Best Online Writing Course

by Liz Hurley

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Being able to write well matters. It not only helps you communicate effectively but boosts your chances of success in both personal and professional contexts.

And for aspiring writers or seasoned wordsmiths alike, the internet has made it easier than ever to hone your craft and pursue your passion.

But with so many options, where should you start? This best online writing course review is here to help. 

Whether you want to write prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction, write for business or personal purposes or are just looking for tips to extend your existing skills, I’ve researched courses that meet all these needs and more. 

So let’s get to it.

What is the best Online Writing Course? 

My top recommendations are:

  1. Salmon Rushdie teaches Storytelling and Writing (MasterClass)
  2. The Complete Creative Writer – a Full Course (Udemy)
  3. Creative Writing: Crafting Personal Essays (Skillshare)
  4. Novel Writing for Beginners (Skillshare)
  5. Margaret Atwood teaches Creative Writing (MasterClass)
  6. Creative Writing Specialization (Coursera)
  7. Writing with Flair-How to Become an Exceptional Writer (Udemy)
  8. Dan Brown teaches Writing Thrillers (MasterClass)
  9. Conquering Writer’s Block (Udemy)
  10. James Patterson teaches Writing (MasterClass)
  11. Foundations of Fiction (LinkedIn Learning)
  12. Judy Blume teaches Writing (MasterClass)
  13. Neil Gaiman teaches the Art of Storytelling (MasterClass)
  14. Amanda Gorman teaches Writing and Performing Poetry (MasterClass)
  15. Poetry Primer (Udemy)

How I decided

I chose Salmon Rushdie’s MasterClass because It’s a unique opportunity to learn from a globally renowned author. But it’s also incredibly comprehensive with a wealth of actionable advice and tips that you can use  immediately to improve your writing. 

On top of that, a MasterClass subscription gives you access to 150+ MasterClasses, including 20 from authors at the pinnacle of their literary careers such as David Mamet, Malcolm Gladwell and R L Stine.

However, Udemy’s Complete Creative Writer is a very close second. It’s amazingly comprehensive, covering fiction, poetry, drama and creative nonfiction. The instructor is a published author and an experienced teacher. His course is highly practical and structured to build your writing skills incrementally in a way that sticks.

So if you are looking to buy a course singly, rather than commit to a subscription, then Complete Creative Writer offers great value as it covers all four genres of creative writing.

My third choice, Creative Writing with Roxane Gay, is really a top choice for anyone wanting a class that focuses on writing creative non-fiction. Especially those who want to write in a way that inspires change and makes a difference

In fact, all the remaining online writing classes on my list have some kind of unique strength.

Each will appeal to different needs and desires. Whether it be a keen interest to write for young readers (Judy Blume), write thrillers (Dan Brown) or write purely professionally (Writing with Flair) there is something in our curated selection just for you.

Best free Online Writing Course 

Strictly speaking, none of the courses here are free. However, you can get a month free trial of Skillshare and LinkedIn Learning through our links. This is more than enough time to complete one of the following courses:

Keep reading to find out which course is right for you. 

Best Online Writing Course reviews

1. Salman Rushdie teaches Story Telling and Writing (MasterClass)

Platform: MasterClass  | Teacher: Salman Rushdie | Length: 19 video lessons totaling 4 hours and 17 minutes | Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Sir Salman Rushdie is a globally acclaimed British-Indian novelist whose work often includes magical realism combined with historical fiction. His second novel, Midnight’s Children, won the Booker Prize, and he is now a household name.

His class is #1 because of the abundance of practical guidance and tips that you can implement immediately to improve your writing. Not to mention that it’s an amazing opportunity to learn from a world class author.

What’s more, a MasterClass subscription (which you can share with up to 5 other individuals) gives you access to 150+other MasterClasses – including over 20 from world class authors, writers and poets.

You will learn how to: 

  • Tell your story in the best way
  • Create powerful story openings
  • Draw influences from storytelling traditions
  • Conceive and bring characters to life
  • Become a better observer and writer
  • Use surrealist and magic realist techniques
  • Develop and improve your relationship with writing
  • Form strong relationships with editors and agents


  • An unrivalled opportunity to learn from one of the most influential writers of this generation
  • Great examples and additional resources
  • Full of practical exercises you can use to support learning
  • Unique and international point of view
  • Subscription provides unlimited access to 20 MasterClasses from globally revered writers


  • Fast-paced so you may need to watch parts more than once

Best for: Anyone serious about writing. If you’re keen to share something important with your readers and are looking to develop writing skills in order to share a story that is both personal and culturally relevant this is absolutely the writing MasterClass for you.

Overall: A comprehensive and eye-opening course into storytelling traditions and writing to engage audiences. With over 4 hours of content and plenty of great practical advice, this is easily one of the best courses I’ve ever taken.

2. The Complete Creative Writer-All Genres, a Full Course (Udemy) 

Complete creative writer course udemy

Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Trace Crawford | Length: 43 video lessons totalling 12 hours of on demand video | Level: Beginner

Trace Crawford has been teaching writing and theatre for over two decades. He is also a published author of books, plays and screenplays. Over 100 productions of his plays have been staged across six continents.

Trace’s comprehensive program is number two on my list because it’s a motivating and practical one-stop-shop for learning how to write across all four creative genres: fiction, poetry, drama, and creative non-fiction.

Trace is also an experienced educator with a fun but structured style. Every lesson includes extra resources and an assignment or practical project. It’s a formula that seems to work and has garnered him a rating of 4.7/5 out of 3k reviews.

You will learn to:

  • Become familiar and comfortable with the four genres of creative writing
  • Discover, perfect and share your unique voice
  • Master and practice a range of writing techniques, literary devices and specialized skills
  • apply writing techniques for success
  • examine a multitude of writing concepts to relate to your own writing
  • evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of writing projects
  • create scaffolded examples of a variety of writing styles
  • Create a professional portfolio to present and showcase your work


  • Extremely comprehensive covering all four genres of writing
  • Practical projects with feedback
  • Extensive additional resources
  • Delivered by an experienced educator with consistent, clear, engaging instruction
  • 37 online quizzes to reinforce and review major concepts


  • A little repetitious in places – though this does help with learning
  • You may wait a little while for feedback

Best for: Literally anyone with a nagging desire to write, whether you know what you want to write or not. Also those who may have written in the past but lack motivation to get going again.

Overall: This is a great course for those who have that inner longing to write, but just can’t get started. It overviews best techniques and practices whilst giving you motivational tasks and projects which are achievable with just the right amount of challenge. It is a course that truly motivates its students to just get writing.

3. Creative Writing: Crafting Personal Essays with Impact (Skillshare)

creative writing personal essays Roxane Gay

Platform: Skillshare | Teacher: Roxane Gay | Length:  11 video lessons totalling an hour of on demand video | Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Roxane Gay is an American writer and social commentator best known for her writings on feminist and racial issues. She's a NYT contributor and has published fiction and non-fiction alike. So, she’s more than qualified to give you solid writing advice.

Her class contains practical guidance, actionable takeaways and example essays. It will take you from your initial idea to a publication-ready work in just one hour.

If you’re looking for a class that focuses on writing creative non-fiction, or you want to write in a way that inspires change and makes a difference, this is a definite contender.

You will learn to:

  • Find a specific purpose for telling your story
  • Craft your unique voice into a wider context and connect to the people you want to reach
  • Research to support your work
  • Navigate personal memories to write your truth
  • Write and revise your final work
  • Submit your work for publication


  • Learn from an esteemed writer
  • Engaging and impactful teaching
  • Actionable steps to follow, summarised in a pdf file
  • Clear instruction and great examples to support learning
  • Key takeaways highlighted at the end of each lesson
  • Links to additional resources


  • Fast-paced teaching style (could be considered a pro for some)
  • Centered on her own experience

Best for: Anyone wishing to write on a personal level and pursue essay or memoir writing. Also those interested in writing about political and cultural issues. If you’re looking to write more generally you will learn how to write with more intention and analyse what’s working (or not working) in your writing.

Overall: an important, eloquent and insightful course teaching you how to find your voice and share your story in the most powerful and influential way. This course will help you take yourself seriously as a writer and empower you to get started.

4. Novel Writing for Beginners (Skillshare)

skillshare novel writing course

Platform: Skillshare | Teacher: Nia Hogan | Length: 21 video lessons totalling 1.5 hours  | Level: Beginner

Nia is a multi-published author, course creator and experienced educator. She has been writing professionally for over a decade and has also ghostwritten novels, written copy for countless websites and small businesses, and helped many writers to develop their craft.

Her course ranks highly here because, as a former teacher, I can see that Nia understands how to deliver a course in a way that ensures real progress. Lessons have clear learning outcomes, key takeaways are highlighted and summarized and skills are built incrementally.

Nia believes that crafting your first novel shouldn't be difficult and she’s carefully compiled everything you need to get your first draft written.

You will learn to: 

  • Identify the key elements of a story
  • Get to grips with the six fundamental areas for planning your first novel
  • Discover your own unique storyline
  • Effectively structure and create a marketable fiction piece
  • Overcome any obstacles on your journey


  • Carefully structured with clear objectives set out at the start of each lesson
  • Key takeaways highlighted in helpful recaps
  • Actionable and practical with mini exercises
  • Very clear instructions
  • Friendly and engaging instructor 


  • No tips for getting your work published

Who it’s for: Novel Writing for Beginners is a course for new writers who want to turn their ideas into a novel, but don’t know where to start. Also helpful for If you’re stuck anywhere between planning and finishing the first draft or lack the confidence to complete your first manuscript.

Overall: A crystal clear and well taught class that will help aspiring novelists gain confidence, take their first steps, develop great writing habits and overcome stumbling blocks.

5. Margaret Atwood teaches Creative Writing

Platform: MasterClass | Teacher: Margaret Atwood | Length: 23 videos totaling 3 hours and 4 minutes | Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, is the acknowledged mistress of dystopian and speculative novels. She has also received both the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award and the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize.

This course provides great insight into how to generate ideas, research and compile manuscripts and create compelling characters. 

Her class ranks highly with us because her advice is encouraging and pragmatic in equal measure. It also contains invaluable advice for overcoming the many blocks that writers encounter.

You will learn how to:

  • Research and write speculative fiction
  • Create a strong plot and structure
  • Bring characters to life and write compelling dialogue
  • Revise your work for publication
  • Take writing from a hobby to a vocation


  • Learn from a globally revered author
  • Detailed lessons to  help you craft narrative worlds
  • Breaks the writing process down and provides numerous working examples of how to plan, draft, and revise 
  • Encouraging and pragmatic advice that helps overcome fears around getting started and writers block
  • Refers to the work of other authors resulting in a well-rounded course that goes beyond one style of writing.
  • Explores useful literary terms and theories to help you improve your work, but always grounds these in concrete examples.


  • Specific to writing novels so not helpful for short story writing or poetry
  • A little basic for seasoned writers

Best for: Anyone interested in writing a novel who’s struggling to get started. It is more suitable for beginners. But experienced writers can gain much inspiration and wisdom from hearing about what’s made Atwood the writer she is.

Overall: This course gives great insight into how to research and compile manuscripts as a writer. It offers some valuable advice about generating ideas and creating compelling characters. If novel-writing is your area of interest, I’d say this class is worth considering.

Read our full Margaret Atwood MasterClass Review.

6. Creative Writing Specialization (Wesleyan University) 

Creative writing Wesleyan university

Platform: Coursera | Teachers: Brando Skyhorse + 3 others | Length: 5 on demand video courses taking up to 6 months to complete | Level: Beginner-intermediate

The tutors on this course are all academic professionals specializing in creative writing at Wesleyan University.

This Coursera Specialization covers three major creative writing genres: short story, narrative essay, and memoir. You work towards drafting, editing and completing a substantial work in the genre of your choosing. This will be peer reviewed by others taking the course.

On your journey you will learn the techniques that writers use to create compelling narratives, believable characters and convincing settings. You will also develop your ability to find inspiration in, and critique, written works you are already reading.

You will learn:

  • What keeps a plot moving and how to outline and structure a plot
  • How plot manipulates a reader’s feelings and expectations
  • To bring complex, vivid and unforgettable characters to life
  • Techniques for describing a convincing setting
  • To find your own unique style and voice
  • The use of metaphor and imagery
  • Why word choice is imperative to success


  • Taught by fully qualified academic professionals
  • University equivalent teaching
  • Hands on project for you to implement and showcase your learning
  • Peer feedback from the Coursera community
  • Fully accredited and shareable certificate from Wesleyan University


  • Payable monthly so you need to be disciplined to complete the course quickly to reduce cost

Who it’s for: Anyone from the aspiring short story writer to the established novelist. Whether you have a finished work sitting on your desk in need of a fresh look, or you’ve long been harbouring the germ of an idea, this Specialization gives you tools to achieve your goal. 

Overall: A comprehensive and professionally taught course that will enable you to master the skills needed to write in a range of creative genres. With the completion of the final hands on project you will have a shareable certificate accredited by a respected university.

7. Writing with Flair – How to Become an Exceptional Writer (Udemy) 

Become an exceptional writer Udemy

Platform: Udemy | Teacher(s): Shani Raja | Length: 81 on demand videos totalling 7 hours and 15 minutes | Level: level

Shani Raja is a former editor of the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Bloomberg News and the Financial Times. He is an experienced teacher of both journalism and advanced writing skills. 

Safe to say, then, that he has something to say about great writing that is worth listening to.

In this updated edition of his acclaimed course, Shani distils the wisdom gained from decades of journalistic experience to share tricks and tips that you need to stand out in almost any field of writing.

You will learn to:

  • Make your writing more simple, fresh and direct
  • Avoid ambiguity or fuzzy ideas that blur your message
  • Maintain an elegant consistency and balance throughout your writing
  • Craft rhythmic sentences and flowing narratives
  • Avoid clichés and the passive voice
  • Add variety to sentence structures
  • Make your writing more dramatic
  • Master the tone of your writing
  • Cultivate the mindset of an “elite” writer
  • Become a more confident and sophisticated writer


  • Authoritative and engaging teaching from an ex-Wall Street Journal editor
  • A complete course for professional writers
  • Well structured and coherent syllabus
  • Short bite sized lessons
  • Practical examples and exercises
  • More than 100,000 students and a 4.8/5 rating
  • Additional downloadable resources
  • Certificate of Completion


  • A little ‘over explained’ or repetitive in places (though this may be a pro for some)
  • Slightly monotone delivery 

Who it’s for: Those writing for business or professional purposes such as communications professionals, college and university students, job seekers, blog and copywriters, journalists, authors and editors.

Overall: This course offers a complete writing system designed to, “drive you to the summit of slick writing — very fast.” Whatever your current ability, the distilled wisdom contained in this course will elevate your skills to a completely new level and see you writing with renewed vigour, style and flair.

8. Dan Brown teaches writing Thrillers

Platform: MasterClass | Teacher: Dan Brown | Length: 19 on demand video lessons totalling 3.5 hours | Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Dan Brown is a 3-time Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times best selling author. His Robert Langdon series has been adapted into a critically-acclaimed film trilogy and he has achieved global recognition for his mastery of the thriller genre.

So his MasterClass is a unique opportunity to learn the art of suspense from one of the world’s best. And though he focuses closely on thriller writing, Dan does provide plenty of  actionable advice to make you aware of, and develop, your general writing style and overcome self-doubt. 

You will learn to:

  • Find inspiration for your story 
  • Create suspense through location and character creation
  • Research for authenticity in your story
  • Master techniques that will give your readers a white knuckle ride
  • Develop resilience 
  • Communicate with publishers


  • Learn from a world-renowned author
  • Develop awareness of your own writing style
  • Great assignments to help you actively improve
  • Very accessible and jargon free
  • Inspiring no nonsense explanation helps elevate your writing


  • Workbook can be hard to navigate
  • Contains spoilers if you haven’t read Dan’s books

Best for: Anyone interested in writing, whether you’re a beginner or have some experience. Dan does a great job of introducing people to the thriller genre but also provides more general advice for reflecting on, and improving, your writing. 

Overall: A great course for finding out how to grab a reader’s interest and keep them on the edge of their seat. The exercises are practical and accessible and you will pick up some great general tips as well as advice on how to overcome self-doubt and get out of a rut. 

9. Conquering Writer’s Block – Writing Mastery (Udemy) 

conquering writer's block Udemy

Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Jessica Brody | Length: 25 on demand video lessons totalling 2 hours | Level: Intermediate

Jessica Brody is the author of over 20 novels issued by major publishers such as Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Macmillan. Her works have been translated and published in over 23 countries. She is also the founder of the Writing Mastery Academy, an online school for writers and she has 50k+ students on Udemy. 

So it’s fair to say that her credentials for teaching this course are impressive.

This course is an opportunity to learn how to confront and overcome the problem that all writers face, writer’s block. It will provide you with a series of mindset shifts and practical tools that will help to ward off writer’s block and keep it at bay.

You will learn:

  • What writer’s block really is
  • Techniques to clear your mind and write more freely
  • To equip yourself proven tools and strategies for overcoming writing blockages
  • Mindset shifts that will set you up for success
  • To feel more confident, motivated, and inspired in your writing


  • Approachable and fun teaching style
  • Highly practical with effective tips and hacks
  • Well structured
  • Crystal clear explanations
  • Highly rated instructor on Udemy (4.8/5)


  • Less suited to highly experienced writers who are likely to be familiar with most of the techniques

Who it’s for: Literally anyone struggling to complete a writing project. Whether it be fiction, non fiction, blogging, journalism, essay or copy writing, whatever!

Overall: Jessica Brody has distilled all the hard earned wisdom she’s gained into a rich but concise course that will help you overcome self-doubt and keep writer’s block at bay. An extremely useful course full of hacks, resources and actionable steps you can take to keep moving forward in the writing process.

10. James Patterson teaches Writing (MasterClass) 

Platform: MasterClass | Teacher: James Patterson | Length: 21 video lessons totalling 3 hours 50 minutes | Level: Beginner-intermediate

James Patterson has sold over 325 million copies of his books worldwide and is best known for his serial works, including the Alex Cross series and the Women’s Murder Club. He is in receipt of the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community and topped Forbes’s list for highest-paid author between 2013 and 2016.

So if you’re looking to learn writing from a business-minded and commercially-successful author, this is probably the MasterClass for you. 

It’s a well structured and broad course which covers not only the craft and process of writing, but how to get your work published and marketed.

Learn how to:

  • Find and develop compelling ideas
  • Craft interesting and believable characters
  • Write effective and plot-driven dialogue
  • Build suspense in your writing
  • Overcome writer’s block
  • Edit and polish your work
  • Get published in a competitive industry
  • Market your book on and offline


  • Learn from a successful author
  • Strong additional resources
  • Condensed and easy to follow
  • Touches on aspects often overlooked in other writing classes


  • Does contain spoilers to his books
  • Subjective advice

Best for: Those who are serious about creating a novel/in the process of writing one

Overall: The James Patterson MasterClass provides unique insight into finding and developing successful ideas, creating characters and plot lines, putting pen to paper, and making it as a writer. It's a rare opportunity to learn from the most enduring writer of our time.

11. The Foundations of Fiction (LinkedIn Learning) 

Writing foundations course

Platform: LinkedIn Learning | Teacher(s): Joanne Rendell & Jessica Brody | Length: 50+ video lessons totalling 5 hours 55 minutes | Level: Foundation to Advanced

This ismy second course featuring Jessica Brody who is a successful published author and the founder of the Writing Mastery Academy.  Joanne Rendell is a writing coach and a published author of commercial works as well as teen fiction.

In this course, they walk you through six key ingredients that make up great fiction. Whether it be in the form of novels, memoirs, short stories, or screenplays. 

The course is suitable for a wide range of abilities as it has a foundation and advanced track for you to follow. 

You will learn to:

  • Get to grips with the six foundational blocks of writing great fiction
  • Craft memorable and complex characters
  • Write dynamic and vibrant dialogue
  • Decide who is telling your story to whom (point of view) 
  • Understand narrative styles
  • Describe vivid scenes and settings
  • Develop and structure cohesive and exciting plots


  • Highly practical with effective exemplars, tips and hacks
  • Crystal clear explanations
  • Well structured modular syllabus with foundation and advanced tracks
  • Fun writing prompts to help you deploy learning
  • Downloadable PDF handouts
  • Suitable for writers of all abilities
  • Shareable certificate


  • Most students found the pairing of Joanne and Jessica charming, but a few found it a little patronizing 

Who it’s for: Suitable for both total beginners and experienced writers. 

Overall: A very comprehensive course which would give an aspiring writer a toolkit packed with tips, ideas and hacks to help them achieve their writing goals. More experienced writers would benefit from a review of the foundations or can simply follow the advanced track to take their existing skills to the next level.

12. Judy Blume teaches Writing (MasterClass)

Platform: MasterClass | Teacher: Judy Blume | Length: 24 video lessons totalling 4 hours 50 minutes | Level: All

Judy Blume has garnered over 90 literary awards for her writing as well as three lifetime achievement awards. 

Though she writes for children and adults, she is particularly loved for her groundbreaking children’s books. Time magazine wrote of her, “Blume turned millions of pre-teens into readers .. by asking the right questions—and avoiding pat, easy answers.” And there is no denying her books have connected, entertained and educated young readers for fifty years.

In this MasterClass, Blume shares the wisdom distilled over five decades into a class that will teach you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories that young people will treasure.

You will learn how to:

  • Find ideas by observing the world
  • Use note-taking and effective research to develop a story
  • Write for young readers
  • Structure your novel
  • Create memorable characters and realistic dialogue
  • Revise your final drafts
  • Turn writing into a career


  • Learn from a national literary treasure
  • Fabulous production values and engaging presentation style
  • Clear, engaging teaching 
  • Valuable insight into how to write for younger readers and create compelling characters


  • Unconventional views on writing
  • Little focus on how to write beginnings

Best for: Anyone looking for advice on how to create compelling characters, especially those looking to make a career in child/young adult fiction. Also admirers of Judy’s work.

Overall: If you’re interested in writing fiction for young people, this MasterClass is for you. Judy’s lessons are engaging and optimistic but most importantly, she teaches for students of all skill levels.

13. Neil Gaiman teaches The Art of Storytelling (MasterClass)

Platform: MasterClass | Teacher: Neil Gaiman | Length: 19 video lessons totalling 4 hours 15 minutes | Level: All

Neil Gaiman is amongst the most decorated writers of our times. He’s garnered both the Newbery and Carnegie Medals, four Hugos, two Nebulas, one World Fantasy Award, and nine Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. His young adult fantasy novel, The Graveyard Book, topped the New York Times Bestseller list for 61 weeks 

In this class Neil Gaiman, prolific author of short stories, novels, poetry, screenplays and fantasy novels, shares his approach to the craft of storytelling. 

Through the medium of some of his most celebrated work you will learn how to find inspiration, craft convincing characters and unleash your story telling potential. 

You will learn to:

  • Use storytelling to create credible and authentic writing
  • Play with language and build a strong narrative world
  • Use form to enhance plot
  • Use humor, dialogue, and rich description to bring a story to life
  • Make dialogue distinct and memorable
  • Overcome writer’s block and tackle fear
  • Edit your work and get it published


  • Learn from a world-renowned author and experienced teacher
  • Good balance of theory & practice
  • Detailed class with high production values
  • Subscription gives access to 20+ other world class writers


  • Targeted towards young writers 
  • Advice can be abstract

Best for: Anyone starting their writing journey, especially younger writers, and those more experienced who are seeking motivation and inspiration.

Overall: Neil’s course is a joy to listen to and strikes more of an emotional chord than other writing courses I have taken. Neil makes the viewer feel like they can do anything they set their mind to, and I was glad he’d let me into his world.

14. Amanda Gorman teaches Writing and Performing Poetry (MasterClass) 

Platform: MasterClass | Teacher: Amanda Gorman | Length: 3 hours and 28 minutes | Level: All

Writer and social change-maker, Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history and the first person to be made National Youth Poet Laureate. She shot to worldwide fame when she read her poem, “The Hills We Climb,” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

In this MasterClass Gorman teaches you how to harness the power of poetry. With a strong focus on feminist and racial issues, this is a high quality and detail-oriented course that delivers practical advice for spoken-word enthusiasts.

You'll learn to: 

  • Harness poetry’s power for social change
  • Develop habits for success
  • Understand Gorman’s writing and writing processes
  • Master close reading
  • Use poetry fundamentals for writing and performing
  • Craft an impactful poem from research to final draft
  • Identify the kinds of writing you want to pursue
  • Use key tools throughout the writing process
  • Get started with writing and overcome blocks


  • Learn from an award-winning poet
  • Highly detailed and pragmatic advice
  • Varied content with helpful case studies


  • Focused on a social change perspective
  • Less focus on poetic “imagery” and terminology

Best for: People who are serious about improving their writing. The content varies from beginner to advanced so you can benefit at any level. Gorman’s work is social-justice-oriented so if this matches your interests this class would be a great fit.

Overall: This MasterClass is a high quality and detail oriented course that delivers much compelling advice that you can easily put into practice. Gorman’s teaching is precise and she doesn’t shy away from sharing her “uglier” moments. If you’re a fan of poetry that focuses on social issues, this is the class for you. 

15. Poetry Primer (Udemy) 

Poetry Primer Course Udemy

Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Trace Crawford | Length: 48 on demand videos totalling 3.5 hours | Level: Beginners

This is the second writing course on my list delivered by Trace Crawford. 

Trace is an experienced educator and published author of books, plays and screenplays. In this program, he focuses exclusively on poetry.

Trace’s Poetry Primer is a fun and practical course designed to give you the confidence to find your poetic voice and create amazing poetry. Each section is structured to include a clear outline of learning objectives, a lesson covering an area of course content and a project to help you apply and master each new skill.

You will learn:

  • About the overall concept of poetry and how it has changed over time
  • Important literary terms
  • Various types of poetic meter and how they are used.
  • To understand a large variety of poetic styles (including odes, sonnets, satirical and Japanese)
  • Writing techniques, literary devices, and specialized skills.
  • To gain confidence as a writer
  • How to discover, perfect, and share your own writer's voice
  • To digitally showcase your work


  • Practical projects that will enable you to produce 11 original poems
  • 50 downloadable additional resources, templates, notes and links to develop your knowledge base
  • Delivered by an experienced educator with consistent, clear, engaging instruction
  • 37 online quizzes to reinforce and review major concepts


  • Some aspects of poetry lack coverage (eg paradox and conceit) 
  • You may wait a little while for feedback

Who it’s for: Anyone with the urge to write poetry but especially suitable for beginners to the genre.

Overall: A great course for those who would love to write poetry but don’t know how to get started. It provides a broad overview of what you need to get your foot on the poetic ladder alongside practical tasks that cement learning and motivate you to find your lyrical voice.

What are the advantages of taking an Online Writing Course?

  • Online writing courses give you unprecedented access to expert writers and tutors who can offer valuable insights and advice based on their experience
  • You can learn at your own pace and fit your writing education around other commitments
  • Online writing courses are usually cheaper than in-person courses so you can save money and travel time
  • You will improve your literacy skills and be able to communicate more clearly, concisely and effectively.
  • Research suggests that writing helps develop thinking skills by enabling you to organize your thoughts, focus your attention and join the dots in your knowledge.
  • It’s a great opportunity to gain a skill that could advance your career 
  • Being able to write well is a life skill, valuable for everyone 
  • Writing courses expose you to new genres, techniques and styles of writing which will broaden your repertoire and give you new perspectives

Online Writing Course Buyers Guide: what to look out for

  • Syllabus and skill level – make sure what’s on offer is right for your skill level and your area of interest. If you’re looking to start a blog then a course on writing fiction is unlikely to be helpful!
  • Instructor experience – You’re going to be investing your time and money so you need to ensure your instructor has valued and proven knowledge that’s worth listening to
  • Develops skills – an online class shouldn’t just bombard you with information. It should equip you with the skills needed to make real progress.
  • Practical learning – Are there hands-on opportunities for you to embed the skills you learn?
  • Price – of course, you want something that’s within your budget. But, it’s also important to look at the value you could get out of a course. For example, if a class is twice the price but the instructor has ten times the experience, the investment could pay off in the long run.
  • Downloadable resources – to help you quickly review and apply what you’ve learned.
  • Certification – Courses that award certifications can help you further your career if you are a web designer or other professional that works in WordPress.

How much does it cost?

The answer here depends on whether you buy courses singly or go for a subscription option.

The Udemy courses we have listed typically come in at around $75. That said, if you have never used Udemy before you are likely to be offered a discount price and Udemy has frequent sales

LinkedIn Learning offers the opportunity to buy courses singly for around $35-45. You can also subscribe to the platform giving you unlimited access to all its courses for $24.99 a month (billed annually).

MasterClass and Skillshare are subscription only platforms. 

MasterClass subscriptions are $15 per month, billed annually, and will give you unrestricted access to 150+ classes all delivered by world class, renowned professionals. Writing is their strongest category and, as well as those MasterClasses listed here, you will be able to learn from David Mamet, Malcolm Gladwell, R L Stine and Aaron Sorkin.

A SkillShare membership is $14 a month, billed annually. This gives you access to over 40k classes across a vast range of creative skills.

It’s worth saying that with a subscription, the value for money increases with the more courses you take. And, in the long run, a subscription service can save you serious money. Not to mention, more subscription-based courses are being taught by industry leaders, so there’s a lot to gain from dedicating yourself to a platform.

How long does it take to learn Writing online?

That depends on whether you are taking a very basic or extremely comprehensive course.

The range of teaching time with the courses selected here ranges from an hour to several months.

However, many of these courses are hands-on with projects or other tasks to complete, so you need to build time in for these. And on top of this, you will need to take time out from the actual lessons to practice and go over what you have learned.

And, of course, we all learn at different speeds, so there is no rule of thumb for how much additional individual practice you should be doing. 

So the answer is, your writing course will last for however long the course specifies, plus the time it takes to complete any additional materials and practice in your time until you fully understand a new concept. 

How do we rank our results?

In short, we rank our results based on which courses we believe to be the best.

Undoubtedly, this is subjective. But we do consider:

  • Teacher experience
  • Provides transferable skills
  • Has a strong and varied syllabus
  • Is well taught and explained
  • Student feedback
  • Production quality
  • Overall impressions

Where we can, we take the courses in order to review them. But, where we can’t, we do extensive research on the course, its syllabus, and student feedback.


Whether you're an aspiring writer or an experienced author, there’s always something new to learn. And an online writing course is a cost effective and convenient way for you to do so.

Our top two choices are Salman Rushdie teaches Storytelling and Writing (MasterClass) and The Complete Creative Writer (Udemy). 

Both courses contain an abundance of practical, actionable tips and are well structured and taught. The main difference between them is that the Udemy course covers four genres of creative writing, whereas Rushdie focusses on fiction. And of course, the MasterClass is delivered by a man knighted by the Queen of England for his services to literature.

For those seeking a course that focuses on writing creative nonfiction, Skillshare's Crafting Personal Essays with Roxane Gay is the course for you.

In fact, all the remaining online writing classes on my list have been selected to appeal to a wide range of abilities and needs.  Whether you want to write for a younger audience (Blume), find your lyrical voice (Gorman) or write commercially (Writing with Flair) there is something in my carefully curated selection just for you.

Related articles: Best screenwriting classes, Best public speaking courses, Best confidence courses

Online Writing Courses – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best online writing course?

Sir Salman Rushdie teaches storytelling and writing is my top choice for it's wealth of immediately actionable tips from a world renowned author.

How much does an online writing course cost?

To buy a course singly can cost anywhere between $40-$80. However, some courses are offered on subscription platforms that come in at around $15 per month (billed annually)

How long do online writing courses take?

It basically depends on your goals. The courses here range from just a few hours to a few months. And most have projects and tasks for you to complete so you need to build in time for that..

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