There are basically two challenges with writing. The first is knowledge.
I see new authors post stuff online like “I’ve decided to write a book, but I don’t write or read books… how do I get started?”
The common advice is to start writing; so first time authors just write a book with no guidance and end up with something they are very proud of but nobody enjoys reading. Luckily there are consistent, practical ways to improve your writing quickly; mostly just by avoiding all the common mistakes everybody makes left to their own devices.
Only a few authors (out of thousands) get to this level, through a combination of persistence, passion and patience.
The second is motivation.
I was *very* excited to *finally* finish a series this spring, but didn’t, which led to six months of apathy and procrastination. Maybe you know what I’m talking about.
Even (or especially) if you know what you’re doing, it doesn’t really get easier, and the middle of every book feels like an impossible mess that will never come together.
Should you buy a writing course?
What most authors will do, is immediately hire an editor for thousands of dollars; and the editor will waste time with simple stuff like tenses and typos, and rarely fix the critical, core, story details that would make a big difference. Developmental editors are expensive and you *could* learn how to structure your story by yourself, even though it will take time and effort.
So there’s not really a clear answer. Unless you’re still posting for feedback online, or signing up for expensive writing critique courses. Most of these will focus on the writing and not the story.
So they’ll either give you a false sense of confidence (my writing is GREAT!) or a false sense of incompetence (this sucks!) when most likely, neither is true.
I think my writing resources are helpful and unique, but since I don’t promote much or use affiliates, fewer authors discover them. I’d like to fix that… As a comparison (because I like to keep my eye on the competition), one course by a famous NYT bestselling author is $1997 and comes with critique and feedback on 5 pages.
My writing course is $197 and also comes with some personal feedback. It’s impossible to compare prices, because the courses are different. Some people will always be attracted to premium offerings; some will seek deals and bargains.
However recently someone pointed out that my cheap bundles and discounts made them more skeptical, and they aren’t wrong. I love writing and working with authors to develop their story, but it’ll be the first thing I turn off once my writing income grows a little more stable.
By *turn off* I just mean, I’ll raise the prices, remove the discounts or the personal feedback. I much prefer to create resources and disappear into my writing cave, which is my the majority of my content is free.
Here’s what I can tell you (and I know from experience) – even if paying for a course feels uncomfortable, excessive, outlandish, even foolhardy (after all you *can* try to learn everything yourself, even though it’s nearly impossible to judge your own work) it forces you to be accountable, to show up and do the work, and practice in public. Writing is a very difficult skill to master, and you can shave years of struggle off your learning curve, if you can afford it. So you could argue it’s almost always better to invest in yourself.
Is an MFA in creative writing worth it?
Almost never, and I’ve written several articles about it. Mostly because they’ll focus on creativity and expression and literary fiction. They won’t teach you the basics on writing and selling commercial fiction (and virtually all bestsellers are commercial, even the literary ones).
The Novelry has some good creative writing courses so you can start there, but they seem to skew trad-published with agents and editors who have been insiders in the book biz.
Myself, I’m a little more drawn to the outsiders who are selling tons of books self-published, and have had to do everything the hard way. I’m more drawn to indie authors who are using hacks and formulas to write books readers love and boost online conversions rather than count on favorable bookstore placement.
Best book writing courses for authors
I’d *love* to know what resources, books and courses have helped you – feel free to post links in the comments and I’ll research the best to include up here in the main post! (oops, I had a big list of comments but they disappeared… I’ll revise this post with a list of recommended courses soon).
The other comment I got recently was that someone searched for my courses but couldn’t find honest 3rd party reviews – I have hundreds on social media that I’ve added to my own pages, but if any of my resources have helped you, I’d love to see a review or post on your own blog or website as well (if you’re already a student, I can even make an affiliate link for you so you earn some $ every time someone buys a course on your recommendation).
PS. My own writing course bundle is still at the ridiculous price of $47 with this coupon link. It has more content and advanced book writing tips than most others online, and once I get organized I’ll raise the base price to $297.
Or if you join Mark Dawson’s ads for authors course which closes in a few days, I’ll give you access to all my resources. There’s a *lot*. For a super long post, here are all the steps you need to write a book.
I’m a philosophy dropout with a PhD in Literature. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write fantasy novels to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles.