Should I Take Writing Courses?

*** This is my 100th post! Wanted to celebrate with you! ***


Ah, to be BORN a good writer. No matter how much raw talent you have, nobody is BORN a good writer. Writing is like anything else all the raw talent in the world doesn’t do any good if you don’t invest the time to learn what to do with it.

Trust me, I’ve had plenty of writing training:

  • Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing from University of Arizona
  • Attended writer’s conferences all over the world
  • I have SHELF of “How To Write ____” books

There is value in all this knowledge. But at the end of the day, do taking classes make you a writer?

Does buying paint and an easel and canvas make you a painter? Hmm…

Here are seven questions to ask yourself before you invest in any writing class:

1. Will this class teach me something I don’t already know?

This is my Number One filter I use before I invest in another class (or book). There’s no right or wrong answer here! But I do apply this additional knowledge as well:

If yes: take the class.
If no: Is it because I am already familiar with the material or is it arrogance on my part?


2. Does this class advance my career?

Sometimes you need to take a class because while the material is familiar to you, the credential you get from completing the class is something that is really valuable.

Other times, the class itself has the knowledge you need.

Here’s an example from my experience: taking a class on how to create an index for a book. Did you know that you can get a certification as an indexer? I had no idea until I was researching how to create an index for my cookbook! So then the question was: Would this class (certification) set me apart from my book-publishing-competition in the markets that I work in?


3. Will it help me meet a deadline?

Frankly, I think it’s totally fine to invest in a class JUST for the deadlines and accountability. There’s something magical that happens to your GSD (Get Sh!t Done) level when you’ve invested big bucks in a class or program and now you need to deliver results!


4. Is it fun? Do I want to do it just for the experience?

It’s okay to take writing classes just for the fun of it! I took a playwriting class for just that reason. Do I have a burning desire to be a playwright? No. But a different form of writing can unleash creativity.


5. Do I feel like I SHOULD take the class?

You and I both know that SHOULD is never a good reason. If you’re not going to be able to approach the class with at least excitement for the material, it’s better to skip it. We all remember the classes in school we were FORCED to take: snoozefest and a waste of time!

As an entrepreneur, your time is valuable! Don’t exchange it for something you’re not really excited about.


6. Will I learn from my peers?

When you’re picking a class, you need to make sure that the instructor is above your knowledge-level. If you have peer interaction, they need to be at your level or above. Sure, there’s some fun in being the star pupil but you don’t get as much out of the class if your skills are beyond the level of instruction.


7. Should I take a specialized writing class?

I took a class on copywriting specifically for writing sales copy. I’ve taken two on how to create a Google ad. One more on writing business status posts for Facebook. (All of these also had a lot of business mindset information as well!)

But when you’re looking at a specialized form of writing, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask yourself if it’s better to outsource the writing! With my business model, it makes sense to take the sales copywriting class and implement the knowledge myself; Google ads on the other hand I can easily outsource. (Haven’t decided about the Facebook posts!)

Is it a requirement to have taken writing classes or read writing books to be a good writer? Of course not! There are plenty of writers (or painters or musicians) who have never had any formal training. But what IS a requirement is to always be working to improve your skills, practice the craft, and learning what works and what doesn’t!

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Kim Galloway
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