Author’s Journey: Fantastic Online Courses for Authors and Writers


Author’s Journey: Fantastic Online Courses for Authors and Writers

The busy life of a writer and author leaves little time for learning. Still, continuous improvement and professional development is critical in any professional endeavor. It’s important that authors interact with their fans, friends, fellows, and industry professionals.

But it’s not always easy.

Conferences, signings, and other events take a toll. Time away from family, obligations, and yes, writing, creates a dent in productivity. The goals for all of us—from raising a family to leading a company—is to create balance. A healthy management of outside engagements and learning activities, coupled with online interactions and professional growth is key.

How do authors do it all?

Unless you’re an author who prefers being on the road each week, the scale is probably tipped toward the virtual. Let me be clear, an author (or anyone) shouldn’t hide at home. We’re all human and need to connect with people. To illustrate the challenge, many incredible authors (link to Q&A) spend inordinate amounts of time and energy contributing to their own engagement and publicity which of course, detracts from writing their next bestseller, and of course learning.

So, returning back to the original question, how do authors make the most of their time to successfully navigate all that’s required of the author’s journey—writing, engagement, PR—and still make time to learn? From what I’ve experienced first-hand, and what I’ve learned from others, it’s a challenge. But it’s necessary, so there needs to be a commitment to continual growth.

Enter the virtual learning world. Now, that presents an entirely new set of challenges. What programs and online courses are worth the investment of time and money?

To answer the question, I turn the mic over to my author friends and experts who have shared some of their favorite online courses.

“I’m a huge fan of continuing education, both as a learner and a teacher. A course I took two years ago that I recommend to everyone (not just writers) is The Science of Well-Being (aka “the happiness course”) from Yale University. As authors we are often our harshest critics, which can skew our perceptions about what will make us happy. This class challenges you to look at your biases on happiness and provides several mechanisms to reframe those misconceptions. It is currently free on Coursera. As for teachings, I offer a class on writing and self-publishing your first book through the Johns Hopkins Odyssey program. The next session starts in March, which you can check out here.” ~ John Lim, host of Moving Forward podcast and author of several books, including The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses

Erin Wright teaches courses geared toward authors who self-publish widely. Her courses are listed and described on her webpage and cover metadata, algorithms, in-house promotions, preorders, formatting, ISBNs, and so much more. I’ve found her classes of immeasurable use and can’t recommend them enough.” ~ Zoe Tasia, author of The Shrouded Isle series

“I love to share my knowledge with others who are beginning their own writing journey as I fully relate to that hunger for information from someone who has followed their dreams and made it happen.With that in mind, I developed Write with Emma, a six part online course which is a comprehensive set of lessons designed to help you write a novel.. I don’t refer to textbooks in my theories. All of my content is expressed totally from the heart, delivered in a conversational, relaxed manner but packed with golden nuggets of information, hints and tips I’ve picked up having worked with publishers who are small and local, to global giants such as HarperCollins and Penguin Random House. My sessions will take you from the blank page, right through ‘how to get published,’ in a friendly, entertaining and no nonsense approach.” ~ Emma Heatherington is the international bestselling author of fifteen novels.

“We’re at an all time high for access to robust online writing-related content. The Authors Guild has a lot of great offerings, and I’ve particularly benefited from, and enjoyed, their webinars related to the business side of writing and publishing recently. Shrewd writers know that we need to work on our craft and our skills to navigate the business of writing confidently. The Authors Guild resource library houses webinar recordings accessible for free. Also, more regional writing nonprofits, such as WriterHouse where I teach, now offer online programming. WriterHouse offers top-notch writing courses and seminars that are a great value. I’m excited to be teaching Revising Prose: Seeing Your Work Anew, an online seminar on February 10. During the seminar, we’ll discuss approaches to revision, with participants taking abstract concepts we discuss and practically applying them to their own work in real time during the seminar.”Kristie Smeltzer, writer, teacher, editor, and writing coach.

“After I’d had three books traditionally published, I found the most helpful workshops were those taught by screenwriters, in particular Michael Hauge and David Freeman. I realized scripts were tighter, action packed, and used subtext extremely well. So, I started applying screenwriting techniques to my novels. What a difference! My writing changed dramatically, for the better! My recommendation is to take classes outside of your comfort box. Explore new techniques and processes. Be open to writing experimentation”. ~ Dr. Diana Stout, award-winning writer of multiple genres, screenwriter, author, blogger, and writing coach who will be offering numerous courses in 2024 via her Sharpened Pencils Productions website.

There you have it. In a nutshell, there are probably more online courses that one could ever find the time to engage in.

And it’s also necessary to vet them to find the ones that are worth their salt. Explore these above, ask your friends, read reviews, and take advantage of free courses when they’re offered so you can discover a program and facilitation style that works best for you.

And of course, please, please, please share below the online programs and courses you found to be fruitful on your Author’s Journey.

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