Are creative writing classes useful? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is: it depends what courses you find and what you put into them. However, there’s a course out there for everyone that can help improve your writing!
If you want to learn how to write creatively or simply want to improve your everyday writing, the right creative writing class can transform your writing abilities. Let’s talk about what you learn in creative writing classes, and why they can work for writers of all skill levels.
How to Make the Most of Your Creative Writing Course
A creative writing course is much like life: the more you give, the more you get. Being an active participant will teach you as much about creative writing as the instructor will, because engaging with language is how you grow as a writer. Actively working with suggestions and ideas, keeping a daily writing practice, and offering other students constructive feedback will all boost your creative writing skills.
Additionally, do your research before you enroll in the course, or you might end up taking a class that isn’t suited to your needs. Look up the instructor for the course, their teaching style and previous publications, and how much experience they have as an instructor. If they don’t seem well suited towards your learning style, they might not be worth the cost.
Finally, look up if the course actually caters to what you want to learn. For example, if you want to learn how to write the lyric essay, then a general nonfiction writing class will only go so far.
Creative Writing Courses: Beneficial or a Waste of Time?
To answer whether or not creative writing courses are worth it, think about what you want to gain from that course. The following are benefits you will likely receive from actively participating in a class:
- Developing your writing skills – both personally and professionally
- The motivation to work on an extended writing project
- Constructive feedback and the opportunity to try new things in your writing
- Improving your mental (and even physical!) health
- An active writing community that supports and encourages creativity
Learning how to write creatively can have far-reaching impacts, so let’s explore how a creative writing class can work for you.
The Benefits of Creative Writing Classes
1. A Creative Writing Course Focuses on Craft
You might be wondering how a creative writing class is different from high school English. The big difference is that, where a typical English class focuses on basic grammar and literacy skills, creative writing classes focus specifically on craft.
What is creative writing craft? Craft involves the elements of language and storytelling that make a work of prose or poetry successful. Often, focusing on craft is how creative writing classes can help improve your writing.
Your writing class might focus on the structure of a short story, the different types of figurative language, the importance of effective word choice, or the elements of storytelling. A creative writing class should break down successful works of literature into the components that make it work, giving you the tools to practice your own writing skills.
Also, craft-focused writing helps you with everyday writing. From improving your vocabulary to structuring an email, the creative writing practice translates to improved writing elsewhere.
2. A Creative Writing Course Motivates You to Write
Writing is a skill that you can only develop through practice. For many of us just starting on our writing journeys, a writing class can help keep us motivated and accountable.
Every instructor works differently, but you can expect the following in a writing class:
- Creative writing prompts
- Daily journaling assignments
- Helpful revisions
- Inspirational readings
- Ideas to combat writer’s block
- Different opinions on how to write creatively
Additionally, a writing course fosters a creative writing community. This community gives you the motivation to create, as it creates a safe environment to experiment, take risks, and grow in your writing practice.
Some courses are even designed to motivate you, such as our course A Novel First Draft in 70 Days. Sometimes, the biggest struggle is simply to begin, and a creative writing course helps you do that.
3. A Creative Writing Course Offers Constructive Feedback
The instruction received in a writing class demonstrates how creative writing classes can help improve your writing. Most instructors hold Masters or Doctoral degrees in English or creative writing and, as a result, they have ample knowledge of what works in literature, as well as tons of experience in the feedback process.
In the best online creative writing classes, an instructor will both inspire you to write and guide you towards being a better writer. Their feedback will cover the many aspects of great writing. For example, your instructor might comment on:
- Unclear language
- Ideas that need to be expanded
- Sentences that are too wordy or passive
- Opportunities to use more engaging vocabulary
- Places to improve writing structure
- Grammar and spelling corrections
Finally, an instructor will tell you what you are already doing well in your writing. When you write a really great metaphor, use interesting word choice, or find a moment of great insight, your instructor will tell you – highlighting the skills you have already mastered in writing.
4. A Creative Writing Course Flexes Your Writing Muscles
If you have a “science mind,” you might still be wondering if creative writing classes are useful. To answer that question scientifically, creative writing courses are worth it because creativity is both medically and neurologically beneficial.
Much of the medical literature on creativity shows that it boosts our health and resilience to disease. Creative exercises boost our immune systems and our mental health, leading to overall well being.
Additionally, creative writing engages many different parts of our brains. The act of creating worlds on the page requires the parts of our brains that process language, logic, memory, and visual information; repeatedly using our brains this way makes us sharper thinkers, thanks to the power of neuroplasticity.
Find a Writing Community with Writers.com!
The last benefit of a creative writing class is that it cultivates community. Writing communities extend far past the course, helping you to develop friendships and connections that continuously challenge and improve your writing.
So, looking for a writing community? Ready to get writing? Check out some of our upcoming courses at Writers.com, and join our mailing list for weekly tips and features to inspire your next project.
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