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Benefits of writing classes

I hope to be a published author one day, not as my main job, since I don't think I could make a living off my writing, and I was wondering if writing classes are worth the time and money. My thought is that reading constantly and writing often is the best way to improve my writing. Will attending a writing class significantly enhance my writing? #teacher #writing #author #creative-writing

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Vernon’s Answer

Yes, reading everything is important to being a good writer. Taking writing classes is an excellent way to practice your craft. It is especially important that you learn how to edit. Even the vaunted Ernest Hemingway said, "I write when I'm drinking, but I'm sober when I edit." I'm not advocating drinking alcohol as a tool for writing, just emphasizing how important editing is. When you are writing, just let it rip!! If you have good technical skills, your grammar, etc., won't be too bad. Then, your editing will be much easier too.


You absolutely can make a career writing. Never, ever sell yourself short in that arena. Yes, it is probably the most difficult career to pursue to make a good living, but you CAN do it. Start submitting short stories to literary agents. Start submitting essays to newspapers and magazines. See your stuff in print. By the way, while you're reading, notice how much absolute garbage is out there on the bookshelves and in the magazines. Publishers publish what they think will sell. If you become familiar to agents early on, when you get good, you will get published.


The agents will tell you to build a platform. That means building literary networks everywhere. That's why it's important to start getting published now! Save your credits and add them to your resume' and query letters. Buy the book, "Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents" by Jeff Herman right away. Read it cover to cover. That will help you focus your efforts to getting published.


Make that keyboard sing!


Vern Turner

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Angela Theresa’s Answer

The more you know! Writing classes are necessary. You do not have to get a degree; yet, classes will help you find your voice. There are many genres, too. Do you want to write articles, books, novels, non-fiction, fiction, travel, photojournalism, memoirs, children's literature, screenplays or stage plays?


In classes, you can find your niche! What seems strongest for you. Comedy, drama, mystery, horror, how-to, holistic, political, travel, current events, history...as you can see, many places you can go as a writer. There is also blogging, poetry and prose, songwriting or reviews.


Take classes that seem most interesting to you.

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your advice. I'll be joining a writing class soon, hopefully I will discover my "niche." :) Mariel
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Simeon’s Answer

I'm usually very skeptical of the actual educational payoffs of college classes, but writing is a big exception. Your professor will essentially give you focused, personal critiques of your writing for a whole semester. You'd have to pay a lot of money to get that some attention from an editor. Plus, you often have the chance to edit your writing and resubmit it to a professor. To take maximum advantage of your class, I'd recommend reaching out to the professor for tips on your writing in general as well as ask him to give you additional writing prompts that are challenging and push the bounds of what you are used to writing about. It's easy to fall into familiar ruts as a writer, so try to use these classes to get exposed to different genres to look for innovations and experiments you could try out in your writing.
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Kendall’s Answer

I imagine there are plenty of published authors who haven't taken writing classes. You're right that the single most important thing to do is write; and the second most important thing to do is read. Plus, writing classes can cost a fair amount of money, so you're smart to consider whether they're worth it for you.


In my experience, writing classes are a good way to meet and learn from experienced teachers (this was my favorite part), and also get you thinking differently about your own material. I appreciated my writing classes because they allowed me to get out of my own head, and read and respond to other peoples work. Writing can be a very lonely project, and being in classes with other like-minded people (and sometimes people who disagree with you, which is also educational!) helps you feel more connected to a community. Plus, having a class gives you deadlines - which I always benefit from.


If the cost and time aren't appealing to you, you could also consider a writing group. I know many writers who - through their neighborhood, library, etc. - find a group of other writers and meet up every month or two, and take turns reading and critiquing each others work. That would give you community and feedback and deadlines without the cost.


Hope that helps. Best of luck!

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Kathy’s Answer

Definitely take writing classes! It always helps to have others read your work - and to read the work of others. In fact, you should also do a lot of reading yourself, particularly in the genre(s) in which you like to write.

Thank you comment icon Having others read my work sounds a bit daunting, but I see how it can help me become a better writer. Thank you for your advice! Mariel
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