By: Scott W. Biddulph
Should you take a writing course, attend some webinars, or seek a paid writing coach? If you have the money to invest, I say yes!
There are some writers out there that are self-taught. I’m currently taking a course in college from a very famous journalist and film critic from Britain named Quentin Falk. Professor Falk will tell you that he’s a self-taught man. His works include a biography of Anthony Hopkins, as well as novels—about eight in all. He’s a very successful man; however, with today’s technology, it’s far easier to make a name for yourself as a writer then when Quinten came up, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek coaching and instruction. In fact, if you expose yourself as a writer too soon in your career, you may end up with some published works out there that will haunt you. I know this from experience.
Today I sat in on a webinar of a friend of mine that I happened to meet in the midst of his building what is now a very successful career as a writer. I met him, formally, in 2013. I started a habit of going to a local coffee shop to write in fall of 2011. I would always see the same few individuals there and began to recognize them as regulars like myself. One of them, I would later find out, was a professor that is currently one of my wife’s favorites at her college. Another fellow would eventually become a mentor of mine for a while. He was several times published and reminded me of Mark Twain. There were others as well, but the one that was the most interesting to me was a younger guy that I didn’t know, but every time I saw him he was writing (on his Apple). Often I would want to go and introduce myself or ask him if he was, in fact, a writer—I sensed that he was. It was writer’s intuition.
One day we ended up sitting next to one another, and I finally asked him if he was a writer. He replied that he was, and then immediately went into asking me about my writing. I also learned about some of his sites and one in particular that I still follow today—The Write Practice.
This is a great website owned by my friend Joe Bunting. Joe is a very successful ghost writer, published author, and writing coach. His website is on several of the top writing website lists that are out for 2016. I highly recommend that you visit The Write Practice. If you do so, it will help you as a writer.
I also recommend that you sign up for some of their courses or webinars. Joe is not a bait-n-switch guy. He delivers a lot of valuable information in his free courses alone. Stuff he learned the hard way. As an experienced writer sitting in on his most recent free webinar, I walked away with a ton of information about ghost writing (the webinar’s topic) that I could use to make money right now. The webinar was a precursor to his paid course which is only $500 (they also offer financing on the course tuition). Most writing courses will set you up with a free introductory course that leaves you with a big question mark and wets your appetite so that you’ll have no choice but to take their paid course. Joe gave a surprising amount of useful information away during his free webinar. The guy has great integrity.
I wish I had taken some courses when I started writing. My courses were a kick in the pants by the trolls and intellectuals of the internet. My college career began in 2008. It was then that I began to climb the long and arduous mountain to become a serious writer.
I began writing and publishing some work on blogs first. I must admit, I often go back and delete those old blogs (laughing), but we all have to start somewhere, don’t we? Those old blogs display some pretty bad writing. I do, however, value the lessons they teach me about how far I’ve come as a writer when I go back and read some of my older writing.
I remember the first time I suffered some harsh criticism on a thread, or maybe it was a comment on my, then, very novice blog, and I can tell you it was a brutal comment. The guy said I was “An affront to the Liberal Arts.” The thing about me, and most writers really, is that I’ve got thick skin. So, I took the harsh words and asked myself if they were true. I decided that I wasn’t near the writer I thought I was.
I have since written many thousands of words—poetry, essays, memoirs, short stories, and other works. I’ve published two of my own books and have several traditionally published stories, essays, memoir pieces, and poems; that said, it’s never too late to learn, and no writer is above learning something new.
The bottom line, take some time to visit some of the writing sites on one of the top 100 lists and see what you can learn. Also, find a writing coach, and yes, pay for some lessons if you can afford to do so. Finally, go and visit my friend Joe’s site, The Write Practice, and attend some of his classes and webinars. Good luck!