Joyce Maynardjames found ads for James Patterson Master Class in her Facebook newsfeed and signed up to discover the secrets to writing a bestselling book. She wrote an article for The Observer about what Patterson had to teach her about writing – and selling – books. That she herself was a published author of a couple memoirs and a dozen novels did not prevent her from appreciating what James Patterson sells in his online course: inspiration and encouragement of creative expression.

Who doesn’t need some of that?

Online writing classes can provide discipline and accountability, too, with the convenience of tele-commuting. The start of the school year is a good time to begin a new one.

There are all kinds of writing classes and I can recommend four places where instructional excellence is the norm.

loft(1)  The Loft Literary Center. One of the nation’s leading literary arts centers, The Loft Literary Center celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. Mission driven, the Loft advances artistic development of writers, fosters a thriving literary community, and inspires a passion for literature. If you don’t live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, you can still take classes there through their online course offerings.

(2)  Gotham Writers. New York City/Online is the creative home to Gotham gothamWriters Workshop since 1993. It is where writers develop their craft and come together in the spirit of discovery and fellowship. You don’t have to be in New York City to be part of this literary community. Clear, practical, and inspiring workshops and classes.

mediabistro(3) Media Bistro. You will find lots of resources for writers, especially journalists, here. In addition to courses, boot camps, and certificate programs there is a jobs board and lots of free information for freelancers and novices. There is a creative writing track here, however, the emphasis is on skill training.

writersdigest2(4)  Writer’s Digest University. If you read the magazine, you know the high production quality of Writer’s Digest and their courses are taught by excellent professional instructors. Like Media Bistro, Writer’s Digest also offers bootcamps and workshops related to the business of being an author. For example, blogging and query letters are popular course topics.

Writers can always benefit from a class to work on improving the craft. Even Joyce Maynard found inspiration in James Patterson’s online writing class she found advertised on Facebook. You might find a writing class to elicit your best writing.

Even if you decide not to take a class, skim these sites for useful information and writer’s resources. Writing is largely a solitary act, but it is helpful to connect with other fellow writers.

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Cathryn J. Prince
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Amy Pershing / Chevese Turner
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Diane Tober
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Larry Scheckel
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