writing course is offered by Stanford Continuing Studies and is open to all adult members of the community.

It costs $490 and is limited to 25 students. It also takes 5 weeks to complete and is taught by David Rasch, a psychologist and writing consultant.  

The Benefits of Studying Writing Blocks and Procrastination

This is one of the best online creative writing courses because it focuses on generating self-awareness with respect to the writing process. This is something that many writers lack in the beginning of their journey. Yet, self-awareness is often the key to overcoming many of the obstacles to being productive.

In this creative writing course, students will be exposed to a different writing difficulty each week and taught ways to deal with this difficulty. Some examples include procrastination, fear of failure, and dealing with criticism.

Furthermore, this online creative writing course is unique because it’s taught by a psychologist. This means the professor is a specialist in the mental techniques that humans use to interact with their unconscious. This psychological interaction forms the basis for productive writing, so ultimately its more effective for a psychologist to teach ways to maximize writing productivity than someone who is purely a writer.

Many students that have taken this course have commented that the skills they learned applied to all areas of their life where productivity was important. In this sense, after taking this course, you might notice improvements in everything you do as you tackle some of the underlying causes of your inefficiencies.

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Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest 

This online creative writing course was created by Commonwealth Education Trust and takes 5 weeks to complete. It requires about 2-3 hours a week of effort and is delivered by Coursera.

This online course is taught by 3 different instructors, two of which are published authors.

The Benefits of Studying Writing for Young Readers

All readers start out as young readers. Children are very sensitive to every experience, and being exposed to boring, unstimulating reading at an early age can sully their reading preferences for the rest of their life.

Consequently, it’s vital that writers interested in writing for a younger audience develop their skills from the masters of this form. This is one of the best creative writing courses because it features guest appearances from famous children’s authors. In this sense, students can learn from the best and can understand what works and doesn’t work.

Writing for the Web

This online creative writing course is delivered by Open2Study and takes about 4 weeks to complete.

The Benefits of Studying Writing for the Web

Many people think web writing is the most crucial skill that a new writer can master. Yet, this form of writing is considerably different than traditional creative writing, as the audience is much more unpredictable.

Furthermore, different rules and structures govern online writing, and these can be difficult to determine when you are just entering this realm.

This is one of the best creative writing courses because it gives students a broad overview of web writing, discussing how this kind of creative writing is unique as well as the characteristics of creating effective online content.

Furthermore, this online creative writing course even teaches students how to look after their content once its published online. This is a critical component of engaging in the shared commons that is the internet, and this issue is often ignored in many creative writing courses geared towards web writing.

The Future of Storytelling 

This online creative writing course is delivered by Iversity and takes 8 weeks to complete. It’s taught by 4 different professors.

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The Benefits of Studying the Future of Storytelling

What’s unique about this creative writing course is that it focuses not only on teaching students the fundamentals of storytelling but doing so with regards to cutting-edge trends.

Many people associate creative writing with writing traditional short stories and fiction. Yet, writing is really a broad term that encompasses any kind of idea that can be expressed symbolically. In this sense, the future of storytelling entails displaying ideas using advanced technology, like television screens, computers, and virtual reality devices.

While all of these mediums require that the associated stories be fleshed out in language first, their drastically different forms change the nature of these stories.

This creative writing course will discuss these kinds of themes and would be ideal for someone looking to harness their creative abilities for futuristic industries like transmedia storytelling, alternate-reality gaming, and television.

Screenwriting 

This online creative writing course is a 10-week workshop that costs $409 for new students and $379 for returning students. It’s offered by Gotham Writers and is geared towards teaching students the fundamentals of writing screenplays for movies.

The Benefits of Studying Screenwriting

Many people think movies are the modern novel. Despite being such a new genre within the history of art, they are arguably the most popular modern art form, which is why many students are focusing on mastering screenwriting.

At their core, movies are a multi-media genre, encompassing writing, sound, and visuals. Due to this complexity, a solid blueprint must be constructed that guides the production process. Students that take this online creative writing course will learn how to craft this blueprint as well as how to market it to producers.

Furthermore, writing films is completely different then writing a short story or novel, as films emphasize dialogue and screen direction rather than exposition and description. This can be difficult for writers coming from a more traditional background to master.

Thus, any writer who is new to the screenwriting genre would benefit from taking this course, as it will teach them how to apply their current skills while not sacrificing their creativity.

Our Final Thoughts on Online Creative Writing Courses

We think that creative writing is going to be featured heavily in the future of art, regardless of what technology is created to deliver the art.

Ultimately, all art is based on stories, and stories must be first and foremost fleshed out in language, whether that’s in the mind of the creator, on a computer webpage, or in the spoken conversation between many creators.

We think the best creative writing courses are taught not only by writers who have experienced success in the industry but by anyone who understands the dynamics of the human mind.

We can’t wait to see how the creative writing industry will grow and develop in the future.