Just when I thought I’d never take another writing class, what do I do? I sign up for two. One in February and another in March.
I don’t like taking online classes anymore because I don’t get a lot out of them like I used to. And I could be wrong, but I think the calibre has gone down, too. Then again, it could be where I’m looking (or not looking). I don’t know.
Anyway, I’ve signed up for Screenwriting Tricks for Authors (and Screenwriters) taught by Alex Sokoloff. I’ve always had a genuine interest in how screenwriting techniques transfer over to writing, so that’s why I decided to give this class a chance. Not only that, but Alex is amazingly giving when it comes to helping writers to hone their craft. The other class is the famous Empowering Characters’ Emotions by Margie Lawson. Yes, this is somewhat of a repeat for me, since I took it and raved about it at M&M this past October. But seeing as this is a month long, it’s possible that Margie might go more in-depth with this stuff, seeing as it’s a month long. Not only that, but I’m going in with the idea that this is my refresher course for the year.
Which brings me to the topic of this blog. Do you believe in having writer certification courses?
Back in the day, I worked in a pathology lab where I needed my lab technician certification if I wanted to work there. When I had worked for Oracle Corp., I had to become certified in Oracle, if I was going to train others on how to use their software, databases, etc. Both professions required some level of proof for me to say I knew what I was talking about. Since authors are treating their writing careers like professions, why shouldn’t we do the same? CPAs are required to be certified. There’s the bar exam for lawyers and a certification for phlebotomy.
Of course, there isn’t any national organization to enforce such a thing, which is fine. But if they really wanted to help their members, then it wouldn’t hurt to have them to give a stipend for taking at least one writing class per year to maintain their membership.
So to answer my own question, I’m a huge believer in taking refresher courses. Certification courses are another story because I don’t know what the impact would be, if any. Would an agent or editor really care? Again, I don’t know. With my Oracle and lab technician certs, I saw many times where having them made the difference in landing a new job. But until refresher courses are enforced, we have to do it on our own. I’m cool with that. In fact, I’m taking it upon myself to take at least two courses a year to keep my writing fresh and sharp.
Are you for or against writers becoming certified?