Many people ask me if I've ever been on a writing course and if so whether or not it was worth it. The answer to both questions is yes. I have also run writing courses and have found that delegates enjoy them and get huge benefits from them.
The courses I have attended in the past were one day seminars, because working and running a business meant I couldn't afford to spend more than a day away from work and that might be the same for you. Not everyone can afford the time and money to go away for several days on a course, or to pack in their day job and undergo a degree in creative writing!
Writing workshops, courses and conferences can provide an excellent opportunity to network with other writers, to share experiences and pick up lots of tips and techniques. I believe that even if you come away with just one point to help you develop and improve your writing then it's worth it. There is also the huge benefit of motivating you to keep going with your writing especially when faced with rejection letters or writer's block.
There are many courses and conferences advertised on the Internet, and you need to choose the right one for you and your type of writing. In addition, check out what is being run in your local area, at your community centre or college.
Go with an open mind and the desire to pick up whatever tips you can. At some of these events you might even get the chance to pitch your work to a literary agent or publisher. If this is the case then be prepared. Make sure your synopsis is the best you can make it (there are some tips on this web site to help you with this) and that you can summarise what your book is about in a couple of simple sentences.
If you decide that self publishing is the best option for your book then writing courses will also help you to improve your skills and polish your work.
If you are serious about your writing you will invest a great deal of your time in the activity not to mention energy and emotion. Yes, you will need to pay to attend a course, conference or seminar but if you've already put all that efffort into your work then parting with some money to take it that little bit further could be one of the best investments you make.