Monday, January 14, 2013

Take a Class

I've probably spoken about classes before, but the direction bears repeating.

Writing classes do multiple things for you:
  • They get you involved with other students and other types of writing. You just may learn something from another student. Students as a rule are at varying writing levels, so some students may learn from you, while you might learn from a more expert student.
  • They connect you with a teacher who cares about you and your work. He/she critiques your work and hopefully gives you ideas on how to improve it.
  • You get the opportunity to vocally share your work. The very best writing classes don't let you hide your writing.
  • You are sometimes able to critique the writing of your classmates, thereby learning a bit about editing.
  • Photo by PalFest, courtesy of Flickr
  • You may get a new idea for a book or short story.
When it comes to taking a class, the amount you pay for it doesn't always reflect what you'll be getting. So check the following things out before you sign up.
  • What has the teacher published? Do their published works reflect what you do? Though it isn't always important for the teacher to write in the same genre, an instructor who writes fantasy will fit in easier with a student who writes fantasy over someone who writes children's books, for example.
  • What is the cap on students? Do you want a more one-on-one opportunity, or would a larger group better suit your needs?
  • Will you critique other students' work, or will your work be primarily from the teacher? I personally like the option of getting a response from other students in the class as well as the thoughts of the teacher.
  • How many weeks is the class? A six to eight week class is great, but if you want to take a college level class, you're looking at a longer period in which you will probably be graded. And, I've said this before, but college level courses, even if they're labeled creative writing or fiction, may not be, so make sure you're in with the write instructor.
Taking a class keeps you writing, and if nothing else, allows you the opportunity to write without giving yourself excuses. Usually classes will have assignments that will be expected to be completed, leaving you little room for ducking out.


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