Online Writing Courses & Resources for Writers

Garrison Keillor: What it takes to write humor

Attendee stand-up at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

Online Writing Courses & Resources - My Personal Choices

Online writing courses can be wonderful things. If you have limited time, dislike group settings or live a long way from an institution that offers this type of instruction, they may be a perfect fit for you.

There are only three courses outlined in this hub for a reason. I've heard of each organization that offers the courses, and I trust them. If you do a web search for online writing courses, you'll be presented with pages and pages of options. I have never heard of most of them. They may all be stellar learning opportunities, but I don't know and so am not including any except those I feel safe in passing on. If you do know of a credible site, by all means, feel free to mention it in the comments section.

Online Writing Courses

Long Ridge Writers Group

Long Ridge is a respected institution that has been around for 30 years. I still have large envelopes containing their information that was sent to me via regular mail back in the early '90's. Although I've never taken any of their courses, I do get their weekly communications which include some market information, books that authors want reviewed, and invitations to participate in having writing exercises critiqued. There are interviews of accomplished writers that you can read, as well. This is a supportive organization, that invites you to announce any successes, big or small. You can ask questions and read articles on all aspects of the craft of writing. There is no charge for any of it. The only thing that costs money is the course, if you decide to take it.

Students of Long Ridge are taught using a one on one method. Each pupil is taught by one professional instructor assigned to them for the entire duration of the course. Upon completion, students receive seven college credits.

On average, 300 Long Ridge graduates get published every year. I'm sure that's why they only accept applicants that pass their writing test. They seem to be looking for people they believe they can help make a quick jump to publication.

Pricing is not listed on the website, but there is link to click if you want the information sent to you.

Final Notes:

The Long Ridge Writers Group is an acredited school, and a member of the Better Business Bureau. The course can be tax deductible. It depends on whether you are taking it just for personal interest, or are using it to increase your knowledge to further your business or career. They do offer a money back guarantee.

Stanford University

The Online Writer's Studio

All levels of writers are encouraged to take advantage of Stanford University's online courses. They offer fiction, non fiction, memoir and poetry instruction. The class sizes are kept small to facilitate a high teacher to student ratio, so registration is limited.

This is Stanford, and as you may expect a little pricier than the first two courses mentioned. Their creative non fiction course is $750 for 10 weeks of study. They hold 17 spots available for it. The time commitment involved for your part is approximately 5-8 hours per week.

No freebies on this site, as you can imagine. You will have to invest in some books to accommodate the required reading.

Final Notes:

Stanford is a trustworthy institution, and I've no doubt their courses would be interesting and educational. A full refund is allowed as long as they receive your cancellation by 5:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of the class. This is the sort of thing that I wish had been available ten years ago, when I was having severe pangs of regret about never having taken a University level writing course.

Garrison Keillor: Finding your voice as a writer

If You Can Suffer Through The Introductions....

Online Writers Resources

Writers Resources - A site that is hoping to sell you a book, but still offers a lot of how-to articles on the craft of writing for free.

DMOZ Open Directory Writers Resources - Another page of links with options for all types of writers to choose from. Includes copyright information links.

WritersNet - The site is a directory of writers, editors, publishers and agents. They have a forum where you can have discussions with others interested in the field. *** Update - this site has recently been deemed malicious, the hyperlink has been removed.

About.com - About.com is a good resource for freelancers or those wanting to freelance. They have a lot of articles and links, and provide some focus on the business aspect of being a freelancer.

Final notes:

There are tons of online resources for writers. You can access them by doing a regular search. Personally, I don't spend any money on any of them, it's not necessary. I'm not saying that it's bad to, but so far I've been able to find out anything I wanted to know for free.

I would suggest that you also give consideration to joining a writers group. While they are not all equal, if you find a good one, it will really prove helpful. What constitutes 'good' is relative. For me, a group of people who are serious about wanting to help themselves and each other improve their writing skills - in a way that we all feel safe in exposing our writing - is a good writers group. It may mean something different to you. Just know that the group should be supportive, and push you (via encouragement) enough to keep you writing.

This Hub Was Inspired By a Comment

I wrote this hub in response to a question that Countrywomen asked in the comments section of my Places to Sell Your Writing hub.

Thank-you, Countrywomen!

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Comments 52 comments

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Excellent hub, Shirley. I've actually been looking around for online writing courses. Long Ridge sounds like a good one. Thanks for writing this :)


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Hi Susan, thanks!

Yeah, I've always liked what I've read about Long Ridge, and enjoy interacting with them and the site via the newsletter and email updates.


ntathu allen 8 years ago

Thanks Shirley.....ilots of useful links...ts good to have reliable sources to further our knowledge. There is so much out there on the web that it can be daunting to know where to start. Ntathu


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thank-you, Ntathu. Yes, I agree with you, there is so much available information, that it can be hard to discern between helpful sites and those that are less so.

Thanks for reading and commenting.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 8 years ago from NY

Thumbs Up from me. You have a new fan.

Great resource for online writing help. I took alot of animal sciences classes online through University of Phoenix. I think they were great. Alot of online classes are geared so that you get out of it what you put in. I think writersonlineworkshop.com works like that - if you don't slack and really give it 100% effot you'll find the cost to be well worth what you get out of it.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thx, Veronica!

I'm glad to hear what you know about any of these programs! In these times of so much internet fraud, it can be difficult for people to know who to trust.

Re the effort part, I agree with you re getting out of it what you put into it - regardless of the program. Hopefully, any writer that seeks out a course is eager to learn and will try to get as much as they can from it, and use it to help realize their dream of publication.

Thx so much for your input!!


malabikajay profile image

malabikajay 8 years ago from Pune

Gud one !!!

I appreciate ur effort...

Cheer's


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thank-you, Malabikajay.


entertaininstyle profile image

entertaininstyle 8 years ago from Southern California

Good information and great resources!


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thx, Entertaininstyle! Hope there is something here that proves helpful.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Another wonderful Hub from you, Shirley. It really helps to have a trusted source (that would be you) help sort out the fact from the fantasy when it comes to online business and communications.

My daughter recently became an online instructor with a new institution focusing on animal behavior studies. I was privileged to work along with her in the brainstorming process for her course, and I saw first-hand how much work goes into creating a course that must deliver meaningful content and learning when there is never face-to-face contact. So, I can imagine that the institutions you present in this Hub are doing a superior job in the online learning world.

Thanks for another informative and useful Hub.

Sally


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thank-you, Sally!

I can only imagine what goes into setting up an online course. I've no doubt that teaching via only the written word can be challenging, especially since there are so many variables in the way people learn.

Hope your daughter is enjoying her instructing. It will be interesting to see what her observations are after she's been doing it for awhile.

Thanks again!


Benson Yeung profile image

Benson Yeung 8 years ago from Hong Kong

so useful, so helpful, thanks.


ProCW profile image

ProCW 8 years ago from South Carolina

Hmm... I'm just wondering when you're going to create your own online writing courses! You've already created some excellent resources! :)

Thumbs up, Shirley!

ProCW (The Official Shirley Anderson FanClub President)


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thank-you Benson, I appreciate you saying so!

ProCW, I think I'll leave that in more capable hands, but thanks for your vote of confidence. Thanks also for the thumbs up!

Shirley (An Official FanClub President Fan)


ProCW profile image

ProCW 8 years ago from South Carolina

:) Thanks back! :)


BeatsMe profile image

BeatsMe 8 years ago

Interesting writing courses. :)


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thx, BeatsMe. Hope they are of help to people.


BizzyMuse profile image

BizzyMuse 8 years ago from Southern California

Loved this hub! This is something I've been considering for quite some time, but a busy schedule seemed to be the excuse du jour. Thank you for filtering the overwhelming amount of online options into a concise and informative list. You have thoroughly inspired me to action!


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thank-you very much, BizzyMuse! I know what you mean about the procrastination thing, I do the same thing with print submissions. :)

I'm very excited about your spring into action! I hope that you'll let us know how things go for you.


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

So many places to choose from, which I know must be good, reputable places to write if you have recommended them!

Thanks! :|)


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Aww, thx C.S.!!!


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 7 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

Wow! Nice and Informative Hub, full of valuable information.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thank-you, Anamika!


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi Shirley, this is a good review of finding online writing courses and resources. I remember enrolling in The Writing School in Singapore when I was still fresh from college. Everything had to be done through snail mail which took forever. As to finding a good writer's group, now that is an idea :) Great hub!


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thx, Michelle!

Ah yes, the days of using the post office. I don't miss it because of how slow it is, but it was kind of neat getting the mail.

I used to belong to a writer's group that I really liked. Three of us have been publishing for years, but I don't know what happened to the rest. We would hand out copies of our works in progess to the group. The following week, we'd get them back with notes of suggested changes and/or encouragement. It was good incentive to write every day.

Thanks for coming by, and the compliment!


Stacie L profile image

Stacie L 7 years ago

good info for us novices! thanks


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thx, Stacie! Hope it helps.


02SmithA profile image

02SmithA 7 years ago from Ohio

Nice post Shirley. This is very timely for me. I bookmarked it so I can use it for my research on which courses are truly useful.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thank-you, 02SmithA. I hope that there is information here that proves very helpful to you.


msms profile image

msms 7 years ago

A suggestion Ms Shirley Anderson! Why not you lead the Shirley Anderson University of Writing? You have made this hub as a learners University! Keep this enterprize growing Ms Shirley Anderson


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

LOL, MSMS you are too kind!  Thank-you so much!

Hope you are feeling better. :)


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

I have taken my first baby steps in learning this craft, by reading all of your hubs. Always informative, and loaded with helpful resources (I especially enjoyed the query letter hub). Thanks to you, I am working on my first submission to an actual magazine!

By the way, where ya been? Don't be such a stranger!

B.T.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Hey, B.T. I'm so proud of you!!! I'll wish you good luck with your submission, but you probably don't need it - your talent will be enough.

Yeah, I know I haven't been around much lately, have been trying to make a living, and working on a large proofreading project. I'll be back as soon as I can be.

Thx for coming by and letting us know that you've taken that big step forward. It's exciting, I can't wait to hear how you made out!!!


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

You are too kind, Shirley. If I understand correctly, it may be several months before I hear anything. But, when I do, you will be the first person I tell.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Yes, B.T., it can be a lengthy process (although not always), but when you see your name and article in print, you will be on such a high for a while! It's a special moment when you see that. You'll never forget it.

I'm really looking forward to hearing what happens.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Shirley- Thanks for writing this hub on my request and I somehow missed this hub. It is very informative and hopefully many would benefit from it. I personally want to improve my writing skills and will check those out soon. Thumbs up for a great hub.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thanks, Countrywomen! I understand about missing it, there are so many hubs to read and it's hard keeping up. I've done the same thing myself more than once, found hubs months after they were written. Hopefully, everyone understands.

I'm glad you found it, though. I hope it helps.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Shirley- I am getting so many emails from hub pages and some even spam that I am not able to keep up with all of them. I also haven't been able to follow up with all the hubs I have left my comments. I don't know how to deal effectively without spending too much time. Already at my work I am feeling a little behind these days hence I am trying to cut down a little hub pages addiction.

Yes this hub is really useful and I have book marked it. Thanks for this wonderful hub.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

It can be overwhelming at times, Countrywomen. If I ever have to be away a day, then I'm really lost on HP. I'm not sure that I can ever catch up to reading all the hubs and authors that I want to.

Thank-you for your very kind words, my dear. It's always an honour to have you visit my hubs.

Lgali, thank-you! I don't know why, but I had to confirm that you aren't a spammer. Yikes. I'm a real clutz at times, but thankfully I hit the right button. :)


Kym Mulcahy profile image

Kym Mulcahy 6 years ago from Australia

Hi Shirley.

Great list of resources for everyone in one place. Thank you for the hub.

Kym


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thank-you for the comment, Kym. Hope there's a course here that you'll find helpful.


Carol the Writer profile image

Carol the Writer 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Shirley,

Great hub. This is a good list of resources. I really like the videos you included. Thanks for writing this. – Carol


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thanks, Carol! Hope there's something helpful here for you.


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago

I am new in online writing. This is a useful and informative hub for me. I learned something from it. I am glad to read this article.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Glad to help, Tina. Keep at it and online writing will become 'old hat' to you soon.

Best of luck!


Autumn Lynn profile image

Autumn Lynn 5 years ago from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

This my be an older hub but I found it perfect for a new comer such as myself. I have really wanted to do some type of writing for a long time. I always lack the confidence or get overwhelmed by which direction to take. I feel finding Hub Pages has been a great opportunity and I want to make the most of it. Hubs such as this one are a great resource. I am checking into all 3 of the courses and I hope it can really give me some of the skills I am missing. Thanks for taking the time to write up this information.


Article Magick profile image

Article Magick 5 years ago from Dublin

Excellent hub, Shirley - lots of really good information on writing online.


Mavis Nong profile image

Mavis Nong 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Shirley,

Really enjoyed reading your hub. Thanks for putting this together - very helpful.

All the best!


gina perry 5 years ago

Does anyone have any experience or knowlege of the AWAI (American Writer's and Artist's Inc) courses? I was especially interested in their Romance Writer's Course.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Hi, Autumn Lynn. You're right, this is one of my earlier hubs but one that never goes out of style. :) I hope that you do find the writer's confidence that you feel you're lacking. If you do take any of the courses mentioned in this hub, I hope that you'll come back and let us know what it's like and how you believed it helped you. Good luck, Autumn Lynn!

Article Magick and Mavis, thank-you very much!


prasadjain profile image

prasadjain 5 years ago from Tumkur

Very useful article. Writers can make use of this.Thanks.

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