I'm a sucker for a good writing course. I've attended Saturday writing courses at university; evening workshops; author talks; conference masterclasses and the occasional gem I've discovered on Twitter. It may seem like a scattergun approach but, over the years, I've developed a criteria to help me choose between the many course on offer.
Here's my top tips for choosing a course:
TOPIC - choose a specific topic. Don't attend too many general writing courses. We can all fall into the trap of racking up course hours to avoid writing but 'general' writing courses will eventually start to overlap. Luckily, there are lots of courses that narrow down to specific topics from writing dialogue, to self-publishing. Find the one that aligns most closely with your needs.
TRAINER - research the trainer or course leader before signing up. Do you want an academic approach or a practical one? Personality and experience are both important when choosing a trainer.
TIMELY - it's great to attend a course that makes you enthused about different stages of your project but it's even better to attend one that dovetails perfectly with where you are in the process. Editing courses may twinkle temptingly at you but if you're at the early planning stages, try to resist their allure. The great news about writing courses is they tend to run in cycles so if you're not at the correct stage, you can make a note of the course leader and title, and look it up again when you reach that part of the process.