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The blank page (or screen) is like a thick curtain you are almost scared to part. Behind you is a deadline. Beyond the drapes is a forbidden land guarded by the writer’s second worst enemy — procrastination.
Writing is hard.
But, it does not need to be.
You just have to open a document, turn off the internet, and start writing. Like everything else, the secret is in the start. After that Newton’s Second Law of Motion takes over. But hold on…
Writing is different from good writing. It is the difference between a dime novel and an NYT Bestseller. It can mean the difference between letting your ideas die or using them to sharpen your communication skills.
The good news is that you can hone your wordsmithery. The art can be mastered step-by-step. In our continuing series on the best Udemy classes, let’s see how we can take a step in that direction.
Key lesson: How to make your writing look slick and professional.
We always have much to say. We fail at clarity. “Cut the fat” is the repeated refrain for good writing. It can be a school essay or just an office memo. Clear writing is the need for our attention-deficit times. But, it is more difficult than it sounds. The “exceptional” bit in the course title is a sales hyperbole. Let’s try to be a “better” writer first.
The bestselling course on Udemy stands on three pillars — simplicity, clarity, and elegance. You have to work on these three writing skills so that the final product is in-sync with your thoughts. Make your writing economical, take the shortest route to your purpose, and format it cleanly.
You are in good hands because Shani Raja is an experienced editor and writing coach who has written for some of the world’s top publications. Follow it up with his next course below.
Key lesson: How to construct powerful narratives, paragraphs, sentences, and words.
It’s not necessary that you have to take both courses. Each stands on its own. The Four Levels of Writing Mastery addresses the bulwark of all good writing. It takes a top-down approach as you start with the whole narrative. From there, rappel down to the atomic power of words. Don’t forget to get these writing rituals going on the side.
This course will help you look at your story from the four levels. Use the tools and exercises to develop your eye for your own writing toolkit.
Key lesson: How to use effective self-editing techniques on your first book.
The National Novel Writing Month starts on the first of November. Better known as NaNoWriMo, it is a one-month marathon push to write your first novel. If you harbor secret ambitions to be a bestselling author, then put yourself through the grind and see how much you can achieve by November’s end. Oh, yes…you just might need this course.
Sally Apokedak is a literary agent. She is in a good place on the mount to advice you how to write with a punch. That is, writing and editing to catch an agent’s or an editor’s eye. The most important lesson is how to select a “point of view” — do you write in the first person, second person, or the third person? That will decide your voice.
Consider the Editing Mastery: How To Edit Writing To Perfection course too if you want to sharpen your proofreading.
Key lesson: How to turn basic writing skills into a paycheck and a lifelong career.
The best thing about a copywriter? If you are good then you will always find work. The second best thing is that you never need to retire. An entry-level copywriter can make $44,976 per year according to PayScale.com. It is also a great way to turn your passion for words into a comfortable (and popular) side-hustle.
This skill and the course has the potential to change your lifestyle. Of course, it will take buckets of sweat in this competitive market. But, this course will teach you the basics of how to pitch to prospects, choose the right projects, and most importantly — how to price yourself just right.
Len Smith is a copywriting guru and has been a copywriter for more than 30 years. He has engineered words for some of the biggest companies in the world.
Key lessons: All effective strategies to write more every year.
David James Ault talks about writing quickly. Speed and quality rarely go together when it comes to writing a book. But I do feel that writing should be a habit and a system. Once you develop this habit and slot it into a routine, the fear of writer’s block disappears. Your journey towards becoming a skilled writer starts. And, this applies to any kind of writing.
The course will help you break bad writing habits. Something as simple as a clear strategic plan for your writing will boost your productivity. The core of the course is the popular writing tool called Scrivener. But, you can set up your own system with any writing tool and a spreadsheet. Two other sections on Learning Habits and Healthy Habits are essential if you plan to make writing a career.
Looking for more productivity tips for writing? Try Productivity Hacks for Writers by Jessica Brody.
Start with a Page
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
~ Ernest Hemingway
Still scared of flexing your writing muscles? Start small. It can be just a well-crafted Facebook status message, a 140 character micro-fiction on Twitter, or even a daily journal. Find your inspiration on one of these courses.
Udemy may not have all the writing classes, but there are other places on the web where you can go. But on Udemy every paid course you take comes with:
- Lifetime access.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Certificate of completion.
Have you taken a class in creative writing? Did your writing improve after that? What is the best tip you still remember?