One of the first things you learn when you start writing is that writing isn’t easy.
Whether you’re nearing the end of a long novel or writing the first sentence in a short story, coming up with the inspiration and the verve to keep the words flowing – and having the confidence to stop yourself from throwing the pages out – is far from a simple task.
And for the last several months, that’s exactly the problem I faced every day when I looked at the blank page. It didn’t matter that I’d been writing for more than half my life; I knew I needed something new to shake things up.
So I looked up an online learning platform that I’d heard about from a friend – MasterClass – and that’s what I’m here to share with you today.
I’m a Writer – Do I Really Need an Online Course?
We all approach the craft of writing in our own way. Some of us live secret lives writing stories and novels that no one will ever read, and others like to join book clubs and writer forums and share every single page they write for open critique.
And the way we write is the way we write – it’s hard for anyone to change that. That’s why something like online writing courses can seem so strange when you first confront them: it might feel intrusive or unnecessary.
You might feel that it’s “not your style”; at least, that’s how I felt when I first considered the MasterClass platform. I’m more of the solitary writer type – I like typing away at my own pace, not killing any of my darlings until I’m totally prepared to do it.
But after careful consideration and tons of research on the popular course platform, I realized something pretty simple:
It’s not a change to your writing lifestyle. It’s an addition.
Think about it this way: it’s impossible to write 12 hours a day.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure there are some writers out there who crank out dozens of pages a day when they’re in the zone. But that’s the thing – that zone, no matter how long or short it might be, is temporary.
Even full-time professional writers only go at it for a few hours a day, with multiple breaks in between. And as an aspiring novelist with a full-time job, you need time away from work and writing to allow your brain to recharge its creative juices.
That’s where MasterClass comes in. It’s not about disrupting your writing routine. It’s about adding value to the time you spend not writing.
Instead of flicking through Hulu or Netflix when you get home from work, or spending half an hour falling asleep to a TV show you’ve seen a hundred times before, you can watch MasterClass. And that makes all the difference in the world.
When I realized that, I decided it was time to see what this platform could offer me as a writer.
MasterClass for Writers: What You Get
Here are the courses MasterClass offers writers:
– Writing, by James Patterson
– Writing, by Malcolm Gladwell
– Writing, by Judy Blume
– The Art of Storytelling, by Neil Gaiman
– Writing Thrillers, by Dan Brown
– Screenwriting, by Aaron Sorkin
– Writing for Television, by Shonda Rhimes
– Writing for Young Adults, by R. L. Stine
– The Art of the Short Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
– Mystery and Thriller Writing, by David Baldacci
Now it’s important to remember that these are just the writer-specific courses. There are tons of other courses that writers can learn and get inspiration from, such as:
– The Art of Negotiation by Chris Voss
– Self-Made Entrepreneurship by Sarah Blakey
– Business Strategy & Leadership by Bob Iger
– Scientific Thinking by Neil deGrasse Tyson
For each course, you can expect at least 3-6 hours of professional video material, with the instructor going through their lessons in conveniently-packaged 5-20-minute videos. These courses can also be downloaded as PDF workbooks with assignments, making these videos just as interactive as they are engaging.
So if you’re just looking for writing videos and nothing else, you’re signing up for at least 30-60 hours of videos that you can watch at your own time and pace, with countless more hours of your own self-study.
So Is It Worth It? How MasterClass Offers What Regular Classes Don’t
Here’s the thing: there isn’t a single set of rules to learn that can turn you into “the complete writer”. Each genre comes with its own styles and nuances.
And over the years, I’ve found that many amateur writers make the same mistake: they laser-focus on their genre. They only read and write science fiction, or crime thrillers, or romance, and ignore everything else.
But this is a mistake because it limits what you are capable of doing with your craft. If all you know is your specific style and genre, then you don’t equip yourself with the tools and knowledge to push your writing beyond what people can expect of it.
Innovation and originality in your writing come from combining the unknown with the known. A million deviations of the same set of ingredients will always lead to the same million outcomes, but adding a few drops of “something else” in there can turn something bland into something brand-new.
The MasterClass Value – Choice and Surprise
That’s what makes MasterClass so interesting and valuable to me: the choice and surprise of having a huge selection of different writing courses.
Let me explain.
As a huge nerd of speculative fiction, the first course I checked out was Neil Gaiman’s, and I could say I was familiar with at least half of what he discussed.
But then I studied Dan Brown’s and James Patterson’s, as I knew very little about thrillers but I was familiar with their names. And it amazed me to hear about their own approaches to writing – similar to what I already knew, but still different in important ways.
It was like listening to someone unbuild what I knew about writing, and build it back up in a changed way. And this is when I realized that I was finally seeing the writing craft being discussed from perspectives that I had never studied.
Classes in school and courses in university tend to pigeon-hole you into a certain type or genre of writing, so you don’t have much freedom to move around, because you’re locked down from the start.
But MasterClass gives you the freedom of choice – after studying your preferred course, you can now check out everything else you might not have looked at if you only had a single choice.
Summing It All Up: MasterClass and Writers Are a Match Made in Heaven
There’s no other way to say it – I’m pretty hooked on MasterClass. Here’s why:
– It feels better to spend my “rest” time being productive without feeling like I’m wasting any creative fuel.
– It doesn’t change my writing lifestyle; it adds to it, giving more value to my overall time.
– I get advanced courses on my preferred genres, AND I get to dive into genres and writing styles I’ve never checked out.
– New courses come out all the time, so it’s always exciting anticipating what comes next.
– When you compare it to university modules, MasterClass access to every class is so much more affordable, at just $180 for a whole year.
As a writer, you should check out MasterClass. The most important thing to remember is to keep an open mind and be open to letting the instructors rewrite what you think you already know.
This post was written by Isabel Cabrera. She is a writer and content manager for Global English Editing.