Writing and solitude have always been indivisible. Many writers prefer to work from the comfort of a peaceful and calm place. This calm context helps writers focus on their work and help their imagination fly into different worlds.
As many people reach retirement age, they think about how they are going to fill all of the extra time that they have available to them. A large proportion of them have always thought that it’d be nice to live the life of a writer and perhaps write a book or some articles. The hardest part is figuring out how to start. Should they enroll in a writing course at their Jr. College? Should they go to the library and check out some books on writing? Or should they just start writing? In the age of the Internet, what many have decide to do is to take an online writing course.
Online writing courses are convenient for a number of reasons. The biggest benefit, of course, is that you can learn from the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to get into the car and drive five, ten, or fifteen miles to a campus somewhere. Another advantage, is that often, depending on the type of online course, you can go at your own pace. In a live classroom setting, everyone goes at the same pace. If you’re faster than someone else, or slower, it doesn’t matter. To a certain extent, you’re confined and restricted by the speed and progress of others.
There are a couple of disadvantages too, however. For one, it’s very easy to skip a class because there is no one to push you. It’s easy to just “blow off” assignments. Another disadvantage, for those who like interacting with fellow students is that you’re alone. Some people work well alone, but others cannot. For these, a classroom setting is probably the best option. And lastly, sometimes the feedback is 90% or more written. Some people need that personal and verbal interaction with the instructor to get the most out of a class.
For those that do decide to sign up for an online course, however, there are a few things you should check out:
1) If you’re taking the writing class as part of a high school or college curriculum, make sure that the course is accredited in your state. If you’re just taking the course to learn to write, it doesn’t really matter.
2) Check to see if your instructor is proficient in the type of writing that you are interested in. For example, if you are interested in writing fiction, you may not get much from an author whose resume is 100% biographies.
3) Check the class requirements and make sure that you’ll have access to everything needed. For example, the course may require that you watch video. Does your computer have the graphic card necessary to do so? Or maybe certain components of the course require that you have broad band access. If you still have dial-up, you may have to upgrade. or, the course may require that you use a certain piece of writing software. Bottom line – check the requirements.
4) Some online classes will offer you incentives to sign up. For example, a free website to promote your work once the class is complete. Or maybe introduction to services that will help you to sell your written materials. If any of the extras appeal to you, take them into consideration when making your choice.