If you are an ambitious and creative individual (and let’s face it: you probably are), chances are that you don’t struggle with coming up with an idea, but rather with choosing from the ideas already swarming around in your head. Or perhaps you struggle with figuring out a way to put your ideas into action?

Even if you have a lot of great plans for various projects—starting a business, developing a website, writing a symphony—executing those plans is another matter. You may have a really great idea for an abstract sculpture, but if you don’t know the basics of metal-working, then your idea will probably never come to fruition.

If you’ve had problems with implementing some of your ideas, you may find a lot of satisfaction in augmenting your knowledge and skills in a variety of areas. Taking online classes, either to learn a particular skill or to receive a degree, will provide you with the skills you need to implement your many creative ideas, and you don’t have to worry about traveling or putting your other creative projects on hold while you go to school.

Even if you are fairly comfortable with the skills and tools necessary to make your creative ideas successful, online classes can provide the fine-tuning that you need to make your project even more beautiful. Here are some examples of how a little more education can kick your creative mind into high gear:

Your project: Setting up and promoting a personal blog/website

There are hundreds of millions of blogs on the web these days. It’s easy enough to set up a blog using WordPress or Blogger, and for you, it’s probably not too hard to write about your personal experiences. If you want your blog to stand out, though, you’ll need to optimize your site and make it look good.

Although there is more to a blog or website than appearance, having a great design will give your site some authenticity. Many schools, including Rasmussen College and Westwood College, offer courses and degrees in web design. Courses on internet marketing, which combine traditional marketing techniques with new tactics like search engine optimization, may also be helpful.

If you know how to build a site and make it profitable, you can have a site that truly fulfills your creative impulses. Plus, if your site stands out and looks good, you can gain popularity and prominence, and you may even be able to make some money while you’re at it!

Your project: Writing a novel

Sometimes you need that extra push to finish a creative writing project. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can find online MFA programs that emphasize different genres. For example, Seton Hill University has a graduate program in writing popular fiction, and McDaniel College has one in writing for children and young adults.

You can also take an individual course in creative writing, offered by most schools with an English program. Through these classes, you can get feedback from classmates and teachers on your work. Plus, online writing classes may teach you even more valuable writing skills, and you can get the inspiration you need to finish your creative writing project.

Your project: Starting a small business

You may have the skills you need to create a product or provide a service, but running a small business also requires knowledge of sales, marketing, finance, and management. Schools like University of Phoenix offer a Bachelor of Science in Business program with an emphasis in either small business management or entrepreneurship. If you do not want to complete an entire degree, take classes in the subjects you need to improve on.

Your project: Developing a video game


Video game development is an exciting career because it combines computer programming skills, design, and narrative storytelling with a popular pastime. Online programs—offered by Westwood College, DeVry University, Full Sail University, and other schools—will help you learn about all of these elements of successful video game creation. You can even preview the subject by taking a free online course in game design through MIT Open Course Ware. Learning or brushing up on some of these skills may be the push you need to get your game made!

Your project: Producing a video

Feature films, short films, documentaries, music videos, web videos . . .  Learning to write, film, and produce videos can open up all sorts of possible projects. UCLA has individual courses online with a focus on different filmmaking techniques. Full Sail University offers a unique degree in Digital Cinematography, which includes classes in lighting, directing, storytelling, and audio production. Full Sail also provides heavy discounts on top-grade software so you can produce your video well, meaning that you not only get the skills but the tools you need to make a successful video.

Your project: Composing, playing, and producing music


Berklee College of Music has the most extensive selection of online music courses, including music production, songwriting, orchestration, music theory, music history, etc. They also have voice, bass, guitar, drums, and keyboard courses for those who want to perfect their skills in music performance. Coursera, a compilation of free online classes from major universities, adds new music courses every semester, with topics like Songwriting and Introduction to Digital Sound Design.

With online education becoming increasingly popular, there are hundreds of classes available in different subjects. So before you start your next project, look into the types of classes that can help your creative idea be more successful!

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Posted by Veronica Mason

Veronica Mason has worked as an academic adviser since graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in education. She enjoys learning about innovations in education, particularly online education.

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