Like most writers who have few print credits to their name, I take non-credit classes from every so often to sharpen my skills. As technology takes over, I will probably do this until I retire from working. So this means at least 25 more years of me paying for writing courses.
While I have no problem paying, I do have a problem with high prices based on a brand. If you're saying 'Well that's just business, toots', you are correct. However, me and other hard-working consumers can speak out on anything that is not fair.
This summer, I had some time to myself but instead of taking a vacation, I decided to take a writing class. Not just any class but one that would help "up the ante" when it came to charging clients. A good investment, if you will.
Those brands on my brain were the Writer's Digest tech writing class, Writer's Village University membership, and UCLA Extension. The latter cost the most but I thought would bring the best return. Then again, I read reviews on Yelp and also remembered that they also accepted my junkie cousin into their alcoholic counselor program (no disrespect to those who have taken the class or are staying on the wagon). My point is that they will take anyone with money.
Writer's Village University was my first paid print assignment so I felt that I owe them something, even though they were slow to process after submission. While they were the least expensive option, they only seemed to have more fiction than genres used in business communication.
That leaves Writer's Digest. I will stick with facts from here on.
The program is called the Essentials of Technical Writing, meaning the absolute bare bones. There is no certificate. Formatting is not part of the curriculum. Research basics are taught but more info can be found at other resources for less. I was impressed with how to translate tech documents into everyday language. I got feedback on all of my submissions but my last, where I broke down how gender roles changing in today's society and how it should reflect in government data stats and forms. I was shot down with blanks. Meaning the instructors had no basis for their opinion. Why are there always articles about gay and women's rights in the workplace and other areas of life? Not to mention bills being passed that reflect these changes.
So if you're bored and have the money, you can spend on WD but it will not be an investment if you know a little about technical or business writing. Otherwise, take college courses or try a single class with ed2go or a free writing class. Some content sites (like Authorr - and they pay on time, in case you want to write for them). Personally, this has scared me from Gotham and UCLA Extension.
Right now I'm back in school and my instructors are great. I hope to get the right training at a fair price in this lifetime.