Writing courses come in many different varieties, some of which will be helpful in honing your skills and some of which may prove to be a disappointment. The first step in choosing such a course is to determine your goals. Do you wish to write for the sheer pleasure of it, or do you seek to make a living as a writer? Do you wish to write fiction or non-fiction novels, or do you seek to be a freelance writer for newspapers, magazines, or the Internet? Finding a class that fits your desires is the key to choosing the best writing courses.
If you are a beginning writer, you should take classes that address basics such as grammar, punctuation, syntax, and sentence structure. In most such writing courses you will receive an introduction to the mechanics of the art, and only later will you move forward into the intricacies of plot development, creating believable characters, and methods of infusing your work with drama, comedy, and tension. Again, depending upon your goals, and especially if you wish to focus on non-fiction, you might seek out a writing course that will teach you research techniques.
Writing is a personal endeavor, and the best writing courses should be geared toward helping you integrate your personality and individuality into your work. Courses that stress a specific manner of writing should be avoided, as they will more often than not result in your work being an imitation of your instructor’s style. You should choose writing courses that encourage you to be original, not those that insist upon following strict rules and formats.
Be selective when choosing a writing course, and look at the background and abilities of the instructor. If possible, sit in on a few classes, or speak with those who have already taken part and completed a course. Many people feel that the best courses will be taught by a successfully published writer or editor, but this not necessarily the case. What you want to discover is an instructor who can critique your work with an unbiased eye, correct blatant mistakes, offer suggestions for improvement, and make the time to discuss your work on a one-to-one basis.
Beware of courses that make grandiose claims, asserting they can make you a great writer. As is true with artists and musicians, the truly great are born with an innate ability. On the other hand, writing courses led by qualified and caring teachers who love writing for its own sake, can help virtually anyone become a good writer. These teachers will do their utmost to help bring forth the undiscovered words and talents that are already yours.