Help! for Writers

Course Overview

Help! for Writers
Self-Directed Course
Time Estimate:
2-3 hours to complete the core content; unlimited time participating in the writing community within the course

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

Do you procrastinate for hours or days before sitting down to write? Do you keep getting assignments forced on you instead of generating your own ideas? Do you know you should revise your work but can never figure out what to revise? Then Help! For Writers is just for you.

This course will take you on a journey that unlocks more than 200 solutions to some of the most vexing problems faced by writers across platforms and genres. At each stage of the journey, you can redeem and earn tokens—getting and giving advice about specific challenges in the writing process. You'll be able to highlight the ideas that work best for you, creating a personalized list of writing tips for those moments when you're scrambling on deadline.

The course also features quizzes to identify where you need help, and activities so you can practice some tried-and-true strategies to strengthen your writing muscles. Earn tokens by testing your skills. Redeem tokens when you're ready for more writing advice.

Writing is a process—a set of predictable, repeatable steps in the journey to the finished work. Join us on this journey. Learn. Collaborate. Share. This course is the first step to becoming a more fluent, creative and productive writer.

What Will I Learn:

After completing this course, you'll be able to:

  • Define the steps in the writing process: explore, gather, organize, focus, select, order, draft and revise
  • Rate your abilities at each step
  • Identify the steps that pose the greatest challenges to your writing
  • Find areas of improvement at each step
  • Discover solutions to the most common problems at each step
  • Apply many of these solutions to your own writing
  • Help colleagues and students diagnose their biggest writing challenges and recommend appropriate solutions
Who should take this course:

Reporters, bloggers, communications professionals, students, teachers and everyone who writes.

Course Instructor:

Roy Peter Clark

Roy Peter Clark is vice president and senior scholar at The Poynter Institute, where he has taught writing since 1979. He is the author of the book Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer and course on Poynter's NewsU The Writer's Workbench: 50 Tools You Can Use, and the book The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English. His latest work includes the book Help! For Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces, companion course on Poynter's NewsU, Help! for Writers and mobile app Help! for Writers. He is part of the one-day workshop, The Writing Process, offered through Poynter's NewsU. He also blogs and chats about writing tools on You can follow him on Twitter at @RoyPeterClark.

His newest book is How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times.

Technical Requirements:

This course doesn't require any special software.