Saturday, December 27, 2014

Should I get a Degree in Writing?

 "Should I get a Degree in Writing?"
----- Original Message -----
I've being toying with the idea of getting a degree in 'Creative Writing' recently and was wondering if this is a good idea or not?
 -- Wanna go Pro

If you want to write professionally, Don't Waste your Money on 
Creative Writing courses. 

What they teach you in those so-called Creative Writing classes is how to break rules, not how to USE them to write a story a publisher will accept. In addition, they may RUIN the instincts for storytelling you currently possess and destroy your ability to write publishable fiction.

Instead, take a few cheap writing courses on COPYWRITING because that is how published fiction (and non-fiction) is actually written.

If you don't plan on writing Professionally then knock your socks off and take as many Creative Writing courses as your bank account can handle. I hear they're a lot of fun. Just don't expect any publisher to ever accept your...results.

As an author of over 30 published titles, I can tell you from years of experience that:

1) You DON'T need a degree of any kind to write Fiction successfully.

What you need are Life Experiences to write from.

You can't describe what you don't Know, so pack your back-pack and Go places, See things, and Do things. Join a Living History group or three. Learn how to; shoot a black-powder musket, ride a horse, belly-dance, wield a sword while wearing armor, spin wool, weave cloth, play a musical instrument, train dogs, speak a foreign language...etc. (I've done all of these.)

2) ANY fiction-writing course that isn't taught by a multi-published Fiction Author is a waste of your time and money.

You need to learn from those who actually DO IT, not from those who wish they could.

3) Realize and Accept that there is absolutely Nothing CREATIVE about writing for Money.

The Writing Guidelines posted by publishing houses are NOT Guidelines, they're absolute and unbreakable Rules. If you don't write what they want in the way they want it you WILL be Rejected --no matter how brilliant it is-- simply because it's Not what they asked for in their Guidelines.

"Is Writing Fiction
a good Profession?"

Not really. The pay sucks ass, especially if you are writing for a New York publisher. If you work for an ePublishing house the pay is better and far more frequent, but it's still not impressive.

For the Dirty Details: $Money Facts$: Ebooks & NY Print Publication

Just so you know, the ONLY ebook genre that actually makes good money these days is Erotic Romance (Women's Adult Pulp Fiction.)

"What sort of job opportunities
are there?"

Lots of people (read: Businesses,) are looking for good writers, but none of them are willing to pay a writer what they're actually worth because they all think Writing is EASY. (We all learned it in grammar school so it must be easy, right?)

For the Dirty Details: How Much Does a Copywriter Actually Make?

"If you have a degree in English and/or something writing orientated,
is it worth it?"

It's NOT, especially if you plan to write Fiction.

A degree in English will only teach you how to TEACH English -- not use it, and critique books in ways even the authors don't get. Unless you intend to make a living writing essays, teaching school, or as an editor correcting other people's fiction manuscripts, an English degree is a waste of your time and money.

"What are your thoughts on going to University to learn to Write professionally?"

If you want a degree Get One.

However...! Most universities prepare you for Teaching, Research, and Business -- NOT fiction writing. Be prepared to spend a lot of money learning a ton of crap you will not only never use, but may possibly Damage the fiction-writing skills you've already developed. 

If you're bound and determined to take classes on writing, go to Fiction Writing Workshops. Those are usually hosted by published authors and you'll actually learn things that are useful to your writing like; plotting, character design, pacing, narrative tricks, and the grammar authors use.

For the Dirty Details: The Secret to Proper Paragraphing for Fiction. 

If you want to write professionally then simply WRITE and post where your work can be found. Hang out where the authors hang out and Pay Attention when they give advice. Read as many books on writing as you can get your hands on; but only those written by Published AUTHORS. Most importantly, Keep Writing until a publisher spots your work and offers you a contract.

That's what worked for me.

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