April 05, 2023

D - To Be a Writer, You Don't Need a Degree + BONUS


Don’t misunderstand that to be a jab at educated people, individuals with degrees, or education itself. Education is a wonderful thing and should never be taken for granted. I am grateful for the education I have received and believe education is something everyone has a right to, and should receive—boys and girls, all around the world. Teachers deserve so much of our thanks for their hard work and dedication, and schools are valuable additions to every community, every country. I respect education in all its forms and what it gives to us, to our minds.

Nor am I judging those who do want a degree in literature, to further their education or pursue their passion of books. I personally hate it when people say a degree in literature is the most useless degree of all, and believe me, they say it. When I was young and wanted a degree in English Literature, a few members of my family thought it would be a waste because writing and literature aren’t viewed as solid career paths. But to me, it would not have been a waste because literature was my passion and I wanted to be a writer.

No degree is useless. All education enriches the mind. I believe literature is important in our lives, in this world. Imagine a world without literature. I shudder at the thought. Appreciation for literature is also important. It’s an art and should be honored as such.

If someone wants to pursue a degree in literature, journalism, or creative writing, more power to them. They have that right. No one should discourage them from wanting to further their education. It is, after all, their choice. Someone once told me that the writers of an online community (I won’t specify which one) would attack anyone so much as considering pursuing a creative writing degree. I’m not part of the online community this writer spoke of, but if it’s true, it’s a shame. Why do so many writers think their way is the only way? Why are so many writers attacking and shaming other writers for their choices—whether it’s getting a degree in literature or what genre they choose to write in (romance and especially erotica get the brunt of criticism)? Many writers need to learn to let other writers be. Writers should be free to write what they wish, and students (for we all should be students forever) should be allowed to gather whatever knowledge they want to soak up, in any way they desire.

Many writers still believe they need a degree in literature to be a writer. To be taken seriously. To prove their dedication. To land an agent or editor. To get published. To get readers. But that is simply not true, and this idea harms many would-be writers who give it up because they can’t get that degree. Or they falsely believe they aren’t good enough, worthy enough for publication, because they don’t have that degree.

Having a degree won’t any more help you or hinder you in the matters I listed above. Being a college graduate doesn’t necessarily mean you’re more dedicated than a writer with their GED. It doesn’t mean you’ll have an easier time getting an agent or editor or publisher. It certainly doesn’t mean writing will be any easier for you if you have a diploma to your name. Or that your work is better or more important than the work of a writer who has achieved a lower level of institutional education.

I have actually heard from individuals with degrees in English Literature that they did not learn much or more than what they had already known, their degree did not help them, and only afterward did they realize they didn’t need one to write. That is not meant to dissuade writers from getting their degrees. If you want it, don’t let anything or anyone stop you. On the other side of the token, writers shouldn’t let their lack of a diploma—be it a high school diploma, a college diploma, or the mighty master’s degree—stop them, either.

College may not be in your cards. If that’s so, please don’t despair. You can do it yourself, as I did. Learn about your craft in any way that you can. Something I greatly believe in is continuing to educate myself. You can do the same.

Don’t let your lack of a diploma put you in a shadow. Don’t let it stop you from doing what you love, from striving toward your dreams. Don’t let it give you the wrong impression that you shouldn’t be a writer, aren’t talented, aren’t worthy of publication.

You should write.

You are talented.

You are worthy.

For a long time, my GED and my inability to continue on to college were my biggest insecurities. But I am here to tell you—as someone who is now proud of her GED, her knowledge, and the things she’s achieved with both—not to let your circumstances bring you down.

There is no such thing as job applications for writers that require you to fill out an education section and list where you’ve gone to school. There is no higher power fact-checking the information on “writer applications” to accept or reject you into the fold of existing writers if you don’t look good on paper. You don’t have to fill out an application to write a book or a short story or a poem. Instead, you only have to write. Write, and don’t let anyone or anything stop you.

Furthermore, the great thing about pursuing publication is that you don’t need to present your school transcripts to agents/editors/publishers. You don’t even need to include a note about your education in your biography while submitting your work. No one needs to know you didn’t graduate from college. Your writing, whether college-educated or not, is all you need.

So…keep writing.

Keep believing.

Keep dreaming.



D - Diz the Assassin

Diz is the assassin in Universal Killer. She is the universal killer.

I created Diz for fun and for something completely unrelated to Avrianna Heavenborn and her world. In fact, it was for the blog tour I did for 30 Seconds Before. That blog tour asked participants to turn themselves into a mobster.

For my post, I created a mobster named Disaster Chrys...a nod to my Disaster Crimes series and a nickname given to me by Jeff, a long-time follower of my blog.

Disaster Chrys was shortened to Diz.

I never thought I'd write a story with Diz in it until I needed to come up with the assassin for Universal Killer and Diz came to mind. It was perfect.

In my blog post, which you can view here, I described what I would look like as mobster Diz, and I used that for inspiration.
"Sleek, neon green hair past my shoulders. I realize this makes me easily recognizable and even visible, but I’m notorious for it. People say they only catch a glimpse of green hair when I carry out my plans."

You can read Universal Killer, Cocky Killer, and all future Avrianna Heavenborn novellas on Patreon for just $5.00 a month. You get access to special perks, too, and you pay-it-forward to a good cause because 10% of all earnings go to StandUp for Kids, a charity that helps homeless American youth.



  1. Great points. The only thing writing really needs is practice. A lot of practice.

  2. Great post. I've heard too many times how getting an MFA had killed the creative drive in writers.

    Ronel visiting for D:
    My Languishing TBR: D
    Dichotomy of the Sasabonsam

    1. I have heard the same thing, and it's very unfortunate.

  3. I know writers with MFAs and writers with no degrees at all and writers that fall somewhere in between. It all works. They all have passion for their projects and for writing in general, which is pretty damn cool.

    1. I love that writers can come from all backgrounds, have different levels of education, etc. and each of them can love writing.

  4. There are so many resources out there for learning the craft of writing other than going to college.

    1. That's what's so great about the Internet and the writing community in this time; there's so many resources out there now.

  5. When I was in college, I took a creative writing course. (I majored in science, so this was "for fun".) It was the most useless class... It was run like a writer's group (a bad one). Sigh.

    There are some great programs. There are places where you can get the skills you need to write without going to school. We all have different paths, and we should be okay with that. That's the trick, I think.

    1. I used to want to taking creative writing courses, but I didn't like the idea that I probably wouldn't have been able to write what I wanted to write...my WIP, so I never did sign up/join any.

  6. What I love about the internet is the ability to access learning resources, often for inexpensive or free. It might help to have a master of the craft provide guidance, but we've come a long way to be able to compare different teaching styles and figure out what works best for us...and that might not be a classroom setting with a lot of book work (definitely not for me). And you put in the work for your literature degree! You found value! Phooey to all those who would cast derision on that!

    1. Yes, I had taken grammar courses online for a very good price that taught me a lot.

  7. Chrys, you should be proud of who you are. Period. My sister got her GED as well. I say: bravo to both of you for believing in yourself to go after your education.

    Look how far you’ve come. I do have a question for you. How did you gather your "street team" to help promote your books?

    All best to you!

    1. I am proud of who I am. :)

      I know I had answered your question about how I gathered people to join my street team in another comment from another post...I don't remember which one now.

      The main thing I did was announce it on my blog. At the time, I had created a Facebook Group that I directed people to join. I also got people to join from book signings I went to and their FB groups when I posted about it. And if I did a giveaway with Rafflecopter, joining my street team was an option.

      I ended up deleting my Facebook Group and starting over and using a Google Form to get people to sign up to be on my email street team list, but that has fallen on the wayside, too. In fact, I don't use it anymore.

      I've found...for me...when I have a release, I can just announce that I need help on my blog, newsletter, and Facebook to get assistance. I also use Xpresso Tours. That's what I do now.

  8. You're right: No degree required to be a writer. Have a love of words and be persistent. Personally, I didn't get anything published until I had my BA, but that's me. I also didn't have confidence before I had my BA. Plenty of people have been published without going to college.


    1. Plenty of people have been published without a degree, and even without a high school diploma. It's so great that degrees and diplomas don't indicate how passionate a writer is or how good of a writer they are.

  9. Good thoughts. I have spent too much of my life reading academic writing and just because someone has a degree doesn't mean they can write. Dissertations are boring, but they show the ability the author has to research and to connect ideas. But generally I am reading for information, not to be entertained or to be moved in one way or another, so I often find myself reading what's boring (like a current book on the racial impact of the 1895 hurricane on the South Carolina Low Country).

    I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who warned aspiring writers to stay away from English degrees, but he's only partly right. For some, a degree is helpful.

    1. A degree can definitely be helpful to some. That’s why it’s so important for each writer ti decides f a degree is for them or not, but to know it’s not a requirement.