Are writing courses worth the money? That depends on 3 things:
- The type of course
- The quality of the course
I took a creative writing course in Bali in 2004 and it was magic — not because I became a brilliant writer, but because, like photography, writing while traveling can sharpen your senses and add enormously to your enjoyment of travel and appreciation for other cultures. Had I taken the course in hopes of learning how to make more money as a freelance writer, it would have been a complete waste of money. That’s why “type of course” is at the top of my list. There are many different writing courses to choose from. The trick is to choose the one that’s right for you. I promote 2 very different writing courses here:
- MatadorU Travel Writing Course is perfect if you want to focus on travel writing.
- Freelance Writers Den is ideal for freelance writers looking for ways to make better money writing.
Having taken a peek at both of these courses, I can say with confidence that they are both quality courses that can help kickstart your freelance writing career or help you on the road to earning better money as a freelance writer.
Both MatadorU and FWD are packed with information of practical value to aspiring writers. For that reason, they are both worth the money, but only if the 3rd ingredient is included: You
A lot of people are attracted to the freelance writing lifestyle. What’s not to be attracted to? Today I have chosen to write on my laptop while sitting on my bed at home. The day before yesterday, I took my laptop to the beach to work. Other days I work in my home office, as if I had a “real job.” Why would I do that? It’s because freelance writing is a real job and requires as much commitment as any other real job — perhaps more. When deadlines are looming, knuckling down in my home office without distractions is the best way to meet them.
The photo at left depicts the travel writer’s dream: You pop your laptop into your backpack and walk down a scenic path to a beautiful beach, where you spend the day writing, swimming, and relaxing. Guess what? It’s a dream that’s come true for me, but it took a lot of work to get there. Even though I live in a cheap country, for the first couple of years of my career, I couldn’t afford to eat at the beach restaurants that had WiFi and a staff I could trust to look after my laptop while I went for a swim. Instead, I worked 7 days a week just to make ends meet and learn how to make a better living freelance writing the hard way — from experience. If the Freelance Writers Den or MatadorU had existed when I was starting out, I reckon I could have shaved at least a year off that learning curve — but only because I was motivated enough to do it the hard way in the first place.
If you look at the photo above, think, “Gee, I’d like to do that”, sign up for MatadorU and then give up your writing dream after a few rejections, you’ve wasted your money. If you look at the photo above and think, “That is my calling!” and embrace the opportunity with passion and commitment, you’re in with a chance. In fact, if you’re passionate and committed enough, you’re almost guaranteed a career in freelance writing. It may not be exactly how you visualized it when you started out, but if giving up is not an option, you will find a way to succeed.
This is a photo of one of my beach offices. The management kindly keeps a table for me and when my battery starts getting low, they bring me an extension cord. After working for a couple of hours, I go for a short swim. After that, I order lunch. After lunch, I work for a few more hours; go for a final swim; pack up my stuff; and ride my mountain bike home from work. It’s a good life. I’ve accomplished this without the benefit of writing courses, but like I said, I believe a good writing course could have fast-tracked my career and since having spent some time in the Writers Den, I now know that it’s possible for me to do even better. Right now, though, I’m content to enjoy the level of success I’ve achieved and cruise for awhile.
So what do you think? Are writing courses worth the money?