Writer’s, Author’s & a Degree in English!

A degree
A degree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you have to have a Degree in English to be a Writer/Author?… I hope not, as I certainly do not have one and yesterday my whole thinking process, believing I could only make it if I did have a Degree, left me feeling depressed. But…

I aired this issue with my Father today, starting with my regret at not studying hard enough at School, plus not getting good grades in English. So, feeling down, I went on to ask him if he thinks I could still write and he was very pragmatic and told me that an English Degree wasn’t necessary, how anyone from any walk of life could be and are authors. A couple of examples he gave was retired folk, housewives and general writing hobbyists with less formal education Re; a University Degree. Dad really believes this (so he wasn’t just being nice because I’m his daughter!).

I love writing – there’s such a sense of achievement and it’s challenging to push myself more and more with each story I write. I don’t see it as a chore (except for the proofreading, editing, category and tag selecting etc…), and it’s the creative side of my nature that’s taken to it over other areas I’ve done in the past like paint.

So, is going to Uni and getting a BA in English the only way to become good enough? It may be: It would help with learning sentence structure, word placement, grammar and so on, but it wouldn’t help if there is a lack of inspiration and drive to write already present. But, if thereΒ is, would getting that Degree increase chances of success? (Reading the novel I am right now from an author who studied at Oxford, isn’t helping much).

Maybe the less formally educated makes for trying that bit harder, but I will always envy those whose command of English comes more smoothly and easily. All I can do is keep writing, keep working at it and hope that what I write, degree or no degree, will still help me progress in my writing career.

Thanks for reading guys, and as always, you’re more than welcome to leave your thoughts.

~ V πŸ™‚

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19 thoughts on “Writer’s, Author’s & a Degree in English!

  1. I’m only doing an English degree because I love doing all the contextual and critical side of English! But if you’re only interested in creative writing, then you don’t need a degree at all! If you enjoy writing, then why should not having a degree stop you?!

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    1. (Hi, sorry for replying so late – I have a bad habit of that!) See, I don’t even like that side of English, anything to do with Grammar and the indepth side of what you’re studying, is not a turn on for me – (that’s not meant derogatoraly) – even English Lit does nothing for me – but story telling does. And, reading everyones comments here and talking to friends and family, the general concensous is that a Degree would help with the writing skills side, but not with the creative process. Some have even said a Degree is not totally necessary. However, I think it would help me personally, and my local Uni does do a BA in Creative Writing with or without English, but it’s very expensive. It’s a course, though, I would perhaps consider. This whole subject is a tricky one!! And, Thank you for posting your comment, I always appreciate reading other’s slant on things πŸ™‚

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    1. (Hi, sorry for the late reply, and Thanks for commenting). That is precisely what my take on this subject is: Having a Degree would help make it easier for the words to come and improve on writing and speaking. My local Uni does a BA in Creative Writing. If the government sorts the tuition fee issue out, I’d give it some thought. And thanks for the compliment… I do try my best πŸ™‚ I’m interested in your article, despite me and Literature not getting on too well, but I’ll still be sure to check it out, thanks for the link πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re Welcome! And do try it out, but not if it’s being an issue. Everything in this world has alternatives. Even if it’s not an official degree, you can find amazing programs (free of cost) online on websites like Coursera! Whatever helps you to gain experience, because that is what counts. The more you write the more you learn. Fiction on the other hand is a gift! And sure, no problem! ^_^~

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        1. Oh of course, Coursera, I forgot about that one. Thanks for that. I did find a couple of free Diplomas on a site called ‘Alison’ but they are more basic than I’d imagine Coursea would be. Uni, though, is a massive step to take not just how much it costs but the commitment as well. But, *Anything* that will help improve my writing in the mean time is worth it. (And I’m seriously liking what you said about writing fiction being a gift!) πŸ™‚

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          1. You should go for anything you’re most comfortable and happy with! It’s great to want to write, wouldn’t want to spoil that because of conformity and routine! πŸ˜€
            Yes write wherever and whatever you wish, it will be of great help. ~ Uni is great experience as a whole. It’s a risk, there’s a definite opportunity cost involved, but it’s worth it, if you’re dedicated! Do what you feel right at this moment! Courses online or uni, weight out the pros and cons, i’ve experienced that elimination is the best way to make a decision. ~Good Luck with everything!! β™₯
            Fiction is where the heart is. >_<

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  2. The main point of having a 4 year degree in ANYTHING is to show that you can hold the course for 4 years. in hindsight, I wish I would have gotten a degree. It would have made everything easier, from finding a job to writing to grammar to finance. Having said that, I am a believer that becoming a good writer is more perseverance than anything. Learning grammar, learning sentence structure, learning to cut out unnecessary words, and then doing it over and over again. Everybody has great ideas to write about; not everyone can write them. Some of the finest doctors have the worst sentence structure around. So don’t feel bad if you don’t have a degree — just commit yourself to keep on learning. Keep on fine-tuning.

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    1. Hi Claudia… Sorry for replying late and thanks for your input which I am in much agreement with. Oh yes, a Degree in absolutely anything creates a good foundation for the areas in life you mentioned… and I’m gutted too I didn’t make it to Uni. (It’s costly, but we can still go as ‘mature’ students).

      I agree with you on this too… Writing can be learnt, the craft of writing, and the more it’s worked at the more proficient you become. But, it’s hard work at times! That’s why I wish I could ‘flow’ it better. And, like you said, not everyone has the required imagination to write story’s even with a Degree.

      I found a couple of free English Diploma courses online that I’m embarking on. I think they might help while I’m making up my mind if Uni is worth persuing.

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    1. (sorry for replying so late)… Firstly, I am really glad you found this post helpful and that you know that you’re definitely not alone on this. After reading everone elses comments it seems that having a Degree would help, which is what I was kind of thinking, but without imagination, there’d be no story’s to tell however good a persons English is. So, having that ‘academic’ learning experience would defo help with the writing process, but not with the writing drive itself.

      My local Uni, conviniently, does a Creative Writing BA with or without English added – I’m considering it, though this year is out, next year perhaps, but, regardless, until tuition fees in this country is sorted, I would have to wait until I could afford the luxury of going.

      I don’t know your circumstances, but I’ve found a couple of Diplomas online that are free and in the field of English. Here’s the link to the site for you: http://alison.com I’ve began one course already and will do the other further down.

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  3. As far as creative writing goes, I reckon an adult education creative writing course would be more helpful than an English degree, to be honest. I consider doing one every year but always chicken out πŸ™‚
    And like you say, they can’t teach you inspiration!

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    1. Please, please, please go to Adult Ed, don’t be nervous. The first lesson is always tough, but the tutor will do an ice-breaker and by session 2 you’ll find it will be a piece of cake. If they do a Creative Writing course in your area, go for it. Sadly, my borough doesn’t have any (and I can’t yet travel to do a course in one of London’s adult ed center’s. It’s on the list as an option though). I think it would be great if you went for it…. September’s approaching, the course will start then…no pressure or anything!! πŸ˜€ You have given me the idea though to start looking for Creative Writing classes up town as there’s nothing round here.

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      1. The local college does one but it might be too late to sign up for this year – the course list came through my door weeks ago (there I go with the excuses again!).
        I hope you find one nearby.

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  4. Me again – I forgot to say, as far as sentence structure and grammar goes, I learnt that by reading loads of books and seeing how, in particular, the tricky punctuation around dialogue works. No English degree required!

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    1. Hello again!. Yes, reading is a great way to learn. I’m like you, every book I read I’m looking at how they write it and pick up tips. I’m still debating on the whole Uni thing just coz I know it will help with the writing side… The inspiration and imaginations there, It just takes longer to weave a story to get the wording and structure right. Like someone told me today, which I didn’t know, J.K.Rowling hasn’t a Degree and look where she got to! Maybe we’ll end up being ‘sef-taught’ authors! Would be nice πŸ™‚

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