When you’re a writer, it’s important to constantly be learning. Sometimes that’ll look like taking a writing class, but sometimes that’ll look like researching something for your book. (If you’re looking to do research for your book, I’ve written about how to start.) Or perhaps you’re just interested in learning something completely new for the sake of learning. While college is an obvious option, sometimes college isn’t accessible or desirable. Regardless, there are so many places to learn.
Picking the right teacher
As a blanket reminder, it’s important to always do your research, especially if you’re learning online or making a purchase. You could find an online course, and it looks great, but a little research shows that the online creator doesn’t have enough experience to be teaching. For example, if you want to take an online course about building a YouTube channel, check how many subscribers and views the course creator has. You might discover that they have no business teaching others how to grow their own channels because they only have a couple of hundred subscribers. So, always do your research! Don’t just take a landing page at its word.
Even if you’re not purchasing something, it’s still important to check who created the content you’re looking at and whether they have the credentials or expertise to be teaching about a topic. If they don’t, they’re probably not a great resource. This goes for books, podcasts, blogs, etc. If you’re looking to learn, you’ll want to make sure the creator knows what they’re talking about.
Skillshare is a collection of online courses taught by professionals and experts. It has a monthly and yearly membership that you can use to watch unlimited classes. These classes range from hobby classes to art classes to business classes. Whatever you’re interested in learning, odds are, you can find a class about it on Skillshare. Personally, I find Skillshare to be a bit surface-level, but it can be a great place to start, and it’s pretty affordable.
Coursera is an amazing place to learn. You have access to tons of courses from universities and companies. You can learn about almost anything, and if you pay, you can often even earn credit or a certificate for it. It’s a great place to be if you’re interested in changing careers or moving forward in your current one. These courses vary widely, with some of them taking place over months and some you can take in a day. Look through their catalog, and you’d be surprised at how many options you have. It’s a little more expensive than other options, though.
Similar to Skillshare, Udemy has tons of courses that you can use to learn something new, but you typically purchase each course individually. Course prices vary widely based on how long and in-depth the course is.
This feels like a gimme, but you can read most books online these days and listen to audiobooks wherever you go. So, if you’re looking to learn about a new topic, search for some books that dive into it. Just be sure to read through the book reviews before you purchase anything and take a look at the author.
Not to mention, if you have something like Kindle Unlimited, there is an endless amount of books you can read for a monthly membership.
Don’t sleep on your local library, either! First of all, if you get a card, you can take out books/audiobooks/movies about almost anything. But libraries also tend to have programs during which you can learn something new. From photography clubs to readings to art lessons, your local library might be doing some really cool things. If you’d like to learn about anything specific, you can even mention it to your local librarian, and they might set up a program for it! They often have discounted passes to museums too. Libraries are great, and you should use them.
YouTube is an amazing place to learn things for free. Most YouTube channels are dedicated to specific topics, so you can search for creators who are specifically teaching what you want to learn. This is definitely a place where you want to look into the creator and their credentials/experience since anyone can make a YouTube channel. But if you find the right creators, it can be a goldmine.
Similar to YouTube, podcasts can be a great place to learn. There are many people out there sharing their knowledge through regular podcasts. Even if you’re not looking to learn about a specific topic, podcasts can be a great way to discover new true stories or learn about how something you’ve never thought about works. They’re just a great way to continuously learn.
Blogs (like this one!) are another free place to go for information. The great thing about blogs is that they’re often pretty niche, so if you find a great blog, odds are it’s going to have a wealth of information on that singular topic. You can really go down a rabbit hole and learn so much. Just again, check the about page and any citations they have throughout the blog post. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but it’s important to know that you’re getting your info from reputable sources. (If you’re wondering about mine, I’ve got an about page.)
Personally, my favorite way to find new blogs or specific blog posts is through Pinterest.
There are tons of content creators out there creating excellent courses on things they’re knowledgeable about. Many creators even have short, free intro courses. Just keep in mind that when you take those free courses, you’re put on an email list, and that email list might be a funnel for paid courses. Paid courses can be great! But they can also be not helpful or not worth the price. Do your research so you don’t get burned and be wary of any reviews that offer affiliate links because they have an incentive to get you to buy into the course.
See? There are so many places out there where you can learn about anything you’re interested in. Different learning avenues are good for different things, so do some exploring and see what you can find.
Got your own favorite place to learn? Leave it in the comments!