Is There Value in Online Writing Classes?

I don't know the answer to this, so I figured I'd ask, well, the world.

I like to consider myself a writer but have had very little actual training. At the same time I'm in the group who doesn't believe training is a necessity to being a good writer. Grammar and structure, sure, but I have a strong belief some people just are better at it than others and innately grasp the concepts quicker. I also think good writers can be developed - I've seen it happen.

Writing has always been something I've just done. Other than English assigments I didn't do much of it all until my senior English class when we were given the opportunity to write whatever we wanted. I liked it and was given positive feedback that I should do it more. When I was in college I kept a journal during my summer in Italy, the only time I've ever done that (well, until this blog). When I got back to the University of Oregon I signed up for a Creative Writing class and had a blast - probably the most fun I had in a class in college.

Of course, it was fall term of my senior year, so it was a little late to really change my focus without spending much longer (and much more money) in college, and I was ready to be done. I received positive feedback from peers and the teacher there as well. Keep writing, I was encouraged.

Since then I have done that, but it's been mostly sportswriting - again, until this blog. I haven't really done much at all in the fiction space, which is where I'd like to move into.

The local community college offers online writing workshops. A little lost with exactly where to begin this fictioin odyssey, I'm thinking it might be interesting and helpful. Perhaps I'll get a better feel of where to begin, which seems to be my problem. It might also force me to plan things better, to set myself up with a schedule.

I know some other writers have taken community college workshops and found benefit. Is it worth it? What about the online aspect - is that something I should try to avoid? What kind of time commitment did it demand?

Or is this notion of something like this a little unnecessary? I guess perhaps I'm just worried it will be too much or too little.

I think the part I'm least sure about is the online part. I've taken classes online through the day job and found them less than worthless. Conversely Wifey is taking a course right now that she is enjoying. Subject matter is going to play an important part of that, but to me I would think person to person contact would be a helpful thing. Can this be replicated online? For the price maybe it's worth it just to see how it goes.

Maybe I'm just whining - sign up already, right? I think I probably will, Wifey thinks I should - I'm just unsure as to what to really expect.

I would love to hear anyone's ideas or experiences with online (or offline) writing classes, so please, leave a comment!

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