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Whether you want to learn how to write a novel, a children’s book, poetry, blogs, journalism or business communications, and you’re not sure where to start, here are some of the best online writing courses where you can learn creative writing for free for new writers and beginners.
This article lists online creative writing courses that are 100% free, not part of a free trial or where only part of the course is free. For the majority, you may have to pay to receive a certificate of completion, but not to undertake or access the course.
Also, the courses will be self-paced and accessible at any time so you can fit your learning around your schedule and commitments unless otherwise specified.
So if you want to know which is the best online writing course for beginners, how can I improve my writing skills online for free, and what course to take if you want to be a writer, let’s check out 10 best free online writing courses for new writers!
1. Endless Story Ideas – Creative Writing Now
A free online writing course from Creative Writing Now "will show you how to develop story plots and how to structure the beginning, middle, and ending of a story or novel. At the end of the course, you'll create a detailed story plan that you can use for your own fiction writing".
Struggling with writer’s block is a common issue, so this course could help you to overcome this obstacle. Here you will discover the essential tips to generate new ideas so you can progress your creative writing more quickly. You can also create a plethora of story ideas, and then use them in your writing in the future.
"I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the lessons and feel they were very helpful in introducing new ideas and perspectives to my writing. I am sure I will go back frequently to review them for reference during many of my future writing projects. Thanks again!"
"Thank you for a course that builds writing skills with direction to excellence. Everything was included, possibly more than college courses can offer."
View Course: Endless Story Ideas with Creative Writing Now
2. Start Fiction Writing – OpenLearn
This online creative writing course comes from OpenLearn via The Open University. This is ideal if you’ve always wanted to learn creative writing for free but you don’t know where to start, or if you haven’t had the confidence to begin your creative writing journey.
This course focuses on developing characters, building settings, and choosing your genre. It is an entirely free course that will help make you a better writer no matter your writing experience so far.
All English writing courses will expand your vocabulary as a by-product. This one will teach you how to use this vocabulary to discuss fiction. It helps you identify the strengths and weaknesses within your work so that you can fine tune what you do to create something wonderful.
You will receive a statement of participation for free in this, one of the best free online writing courses for beginners.
Incredibly useful tips and activities throughout. A range of activities so that it did not get repetitive and had me writing again after a year of nothing due to writer's block.
The course was very informative and educational. I enjoyed listening to the voice recordings of authors. The content of the course was well presented. I would certainly recommend it to anyone wishing to learn more about writing.
View course: Start Fiction Writing with OpenLearn
3. How to Craft a Killer Short Story – Reedsy
If you’re looking for one of the best online writing course for beginners, you can’t go far wrong with this course by published author named Laura Mae Isaacman. The course is available from Reedsy and is designed to operate in ten parts.
Each module teaches you a new approach on short story writing, with the aim of encouraging you to create a fantastic work of fiction all of your very own. An excellent choice of one of best online writing courses for new writers if writing flash fiction or short stories is your writing goal.
This course takes an interesting format. The modules might come in ten parts, but they are all five minutes long. The course provider then sends the free modules out to your email inbox, one a day for the ten day period. At the end of the course, the aim is for students to write better stories and they also receive a certificate of participation.
This online short story writing course is totally free, can be carried at your own convenience, and gives you good insights into the working world of short story writing, as told by someone who has been writing and has experience of the publishing industry.
View course: How to Craft a Killer Short Story with Reedsy
For more FREE creative writing courses from Reedsy, check out the following:
Click here for a full list of free courses from Reedsy.
4. Writing What You Know – OpenLearn
There is an old saying among fiction writers, and that’s that you should always write about what you know. It is our life experiences that make us individuals. By writing about these experiences, we both learn more about ourselves and simultaneously enlighten others about those plights.
OpenLearn via The Open University offers a Writing What You Know course that focuses on descriptive writing. This is an area of language where many fall short, simply because of a lack of developed vocabulary. Description is all about adjectives and adverbs. If you don’t know enough of them, you might well find it hard to do.
This is a great choice if you’re asking how can I improve my writing skills online for free. By the end of this free online descriptive writing course, you should be able to articulate what it means to ‘write what you know’.
Other learning outcomes include blind description writing, observational writing, enhanced sensory description and a better ability to write from memory. All of this will help you towards your overall writing goal of publishing your work, improving your career prospects or earning money from your hobby of writing.
You will receive a statement of participation upon completion of this 8-hour course where you can learn creative writing for free.
This short course provided me with a mini toolkit of skills I can work on to start to improve my descriptive writing. I was fascinated to learn so much in such a short time!
An enjoyable and useful course. Very helpful on different ways of describing situations, events, objects to make writing more interesting.
View course: Writing What You Know with the OU
5. Secret Sauce of Great Writing – Udemy
Udemy is a great resource for online creative writing courses where you can learn to improve your writing ability and how to create impactful, engaging and robust writing for both fiction and nonfiction.
On this free online writing course, the focus is on writing blogs, books and business writing.
The Secret Sauce of Great Writing course is provided by an ex-editor of the Wall Street Journal, who has some career giving advice. This course (given by Shani Raja) teaches you the four elements of great writing: simplicity, clarity, elegance, and evocativeness. This course comprises 41 minutes of on-demand video lessons and stands out among the various online creative writing courses available.
If you’re wondering what course to take if you want to be a writer, Udemy states that “by the end of the course, you will have a good grasp of how good writers create powerful and beautiful prose. As a result, you'll also be able to quickly identify weaknesses in your writing and understand, in principle, how to fix and improve it dramatically.”
Short and sweet. Concise and to the point. Great introduction to the four qualities of elite writing and it made me go and get his other courses. I enjoy the way he delivers the material and he seems very knowledgeable about it. And all of this for FREE! Thank you and I'll see you in the next courses!
Well, the course is good. The secret sauce of 4 ideas really got me interested in the course. I believe this will help me in my writing and freelancing by leaps and bounds.
View course: The Secret Sauce of Great Writing with Udemy
6. English Writing Skills – Alison
Over on Alison.com is a great writing tips course with free certification. Whether you are aiming to go professional or if you just want to enhance your writing ability, or gain better grades in your academic work this English Writing Skills course could benefit you.
This course lasts for between 1.5 and 3 hours. It provides you with a free certificate of completion and is published by XSIQ. Modules include writing for audiences, comedy, descriptive, and many more categories.
This course aims to provide you with better writing and communication skills, with a view towards the expressive. If you struggle with emotional writing, or with creating writing that inflicts emotion on the reader, then this might be a great English writing creative course for you.
View course: English Writing Skills Course with Alison
7. Craft of Writing – Lead Academy
The Lead Academy offers a Craft of Writing course that has been designed by industry professionals where students have access to a course tutor and the aim is to give you career in writing a boost.
On this course you can learn creative writing for free. If you want to receive the completion certificate, you will have to pay a small fee. So if you want to carry out the course for the knowledge, not the certificate, then this could be an option as one of the best online writing courses for new writers.
This online writing courses is CPD accredited and formally recognised by employers. It is designed to make you stand out in interviews or when writing employers or submitting to publishers, and largely focuses on cultivating an in-depth knowledge of writing, writers, and terms. All this with the aim of bolstering your CV and making you more attractive to employers.
If you’re asking what course to take if you want to be a writer, this course overview states “Whether you are self-taught and you want to fill in the gaps for better efficiency and productivity, this Craft of Writing course will set you up with a solid foundation to become a confident writer and develop more advanced skills”.
View course: The Craft of Writing with Lead Academy
8 – English for Journalists, Part 1 – edX
For the slightly more advanced English writer, you can turn your free time towards learning more specialized skills. The English for Journalists course offered by the University of California, Berkeley, is one such course. Those that have their eye on working for a mainstream news agency might want to consider taking part.
Again, this course is totally free, but you will need to pay to receive your certificate of completion. The duration of the course is 5 weeks, with a study requirement of 3-4 hours each week.
On this, one of the best online writing courses for new beginners, you will learn to “Improve your English grammar, vocabulary and writing skills through exciting topics in journalism and world news.” Also, what the job of the journalist entails, ethics in journalism, local versus global journalism, how to create award-winning headlines, and more, all in Part 1 of English for Journalists.
View course: English for Journalists with edX
9 – Mini Fiction Writing – Lead Academy
For those that don’t have much time to spare but still want to learn, the Lead Academy offers a mini-fiction writhing course. The course is fully CPD accredited and working through the course is free, you will need to pay to unlock your certificate.
The mini fiction writing course teaches you how to deepen your skills specifically in the area of fiction writing. It will cultivate your imagination, teaching you tips and tricks to overcome writer’s block and keep expanding that imagination.
The course overview states: “As one of the leading course providers and most renowned e-learning specialists online, we’re dedicated to giving you the best educational experience possible. This course is crafted by industry expert, to enable you to learn quickly and efficiently, and at your own pace and convenience”.
If you want to be a writer but find that ideas are a struggle, or if you simply don’t know how to write a novel that sells, such a course as this one will show you. This online creative writing course is recommended to those who want to broaden their writing horizon and learn writing skills to enable their creativity to flourish. This is a great option if you’re looking to find out what course to take if you want to be a writer.
View course: Mini Fiction Writing Course with Lead Academy
10 – Writing for Young Readers – Coursera
Here is a free online writing class designed to spark the creativity of writers wanting to write for children. As a beginner writer, you will be encouraged to experiment with your own writing and develop your voice.
This is great if you’re looking for best free online writing courses for beginners, as it allows those who have never written before to really get to grips with their imagination. Like many things, if you don’t use your imagination and transfer that to written prose, your skills in that area won’t be developed and enhanced. This course loosens up someone who struggles with English concepts and helps completely new writers wrap their minds around describing things they can only see with their imagination.
This course is totally free, takes place online, and should take five weeks with between 1 and 3 hours per week study time. At the time of writing this article, Coursera is offering the certificate of completion (usually requires a fee) for free.
Please note that there are set start dates for this course.
This is an easy self-paced course. I am almost done and finished most of it in a week. However, the information is great for beginner writer and I think any writers could take something away from it. I think there could be a bit more information added, but it does give you a good starter point to see if writing is something you want to continue.
I think so far this course has been pretty great! It has certainly helped me as a writer. I think it is amazing that this good a resource is free and online.
View course: Writing for Young Readers with Coursera
So, if you’re looking for one of the best online writing courses for new writers, try any of the courses detailed here to start your writing for business, pleasure or to improve your career prospects.
Learning from a professional course will advance your writing further, so taking advantage of a free writing course will enhance your motivation and confidence as well as improving your writing style and storytelling ability.
While you keep writing, learning, and developing, you’ll soon see how much a difference practice and utilizing the information from a writing course can make.
If you make time to write each day, even for just a few minutes, and apply the techniques and tips from a writing class, you will see the improvements and growth as a writer.
Good luck on your next step to becoming a writer!
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