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!

Effect vs. Affect

When I googled this for some defined rules, it was the second top, just as I typed in ‘the difference between’. And it’s no wonder why, with these two dicky words causing English students more stress than if they were designing a meal for Gordon Ramsay.

So, what’s the difference?

Well, I’ll tell you the difference.

In general terms, ‘affect’ is used as a verb (‘to affect’ something) whilst ‘effect’ is used as a noun (‘an effect’ on something). 

“But what if I can’t tell?” I hear you ask. Well, there’s two ways  I can give to help you out:

  • Read it aloud and see which bit fits better.
  • Ask an English teacher.

Though if English teachers are in short supply, reading it aloud is good, too. Try it both ways – normally, that works well for me, though if that still doesn’t work…

Try adding another word in place of it.

Like, if you think it might be ‘affect’ but you’re not sure, add another verb in it’s place, and see if it works (obviously it won’t make much sense, but it’ll be enough to tell you if it’s right or not).

So yes, I hope that helped, as I know ‘effect’ and ‘affect’ are two biggies that need to be distinguished. Should I do others (eg which witch is which, they’re, their and there) or not?


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I Hate School Days

Dammit, dammit, dammit, is what I say to myself as I scramble to write this article. Dammit, dammit, dammit…

Why? Because I am running out of time to write it. I have barely written anything for NaNoWriMo today, and I’m only just about getting this out.

School days. 6 hours of ‘learning’ (aka messing about). 20 minutes for break. 30 minutes for lunch. 25 minutes of hell in ‘tutor time’. And then clubs or revision sessions after school.

Not that I hate education: I love it.

Would just be a lot easier if there were more hours in the day, to be honest.

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