Can you learn to write?
A good dose of talent is one thing. But the tools of the trade can be learned. Authors have the opportunity to continue their education. However, there is no such thing as a classic apprenticeship or degree. There are more and more advanced training courses and writing schools where writers learn from professionals, improve their writing and Techniques can practice.
What are writing schools?
Creative writing is, to a large extent, a craft. And you can learn that in writing schools. That doesn't mean that advanced training is a prerequisite for writing a book. In writing schools you learn, for example, how to structure the plot of a novel, how to write interesting Characters or create exciting Dialogues writing. There are also one-to-one courses on a variety of topics with industry professionals on all aspects of writing and publishing. Some examples can be found at the Text Manufacture.
Even if you can educate yourself self-taught with the help of online tutorials or YouTube videos, a writing school brings further advantages. Not only do you hone your own texts, but you also receive valuable feedback from professionals and participants and learn how to be self-critical with your texts. Whether you attend a writing school and courses, or develop yourself further through self-study - for every aspiring author: read, read, read!
What types of writing schools are there?
A writing school does not have to be a six-semester university course. Basically, the different types of writing schools can be divided into three varieties: Writing workshops, online courses, or a traditional degree program. Writing workshops refer to courses that are usually limited to one day, a weekend, or a few days. A location-independent option is online courses, where you can continue your education from the comfort of your home. Also, some universities offer a degree program in creative writing. Usually, in these courses, you will be taken by the hand of writers or journalists and not only benefit from their experience, but also get valuable tips in addition to the writing craft. If you plan to attend a writing school, consider how much time and money you want to invest in continuing education. The offers vary greatly in terms of duration and cost.
Who are writing schools for?
Anyone can and may learn to write. Depending on which writing school you want to attend, however, there are basic requirements - as is the case, for example, with some online degree programmes and, above all, the face-to-face degree programmes at a university. For example, some insist on the Abitur or Fachabitur, or there are additional entrance and aptitude tests due to the abundance of applications.
Writing schools are mainly designed for fiction writers. Courses tailored to nonfiction writers are rare. Some training courses focus on a specific genre or topic. Especially if you want to specialize in one area, a solid expertise can be helpful. Choosing the "right" course is individual and depends on what you want to get out of it. It's best to ask yourself: What do I want to learn? What do I want to improve in? What are my aspirations for my books? What are my goals as a writer? Attending a writing school is not a guarantee of an Bestsellers. Chances are your debut novel won't be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature right away. Many successful authors smile when they look at their first works. That's because a really good writing style has to evolve. And regardless of whether you attend a writing school or not, that means for you: practice, practice, practice!
Writing schools at a glance
There are writing courses at almost every adult education centre. Writing beginners get a good orientation here, get into writing and can get down to their texts with like-minded people with little time and money. Of course, you can't compare the level to a university course. Other writing schools are private and were founded by experienced authors or editors. So-called literature houses also offer a range of courses. The duration varies from one day to several months. The costs of the different offers also vary greatly.
Distance learning writing school
Most distance learning academies offer courses of different types. Some distance learning schools specialize in writing. With a distance learning course, the following applies: You can determine the pace at which you go through the learning content yourself. In most cases, the average time required per week is given for better orientation. For example, a course lasts twelve weeks if you invest two to four hours per week. Compared to individual or weekend courses, a distance learning course built up over several months is more expensive and time-consuming.
An online course provides you with courseware that you can work through independently and at your own pace. These are theoretical basics as well as assignments that you must complete and submit in order to successfully complete the course.
An online course is suitable for all aspiring authors who want to learn independently of time and place. However, the exchange with other course participants is missing here. Also, you cannot ask questions directly or the answer may be delayed. As an author, you need the necessary degree of self-discipline that a correspondence course demands of you if you want to bring one or more novels to the end.
At which universities can you study writing?
The places for studying at a (technical) university are limited and the rush is great. Many universities therefore carry out a selection process and only a few applicants can get hold of one of the highly coveted places. An aptitude test is the best way to see whether the applicant has a talent for writing.
At three years, the time commitment of an undergraduate degree is significantly higher than most other writing courses. Quite an effort, considering that, unfortunately, very few writers... make a living writing can. Even a university degree is no guarantee for a bestseller. Therefore, it never hurts if you have a plan B and finance yourself through other activities. For example, many authors work as editors, copywriters or proofreaders to secure a solid source of income.
In the German-speaking world you can appropriate courses in creative writing at the universities in Hildesheim, Leipzig, Berlin (ASH) as well as at the Institute for Language Arts at the Academy of Arts in Vienna and at the University of the Arts in Switzerland.
Whether you want to attend writing school - and if so, which one - is up to you. The range of courses and tutorials is vast, and the opportunities to learn from experts seem almost limitless. In addition to a portion of stamina and discipline, an author also needs writing techniques. Whether you learn these self-taught, in a weekend course or study at university is up to you. But don't be put off by the supposedly high costs. Because with a further education you always invest in yourself. What's more, you can pay the expenses in full. set off against tax liability.
Whether a writing school makes sense for you depends on what your goal is in writing your book. Do you want to realize your heart's project? Or do you want to write your family biography? If so, a sophisticated writing technique is secondary. If your goal is to sell your book successfully and find lots of readers and reviewers, a little writing craft won't hurt. However, there is no accounting for taste. There is no "right" or "wrong" in the context of writing schools. Quality is a matter of opinion, and it's entirely possible that you'll write a bestseller despite being rejected by a college. Most importantly, keep at it! Because just like writers. Andreas Eschbach says: "Talent is important. Talent is elementary. But talent alone is of no use at all. Talented people abound - but people who also make something of their talent are thin on the ground."