Learning from the Masters: The MasterClass Experience and the Next Writing Teacher

“Illustration of vintage style red pencils over rough background” by Jack Moneh. Credit: freerangestock.com

This is a post I have been meaning to write for a while. I wanted to wait until I finished the course itself before reflecting on my experience. I love learning and one should never stop learning and trying new things.

in 2015, an online educational platform for people of all skill levels, whether interested, beginner or even expert came to be called MasterClass. For the affordable price of $90, you have lifetime access to courses you sign up for: the lessons, assignments, videos. You can even take your time with the course altogether. You learn from the great masters of professions you are passionate for or want to learn more about: learn singing from Christina Aguilera, filmmaking from Werner Herzog, cooking from Gordon Ramsey, film scoring from Hans Zimmer.

Or even writing, from James Patterson.

After seeing an article from Parade in my Sunday paper when the online courses were just coming to fruition, I decided to check it out. Since I haven’t written in a while, I thought Mr. Patterson’s course would be good inspiration for me.

It was that and so much more. With each lesson, I took notes; learning from the great James Patterson about writer’s block, the story of how he came to be a writer, how to create great first lines for your novel, writing dialogue, the power of outlines, how to get published and so, so much more. By the time I finished the last lesson a few weeks ago, I felt fulfilled. I gained even more understanding about the publishing process, finding myself relating to an author who struggled through the same issues with writing as me and made it. The assignments helped me tap in to my creativity  again and find it still there. Strong as it always seems to be when I finally sit down and write for a while. Going through the 22 lessons took much longer than I planned, but each time I watched a lesson and listened to Mr. Patterson speak, I felt good every single time. I had gained perspective. I saw what it was truly like to be a writer. I will definitely go through the lessons again.

I had learned so much, and I thank James Patterson for that.

I plan to, hopefully down the road, take the film scoring course taught by Hans Zimmer. Plus, MasterClass is always finding new professions and people. Just recently, Steve Martin was added to teach comedy. Other courses coming soon include Shonda Rhimes teaching how to write for television, Frank Gehry for architecture and design and Annie Leibovitz for photography. It’s worth checking out! You never know what you might learn!

The new writing teacher in my life is a book called Writing with Quiet Hands by Paula Munier. This is another writing book I got from the Writer’s Digest online shop.

Credit: Amazon.com

I just started it this afternoon and so far…it’s the book I’ve been looking for. Not just talking about inspiration, but the craft for writing. I’ve begun to realize this is what’s missing for me and why I might have been struggling. I’ve also received a clearer picture of what I need to do with my own manuscript once it’s ready to be shopped around to agents, editors and publishers. It’s too early to go into full detail about the book since I just finished chapter one, but if this is any good indication: this book will change my life, with my writing and with myself. I will let you know once I finish how this book went. I’m also thinking about checking out writing plays further in reading The Art and Craft of Playwrighting by Jeffery Hatcher. I found that book in a used bookstore during college.


Credit: Amazon.com

Either way, I need to stop learning and go do it for myself, or I can do both and see where it goes.

The learning continues.



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