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if I want to be a writer, is there any point in me going to uni? Watch

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    I'd say I'm quite intelligent, predicted an average of 95+ ums in my as levels, but recently I'm becoming disillusioned. I was always planning to go to uni to study English, but the thought of spending 4 more years in rainy England sat there writing essays about other people's work is becoming more and more unappealing. I'd love to spend my time travelling for years: live in a squat in Berlin, travel across Malaysia, visit a cave in Thailand, meet interesting people have obscure experiences and write as I go along, inproving.

    Is this a bad idea, should I still go to uni?
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    (Original post by simbasdragon)
    I'd say I'm quite intelligent, predicted an average of 95+ ums in my as levels, but recently I'm becoming disillusioned. I was always planning to go to uni to study English, but the thought of spending 4 more years in rainy England sat there writing essays about other people's work is becoming more and more unappealing. I'd love to spend my time travelling for years: live in a squat in Berlin, travel across Malaysia, visit a cave in Thailand, meet interesting people have obscure experiences and write as I go along, inproving.

    Is this a bad idea, should I still go to uni?
    I want to do all of that, but I'm saving it for after university. After all, it's only 4 more years of your life, and you can fall back on your degree if you ever want a 'proper' job as a journalist or something. It's not necessary - Will Self only got a 3rd, and he's pretty successful; but you can't rely on luck.
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    It's up to you. Writing is very talent-based, but there are some restrictions.

    It depends on what sort of writer you want to be. If you want to be a journalist, then university is an option, but far from the only one. You could take the NCTJ and get experience working for local or regional papers, write for online outlets, etc. There's a whole range of options to break into journalism. I find journalism degrees to be mostly a waste of time, and would recommend studying English for this route. Other courses that are good for journalists to take include history, politics, etc.

    Being an author or a poet on the other hand is all about talent (and luck). If you can write well, then qualifications are sort of unimportant. Of course, writing well isn't the only factor to consider - to be a successful author or poet, luck also comes into it, as I said. It's probably not a good thing to think of as guaranteed.

    Also, I wouldn't discount being a journalist as being a "proper" job. For some people, it can be very white-collar and dull, but journalism can also give you the opportunity to essentially have adventures for your job. It's all about who you work for, and what they want. If you find the right niche though? You can do the sort of things you describe, while getting paid.
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    (Original post by Interzone Agent)
    It's up to you. Writing is very talent-based, but there are some restrictions.

    It depends on what sort of writer you want to be. If you want to be a journalist, then university is an option, but far from the only one. You could take the NCTJ and get experience working for local or regional papers, write for online outlets, etc. There's a whole range of options to break into journalism. I find journalism degrees to be mostly a waste of time, and would recommend studying English for this route. Other courses that are good for journalists to take include history, politics, etc.

    Being an author or a poet on the other hand is all about talent (and luck). If you can write well, then qualifications are sort of unimportant. Of course, writing well isn't the only factor to consider - to be a successful author or poet, luck also comes into it, as I said. It's probably not a good thing to think of as guaranteed.

    Also, I wouldn't discount being a journalist as being a "proper" job. For some people, it can be very white-collar and dull, but journalism can also give you the opportunity to essentially have adventures for your job. It's all about who you work for, and what they want. If you find the right niche though? You can do the sort of things you describe, while getting paid.
    Thanks for this, my aim is to become a poet, author or playright eventually.
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    Hey no problem. I've got some advice for you on that front. You might well be doing some of it anyway, but I'll throw it out there - always good karma to offer advice to other writers.

    1. Read. A lot. Seriously, there's no better way to improve your writing than reading, the two complement each other like you wouldn't believe. Read authors you love and don't be afraid to branch out into the works of others too. By reading the works of the greats, you'll see stylistic features that they've developed, and be able to incorporate them into your work. But also, don't be afraid to experiment in your own works. Writing is an art, and like any other art, innovation and personal development is a big part of that. Seeing as you seem interested in poetry, I've got one specific recommendation for you, just because I love it - Howl, by Allen Ginsberg.

    2. Like reading a lot, writing a lot is extremely important when it comes to developing as a writer. Try to write something every day. It doesn't matter whether that's a story, a poem, a scene from a play, anything. It's important to keep those skills sharp. I carry around a notebook in my pocket for this very reason. It's great to be able to write down a short poem, or your latest ideas when you've been inspired.

    3. Don't feel like you have to specialize. There's nothing stopping you from being a poet, an author, and a playwright. You can just write whatever you feel at that time. There are no rules when it comes to writing.

    4. When you think you're on to something, whether it's a novel, a collection of poetry, or a play - send it out to some publishers. There's nothing stopping you from being published, wherever you happen to be in your life. If your writing's sharp and you've got the right amount of luck, then guess what? You might well get published. Leads me on to the next point.

    5. Rejection happens to all of us, don't fear it. All writers throughout history have been rejected by publishers at some point or another. It's a fact of life as a writer. Maybe the agent just doesn't like your writing style, maybe they're feeling terrible on that particular day and judge your work more harshly, maybe they just made a mistake. Rejection happens to everyone though, so don't worry about it.

    6. Write for yourself, not for an audience. First and foremost, writing is an art, and like any other art, self-expression is everything. It's important to make sure that you're not writing because you want to appeal to certain people, or draw a crowd in, or anything like that - write for yourself. Some people may disagree with me on this, but it works for me.

    So yeah, when it comes to studying at uni or not, it's all up to you. On one hand, it would give you a great opportunity to study great works, which going by what you've said, I'm sure you'd enjoy, but on the other hand, it's not for everyone. A degree in English will definitely help you throughout your life, and Uni is a great place to meet like-minded people, but it all comes down to your own personal feelings about it. If you feel like you'd rather just work on your writing while doing something else for a while, that works, and if you think you'd rather go to uni, then that does too.

    Whichever you choose, I wish you the best of luck. Writing's hard, harder than anyone who doesn't write would know, but extremely rewarding.
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    (Original post by simbasdragon)
    I'd say I'm quite intelligent, predicted an average of 95+ ums in my as levels, but recently I'm becoming disillusioned. I was always planning to go to uni to study English, but the thought of spending 4 more years in rainy England sat there writing essays about other people's work is becoming more and more unappealing. I'd love to spend my time travelling for years: live in a squat in Berlin, travel across Malaysia, visit a cave in Thailand, meet interesting people have obscure experiences and write as I go along, inproving.

    Is this a bad idea, should I still go to uni?
    It's obviously different for everyone but here's an short interview you might find informative.
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    (Original post by simbasdragon)
    I'd say I'm quite intelligent, predicted an average of 95+ ums in my as levels, but recently I'm becoming disillusioned. I was always planning to go to uni to study English, but the thought of spending 4 more years in rainy England sat there writing essays about other people's work is becoming more and more unappealing. I'd love to spend my time travelling for years: live in a squat in Berlin, travel across Malaysia, visit a cave in Thailand, meet interesting people have obscure experiences and write as I go along, inproving.

    Is this a bad idea, should I still go to uni?
    Here's what my favourite author, Maggie Stiefvater, said:



    p/s: I love Malaysia
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    I suppose you don't need any qualifications to be a poet or a playwright or something along those lines, but uni can get you good experience and good contacts. Perhaps try a Creative Writing course?
 
 
 
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