freelance writer courses

Online Courses for Writers

If you want to stay on top of your game as a freelance writer, it’s important to keep learning new skills. Investing in yourself as you build your business is something that makes good sense.

When you enroll in one of the online courses for writers, you gain skills that will help you attract a more diversified set of clients. You can also choose courses that will benefit you in your personal writing projects.

Keep in mind that the money you spend on business-related courses is tax deductible. That’s another good reason to decide to invest in yourself in 2024 (and beyond), and these online writing courses are a great place to start.

Online Writing Courses

Creative Writing Courses

1. Novel Writing Workshop

I have a confession. I’ve always wanted to write a novel (fiction) for as long as I can remember. It started with a dream I had about a girl and dragons. Pretty generic these days, isn’t it? But I know that in that dream, there was something special. I just can’t remember it now! (Excuses, excuses…)

If you actually want to begin working on your novel, this course from Udemy is a good start. It’s got six sections with 27 lectures and quizzes in between.

This is a self-paced course, so you won’t have added pressure when you have a lot of work on your plate.

Price: $12 (on sale!)

Learn more here.

2. The Art of Creative Writing

Another useful course for writers who want to enhance their creative writing skills, The Art of Creative Writing “will get you started on the basics of writing a story, including character development, setting, plot, editing, and more.

Whether you want to be a serious writer, are a serious writer, or want to do creative writing as a hobby, this course will enlighten you and guide you through your story, and set you on the path of success!”

This is a self-paced course and no certification is given.

Learn more here.

3. Creative Nonfiction 101

If you are interested in exploring different genres of writing, this six-week class offered by Gotham Writers is a great place to start. Students are introduced to six forms of creative nonfiction: feature articles, profiles, personal essays, memoirs, travel writing, and reviews. There is “no pressure to work on a specific project or settle on which type of nonfiction you prefer.”

Price: $339.00

Learn more here.


4. Stanford University Online Creative Writing Program

If you have ever wanted to attend Stanford, here is your chance! The Continuing Studies Division offers a number of creative writing courses on a semester system (Spring, Summer, Fall).

These courses are geared toward all adult learners. Topics are varied, and include creative nonfiction, travel writing, learning how create a daily writing habit, short story writing, novel writing, and more.

Class sizes are limited. If you are interested in one of these programs, do register early.

Learn more here.

5. Crafty Writer’s Creative Writing Course

This creative writing course is entirely self-paced. It’s meant for people who are able to learn independently. Topics covered in the course include how to release your creativity, short story writing, character writing, dialogue, poetry, markets, and more.

Please note that this example of online courses for writers doesn’t include any critiquing of your work. It is available, on request, for a fee. You can also request a professional opinion on your creative writing beyond the scope of the course.

Price: Free

Learn more here.

6. Writing Science Fiction

Offered through (MIT) Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) program, the course focuses its attention on writing this exciting genre. All assignments and materials are provided, and this is a non-credit course.

Price: Free

Learn more here.

7. The Essentials of Poetry Writing

Sign up for this eight-week course, taught completely by email to learn techniques for effective poetry writing. The topics covered include how to choose subject matter, strategies for choosing words and images, dividing your poem into lines and stanzas, writing metered poetry, rhythm, rhyme, and patterns.

Price: $26.95

Learn more here.

8. Online Classes

Find out about classes on a number of interesting writing topics. Visit the website to see a list. New classes are always being offered, and examples include:

  • Poetry as Sacred Attention
  • In Brief: Explorations in Short Story Forms

Learn more here.

9. Anatomy of a Crime: How to Write About Murder

This course is for true crime writers and bloggers, as well as crime fiction writers, who are interested in delving into the complexities of this specialized genre. It teaches how to thoroughly research a murder case using examples taken from true crime and crime fiction. Both sides of the story are represented so that writers can learn how to present it from the point of view they choose.

Price: AUD 245

Learn more here.

10. The Loft Online Writing Classes

The Loft offers numerous writing classes with start dates throughout the year. Most of them include video or text lectures, real-time chats, peer critiques, and feedback from the instructor. Topics include:

  • Children’s Literature
  • Screenwriting
  • Poetry
  • TV Writing

Price: Varies

Learn more here.

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11. Berklee Online: Creative Writing: Poetry

Sign up for this course to study examples of great poetry and learn how to improve your own writing. You’ll study a new poem each week during the course and have the opportunity to have your work reviewed by your instructor and fellow students.

Price: $1,290.00 for non-credit; $1,545.00 for credit

Learn more here.

Digital Writing Courses

1. University of British Columbia Continuing Studies Writing Courses

UBC offers several writing courses All online courses are open to adults aged 18 and over, and there are no prerequisites required. Check out the list of offerings to see whether there is anything that appeals to you; topics available include introductory copywriting, creating children’s books, food and travel writing, scientific writing, basic television writing, video game narrative, dialogue for games, content marketing, blog writing, and nonfiction book writing.

Learn more here.

2. Copywriting For Beginners: How To Write Web Copy That Sells Without Being Cheesy

There is so much noise online. Literally millions of websites, social media posts, emails and advertising messages all competing for attention.

If you want to cut through the noise, stand out from the competition and generate leads and sales, then you need to effectively communicate your message online. This short course is a must for beginner copywriters.

Price: Free during 14-day trial to website

Learn more here.

3. Become a Better Blogger: Content Planning

By the end of this online course, you will complete a three-month editorial calendar for your blog content. It will help you plan ahead so that you won’t be caught wondering what you write about for either your own blog or ones that you are managing for your clients. It takes you through the process in a logical, step-by-step manner using a series of video lessons that you can watch on your own schedule.

Price: Free during 14-day trial to website

Learn more here.

4. Savvy Digital Journalism: Best Practices for Writing for the Web

This course is for new writers who are starting out, as well as those who are making the move from print to online work. It covers strategies for writing headlines, SEO and keywords, using social media platforms and tips for building traffic through linking.

Learn more here.

5. Copywriting Fundamentals

This introductory course teaches you how to create eye-catching headlines, long-form copy, and more. It covers elements such as word choice, sentence structure, and wordplay to help you create copy that persuades and influences readers.

Learn more here.

Technical Writing Courses

Technical writing is one of the most lucrative niches for freelance writers. If you want to learn something new and earn more, then upskilling in this area is the way to go.

1. American Grant Writers’ Association: Program Development and Proposal Writing

All online courses are taught by an Online Instructor who holds a Certified Grant Writer® Professional Credential and has at least 10 years of experience as a grant writer and online teaching.

Each online course is divided into several sections.  Each section’s assignments must be completed before the next section’s Course Materials will be sent to the student.

Certificate of Course Completion will be sent to online students who successfully complete all of the course assignments.  The Certificate of Course Completion is competency-based and documents contact hours.

Learn more here.

2. American Medical Writers Association: Essential Skills Express Package

Order this package of materials online and complete the self-study materials to complete the credits necessary for the AMWA Essential Skills Certificate. This program can help you enhance your skills if you are interested in taking on medical writing projects.

Price: $975.00 AMWA members; $1,275.00 non-members

Learn more here.

3. Technical Writing Essentials

Learn the essentials of technical writing, technical reports, and professional communication with this online course.

This free online technical writing course will teach you the basics of technical writing and communication. You will study the main conventions and characteristics of technical writing, the complexity and iterative nature of a writing process, and the importance of knowing your audience and writing specifically to meet their needs. You will also learn how to apply strategies to enhance clarity and readability, and more.

Price: Free

Learn more here.

4. Google Technical Writing Courses

These are aimed these courses at people in the following roles:

  • professional software engineers
  • computer science students
  • engineering-adjacent roles, such as product managers

If you have a related background and you want to enter the technical writing niche, these free courses will give you a leg up.

Price: Free

Learn more here.

5. Technical writing: How to write instructions for everyone

This technical writing course is from a Google content strategist. You’ll learn how to write instructions that are clear, concise & customer-centric. No writing experience needed. You will learn everything you need to know~

Price: $15.99

Learn more here.

Other Writing Courses

1. MIT OPEN COURSEWARE Media Studies/Writing

MIT Comparative Media Studies Open Courseware gives students access to readings, assignments, and materials on a number of topics. Simply download the class material of the class you are interested in and work through them on your own schedule. Examples of available courses include the following:

  • Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetoric and Contemporary Issues
  • Writing and the Environment
  • Science Writing and New Media
  • Writing About Literature
  • Writing About Race
  • Writing and Reading Poems
  • Writing Science Fiction

Price: Free

Learn more here.

2. Make Time to Write

Would you like to find time to write a book but have no idea where to fit it into your jam-packed schedule? This course promises to help you find time in your day to get words written. It will help you discover small pockets in your schedule where you can get some words down that will build up over the course of the day.

Price: $147.00

Learn more here.

3. New York Film Academy: Online Screenwriting Courses

If you are looking for a rigorous online program where you can develop your screenwriting skills, consider one of the 15-week workshops offered by the New York Film Academy. Students enrolled at NYFA attend classes weekly through message boards and video downloads and receive feedback from the instructor in between sessions. Course offerings include:

  • Screenplay Story and Structure
  • Television Spec
  • Television Pilot
  • Television Rewrite
  • Writing for Comic

Price: $2,000 – $2,500 USD per workshop

Learn more here.

4. Shonda Rimes Teaches Writing for Television

In 6+ hours of video lessons, Shonda Rimes (of Grey’s Anatomy renown) teaches you her playbook for writing and creating hit television. Learn from a pro!

Learn more here.

5. Professional Certificate in Writing for Video Games

Enter the word of video game writing from start to finish with this 6-course program. You’ll learn:

  • The crucial differences between traditional storytelling and writing for video games.
  • The writer and narrative designer’s role in the game development process.
  • How to develop characters and write scenes that serve both the narrative and the production of a game.
  • How to work with art directors, programmers and level designers to create interactive narratives.
  • How to develop an application portfolio and excel at industry-standard writing tests.

Price: $849.60

Learn more here.

Publishing Courses

1. Successful Self-publishing

If you want to learn about self-publishing your own printed book or ebook on Amazon, this course goes over process in a step-by-step manner. You’ll find out how to choose the best publication method for your work, how to get it printed, the necessary elements of cover design that will make it appealing to readers, how to upload your ebook to Amazon, and more.

Price: $245.00

Learn more here.

2. Build your Author Platform

The world of e-publishing is highly competitive. It’s not enough to have a great novel or book; you need to take the time to build an author platform so that you can promote your product, too. While this may sound daunting, the steps are broken down in this informative course for novelists and fiction writers.

Price: $165.00

Learn more here.

3. Inside Publishing

Discover the business side of publishing in this five-part course. It is a good fit for self-publishing writers as well as those who are interested in getting a book deal. The content covers copyright and territorial rights, choosing between self-publishing and working with a traditional publisher, how to get a publisher to read your work and more.

Price: $185.00

Learn more here.

4. Pitch your Novel: How to Attract Agents and Publishers

Learn the techniques required for making a successful pitch to agents and publishers with this on-demand course. It also covers how to tell whether your work is ready to be sent to a publisher, choosing the right agent or publisher for your work, how to write an effective pitch, and why keeping track of submission is important.

Price: $185.00

Learn more here.

Here are writing ideas to help you, and for a change of pace, options for print magazine writing jobs.

5. A Fearless Way to Publish Books

Fearlessly Publish is a comprehensive course empowering writers to conquer fears and publish their work confidently. Through modules covering writing techniques, self-doubt management, and marketing strategies, participants gain the skills and mindset needed to navigate the publishing journey with courage and resilience.

It’s taught by Alessandra Torre, a renowned author, who has penned over twenty bestsellers, including “Hollywood Dirt,” adapted into a film. Her works span twenty-six countries and ten languages. Despite major publishing deals, her self-published novels achieved seven New York Times listings, establishing her as an industry leader and sought-after speaker.

Price: $91

Learn more here.

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