The Writer's Workbench: 50 Tools You Can Use

Course Overview

The Writer's Workbench: 50 Tools You Can Use
Self-Directed Course
Time Estimate:
This course takes about two hours to complete and you can come back to it any time you need it.

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.

This course contains essays — written by a master of the trade — on 50 writing tools that are essential to everyone who wants to be a better writer.

The course's author, Roy Peter Clark, vice president, senior scholar and reporting, writing & editing faculty at The Poynter Institute, shares with you the writing tools he has compiled from reporters and editors, from authors of books on writing and from teachers and coaches. The essays illuminate these tools and teach everything from the importance of strong verbs to the necessity of learning from criticism.

The course is divided into four sections: Nuts and bolts, which include word choice and sentence structure; blueprints to create architecture for your stories; special effects to refine your writing voice; and useful habits that can help you become a more confident writer. Each tool is accompanied by exercises to help you apply what you have learned.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of word choice, sentence structure and architecture for your stories
  • Use special effects to refine your writing voice
  • Trim needless words and tighten your writing
  • Write with confidence and develop your own useful habits
Who should take this course:

Anyone who has ever struggled with writing. You'll get the tools that not only will make your writing stronger but will make writing easier to do.

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:

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  • You set your monitor resolution to 1024 x 768 or higher
  • You use a high-speed connection