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As a writer, the Internet never ceases to amaze me.

It provides writers with an endless number of opportunities, making it possible to build the exact writing career you’ve always wanted.

Everything you need to learn (and do) to become a successful writer is literally at your fingertips.

That being said, this big pro for writers can also be a big con, especially when it comes to online writing courses.

If you want to increase your knowledge in a specific area of your writing career, you have to browse through dozens (if not hundreds) of course options, many of which will be advertised in a similar fashion, offering similar results.

So how do you decide which writing course you’ll invest in?

Below are five questions to ask yourself that will help you step away from the noise and pick the course that’s right for you:

1. How labor-intensive is the course?

Learning how flexible the course structure is will help you determine whether you’ll be able to manage the course load, and whether the course material covers all of your needs.

2. Who is teaching the course?

Learning more about who’s teaching the course – their experience, their credentials – will help you determine whether or not their teaching style and way of thinking will suit your needs.

3. How were other writers’ experiences taking the course?

There will be testimonials from other writers on the course’s landing page, but of course only the rave reviews will be included. Put your Internet Ninja skills to the test: do a search on the course to see if it’s truly all it’s cracked up to be. (You can never be too careful.)

4. How much does the course cost?

Money is always a factor, but don’t become reluctant about your decision because of the cost. If you know the course is exactly what you need to take your writing career to the next level, make a plan to save money and take the course in the future.

For example, I saved for over six months to take Linda Formichelli’s Write for Magazines eCourse, and taking her course helped me break into the women’s magazine market (my dream since high school). Reaching your ultimate writing goals is worth the wait (and the investment).

5. Once you’ve completed the course, what will your next steps be?

As an end-note to question 4, every writing course is a waste of money if you’re not going to immediately take what you’ve learned and grow your writing career. Making sure you have your next steps in place before you take the course will ensure you’ll receive your money’s worth.

What questions do you ask yourself before purchasing a career-advancing product or service?

Photo Credit

Krissy Brady

Krissy Brady

Freelance Writer at Krissy Media Ink
Krissy Brady is a freelance writer located in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada. She’s the owner of Krissy Media Ink, a social media writer for REV Media Marketing, and a columnist for WOW! Women on Writing. Keep in touch with Krissy on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest for the latest writing-related information.
Krissy Brady
Krissy Brady
Krissy Brady
jimdougherty

Great tips, Krissy!!! I need to sign up ASAP – now I’ll know what to do! Thank you so much for writing this – such great insights!

November 1, 2012, 7:53 PM

Totally my pleasure Jim! I had a great time writing it. :0)

November 5, 2012, 8:19 AM

These were great tips, but I do have a question. How do you tell that the course you think you want is legitimate and not a scam?

November 5, 2012, 10:58 AM
Yolanda Washington

In response to your closing question, I usually want to know if any of the writers that I’m actually connected with has either taken or heard of the course. If they haven’t, then I Google the course and instructor to try and find out more.

As always, thanks for the great insight Krissy! #WolfPackWrites!

November 5, 2012, 12:56 PM

I agree with the questions and prep work, when it comes to online courses or workshops. It’s the only way to get your money and time’s worth. It would be a real plus to have a project or two in progress before starting any fiction writing courses. You can use your project(s) as coursework and kill two birds with one stone.

November 5, 2012, 8:26 PM

My pleasure Yolanda! So true, and that’s why I like leaving reviews for courses and any writing-related products I’ve had experiences with – just in case anyone I know wants to get in touch, they know where to find me. :0)

November 9, 2012, 1:07 AM

Great idea Brian! That’s what I’m hoping to do when I save up enough $$ for my UCLA screenwriting certificate! Multitasking at its finest. :0)

November 9, 2012, 1:09 AM

That’s where research really comes in handy – I’d ask about the course through any writing groups you’re a part of, to see if there’s any writers who’ve taken the course, and I’d also do a search on the course through such sites as Writer Beware (http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/), the Absolute Write Bewares & Background Check message board (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/), and finally, the Writers Weekly Whispers and Warnings message board (http://forums.writersweekly.com/).

November 9, 2012, 1:14 AM

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