Best Free & Paid Online Writing Courses To Level Up Your Writing Skills

online writing courses

Writing is a skill quite necessary to possess no matter which field of study you belong to. Every profession demands some form of writing, either as a primary or secondary aspect. It may be in the form of creative writing, a report, an email, or any such document that may be required to accomplish daily official tasks. Writing is not limited to writers or novelists. This realization has led to various institutes and platforms now offering a variety of online writing courses to cater to every individual’s writing needs.

Whether you are an aspiring writer learning the ropes, or a professional looking to polish your already developed writing skill, there is something on offer for everyone.

Goal setting is the first step

Before starting any course, it is of utmost importance for you to decide what it is you want to achieve from the course. Every course demands time to be invested, while many paid courses, of course, require much more. Therefore, it is better to evaluate the aim of pursuing a specific writing course beforehand so you can choose the best on offer without going wayward and wasting your time and resources.

The following factors can influence your choice of a respective course:

  • Nature of writing skill that you aim to acquire (such as creative writing, reports, etc.)
  • Paid or free lessons
  • Time to be utilized
  • Level of skill you want to require( beginner or expert)
  • Any specific institute you prefer for the course

Once you have a clear set of goals in mind, the next step would be to enrol in a professional writing course.

What are some of the best writing courses to improve your writing?

Many courses can help you boost your writing skills, but the course you opt for depends upon your predilection for the specifics pertaining to the respective course. Out of the reasons mentioned above, many people choose based on whether the course is free or paid. Considering this factor, the courses mentioned below have been bifurcated based on paid or non-paid courses; however, all of the above-mentioned factors have been taken into account for enlisting them.

Best online courses on offer (free of cost)

Whenever we see the word ‘free’, the worth of the object being referred to comes into question; however, it is worth mentioning that the tag of ‘free’ does not mean that these courses possess a lesser value; instead, some of them are being offered by the best institutes in the world. Though there are numerous courses on offer, however, we have selected a few prominent ones to assist in making a decision:

1. Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking (Harvard)

If you have ever taken a communication course, you might have studied persuasive messaging since it is essential in the field of communication. It also plays a pivotal role in public speaking, which involves coaxing the public to motivate them to take action. Its importance is apparent because this course is being offered free of cost by Harvard University through EdX. This course exemplifies the speeches of eminent 20th-century American personalities, who epitomized the role of rhetoric in impactful communication and brought revolutions through their words. This course covers all the topics in about eight weeks of lessons.

2. Business Writing Techniques (DoaneX)

Another course available free of cost through the platform of EdX is the Business Writing Techniques offered by Doane University. This professional writing course incorporates various aspects pertinent to business communication. It mainly focuses on the 7C’s of communication, which forms the base of effective communication, the use of emojis in business communication, and the kind of decorum that should be maintained in such messaging. 

The total course length is ideally one month; however, the self-paced factor provides flexibility to the participant. This course can be considered a cornerstone if you are looking to work as a freelance writer since the aspects of writing taught in this concourse as the backbone of most written assignments. 

3. Creative Writing: The craft of plot (Wesleyan University)

This is a single part of a multi-modular course offered by Wesleyan University. It consists of 5 modules in total; however, the rest require payment for enrollment. Nonetheless, this single module can help aspiring screenwriters learn the importance of plot and how to create mesmerizing plots that can leave the audience bewitched. It also incorporates the use of hooks to build properly structured story arcs and create content that can truly be captivating.

4. How to write an essay (University of California, Berkley)

This is the perfect course for you if you are preparing for an entry exam, any descriptive academic test, or an essay competition. This course teaches the proper way to deal with academic essays by focusing on the components that constitute an essay. This includes an impactful thesis statement, sentence structuring, punctuation, and appropriate paragraphing required to create a high-scoring coherent essay. The University of California offers this course with lessons based on written material, videos, and online discussions.

5. Write  your first novel (Michigan University)

As the name suggests, this is a beginner-level course for aspiring novelists. If you want to pursue your dream of becoming a bestseller author, this gives you the impetus to embark on that journey. This detailed course is spread through 26 weeks of learning, which imparts knowledge regarding all the ingredients of writing a good novel.  

6. Become a journalist: Report the news ( Michigan University)

Michigan University is ranked as one of the best institutes in the field of mass communication and offers specialization in journalism. This course is but a small portion of that program; however, a student of this domain can surely benefit from this single course as well enhance their understanding of the respective field.

Best paid writing courses and platforms available online

Following are some of the best online writing courses that require an investment of time and money but rest assured, every bit is worthwhile. These courses not only help in acquiring knowledge, but most also include certification, which can prove to be quite helpful in helping you accentuate among other writers in the market, whether as a full-time freelancer. The following list does not only consist of brief overviews of individual courses but also platforms that provide a plethora of course options encompassing various genres and domains of writing:

1. Masterclass

Started in 2014, Masterclass is an online educational platform introduced by Yanka Industries, providing video lessons from experts in numerous fields. This platform has since garnered much acclaim and attention due to its novel pedagogical approach of hiring ‘masters’ of respective fields and having them spread a fair share of knowledge. Masterclass has a diverse catalog of lessons covering many fields, including writing, with multiple courses covering this vast subject. All courses have separate mentors who share knowledge specific to their domain.

One such course is Writing for Television by Shonda Rhimes, which teaches screenplay and scrip-writing mastery. So, if you are willing to spend some money to gain this invaluable knowledge, then avail yourself of the opportunity to learn from the writer of Grey’s Anatomy herself.

2. EdX

EdX is an online educational platform co-created by Harvard University and MIT. The names of these two giants are pretty enough to motivate any person, whether a novice or an adept at partaking in the courses on offer. This platform hosts various courses to help you attain new skills or polish already possessed ones.

3. Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University

This modular course is a complete creative writing package that dives deep into the vast writing field, covering all facets. This offering by Wesleyan University comes at a very affordable price of $49 per month and can be covered in about 3-6 months. It has a flexible schedule so you can manage time as per your liking and receive a completion certificate upon covering all modules. This five modular course includes three genres of creative writing: narrative essay, short story, and memoir. The leverage of obtaining a writing certification is bound to provide you with opportunities to find a full-time writing job or, at the very least, some freelance work to build/improve your portfolio.  

4. The Novelty

Writing novels is an art and skill that needs to be polished to make it into mainstream novelists. The Novelty does just that by allowing you to choose from several packages, each catering to the needs of various novelists.  The courses have varying prices and time allocated for completion (with 15-20 minutes per lecture), but you have the luxury of going at your own pace.

5. Grammar Lion-A Grammar Refresher for All Writers & Editors

This course offered by Grammar Lion can be considered a must for every writer or professional who lacks prowess in grammar. A novelist writing a novel, an official drafting a report or an email, or a speaker making a presentation, all need to be prudent of these grammatical rules. This course costs about $67, completed in about 12 weeks, with the student receiving a completion certificate towards the end.

6. Gotham Writers

No, this has nothing to do with Batman! Gotham Writers identifies as a ‘creative home fers to develop their craft through fellowship’. This organization works solely on helping people develop their creative writing skills, including screenwriting, poetry, songwriting, stories, and a few others. Gotham Writers emphasizes fellowship hence, arranges conferences, meet-ups, and even contests to boost interaction among its members.

7. Other notable educational platforms

Other than the options mentioned above, other online educational platforms offer a wide range of courses. Some of these eminent platforms include Coursera, Udemy, and SkillShare.

These platforms either produce educational content independently or work alongside various institutes and professionals to develop specialized courses. These platforms offer paid and free content and are recognized globally, so a certification from their platform can undoubtedly improve your CV.

Laconically put, no matter what level of writing skill you currently stand at, whether you are a student learning the basics of some writing form or aiming to acquire a specific writing skill to secure a permanent job/freelance work, you have a myriad of choices to select from. So, choose the course that best suits your needs and start writing!