Can you pursue writing professionally without a college degree? Absolutely.
While many professions mandate formal education, fields like acting, writing, and music primarily seek raw talent. Yes, professional courses can refine your inherent writing skills and offer networking opportunities. However, it’s your innate passion and flair for writing that truly counts. While entering the writing realm is straightforward, succeeding demands dedication and perseverance. Ready to see your work in print? Let’s explore six steps to kickstart your writing journey, degree or no degree.
Here’s How To Become A Writer Without A Degree:
1. The More You Read, The Better You Write
The best writers in the world are avid readers. To be an excellent writer, you need to be an excellent reader. Read voraciously to increase your vocabulary, and writing skills, and expand your lines of thoughts and perspectives. Read classics as well as popular literature or non-fiction. Peruse blogs and recent articles from new writers. The more you read, the more you know how to differentiate between good and bad writing. You may come across atrocious books or blogs or otherwise enthralling and unputdownable writings. But that’s what will make you a good critic and help you critique your writings to become a good author. Lastly, reading fuels your thoughts and vision and expands your horizon beyond limits.
2. Write Your Heart Out
As always, practice makes you perfect. Writing as much as you can takes you closer to your goal. Scribble down your thoughts, have a journal or diary, post on social media or a blog. Do anything to practice expressing your thoughts and feelings in writing. The more you practice writing your thoughts, the better you learn to articulate them. This is paramount for any writer. Another great writing exercise is storytelling. If you recently had an exciting, hilarious, or scary experience, try writing a narrative of everything you’ve seen, heard, and felt during said events. It may be about going on a vacation, watching a play, or scuba diving for the first time. Or it could be something smaller like trying exotic cuisine, adopting a puppy, or learning new dance steps. When you write every day, you will see a difference in your thought process and writing quality as you go along.
3. Be Fastidious About Grammar
This may sound tough, but once you learn the grammar rules and practice sticking to them, it would be tough to speak an incorrect sentence. Honestly, that’s what you need as a writer. When you write a book, your readers will not expect a grammatically incorrect sentence from you. Moreover, a writer with faulty English or language skills won’t be acceptable to publishers and proofreaders. Be sure of your spelling, sentence construction, vocabulary, and punctuation marks. If you are unaware of when to use single quotation marks, double quotation marks, em dash, or en dash, it’s time you acquaint yourself with them. Professional writing is not only about articulating well; it’s also about being grammatically correct. Please do not ruin your chances of impressing your readers by missing out on prepositions and punctuations and changing the entire meaning. For instance, it’s best to avoid your character sounding cannibalistic while saying, “Let’s eat Grandpa,” instead of “Let’s eat, Grandpa.” Mastering the language and having control over its nuances is very important.
4. Be Your Critic
Do not be complacent as a writer. Once you get overly satisfied with your work, there is no scope for any improvement. Become your critic, in fact, the biggest one. Judge your writings more brutally than you would judge others. Repeatedly go through what you write to find where you lack interest as a reader or expect some more nuances. These judgments and criticisms will help you improve your techniques in the long run. Push yourself to the farthest to bring out your best every time you write. If you need further help, there are apps you can use to improve your writing skills.
5. Think, Edit, Repeat
An author must never stop thinking. The mark of a great author is observation and reflection. An author must observe everything around, from the people to the most mundane things, absorb them in their thoughts, and reflect upon them. Anything can inspire, and anything can push you towards betterment. Do not stop thinking, even when you put down the pen or shut off the laptop. Keep your gray cells always working to explore scopes of improvement. Continue pondering over your characters, dialogues, and plot to see where you can make things more interesting. Map out your plot to minimize the loopholes and make the twists and turns more enthralling for the readers. Become the characters you are sketching to make them more lifelike, even in print.
The Importance of Research For Becoming A Great Writer
See if you need to study more to work on the story’s setting and plot to make things more convincing and well-researched. As an author, homework and research are very important. For instance, if your main character belongs to a particular nationality or period, you must thoroughly read the history and culture of the nation to reflect them subtly in your writings. Lastly, edit calmly, patiently, and ardently. We usually write in a state of flow or often in a state of frenzy when our thoughts or emotions make us charged and overwhelmed. Edit in a completely different state of mind to cut out the excesses and make your work more presentable.
6. Getting A Publisher
Finally, after all your efforts at writing, it’s time to find a publisher to print your work. You can either have a traditional publisher who prints your book after signing a book contract or go for self-publishing. Most amateur writers with no degree try to go for a writing internship in some publishing house to find the right place to start and know the people to approach. Finding a publisher isn’t always easy, but it isn’t impossible. Several novice writers get their first break by finding the right publisher who agrees to pay them for the publishing and sale rights. You have to pitch them your manuscript and convince them to publish your work. Being optimistic and dedicated here is important. If you are presently working with a company or a publishing house, things may be slightly easier for you. Some people also hire a company and pay them for publishing services.
What About Self-Publishing?
You can also self-publish through Amazon and other book retailers. Such convenient publishing services have helped several new authors earn well and reach out to people with their works. Amazon and other online retailers let anyone sell their work, both in print and eBook editions. Here, you can nix extra publishing costs because you do not need to print the books in bulk. Plus, you only need to pay them after each copy of your book gets sold. Another arrangement is that you get your share of the sale after the retailer and the distributor get their percentage. As the author and publisher, you have complete control over the production process. You have the option to do it yourself or avail of services to do the cover design and layout. But you still need to look for editors and distributors to self-publish.
To Sum Up
In conclusion, we can only say that the above-discussed steps are achievable but would require time, effort, and patience. Nothing comes easy and overnight. To make your dreams come true, give yourself and your talent the time it demands. Next up, you may want to explore a guide on how to create your freelance writer website.
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