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  • E. Paige Burks

Do I Need a Degree to be a Writer?

A fairly common question that appears on writing forums and group pages.

Do I need a degree to be a writer?

The short answer: no.

A lot of great writers don't have a writing degree and don't write as their day job. Take myself for example.

I went to Texas A&M University. I intended to get into veterinary medicine. I had been writing well before I entered college, and I loved animals, so it made sense. But then I realized that I just wasn't cut out for that. And that I suck at math. So I decided that medicine in any form just wasn't for me.

I considered an English degree, but then I found the Agricultural Communications and Journalism department. I studied how to be a journalist and how to write about agriculture. I also studied PR and how to get into advertising and marketing. Similar to writing, but not really at all the same.

I went on to write Return to Royalty, which has won two awards and was a finalist for a third. I'm here to tell you that whatever degree you have doesn't matter.

Another question I see a lot is:

Should I Take A Creative Writing Class?

Again, my answer is no.

I've heard stories about other writers who take these classes and it damages their style and their confidence. If you truly feel like you need the help, then do what's best for you, but don't take them just because you think you should.

The best place to seek advice is from other authors and from beta readers.

So the long and short is this: do what you want to do, write what you want to write, and pursue whatever degree you want!

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