How Much Does Education Really Mean in Writing?

how much does education really meani nwriting

On Wednesday, I got this comment from a woman who posted on my Facebook page: “If you do not have the education to critque you should not set up such a page with a title of “insert story here!” … You ask people to write a story based on a photo that you present? But no feedback … and then you do not even have the education to critique or give suggestions!!!” (here’s a link to where I did an open, slightly ranty response) I don’t know how much this comment annoys you (this was from a nearly 50 year old woman to a 17 year old teenager, by the way, after I hadn’t critiqued her two stories… because I had exams), but the thing that annoys me most about this is that she damned my education.

As a 17 year old, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to attend university, so haven’t been able to gain any sort of degree or qualification in writing. However, I have written many, many articles which have helped people and landed me a job, won writing competitions, nearly finished my first book, written a novella and countless short stories and made people laugh and cry with the simple power of my words. I have experience, and I have reviewed tonnes of books and other stories, even fanfictions, often giving detailed help on how to improve, what worked and what didn’t etc. I have helped people with their writing. But, according to this woman, because I do not have any qualifications in this, I cannot be of any help to her.

This may sound harsh, but to be honest I think any primary school child could tell her she needs to work on capital letters and full stops. Anyone can tell her what’s good or bad in her story. (Anyone could also tell her to push off, but that’s me getting angry again.)

As I said in the open response, I can name at least 7 different types of nouns and verbs and almost as many different types of sentences. Building on from this, I can then tell you what works, what doesn’t, how to create suspense and how to keep the reader’s eye flowing over the words I have created. In my education, I have learnt how to create dynamic characters and interesting plots, how to pick the right adjective and when you can keep an adverb (seriously, some are useful. No pun intended (okay, maybe a little!)).

But just because I am young and “do not even” have the ‘right’ education, does this mean I should be completely overlooked when it comes to my ability to write and help others?

This post is a little different from normal ones, but I, at least, am getting increasingly frustrated with young writers being overlooked because we do not have the money or age to have experiences other writers do, such as being able to go to university and gain a degree in writing.

What are your opinions on this? How much does an education in writing mean to you and your ability in being able to write? 

This anger I have at this woman may also be due to her being incredibly rude to me… so I’m sorry if I have given off the really strong angry vibes!

11 thoughts on “How Much Does Education Really Mean in Writing?

  1. I don’t think you need some special education to write. If you can make people care about what you are writing then you are good enough.
    I agree with you that it is getting frustrating that young writers are being overlooked so easily.

    1. Exactly! I agree.
      And I know. There are some organisations, such as Laura Thomas Communications, where I work, which are really great in helping young writers, but they’re so frequently overlooked. I’d love to change that someday (I mean, hopefully my blog will inspire a young writer to carry on with their creations, but I’d like to help the masses too, as I feel so many get disheartened and then don’t pick it up until much later!).
      Thank you for commenting!

      1. That’s truly a worthy goal and I wish you good luck on that.
        It’s getting better now though with sites such as figment, where young writers can discuss their work and encourage each other, becoming popular

  2. I am amazed you are only 17. I think you are an excellent blogger, and I assume writer as well. I wish I’d had it as together as you 10 years ago.
    I definitely don’t think you need a higher education to be a writer, a professional writer, or to have a business as a writer. We each have our own path to walk and no way is better than another. You got what it takes already: personality, writing skills, perseverance, and more. Maybe you’ll get a higher ed, maybe you won’t. But whatever you do it’ll be cause that’s your decision, and no one else’s.

    1. Oh wow, thank you for that lovely compliment! (It really does mean a lot!)
      I agree. Whilst aspects of writing can be built upon, I think, with help from others, the initial backbone of writing comes from the person themselves, and only that person can know if they think they’re doing the right thing and getting the help they need.
      Thank you for commenting!

      1. I have a good writing group that I meet in person, writing classes are great, a critique partner, and lots of book reading and blogs. Self education! But to have a creative writing degree…that would be nice. Not a must, but nice.
        I think the key ingredient is sticking to writing. Just keep going and don’t give up. Learn along the way.

      2. I am lucky to also have writerly friends who take their work seriously but also enjoy doing it. And self education is great; I’m currently taking a course on FutureLearn called ‘Start Writing Fiction’ and it’s pretty good! Still… a degree would also be nice… 😉
        I agree!

      3. I’ll check out that website. “Writers helping writers” is very true!

        I know so much more than I did when I started writing at 16. You’ll know so much more in a decade! I think you’re better off than I was. You have a good handle on blogging. 🙂

      4. It’s a great website!
        I look forward to learning more and more and more; I’m hoping to attend a creative writing workshop at my college next week, too, which should be fun! And thank you! 🙂

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