The 5 key questions to ask in order to decide if a writing course will be right for you:

Am I able to make time to take this course ?

Will this course help me develop my writing goals?

Is the coaching online or face-to face?

Will I be coached solo or in a group?

Can I join a writer’s group if I’m a beginner?

Am I able to make time to take this course?

Making time for anything other than the things we perceive are non-negotiable, such as time spent earning a living, caring for a family, sleeping, exercising (or not) … you fill in the blanks, is going to be a challenge. This is where the  the online course finds its raison d’etre. It offers the dizzying opportunity to “have it all”. You can write whenever you have the desire and the time. This is great –  it means you can juggle your time and write only when it suits you – after the kids have finally gone down, at the end of an excruciating day at the office, on a Sunday, after you’ve completed all the chores you haven’t been able to get to during the week. Yes, this is ideal if you are excellent at time-management – more specifically if you are self-disciplined.  I say this because, if you’re anything like me, even if you have windows of opportunity, you’ll only write in the shadow of a looming deadline. I can’t tell you how many drawers I’ve tidied, dishes I’ve washed and dried or emails I’ve checked instead of actually getting down to the writing task I had every intention of completing. If this rings any bells for you, then work with the character you know you are not with the one you hope to become. In other words seek out a course that offers deadline-driven modules. Accountability is key.

Will this course help me develop my writing goals?

Does the course cater for novel writers or short story writers, fiction or non-fiction writers? Is it geared towards autobiography/memoir? Self-help books? Do your homework before you sign up.

If you want to write a book and you have a definite idea for the content and have perhaps already had a shot at writing it, then you should consider a course which specifically caters for would be authors.

If you just want to write for the joy of writing and are looking for a creative outlet, a creative writing course or a series of workshops may suit you.

Are you a budding poet? Seek out a course which offers a platform for verse.

If you want to tighten up your business writing or academic essay prowess, there are specific courses tailored with this end in mind.

Is the coaching on-line or face-to-face ?

Which would you prefer?

My personal preference is for face-to-face coaching. Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe in the value of live human connection. If you’re sitting across the table from your coach, you are far more likely to focus than if you are behind a monitor in a remote location. Added to this is the level of your commitment and investment  – after all you’ve made a commitment to another person, to yourself and to your writing project. Accountability is high and your chances of success, by association, also high.

Obviously this only works if your chosen coach is located within geographical reach.

This is not to say that an on-line coach won’t work for you, and of course, there’s no denying the convenience of this option.

Can I choose to be coached solo or in a group?

Some coaches only work with groups, while others offer a choice of one-on-one or group environment.

The advantage of a group is that you get to feed off the energy of other writers and this can inspire you to up your game. It could also intimidate the hell out of you, but it’s a good way to wean yourself into dealing with comments on your writing, both positive and otherwise.

One-on-one can be as fulfilling as a therapy session since you get to work on your ‘stuff’ and enjoy the undiluted attention of the coach.

Can I join a writer’s group if I’m a beginner?

Some groups are structured to allow for all levels, while others are masterclasses requiring the completion of a previous course for entry. Beginners can really benefit from contact with more experienced writers, but if you are an experienced writer, you may want to enquire about the level of other participants on the course, particularly if you are going to be commenting on each other’s writing. It can be frustrating for an accomplished writer to be teamed up with a novice.

Dream of being an author? See Writing A Book 

You may also like: 10 reasons to enrol in a creative writing  course

Want to write for the sheer joy of it? See Creative Writing Flow Course

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