9 online courses to do this summer

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Ah the allure of summer. Where you can sit outside getting sunburnt, frantically waving flies from your face, while sweat falls from your skin in salty cascades…

On second thought, why not stay inside in the aircon and learn a new skill instead? For those of you who would much rather enjoy the heat from the comfort of inside your refrigerated living room, here are nine online courses you can do this summer.

HOT TIP: You can do these courses while sitting outside, too. Just remember to slip, slop, slap.

1. Reinvent Yourself

Reinvent Yourself is the perfect course if you know you want to write, but have no idea where to start. 

Valerie Khoo's lessons guide you through the different paths available, sharing inspirational stories from people who were just like you once – and who found their passion for writing. The course includes an 318-page workbook loaded with tips, advice and strategies, 19 inspirational case studies, and 15 exclusive interviews with successful writers. 

It is the practical blueprint you need to kickstart your new career.

“Reinvent Yourself is the perfect start for anyone who is interested in following their writing dreams. I found this mini yet extremely jam-packed course full of helpful tips. A bible that I shall return to for that push I'll need when doubt starts to creep in.” – Linda Sulman

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2. Creative Non-fiction

If you're hankering to tell a true story in a rich and exciting way – think Peter FitzSimons or Malcolm Gladwell – then you need to learn the skills of creative non-fiction. 

Creative non-fiction is one of the most exciting genres in the literary world. People love to learn new things by reading well-crafted stories that read like a novel. So if you have a true story that is stranger than fiction, discover the techniques to create a work of non-fiction that reads like a page turner.

“This is a course that’s close to my heart. I’ve immersed myself in the field for decades and I know that this course is world class. If you’ve ever considered writing a creative non-fiction book, this course will give a blueprint on everything you need to know – from how to structure your book and bring your characters to life to the kind of research you need to do and build your story to a powerful climax.” – Valerie Khoo

3. Fiction Essentials: Structure

Structure is the foundation of your story. It's what helps to move your story from an exciting beginning, through an engaging middle, to a satisfying conclusion. If you can't quite put your finger on why your story isn't working, the culprit is probably the structure.

Our Fiction Essentials: Structure course is designed for fiction writers looking to improve the framework and pace of their stories. Many courses talk about what structure is, but this one will show you exactly how to do it. Developed by bestselling author Pamela Freeman, this nuts and bolts course will transform your storytelling.

4. Fiction Essentials: Characters

For many writers, the character comes first; but that doesn't always mean it comes easily. A great story is one where characters come alive on the page. Your readers are transfixed by their behaviours and have strong feelings about them – either good or bad! 

This online course will help you develop the main players in your story as well as your entire cast of characters. Because without great characters, there's no story.

“Although I'd thought I had given my characters a background story, it really made me think and understand their motivations more fully.

There will be less writer's block if you put in the work to fully develop your characters, then you can focus on the storyline and enjoy the writing process because you know how your characters think, feel and react to certain situations in your story!” – Peta Henshelwood

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5. Laugh Out Loud

Would you love to write a funny story for kids, like the Treehouse series, Tom Weekly, Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Toffle Towers

This course is for people who think they might have a funny bone, but aren't sure where it is. With surgical precision, popular children's author Tim Harris will help you to locate yours and guide you through the process of crafting a funny story or book.

“Tim Harris knows funny! He has crafted a course which unpacks humour in an easy-to-grasp, insightful way, and his delivery literally made me laugh out loud. I'm finishing this course knowing a wee bit more about toilet humour, ready to put my characters through hell for the sake of a joke, totally understanding recurring humour and totally understanding recurring humour. See? I'm so much funnier now. Thanks, Tim!” Amelia Lewis

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6. Content Writing

Everything you read on the web has been written by a person. Think about it. There are millions of websites, and all of them need one thing: content. There is a massive demand for good quality content writers, and the great news is that it's a skill you can learn, especially if you already have a passion for words.

This online course is ideal if you want to learn the art of communicating with customers through great content or start a new side hustle.

“I didn't know how to start writing content before. It's taken the hesitation away and I feel confident to start now, using the templates. It's not brain science! Just need to use a structure, and start!” – Steph Austin

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7. Short Story Essentials

Writing short stories is the perfect way to hone your fiction writing skills. Crafting a compelling story with interesting characters and a strong arc is not easy when you're constrained by a word count, but that challenge is what makes short stories so satisfying. Not to mention, the appetite for short stories keeps growing and growing, with thousands of competitions and anthologies each year.

This is a unique online course where you learn the materials at your own pace. Once you've completed all the modules, you can submit your own short story for assessment by editor extraordinaire Cathie Tasker. It's an extraordinary opportunity to get feedback from an industry professional.

“I just read the feedback that Cathie prepared and I wanted to pass on my gratitude to her for a wonderful course. I really appreciate the amount of work she put into critiquing my story and the excellent content in the modules. After taking this course I now know what makes a good short story and the importance of fully engaging in all stages of the editing process. My sincerest thanks.” – Andrea Wilson

8. Professional Business Writing

Who says you can't mix business with pleasure? Go ahead and improve your business writing skills while sipping margaritas in your pyjamas. Our Professional Business Writing course is designed for people who want to improve their business communication in a practical non-nonsense way.

Good business writing comes down to clarity and confidence, and that's exactly what you'll gain in this course. Even while sipping margaritas.

“Made me realise that if I get the basics right my writing will improve. Very practical and useful. No waffle.” – Julie Rippon

9. Real Estate Copywriting

If you're looking to emerge from the summer with a brand new skill that you can apply immediately, look no further than Real Estate Copywriting. It's the perfect course for writers who want to expand their repertoire or for real estate professionals looking to hone their writing skills. 

Everyone loves sticky beaking at real estate ads and dreaming of new possibilities. Why not be the person who helps to create those dreams?

“I would recommend it highly. This course was excellent and really gave a thorough insight into the industry.” – Judith Bunn

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