Becoming a professional writer without a college degree

Freelancing, blogging or working for a traditional publication can be difficult—with or without some higher education under your belt. Here’s how to get started.

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Many people think that to write professionally you must have a degree in English literature or journalism.

Universities have gone to great lengths to make you think that is the case—and they’ve succeeded.

Many aspirants also believe that if you want to become a writer through traditional channels, you’ve got to get a newspaper, copywriting agency or online news organization to hire you.

That can be hard without a college degree. Some believe, however, that traditional media channels don’t matter much anymore. A host of non-traditional paths can lead to successful writing careers—and they don’t require a related degree. Instead, you must establish yourself. Here’s how:

Basic skills

You’ll never get anywhere if you can’t write well.

Sound writing consists of a number of basic skills. Here are a few:

• Grammar, sentence structure, flow and spelling are crucial to your success. Follow the rules of grammar, and make your writing engaging. Although many writers break almost all the rules on occasion, they do so consciously and not because they’re clueless. Editors can tell the difference.

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