Top Reasons Writers Put Off Writing Classes

I get it. You want to be a writer. And you know you need to polish your skills. Find more time to write. Take yourself seriously. Signing up for a writing class seems like a good idea. But you put it off. And put it off. And put it off. I was once like you. I came up with all kinds of reasons to not sign up for a class. Here were my top excuses. Any of these sound familiar?


1.    I’m not ready.
If you’re waiting for some magical moment to arrive that will help you decide to take the plunge, it ain’t gonna happen. Trust me. I’ve written two books with a third on the way and I still don’t feel ready. What you can feel ready for is stirring things up, challenging yourself and getting away from Netflix. In other words, don’t wait for ready. 

2.    Everyone in the class will be better than me.
That’s a possibility, but how do you know for sure? Chances are, they’re all thinking the same thing. And who says what’s better than something else? Besides, what if you end up being the best writer in the class? Oh, right. You won’t know that. Because you never signed up.

3.    The instructor isn’t Margaret Atwood. Or anyone else I’ve heard of.
Granted, not all writers have the name recognition of Atwood or Boyden or Munro, but that doesn’t mean we can’t write. Or, more important, it doesn’t mean we can’t help you to write better. You might as well take my course before I win the Giller, because after that, the cost is going to skyrocket. I’ll also use a helicopter to take me to and from class. Speaking of costs….

4.    I don’t want to spend the money.
Writers sometimes have a hard time putting out money when there’s no guarantee of a return on their investment. But trust me, the money you invest in your writing will come back to you. It may not come back in a book publishing way, but it’ll come back in other ways. When you take yourself seriously, at least seriously enough to invest in the things you’re passionate about, you benefit. Period.

5.    I’m afraid of criticism.
I’ve got news for you. Criticism never goes away. Even if you write a phenomenal bestseller that gets all kinds of accolades and gets turned into an Oscar-winning film, people will still criticize your work. You might as well get used to it. The sooner you expose yourself, the easier it can be to deal with. Besides, not all criticism has to be negative. In my class, I try to keep it constructive. And respectful.

6.    I’ll realize I’m not a writer.
We all have fantasy versions of ourselves. And who needs reality to slap those fantasies down? Maybe putting your work out there will show you that you’re not the literary world’s Next Big Thing. But that doesn’t mean you’re No Thing. And maybe discovering the things you’re good at (and not so good at) will help you refine your craft and become the writer you want to be.  

I eventually signed up for a writing class and it was one of the best things I did. It gave me a space to be creative, put me in a room with like-minded people and it validated a piece of myself that I’d ignored for far too long. Regardless if you take my course or someone else’s, I really do believe that taking a writing class is one of the most important things an emerging writer can do. Once you give yourself permission to write, the door opens wider. Promise.

So leave the excuses behind and take the plunge. Something tells me you’re ready.

For more info about my upcoming courses as part of the International Festival of Authors, you can go here.