Online Courses for Freelance Magazine Writing

If you’re seriously considering a freelance writing career in the magazine market, you may be interested in taking some good quality online freelance magazine writing courses. Perhaps you need a refresher in basic non-fiction writing skills. Maybe you’d like an instructor-led lesson on writing query letters. You might need help honing an idea for an article. Or maybe you’ve never written professionally before, and you’d like to know exactly what it’s like before jumping into a new career. All of these are great reasons to take a course in freelance magazine writing. But there are so many courses offered, it’s difficult to know which ones are legitimate, worthwhile tutorials. Here you’ll find a list of quality courses, as well as some basic guidelines on what to avoid when looking for a freelance magazine writing course.

One of the best sources for writing courses is Writers Online Workshops (www.writersonlineworkshops.com), presented by Writer’s Digest. As publishers of the annual Writer’s Market, Writer’s Digest Magazine, and hundreds of books on the writing craft, they are one of the leading companies in the writing field. They offer several courses on freelance magazine writing, including “Focus on the Nonfiction Magazine Article” and “Advanced Article Writer’s Workshop.”

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Another excellent source for courses on magazine writing is the Editorial Freelance Association (www.the-efa.org). An organization for all types of freelancers in the publishing world, the EFA offers several online courses. “Succeeding as a Magazine Writer” is geared towards those who have honed their writing skills and are ready to see their work published.

Don’t forget accredited colleges and universities. Some post-secondary schools require that you are an admitted, enrolled student to take their courses; other schools allow anyone to sign up for online courses; check carefully. The UC Berkeley Extension (www.unex.berkeley.edu) has a great array of writing courses. “Writing the Feature Story” is an excellent course for freelance magazine writers. They also offer other online writing courses.

What to Avoid

Consider carefully before buying any e-book claiming to teach you everything you need to know about freelance magazine writing. Even if these books have some valuable information, they often are not worth the price. They may offer nothing better than some general information, which you can easily find in other places for free. If you are really looking to hone your writing skills, you will need more than a book. You’ll want an instructor-led course. If there is an e-book that you are really interested in, first go to your local library and browse through every book they have on freelance writing and see if you can get some good information from them. If your local library doesn’t have a wide selection of freelance writing books, interlibrary loan is usually available for a minimal fee.

Also be careful of any course which does not give you specifics of what is involved in course content and assignments. If they are not willing to tell you details of what you are going to learn and practice, avoid them.

What to Look For

Be sure the online course is led by an experienced instructor. In a course specifically for magazine writing, the instructor should be a published magazine author. In a more general writing course, the teacher should have some published work to their credit. If you have questions about a course or teacher, see if you can obtain their email address from the school or organization. Email them with your questions. If they are quick and friendly in responding, it is a good indicator that they will be an attentive teacher.

Once you’ve found a quality course that answers your needs, stay dedicated to completing coursework. Online courses can be deceitful; they seem easy because you don’t have to attend class. But you still have to do the work. Self-discipline is necessary. Stay involved in your freelance magazine writing course, and you’ll not only see your writing skills improve, you may actually see your byline in print.