That’s how I would describe what writing a novel is.
There are a lot of moving parts, each has its own rules. And then you take these parts and try to piece them together to create a single and coherent story.
Not to mention you have to deal with your inner critic who gives you an endless supply of self-doubt while writing.
Thankfully, you can tap on the knowledge and wisdom of those who are far ahead in this writing journey. These authors and mentors offer a lot of help through their books, blogs, workshops, and courses.
My favorite way to learn how to write a novel is by reading craft books. I’ve avoided buying a novel writing course for the following reasons:
1. They can be expensive
Course prices differ but usually, they start from $50 to $197. While premium courses can range from $500-$2,000. start from $100 and up. While books usually cost at least $5 each.
Another thing to consider in pricing is the course creator. Usually, the courses with higher price tags are taught by seasoned authors.
2. You can find craft books that cover all the topics you want to learn
I even wrote a post on books you should read if you want to write a novel.
There are books that cover how to write effective dialogue, how to write scenes, how to plot or outline, how to self-publish, how to write query letters. There’s a book for practically every writing question you have.
3. Tons of blogs are out there about how to write a novel
With a little help from Google, you can search for blogs that offer great tips and advice on how to write a novel. Helping Writers Become Authors, Live Write Thrive, AliVentures, are some of my favorite blogs about writing.
But one day, I was stuck. I’ve read tons of books about outlining and plotting but cannot get to plot my novel. I would plan my book but then end up not getting anywhere because either my story idea sucked or I didn’t know what to write next.
I wanted to have a roadmap. Something that can teach me how to write a novel from beginning to end.
I knew I needed help. Then I found Shaunta Grime’s The Plotting Workshop. It’s a game changer for me.
I am now writing my novel based on the plot I developed from that workshop. My target is to finish my book in 100 days.
Ever since I took that course, I realized sometimes a course can teach you something that a book cannot. Or, a course can give you a different perspective and learning experience, that a book cannot.
Having said that, there are considerations I want you to really think about when buying a writing course.
1. Is the price within your budget?
Don’t go in debt just to buy a course.
Remember that you might not be able to sell your novel right away. If you don’t have a budget for a course, save up for it.
But if you have extra money and can afford it, why not?
The key here is, as long as you can afford it.
2. Are you going to go through the course and apply what you learn?
Don’t buy the course and then just forget about it. Whether if it’s a $10 course from Udemy, or a premium course from an author you admire, make sure you go through it.
But don’t stop at only watching or reading the lessons. Apply what you learn.
The course is there as your guide. But the real teacher is the experience. You wouldn’t be able to learn if you don’t write.
3. Are you buying the course just because there is a money-back guarantee?
I think I like this course. And there’s a money back guarantee, too. So if I don’t like it, I can just refund it.
If that’s what’s going on in your mind when you buy a course, don’t buy it.
Why? Because you’ll end up refunding it. As a virtual assistant, I do refunds for my online marketing client. And most of the refunds come from folks who only wanted to take a look. And then decide to leave.
What happens is, your mind is looking for reasons why you don’t like the course, and then ask for the refund.
Sure, you didn’t lose money. But you walk away from a learning experience that would have made a difference in your writing life.
Okay, sometimes a refund comes in handy. Like, when you realize the course isn’t a good fit for your learning style.
Or maybe, sometimes you just need to find the right teacher. Or maybe you just had a family or medical emergency, then asking for a refund would help your situation.
But buying a course just because there’s a refund offer is not a good reason to buy one. In fact, it’s one telling sign you shouldn’t buy it.
The point is, the refund is there just for your protection just in case you realize it isn’t the right fit. But it shouldn’t be the main reason for taking a course.
And stop buying courses you can’t afford. See point 1. M’kay?
4. Are you in this for the long haul
A course isn’t a magic pill.
You don’t take a course and then suddenly you’re the most prolific novelist out there. Writing is a skill. You need time and practice to hone it.
Buy the course if you think this will advance your knowledge – knowledge you’re going to put into action. See point number 2.
Don’t expect instant results.
Writing is hard and complicated. But that’s the beauty of it. It’s a never-ending process of learning and self-discovery.
Over To You
Have you taken a novel writing course before? How was it? What considerations do you take for taking a course?