The 7 Best Skillshare Creative Writing Classes: Can These Courses Help You Become a Better Writer?

by Joe Bunting | 0 comments

Want to take one of Skillshare's many creative writing classes but not sure where to start? Or maybe your wondering whether these classes actually work, whether they'll really help you transform for an aspiring writer into a published author.

Skillshare Creative Writing Classes

In this post, I'm going to review the seven best creative writing classes on Skillshare, sharing the ones I would consider taking if I were in your position, the pros and cons of each, and most of all, whether they will help you accomplish your writing goals. (Never heard of Skillshare before? That's ok! You can check out their site here and even sign up for a free trial.)

Before we get started though, I wasn't paid to write this review, but I do want to be fully transparent and let you know that some of the links below are affiliate links. If you sign up for Skillshare, it will help me be able to keep writing (and help me continue sharing what I've learned about the writing process). Of course, this won't affect your overall price, and it didn't affect my decision on the course.

Should You Take Skillshare Creative Writing Classes?

If you want to become a better writer and learn the craft of creative writing, taking a class can be a great way to get started.

Classes provide structure, give you the chance to learn new things, and can help you get the feedback you need to get better. Most of all, they can be great sources of deliberate practice.

At The Write Practice, we believe in the power of deliberate practice, which is the best way to transform from an aspiring writer into a published author.

Deliberate practice has five components, and creative writing classes can be evaluated based on how they help creative writers practice deliberately.

  1. Theory and knowledge. A good creative writing course should provide essential information on various writing techniques, storytelling principles, and literary devices. This knowledge will help students understand the craft of writing better and improve their skills.
  2. Practice and process. Learning isn't enough, though. You also have to do the work! Good courses include a clear process that can guide you to achieve your writing goals. This might involve breaking down larger projects into manageable tasks, providing templates or outlines, or offering techniques for overcoming writer's block. Good courses also can hold you accountable so you actually follow through with the process and complete your projects.
  3. A coach. You need a mentor who can show you the process. A good coach can provide insights, share their own experiences, and offer guidance to help students navigate challenges and improve their skills. Interaction with your coach can also be a source of accountability and direction.
  4. Feedback. We all need feedback on what's working in our writing and what's not, both from professional editors and writing peers. Good courses should offer opportunities for you to get feedback on your writing, whether through peer review, one-on-one coaching, or group workshops.
  5. A team. Writing is hard, and you need encouragement and support from a community of people to help you keep going. A course that encourages collaboration, peer support, and networking can help you stay motivated, share ideas, and learn from your fellow writers.

If you practice deliberately, you'll grow. You'll become a better creative writer. You'll accomplish your writing goals, get published, and perhaps even become a professional writer.

We will evaluate each Skillshare class based on these criteria.

By the way, did you know we have creative writing classes at The Write Practice designed specifically around deliberate practice? Check out our community and see if we can help you transform from aspiring writer into published author. Check out our classes here.

How Much Do Skillshare Online Classes Cost?

Skillshare operates on a subscription model, so instead of paying for individual classes, you pay a monthly or annual fee for unlimited access to their entire online course library.

Skillshare's monthly plan is $19 per month or an annual plan for $99 per year. This makes Skillshare one of the most budget friendly creative writing class options available, especially considering you can take multiple classes per month.

There's also a thirty-day free trial if you sign up with our link (it's normally seven days), making it extremely easy to get started, try out the platform, and perhaps even finish a few classes.

Check it out and sign up for the free trial.

How Does Skillshare Work?

Skillshare is an online learning platform that offers a wide range of classes across various categories, including creative writing, graphic design, photography, entrepreneurship, and more.

Here are some of the core features of Skillshare and how they work for creative writers.

1. High Quality Video Lessons with Transcripts

Video lessons are one of the primary features of Skillshare courses. They are generally well-produced, engaging, and easy to follow. The quality of video lessons can vary depending on the class, but overall, Skillshare maintains high standards for its course content.

Skillshare Creative Writing Classes

One advantage of video lessons is that they cater to visual learners. The video lessons offer the opportunity to pause, rewind, or even jump ahead to markers as needed, which can be helpful for learners who need more time to grasp a concept or want to revisit certain topics.

Transcripts are also available, making it easier for you to follow along, take notes, or review specific points. Transcripts are particularly useful if prefer reading to watching videos, or if you have hearing impairments.

2. World Class Instructors

Many Skillshare courses are taught by experienced professionals, including some of the best authors and writers in the world, including Roxane Gay, Susan Orlean, and Simon Van Booy.

However, other classes are taught by less notable professors, and while some of them can be helpful, they're not always the highest quality.

That's why we've picked out the best classes and instructors to learn from below.

3. Self-Paced Learning

Courses on Skillshare are pre-recorded, allowing you to progress at your own pace.

This flexibility makes it easy for users to fit learning into their schedules and work at a comfortable pace but can limit interaction.

3. Class Projects

Skillshare Creative Writing Classes

Many of the creative writing courses include hands-on projects, giving you the opportunity to apply what you've learned. This is an important part of deliberate practice and something I was really impressed with!

4. Class Discussions

Skillshare offers a platform for learners to interact with one another, share their work, and engage in discussions. However, I found feedback and interaction fairly limited.

5. Wide Variety of Courses

Skillshare offers thousands of courses in various subjects, so once you finish the creative writing courses, you can move on to other topics like cooking, digital marketing, photography, and more.

Ready to sign up? You can check out more of Skillshare's features here, or keep reading for our favorite classes.

The Best Creative Writing Classes from Skillshare: Our Review

Here are the seven best Skillshare classes for creative writing.

We evaluate each course based on five criteria, which correspond to the five aspects of deliberate practice.

1. Creative Writing for All: A 10-Day Journaling Challenge by Emily Gould

Skillshare Creative Writing Classes

This course provides daily journaling prompts and insights to help you improve your creative writing skills over 10 days.

About the Instructor

Emily Gould is a writer, editor, and former co-owner of the independent bookstore Emily Books. Emily is the author of the novels Friendship and Perfect Tunes, as well as the essay collection And the Heart Says Whatever. She has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, and Slate.

Deliberate Practice Review

  • Theory and knowledge: This course focuses primarily on journaling and daily writing exercises to help students develop a consistent writing habit. It may not delve deeply into advanced writing techniques or storytelling principles, but like The Artist's Way, it can be a great way to wake up your creativity.
  • Practice and process: The 10-day structure encourages you to engage in daily writing practice, promoting a consistent writing habit. However, like all Skillshare classes, there's no accountability mechanism to ensure you follow through on the daily writing process.
  • Coach: Emily Gould is an experienced author and editor who shares her helpful insights and experiences about the writing craft through the course. However, as with all Skillshare courses, there is no interaction between student and teacher, limiting the coaching experience.
  • Feedback: While feedback isn't the core emphasis of the course since it focuses on personal journaling, the program gives you several prompts, including one called “Today I Noticed,” and allows you to post your work as a “Class Project” and get feedback from fellow students. However, most of the pieces I saw received little feedback.
  • Team: Skillshare enables class discussion threads, but it doesn't appear that the discussions are very active, and it seems unlikely you'll develop deep relationships with other writers in the threads.

Check out Emily Gould's Skillshare class.

2. Storytelling 101: Character, Conflict, Context & Craft by Daniel José Older

This class covers the fundamentals of storytelling through a framework which he calls the “4 C's,” including character, conflict, crisis (which we call dilemma), and context (which is his way of thinking about world-building and setting). Older studies how each “C” works in his short story, “Salsa Nocturna.”

Skillshare Creative Writing Classes

About the Instructor

Daniel José Older is the author of several best-selling books, including the Shadowshaper Cypher series, Bone Street Rumba series, and The Book of Lost Saints. Daniel also leads writing workshops and teaches creative writing courses.

Deliberate Practice Review

  • Theory and knowledge: This course provides a great overview of storytelling fundamentals: character, conflict, crisis (which we call dilemma), and context, which will help students improve their craft.
  • Practice and process: Older gives you an assignment to write a short story about something that happened in your childhood neighborhood in one hour (a really fun prompt!). He also gives you some good tips and techniques to apply to your own process. Of course, like with all Skillshare courses, there's no accountability to actually do the work.
  • Coach: Older is a seasoned author who gives great real-world examples that will help you write better stories. However, as with all Skillshare courses, there is no interaction between student and teacher, limiting the coaching experience.
  • Feedback: Some of the stories posted by students received quite a lot of feedback (probably the most of all the courses I looked at). However, others received little to no feedback, so your experience might vary. Still, of all the courses, this might be the one to post your assignment for feedback.
  • Team: Skillshare enables class discussion threads, but as with other courses, it's a very inactive community. It seems unlikely you'll develop deep relationships with other writers in the threads.

Check out the class here.

3. The Writer's Toolkit: 6 Steps to a Successful Writing Habit by Simon Van Booy

This course covers essential techniques for establishing and maintaining a successful writing habit.

Skillshare Creative Writing Classes

About the Instructor

Simon Van Booy is an award-winning author of short stories, novels, and essays, including the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Simon teaches creative writing at various institutions, including The School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Deliberate Practice Review

  • Theory and knowledge: This course concentrates on developing a successful writing habit, so the course is not extensively focused on advanced writing techniques or storytelling principles. However, his second course, Writer's Toolkit 2 looks to be more helpful for general writing skills.
  • Practice and process: The 6-step framework he provides gives you a clear process for building a consistent writing routine that will work for most writers. However, there's no real accountability to actually follow through with the steps and apply them to your practice.
  • Coach: Simon Van Booy is an award-winning author and with good feedback on how to develop a professional-level writing habit. However, as with all Skillshare courses, there is no interaction between student and teacher, limiting the coaching experience.
  • Feedback: The course doesn't emphasize feedback on your writing. You can post a picture of your writing space, but I didn't see much interaction or feedback on the pictures.
  • Team: Skillshare enables class discussion threads, but the discussions weren't very active when I looked at them, and it seems unlikely you'll develop deep relationships with other writers.

Check out Simon Van Booy's Skillshare class.

4. Writing Character-Driven Short Stories by Yiyun Li

This course teaches you how to create engaging, character-driven short stories, and is taught by a celebrated, prize winning author. In the class, Li studies her 4 favorite short stories, and then write a story of your own inspired by an online comment, review, or obituary.

Skillshare Creative Writing Classes

About the Instructor

Yiyun Li is an award-winning author of novels, short stories, and essays, and the winner of such prizes as the PEN/Hemingway Award, and her work has been translated into more than 20 languages. Yiyun Li teaches at Princeton University, is a MacArthur Fellow, and has been named a “20 Under 40” writer by The New Yorker.

Deliberate Practice Review

  • Theory and knowledge: This course studies how to create engaging characters and how to write character-driven short stories. Plus, you'll gain advanced insights on storytelling techniques and character development from a celebrated author and creative writing professor.
  • Practice and process: The course includes writing exercises and an assignment to write a three to five page short story to help you practice the skills you learn. However, there's no accountability to actually write the story.
  • Coach: Yiyun Li is an award-winning author author with a wealth of experience. However, as with all Skillshare courses, there is no interaction between student and teacher, limiting the coaching experience.
  • Feedback: You can post your assigned story for feedback. However, very few of the pieces I saw received any feedback.
  • Team: Skillshare enables class discussion threads, but as with other classes, the discussions are not very active, and it seems unlikely you'll develop deep relationships with other writers in the threads.

Check out the class.

5. Crafting Personal Essays with Impact by Roxane Gay

This one-hour class with best-selling author Roxane Gay focuses on writing personal essays that resonate with readers by exploring techniques for telling your story effectively.

Skillshare Creative Writing Classes

About the Instructor

Roxane Gay is the bestselling author of Bad Feminist, Hunger, and Difficult Women. Roxane's work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Nation. She is also a professor of creative writing.

Deliberate Practice Review

  • Theory and knowledge: This course covers techniques for writing effective personal essays, offering good insight on personal storytelling and self-expression.
  • Practice and process: Despite being a relatively short class, Gay lays out some good practices for writing, editing, and getting published. There's an assignment to write and revise a personal essay of your own. There are also two worksheets, one to use to inspire your writing before you start, and a second to help you interrogate and revise your work. However, there's no real accountability to actually follow through.
  • Coach: Roxane Gay is a well-known author and essayist who will teach you how to write better personal essays. However, as with all Skillshare courses, there is no interaction between student and teacher, limiting the coaching experience.
  • Feedback: You can post the personal essay you write in the class project workshop. However, while a few pieces did receive comments, most that I saw received little feedback.
  • Team: Skillshare enables class discussion threads, but the last discussion in the class was from two months ago and the discussions weren't very active. It seems unlikely you'll develop deep relationships with other writers in the threads.

Check out the class.

6. Creative Nonfiction: Write Truth with Style by Susan Orlean

This course teaches you how to write creative nonfiction, combining journalistic accuracy with literary style.

Specifically, bestselling author and New Yorker columnist Susan Orlean walks you through through her writing process where she transforms ordinary subjects into inspired stories, focusing especially on how she wrote her piece “The American Male at Age Ten” from Esquire.

Skillshare Creative Writing Classes

About the Instructor

Susan Orlean is a celebrated author and journalist, best known for her book The Orchid Thief, which was adapted into the Academy Award-winning film Adaptation. She has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1992, covering a wide range of topics. Susan is also the author of several other books, including Rin Tin Tin and The Library Book.

Deliberate Practice Review

  • Theory and knowledge: Susan Orlean is an amazing writer, and if you write creative nonfiction, you'll learn so much about how to combine journalistic accuracy with literary style.
  • Practice and process: You'll learn the process of one of the best narrative nonfiction writers in the world, and then apply her process to write your own 1,000 word profile on someone you find mysterious. At the same time, there's no real accountability to actually follow through
  • Coach: Susan Orlean is a talented author and journalist who any creative nonfiction writer can learn from. However, as with all Skillshare courses, there is no interaction between student and teacher, limiting the coaching experience.
  • Feedback: You can post your creative nonfiction essay for feedback, however, most of the pieces I saw received few to no critiques.
  • Team: Skillshare enables class discussion threads, but it doesn't appear that the discussions are very active, and it seems unlikely you'll develop deep relationships with other writers in the threads.

Check out the class here.

7. Writing for Expression: How to Make Your Words More Artful & Lyrical by Hanif Abdurraqib

In this class, you'll learn techniques for writing with more creativity, artistry, and emotion from poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib. This class is helpful especially for poets but also for any writer interested in writing more lyrically and artistically.

Skillshare Creative Writing Classes

About the Instructor

Hanif Abdurraqib is a distinguished poet, essayist, and cultural critic. He is the author of the poetry collection A Fortune for Your Disaster and the essay collection They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us. Hanif is also contributes to The New York Times, Pitchfork, The FADER, and other publications.

Deliberate Practice Review

  • Theory and knowledge: This course focuses on making your writing more creative, artistic, and emotionally expressive. You'll learn how to hone your unique voice as a writer.
  • Practice and process: The course has three writing assignments that all lead to helping you craft a great writing piece or poem while allowing you to experiment with different styles and work on your writing expression. However, as with the other Skillshare classes, there's no accountability to actually follow through on the assignments.
  • Coach: Hanif Abdurraqib is a good poet and teacher. However, as with all Skillshare courses, there is no interaction between student and teacher, limiting the coaching experience.
  • Feedback: While you can post your assignments, this class had one of the lowest amount of feedback on pieces. I wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for feedback on your writing.
  • Team: As with other classes on Skillshare, you can start and respond to discussions, but there was very little recent interaction here. It's unlikely to be a great place to build your writing team.

Check out the class here.

My Final Review: Will Skillshare Help You Become a Better Writer?

Skillshare classes are especially good at the theory and knowledge aspect of deliberate practice, helping you learn important aspects of creative writing in a budget friendly way.

They may also help you with the practice and process, feedback, and coach aspects to some extent, providing some amount of self-guided structure, but the lack enough interaction to fully maximize these aspects.

However, most Skillshare classes will not provide the team aspect that's so important to become a better writer. After all, we do learn from our teachers, but we learn more from our peers, and Skillshare lacks the camaraderie, peer interaction, as well as coach interaction that helps writers transform into published authors fastest.

That isn't to say you shouldn't take creative writing classes from Skillshare, especially if you already are part of a vibrant writing community and have a good coach. These classes will certainly help you learn new things about the writing craft that will be helpful.

Just know that without the context of a full deliberate practice environment, you won't become a better creative writer and accomplish your goals as quickly as you could with a more complete class.

Final verdict: Skillshare can help you learn the craft of writing from world-class authors and instructors, but you should also join a writing community and get interactive coaching.

Sign up for Skillshare and take these creative writing classes here.

The Write Practice offers both a vibrant writing community and book coaching, and could be a great fit in tandem with Skillshare! Check out our community and coaching here.

What do you think? Have you taken any of these Skillshare classes? What was your experience like? Or after reading this, are you likely to? Let us know in the comments.

PRACTICE

Today set your timer for 15 minutes and let's practice. Two choices from my reviews above:

  1. Start a free writing exercise with “Today I noticed…”
  2. Write a scene from your childhood neighborhood.

Once time is up, share your practice in the Pro Practice Workshop here and give feedback to a few other writers.

Not a member yet? Join us here!

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

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