Friday, April 21, 2017

What Do You Have To Do To Become A Writer?

During many of my school visits, the question usually comes up, "Do you have to go to college to be a writer?" The answer is, not necessarily.

I have always felt at a bit of a disadvantage to many of my SCBWI colleagues who have degrees in Literature, are (or were) teachers, librarians, journalists, etc. Should I feel this way? Once again, not necessarily.

Many famous authors did NOT have degrees in literature or any formal training in creative writing. This is encouraging for me and probably many other writers.

Below is a list of just a few well known writers and their backgrounds:

1. John Grisham: studied accounting at Mississippi State University
2. J.K. Rowling: majored in French
3. Michael Crichton: degree in Biological Anthropology from Harvard
4. Ray Bradbury: no college (he didn't even believe in institutions of higher learning)
5. Robert Ludlum: degree in drama (famous for "Bourne Identity")
6. Harper Lee: Law school drop out (Pulitzer Prize Winner for 'To Kill a Mockingbird')
7. Danielle Steel: studied Literature Design and Fashion Design (I have to admit, I'm not exactly sure what Literature Design is)
8. Sue Monk Kidd: BS in Nursing and then decided to
become a writer at age 30 (famous for 'The Secret Life of Bees')

And then there's little 'ol me. I have a degree in Dental Hygiene. I loved my years in practice (25!), but I always dreamt of writing for children. At age 52, I'm not getting any younger. I've been chasing the dream for about six years now and it's finally coming to fruition. Will I ever be famous like some of those on the above list? Who knows?

Dolly Parton has said, "You have to dream BIG, think BIG, and pray BIG!" I think you have to work "BIG" too! Nothing is free in life and the publishing world is extremely hard to break into.

My first children's chapter book in the Mila Denton series has been out for about six months. I'm giving away a signed copy to one person. Just leave a comment on my blog and one person will be randomly chosen on May 1.

Thanks for reading and happy writing!