No Degree Required

Throughout the years of my professional life I have been denied jobs and promotions due to my lack of a college degree. I don’t even have an Associates degree. But at the same time, I’ve been given jobs despite my lack of higher education because of my extensive work experience and established skills. 

However, when it comes to writing, no degree is required. Sure, when submitting your work to some lit agents they may ask about your college education but I can’t say that such experience is required for submitting fictional material. Yeah, it would make sense to include such qualifications if submitting a non-fictional work to demonstrate your authority in that area but I can’t imagine it would be a significant factor in other genres.

To me, writing can be for anyone with an idea and a desire to turn that idea into a story. I doubt there is a single author, not even the big names that we all know like Danielle Steele, George R. R. Martin, and Stephen King, who writes every sentence perfect with no spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, bad punctuation, or just simple typos.  All of us likely leverage the services and abilities of editors to refine and polish our work regardless of our educational background or area of expertise. 

Sure, the amount of editing required might differ based on education levels and writing experience but that shouldn’t dissuade someone from following their passion. Lit agents might shy away from works that are less polished or that look like they will need a lot of work before they are marketable but let’s not pretend that such works are only confined to those without college degrees. I’ve seen people with degrees in IT that did not know how to open a ZIP file so just having a degree doesn’t guarantee knowledge or skill.

Don’t let anyone tell you that just because you are young or don’t have a lot of education that you can’t be a writer. What determines your success as a writer isn’t the quality of your education but the quality of the story you create. I likely won’t be a perfect story after that first rough draft is completed but no story is. And in the age of self-publishing, becoming a best selling author in genres that grow more crowded every day is a distant likelihood but that shouldn’t mean that you shouldn’t try.

There will be enough times in life that you will be judged based on your educational background, regardless of your actual skills. Writing shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be one of those times. If you have a dream of writing a book, make it happen. Creating a manuscript only requires an idea, time, and something to write in/on. Write on paper. Write on a computer. Write it on your phone. There are plenty of things you can use to write down your story if only you’re willing to invest the time to do so.

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