By Chrissy Brown | C.A.A.B. Publishing
It is every writer’s dream to one day hold their work in their hands as a book, or maybe even to see it on the big screen as a film. But do you need a degree to be a successful author?
The short answer is ‘NO’ of course you don’t. You need to be able to write, you need a story or subject to write about and you need a passion, as this is not an easy or quick route to fame and fortune.
You do not need any qualifications to be a writer but you need a very good grasp of the language you are writing in, and, to be honest, a few courses that focus on grammar or editing would never be a waste of time. They may just give you the boost of confidence you need to start that amazing novel that you have been planning for many years.
There are some exceptions to the rule – If you are writing a factual book about practising phycology or something else that requires extensive knowledge or for you to be involved in that field, then ‘yes’ you need to be qualified to speak on such matters. But, to write fiction, or to write a book from the perspective of the layman, then ‘no’ you would not be required to have a degree. Also, if you are writing a book about, let’s say, diets and have no qualifications as a dietician but you have personally lost a lot of weight, then the book would need to be about your experiences and not a clinical look at how diets impact a person’s health, etc.
Now, regarding writing qualifications, while not necessary, you may want to get a little bit of experience under your belt before you start to send out your work to agents and publishing companies. This can be done in a few ways.
Writing – It sounds almost foolish, but writing and letting others read your efforts is a great way to start and a perfect way to improve your work. It will get you off the mark and the simple act of writing is what you need to do as often as you can.
Writing Retreats – These can be expensive but, if you know what you expect to get out of it and you go in with an open mind, a writing retreat can offer the chance to improve and learn. You can make contacts and find some time to concentrate on your craft.
Courses – A course on writing can help you to see your weaknesses as a writer and correct them, it will also get you writing and encourage you to build your work to target your audience. You will get advice and guidance and that can be very handy when you are just starting out or if you are finding you are getting rejected quite a bit. This can also be a great way to make a few writer contacts.
A Writing Group – Starting or joining a writing group can be a brilliant way to build your confidence and get honest critiques from those in the same boat as you. You can make a few friends, and it gets you out of your comfort zone and writing about topics you never thought you could take on. Look locally (library, community hall, small bookshops) for a group or try Facebook for an online writing group.
Anthologies/articles – If you write fiction, write a short story and polish it until it shines and then send it to some anthologies that are accepting submissions. You may want to start with those that are doing it for charity or only offer a free copy of the book as payment. Or if you are more factual, look for magazines that write about the subject you love. Then send them an article you have written, make it fresh, and be sure to check previous issues to get a flavour of what they like to publish. You will find that small magazines are often not paying for articles or may just offer a copy of the issue to the writer for free. It can be an affront to some writers that they are not paid by smaller magazines and anthologies but when you are just starting out, this can be a great place to submit work and get your name out there. You get a chance to work with editors and make a few wonderful connections. You will get to see the work of other writers and have something in print to share with your followers. You can also add the links to your author page and, who knows, it may just get you noticed.
We want to stress that we do not think doing a degree in writing or any other educational endeavours are pointless, or in any way not worthwhile, and if you have the time and money to do so, go for it. But, it is not a ticket to success as a writer and cannot guarantee your book becomes a best seller. It can make you a better writer, a better editor, and give you greater confidence but so will the options above.
Never let anyone put you down or tell you that you are not or can not be a writer because you lack education. You can always learn more about writing, even the best writers are still learning every day. Always believe in yourself. Good luck and happy writing.
Featured Book from C.A.A.B.
Gem Masters and the Search for the Unicorn’s tears
Lara is feeling alone. Her mother is missing and her father has retreated into his work. Then Lara discovers her mother’s greatest secret. It leads to a land of mystery and adventures. The land of the gem masters, but the realm is also filled with dangerous creatures. Lara finds herself tasked with crossing this strange, new world in the hope of finding her mother and fixing her broken family. With the help of a little sprite named Hades and the wisdom of the gem masters, Lara hopes she is brave enough to succeed. Unfortunately, not all is as it seems. Magic can be wonderful and sometimes deadly.
CAAB Publishing Ltd is a traditional, small, indie company helping unknown authors have a voice and inspiring new writers to take that first step into the world of publishing.
Article originally Published in the April / May 2023 Issue: Voices.