Feeling stuck in writer’s block? Two things I find that unstick my inspiration are listening to other writers talk about their writing process and honing my skills in a particular category of writing. The amazing thing about the internet is that there are writing courses galore. Many of them are paid, and you can check out sites like udemy.com to find paid versions. Here, I’ve gathered some promising FREE online writing courses to help jump-start your creativity. Sign up for one of them – or all of them – and then let me know what you think in the comments!
1. Writing What You Know with The Open University
“Do you want to improve your descriptive writing? This free course, Writing What You Know, will help you to develop your perception of the world about you and enable you to see the familiar things in everyday life in a new light. You will also learn how authors use their own personal histories to form the basis of their work.”
This course has four sections and allows you to get a free statement of participation upon completion.
2. Genre Fiction Workshop with MIT
“Some argue that genre fiction is only a marketing category, but other critics say that different genres meet specific expectations of readers. This course examines these different agreements of what the reader wants and what the writer provides under the aegis of different genres. We will look at how genres are divided into subgenres, and how they are combined into cross-genre work, always keeping in mind the Reader-Writer Contact that is at the heart of genre writing. We shall also think about the ways in which crossing genres has led to the establishment of new genres (steampunk, preternatural romance) and strongly established subgenres (historical mystery, urban fantasy).”
In person, this course would be 24 sessions. There is quite a bit of reading material available on the course website and listed for you to retrieve.
3. Creative Writing Course with The Crafty Writer
“Are you a beginner writer? Do you know you want to put pen to paper but not know where to start? This eight-session online creative writing course will give you an introduction to the basic elements of creative writing, from prose fiction to poetry. The course is entirely free and you can work through it at your own pace. The exercises are designed to help you start writing and self-analyse your work.”
This course is offered entirely online and you can work at your own pace. Sessions include topics like “Releasing Your Creativity” and “Writing dialogue.”
4. Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy with Jeffrey A. Carver
“Have you always harbored a secret (or not so secret) yearning to write? This course is designed to help you learn many of the skills you need to write successful science fiction and fantasy stories. You can use the skills you’ll learn here in other kinds of storytelling, as well.”
This course is primarily aimed at younger writers but is chock-full of advice for writers of any age. There are 13 extensive sections of this course plus recommended reading and resources.
5. Basic Creative Writing: Finding Your Inner Writer with EMRE Publishing
“This is a course where you will discover the inner creativity that you may have lost during your high school and college years. Most creative writers have a natural talent to create, but this course leads you into your inner abilities that you may have lost during your professional life–even as a writer. We will explore where creativity and metaphorical thinking come from, how to utilize your “sign mind” and “design mind,” and how to implement a variety of natural creative writing techniques into your writing. This is a general course for people who want to see if they can develop their innate abilities to be successful creative writers.”
This course has 11 modules that you can work through at your own pace. It requires a membership, which is also free.
6. Start Writing Fiction with FutureLearn
“Start Writing Fiction focuses on a skill which is central to the writing of all stories and novels – creating characters.
You will listen to established writers, such as Louis de Bernières, Patricia Duncker, Alex Garland, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Tim Pears, Michèle Roberts and Monique Roffey, talk about how they started writing. You’ll consider the rituals of writing and the importance of keeping a journal.
You’ll learn how to develop your ideas and the importance of reflecting on writing and editing, and you’ll hear other writers talking about their approaches to research and consider ways of turning events into a plot.”
This course has set start dates throughout the year and has more interaction and feedback than any other course on this list.
7. Creative Writing: A Master Class with the Academy of Achievement
***Caveat: you must have an iPad to read the textbook and iTunes to download all course materials.***
“Delve into the world of creative writing and hone your skills and knowledge on the craft with Creative Writing: A Master Class eCourse. Featuring a multi-media eTextbook, Creative Writing: Learning from the Masters, and nearly 40 audio and video podcasts containing unique insights from more than 30 authors, this course pulls back the curtain on the writing process. Learn from critically acclaimed and award-winning authors who candidly and exclusively reveal their methods, challenges, and advice on the noble craft of creating fiction, and practice writing while analyzing the critical elements of fiction.”
This course includes 46 short lectures from different authors as well as a multimedia e-textbook.
Ready? Jump on in and get started today! There’s no time like the present to restart your creative writing.