Essay Writing Crash Course

"Black is a writer of great wisdom."―Claire Messud, The Guardian

“Crash Course is an exhilarating hybrid, part memoir and part literary analysis and part craft book―Black has created a new form, one that implicitly and explicitly explores how art and life are helically intertwined. Her essays address the death of parents and the vulnerability of children, what surprise and failure can teach us, and what love and courage look like, in life and on the page. Crash Course will be an oasis for writers at every stage, and for lifelong readers thirsting to explore the vortical intersection of life and art. Black is one of my favorite writers, and it is a joy to watch her craft the ultimate craft book. Black’s essays are beautiful and hilarious and searingly honest articulations of ‘questions both unavoidable and unanswerable’―the questions we have to keep asking, to go on living, and to go on writing.”
―Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

“I wasn’t more than two pages into Crash Course when I pulled out a pen and started underlining like crazy. In these essays, Robin Black is simultaneously a wise teacher, an encouraging mentor, and that friend who gives you the real dirt on what the writing life is like. Crash Course is an invaluable resource and reassurance for any writer.”
―Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

“Robin Black is an astonishing writer. There’s no one I trust more to offer wisdom about writing as both a craft and a way of life.”
―Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

Crash Course is at once both deeply compassionate and full of a kind of Nabokovian complexity that turns discussions of craft into meditations on art and existence in general. Unstinting, unsparing, and ferociously honest, this book reassures in a way that empty reassurances never could. Black has stared into the writing life’s darkest abysses and come out triumphant, full of authentic wisdom that actually inspires. Crash Course has the power to give you a precious gift: to pick you up and make you want to get to work.”
―Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves

“Crash Course is not only one of the most entertaining and insightful books on writing I’ve ever encountered, it’s perhaps the most useful. It wasn’t long before I started jotting down, in the table of contents, the people I needed to share each essay with―the colleagues and students I needed to grab by the collar and say, ‘Look, here it is! That very thing you’ve been needing to read: She went and wrote it!’ ”
―Rebecca Makkai, author of The Hundred-Year House

“Crash Course is the book that should be in the hands of every writer, aspiring or established. It is packed with such wisdom, humor and raw power, I know I will keep returning to it. Robin Black has had the courage to rip open her soul and reflect upon a life’s experience, and the unflinching generosity to share it with us.”
―Shilpi Somaya Gowda, author of The Golden Son



"Black is a writer of great wisdom."—Claire Messud, The Guardian

Crash Course is an exhilarating hybrid, part memoir and part literary analysis and part craft book—Black has created a new form, one that implicitly and explicitly explores how art and life are helically intertwined. Her essays address the death of parents and the vulnerability of children, what surprise and failure can teach us, and what love and courage look like, in life and on the page. Crash Course will be an oasis for writers at every stage, and for lifelong readers thirsting to explore the vortical intersection of life and art. Black is one of my favorite writers, and it is a joy to watch her craft the ultimate craft book. Black’s essays are beautiful and hilarious and searingly honest articulations of ‘questions both unavoidable and unanswerable’—the questions we have to keep asking, to go on living, and to go on writing.”
—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

“I wasn’t more than two pages into Crash Course when I pulled out a pen and started underlining like crazy. In these essays, Robin Black is simultaneously a wise teacher, an encouraging mentor, and that friend who gives you the real dirt on what the writing life is like. Crash Course is an invaluable resource and reassurance for any writer.”
—Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

“Robin Black is an astonishing writer. There’s no one I trust more to offer wisdom about writing as both a craft and a way of life.”
—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

Crash Course is at once both deeply compassionate and full of a kind of Nabokovian complexity that turns discussions of craft into meditations on art and existence in general. Unstinting, unsparing, and ferociously honest, this book reassures in a way that empty reassurances never could. Black has stared into the writing life’s darkest abysses and come out triumphant, full of authentic wisdom that actually inspires. Crash Course has the power to give you a precious gift: to pick you up and make you want to get to work.”
—Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves

Crash Course is not only one of the most entertaining and insightful books on writing I’ve ever encountered, it’s perhaps the most useful. It wasn’t long before I started jotting down, in the table of contents, the people I needed to share each essay with—the colleagues and students I needed to grab by the collar and say, ‘Look, here it is! That very thing you’ve been needing to read: She went and wrote it!’ ”
—Rebecca Makkai, author of The Hundred-Year House

Crash Course is the book that should be in the hands of every writer, aspiring or established. It is packed with such wisdom, humor and raw power, I know I will keep returning to it. Robin Black has had the courage to rip open her soul and reflect upon a life’s experience, and the unflinching generosity to share it with us.”
—Shilpi Somaya Gowda, author of The Golden Son

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Improve Your Writing Skills with 6 Free Online Courses

Published on: Nov 08, 2016 by David McPherson144669 views

Posted in:Learner News

Words are powerful. They inspire greatness and effect change. They start movements and empower leaders. They have the power to get you hired, get you promoted and, if used incorrectly, get you fired.

Combine the power of words with the ease and speed of email and social distribution in the digital age and one can quickly see that it has never been more important to learn to write clearly, effectively and efficiently.

No one is born with good writing skills. It takes time to learn proper writing techniques and a great deal of practice to hone your skills. Starting with any one of these five introductory writing courses will not only build a strong foundation of grammar skills, but also teach the important elements of composition and style that will improve all of your written communication from business emails to job applications.


English Grammar & Essay Writing
University of California, Berkeley
Starts: February 18, 2017

Learn how to avoid common grammatical errors, gain skills for developing an argument and get valuable experience writing, editing and proofreading essays. This course is perfect for students that are preparing to apply for college or who wish to develop effective written communication skills.

Learn More and Enroll

English for Journalists: Key Concepts 
UC BerkeleyX
Self-paced

Improve your writing and grammar skills while writing about exciting and current topics in the news. Developed by the US Department Of State, Voice of America and English language educators, this free journalism course will teach you how to write effective stories and reports using improved vocabulary and grammar. Explore the world of journalism and learn how ethics, equality and fairness impact the profession. Learn more and enroll.

Learn More and Enroll

English for Journalists: Free Speech and Media Trends 
UC BerkeleyX
Self-paced

Part two of English for Journalists focuses on writing styles and techniques for different news categories like sports, science & technology and humor. Learn about free speech, and media trends and gain an understanding of the issues facing journalists globally. Learn more about this free, self-paced course from UC Berkeley and enroll today.

Learn More and Enroll

Preparing for the AP* English Language and Composition Exam 
Tennessee Board of Regents
Self-paced

This course focuses on helping learners become skilled readers and writers. It teaches you how to write for a variety of purposes (argumentative, analytical, persuasive), how to analyze different kinds of text and how to evaluate and use different sources for research papers. This course will prepare students for the AP English Composition exam and is also essential for avid writers and readers to get their skills to the next level.

Learn More and Enroll

English Writing and Composition
Arizona State University
Starts: January 9, 2017

This college-level introductory writing course will help you gain a solid foundation of English grammar and writing skills. The 8-week, intensive online course taught by professor Duane Roen requires 18 hours per week and is eligible for college credit. Learn critical language and communication skills while completing challenging writing projects in a supportive environment. This is an excellent course for high school students interested in getting a head start on college English composition. If you are up for a challenging and intensive English grammar and writing program, this is the course for you.

Learn More and Enroll

How to Write an Essay
University of California, Berkeley
Starts: October 12, 2016

Learning how to write a good essay with a powerful introduction, clear arguments and well-crafted conclusion is a great way to build a foundation of writing skills. This 8-week course starts with the basics of grammar and sentence construction and quickly advances to thesis development and essay writing with tools for creating outlines and editing your work. Dr. Maggie Sokolik of the College Writing Programs at the University of California, Berkeley guides students through this excellent introductory writing course in which participants can get a great deal of practice writing and interact with other students from around the world. Links to optional online textbooks are provided.

Learn More and Enroll


Subjects: CompositionEnglishGrammarJournalismLanguageWriting

Partners: Arizona State University (ASU)The University of TennesseeUC Berkeley

communication skillsenglishgrammarOnline Educationtechnical writingwritingwriting skills

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