Creative writing courses help develop your writing skills, build conscious writing habits, and teach you how to build a professional portfolio for your writing career. Most creative writing courses offer educational and practical assignments that help you advance your creative writing abilities.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or just want to sharpen your creative writing tools, the courses below have you covered.
The Top 5 Best Creative Writing Courses
- Masterclass: Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing – Best for writing development
- Coursera: Creative Writing Specialization – Best for experiential learning
- Udemy: Complete Creative Writing Course – Best for portfolio creation
- Gotham Writers: Creative Writing 101 – Best for building a writing habit
- Reedsy Learning: Understanding Point of View – Best for beginners
Continue reading for our in-depth reviews on the five best creative writing courses to help you become a better writer today.
Masterclass: Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing – Best for Writing Development
- 92-page class workbook
- Three hours of content
- Learning community hub
- Short 10-minute lessons
If you’re an experienced writer looking to develop your writing abilities, the Masterclass course Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing is an excellent option for you.
This course compiles advanced material that Atwood simplifies with 23 slow-paced video lessons that span across three hours.
Author of The Handmaid’s Tale and instructor of this creative writing course, Atwood takes you on a journey of the creative writing process from getting started to getting published. Her first-ever online class will teach you to develop your writing with advanced material and personal advice.
Whether you already have a first draft or a half-written book, this in-depth course teaches all about core writing elements. Atwood discusses how to write a compelling story, create structure, develop nuanced characters, keep your readers interested, and how to stay motivated while writing—helping you turn your work into a masterpiece.
The best part about this specific creative writing course is how participatory it is. You get access to a 92-page class workbook that includes additional writing assignments you can complete after each lesson, as well as helpful resources for writers.
The course also comes with a community hub for all students to interact with each other. The community page gives you a place to discuss lessons, share your work, get feedback, and network—creating a sense of classroom-like community.
The structure of the Masterclass course is easy to navigate, with all 23 lessons being split into three to five sections and are around 10 minutes long each.
Lessons one through 16 are about the general elements of writing, like story and plot, structure, characters, and point of view. Lessons 17 through 23 discuss the business side of writing, including getting published and working within different genres.
Masterclass offers one membership fee to receive access to every class on its website. The fee is $15 per month, billed at $180 per year.
A Masterclass membership gives you access to more than 100 classes, audio-only lessons, offline viewing for iOS, downloadable instructor guides, and new classes added every month.
Masterclass also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all subscriptions.
Coursera: Creative Writing Specialization – Best for Experiential Learning
- Write an original story
- 100% online course
- Discounts upon completion
- Flexible course deadlines
Not every creative writing course offers practical and interactive assessments, but the Creative Writing Specialization courses offered by Wesleyan University for Coursera stands out because of its experiential learning experience. This is a set of five courses within one larger specialization, all leading to a capstone project.
As a creative writing course with extensive hands-on projects, each specialization will teach you how to master a different writing technique that successful writers use in the three major writing genres.
There are more than 80,000 students already enrolled in this set of courses, and for a good reason. The course structure has helped many people understand the short story, narrative essay, and memoir genre.
What makes this course so experiential is during the last lesson, where you have the chance to write and edit your own original story.
Using the elements and techniques you learn throughout the five courses taught by different instructors, you will draft a short story, narrative essay, or memoir of eight to 15 pages. With the help of your peer readers and instructors, you will revise, rewrite, and complete the story in whichever genre you choose.
Each course within the overall Specialization focuses on a different element for each genre. During this course, you will learn the craft of plot (course one), crafting characters (course two), settings and descriptions (course three), and style (course four) before you put these skills to the test and write your story in course five.
Even though this Specialization is more in-depth, it’s still flexible, as you can take each of the first four courses in any order (ending with the course five capstone). It’s also 100% online, so you don’t need to show up to a classroom, and you can access all course material via a desktop or mobile device.
The Creative Writing Specialization currently takes between three to six months to complete, which you should keep in mind. However, Coursera lets you set and maintain flexible deadlines, even though you cannot change the course duration to be any shorter than it already is.
This year, Write-Bros, Scrivener, and Scribophile are sponsors of the Creative Writing Specialization course and are offering discounts for all students who complete their assessments.
Upon completing your first assignment, you receive an 80% discount from Write-Bros, a 30% discount on your first purchase from Scrivener, and a 30% off membership pricing for Scribophile’s online writing community.
Coursera now offers monthly subscriptions for each Specialization course. The cost is $39 to $89 per month, depending on the duration.
With each Specialization course, you get access to shareable course certificates, course videos and readings, practice quizzes, graded assignments with feedback, graded quizzes with feedback, and graded programming assignments.
Coursera also offers financial aid and a seven-day free trial.
Udemy: Complete Creative Writing – Best for Portfolio Creation
- Create a digital portfolio
- 12 hours of video content
- Complete at your own pace
- Daily writing prompts
If you want to learn about the four writing genres and create a strong portfolio with your writing samples, the Complete Creative Writing course by Udemy is an excellent option.
Creating an outstanding portfolio can be difficult for many writers, especially beginners, but this course will help you create a digital portfolio in just five concise sections.
Instructed by teacher and author Trace Crawford, this course delves deep into the world of fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction. In the fifth and final section, you’ll learn how to create a digital portfolio.
Including the introduction, the course has 161 lectures and a running time of about 12 hours. By the end of this course, you will understand the ins and outs of all things creative writing.
Crawford breaks down the course into four subsections: Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Creative Non-Fiction. You will receive a writing journal prompt for every lesson, 145 downloadable resources, and a certificate of completion. Each subsection offers between 20-50 lectures that range between one and three hours in length in total.
The final course section focuses only on the digital portfolio. Many creative writing courses don’t touch on portfolio creation, even though it’s an essential aspect of a writer’s career. These lectures will leave you feeling ready to pursue a career in writing.
This course is also flexible, as you can complete it at your own pace and receive lifetime access for one price. If you have the time, you can complete this course within a day or two, which is helpful to retain as much information as possible.
The course comes with 37 online quizzes, 145 downloadable resources, and journal prompts. You also receive a daily writing assignment, a lesson covering the course content, and a practical application project.
Crawford aims to further develop and perfect your voice by teaching you about the four genres. You will also learn about writing techniques, writing concepts, how to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your writing projects, and of course, you will build a portfolio.
The regular price is $29.99 for the Complete Creative Writing course, and Udemy often has discounts throughout the year. This specific course usually goes on sale each month, so look out for this.
Udemy also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Gotham Writers: Creative Writing 101 – Best for Building a Writing Habit
- Daily writing exercises
- Weekly one-hour live chat
- Online classroom layout
- Six-week course
Are you struggling to build a writing habit and don’t know where to start? The Creative Writing 101 six-week course by Gotham Writers is an excellent place to start.
This level one online six-week class focuses on slowly building a writing habit while teaching you about the show and tell of writing, individuality, fiction, nonfiction, and how to get better at the craft.
This course is unique because each class size is limited for students to get enough personal attention from the instructor. There are a maximum of 16 students in each Creative Writing 101 class, which is 100% online.
Creative Writing 101 helps you slowly build a writing habit by encouraging you to complete daily observation exercises and free writing. These writing activities help stimulate the brain and create a way to write freely without the burden of writer’s block.
The course also offers weekly writing assignments that the instructor grades and provides feedback for, which will help you feel more confident about your writing abilities as you progress through the course.
Because this course is online, Gotham Writers provides the Lounge feature for all students to meet weekly for a one-hour live chat. The Lounge is open 24/7 for all students to chat and get to know each other, network, and discuss feedback.
You also get access to a weekly planner, class roster, guidelines, and syllabus. The notebook, booth, library, and blackboard are other essential features that store lectures, assignments, resources, and student feedback.
The course layout is the most similar to an online classroom, especially for collaboration purposes, making it easy to navigate and complete tasks. Each class session lasts for a week, and you have the flexibility to complete tasks at any time of day during the week.
Gotham Writers offers this course online, on Zoom, or in-person for different prices.
- Online: $309
- Zoom: $309
- In-Person in NYC: $325
There is also a $25 registration fee that you pay once per term. All course dates are listed on the website and are subject to availability.
Reedsy Learning: Understanding Point of View – Best for Beginners
- Completely free
- Content delivered to your inbox
- Five-minute lessons
- Quick 10-day course
Beginners need to start somewhere, and there’s no better place to start than enrolling in the free Reedsy Learning course, Understanding Point of View.
Taught by TEDx speaker and author Gabriela Pereira, this course focuses on the technical element of point of view, which challenges many writers in the beginning stage. If this sounds like you, you will be delighted to hear that this course is free and gets delivered to your inbox every morning for 10 days.
This is a quick and easy 10-day course. Each lesson is just five minutes, and Pereira takes you on an immersive journey through the challenges of establishing the correct point of view in your creative writing.
This course will familiarize you with each primary POV, including first, second, and third person. With the help of practical writing exercises, you will complete the course understanding how to master each point of view within your writing.
During this course, you will also learn:
- The differences between third-person limited and third-person omniscient
- The strengths and weaknesses of second person
- How to work with multiple points of view
- Epistolary and Journal forms
To enroll, include your name, email address, and time zone so that Pereira can deliver each lecture to your inbox on time. You can start each morning on the right foot by completing a quick five-minute lesson and go about your day, making it a simple course for the complete beginner to follow and get used to writing each day.
Reedsy Learning offers this and many other free online courses to help you establish your career and transform your writing skills.
How to Find The Best Creative Writing Course For You
There are a few factors that go into finding the best creative writing course for you. Sometimes it can be challenging to choose the right course, especially since there are many different goals you may want to achieve. So we put together this methodology of the three most essential elements to consider before investing in a creative writing course.
Schedule and Flexibility
The first thing to consider before investing in a creative writing course is the flexibility of your schedule. Consider the duration of each writing course, as some can go for days, weeks, or even months.
The Complete Creative Writing Course by Udemy is a flexible option, as it allows you to go at your own pace and offers 12 hours of content you can complete in as little as a day or two.
However, some courses aren’t as flexible with timing, such as the Creative Writing Specialization by Coursera and Wesleyan University—which takes three to six months to complete.
Make sure you check whether the timing is flexible, or you might need to change your schedule to fit in with your studies.
Each course offers different prices depending on the duration, topic, and how in-depth the content is. Some writing courses have a subscription-based payment method, while others are one-off payments for lifetime access.
It’s crucial to look for lifetime access, as you don’t want to invest in a course that will expire, and you lose all access to the materials. The course Understanding Point of View by Reedsy Learning is a free course perfect for beginners or anyone who isn’t sure where to start.
You can enroll in a free course to learn the ropes of online studying, or you can choose one that offers a one-off payment, as most of the courses on this list. We wouldn’t recommend paying for a subscription unless you are dedicating a few months to learning or are interested in multiple courses from the same company.
A learning hub or community page can help you reinforce the learning materials, network, and build on your overall learning experience. Courses like Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing by Masterclass and Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers offer community hubs or lounges for students to interact and connect.
Although not required, a central hub is essential for building a community and connecting with other writers. It can make your learning experience feel more like a classroom, even when it’s online.
You might even complete the course with a few fellow writer friends along with the knowledge you obtained from the writing course.
The Top Creative Writing Courses in Summary
With workbooks, learning hubs, video content, and downloadable resources, you can learn how to become a successful and confident writer using the courses reviewed in this guide.