I started writing seriously for publication about six and half years ago. At that time, Harlequin had a free online writing course. I’m not sure if they still offer that course, but one of the smartest things I ever did was take that course. And I was fastidious about it. I took it very seriously and I learned a great deal. I still use a modified version of the character information sheet they offered.
Now online writing courses seem to be in every nook and cranny of the internet. They might be basic courses…a writer’s 101 type thing, or they might be on a very narrow and specific topic. In last several years I’ve taken a course on martial arts fighting techniques geared toward the crime fiction and action-adventure author. In addition I took and online course on historical forensics, as my Sanctuary Point mystery series is set in the 1940s. I took notes, asked questions, took notes, soaked up knowledge the instructor offered. Did I mention I took notes?
I did not use the course to try to slip in mention of my books slyly here and there. I did not try to impress the instructors with my vast knowledge as a multi-published author. If I knew so much, why was it necessary to take the course? Duh!
There are many good courses out there. For Christian authors American Christian Fiction Writers have some of the best. Romance Writers of America offers a wide variety of courses. Gotham Writers Workshop offers fantastic online writing courses for mystery writers. I’m sure there are many other groups offering courses. My local library offered a six-week writing course, and guess what? I took it. Had a lot of fun. Met some nice people and learned a few things.