I will say upfront – you don’t need any type of degree to be a freelance writer. However, there are specific skills that come with this line of work and are required in order to have a significant impact. So the degree is not necessarily required, but education is a must. Here’s why…
The School of Life
Most writers I’ve come across didn’t graduate from ivy league schools and didn’t hold prestigious positions. They are simple, every day folks who had a plan and were able to be successful in implementing that plan. Over the years, they’ve acquired exceptional writing skills that makes their work stand out in a crowd. Some share their life lessons through blogging or write articles for magazines and are able to grab people’s attention that way (i.e. Carrie from Sex in the City). No one really asks about their education because no one really cares; they want to read what they have to say because they like what they write about.
They relate to the writer on some level.
From personal experience, I’m learning more and more of the importance of understanding my audience. I want to know who they are as I share who I am. The human factor is vital when it comes to writing and those who have mastered that are extremely successful. No degree required.
If one chooses writing as their avenue of expression, it’s important that their writing skills are on point. It irks me when I see simple grammar errors or spelling mistakes not just in blogs, but periodicals too! Using “there” instead of “their” and accept vs. except are some of the most common ones I see. Then there are those who don’t even bother with spell check before they hit the publish button. My thing is, if you have pride in your work then you’ll take the time to look over it before putting it on a platform for everyone to see. But that’s another post for another day.
People, people and more people
To say that communication is important would be a vast understatement. Getting people’s attention to your work is definitely a challenge. Keeping them interested is a job and a half. But if you love what you do then its definitely worth it. It takes a lot of work (and time) to cultivate good, solid relationships with people that will help your audience grow. That’s beyond education, it’s about your walk in life and how you relate to people. All of that work and time requires patience too – something else you learn in life and not in the classroom. I don’t mean to stand on a soap box but it’s true. You don’t need to be a renowned scholar to grab people’s attention and make a difference through writing. You just need to be human.
What do you think? Should a degree be required for freelance writing? Sound off in the comments!