I've been working on a novel for about four years. It has all been background work like planets, different races, cultures, languages, and pretty much anything else needed to make a fantasy novel. I haven't taken any writing classes so I plan to do this before I begin writing the book. Does this make sense or should I start writing?
Everyone learns differently. Some famous authors have never taken a writing class in their lives! However, all of us go through the learning curve in one way or another - it cannot be avoided. If you do not take a class, I would assume that you have the kind of mind that is able to well organize your own course of learning from texts available in reading (authors read differently than other folks), creative writing in your chosen medium, editing your work, and the business of marketing. The texts are available. The question is can you organize your time and motivate yourself to study these texts? The average learning curve from novice to professional writer is approximately ten years give or take. I feel that the areas of study are so involved on their own, and must also be linked to one another in the proper frame that a well-planned course at a good writing school such as UCLA is appropriate to building a strong foundation for a career in our craft.
There is one thing; in or out of school, rain or shine, a writer reads and writes everyday!
Best of luck,