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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 12-18-2011, 12:36 PM
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I guess we'll have to disagree. I wouldn't hire a writer without one. With writers who have taught themselves at home, you don't know what they've learned. You have no idea if they've just read a book about writing or spent years studying various styles and practicing. With a writing degree, you know there has been exhaustive writing study and practice. You don't "just have a degree." They force you to write constantly and to prove yourself for years. I've gotten many jobs that were only available to people with degrees. I've never regretted getting one.

I've never heard of someone getting an internship without being a student or a recent graduate, but maybe that's happened before. It's hard enough to get one as a student, though. I can't imagine trying to get one without any coursework behind you.

Some people seem to do just fine without degrees. That's great. Hard work and dedication is always a great thing. However, I do take exception to people without them who mock and insult people who have them. You chose your path, and there's no reason to make fun of people who chose a different one.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 12-18-2011, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoping2 View Post
I guess we'll have to disagree. I wouldn't hire a writer without one.
While I would never take issue with anyone who sees value in getting a degree, I'm a bit stunned that you wouldn't consider hiring a writer who doesn't have one.

I'm thankful my former agent, editors, and publishers didn't have that attitude when I wrote 20+ computer books.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 12-18-2011, 01:14 PM
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My degree is not in writing, but I became a successful magazine writer long before I ever got the degree. The only way college has helped my writing is by giving me a credential for writing on counseling-related topics, which helped me land my first book contract. But if I had not gone to college, I would have simply continued with my magazine work. I also got a gig as a news stringer for a daily newspaper without a journalism degree.
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 12-18-2011, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by seattlejan View Post
While I would never take issue with anyone who sees value in getting a degree, I'm a bit stunned that you wouldn't consider hiring a writer who doesn't have one.

I'm thankful my former agent, editors, and publishers didn't have that attitude when I wrote 20+ computer books.
That's just my opinion. I've seen too many who just didn't know what they were doing and didn't know that they didn't know what they were doing. If you've ever outsourced, you've seen the same. I'm stunned that you could get an agent for computer books without educational credentials. When I pitched a book about selling on eBay they wanted them. How did you do it?
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 12-18-2011, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoping2 View Post
That's just my opinion. I've seen too many who just didn't know what they were doing and didn't know that they didn't know what they were doing. If you've ever outsourced, you've seen the same. I'm stunned that you could get an agent for computer books without educational credentials. When I pitched a book about selling on eBay they wanted them. How did you do it?
OK, now you've got my back up a bit by saying you're stunned that I was able to get an agent with my appalling lack of education. You've made your opinion of those without college degrees quite clear and most likely think it was a fluke or error that allowed me to write. Whatever. (How's that for eloquent?)

I think it's wrong to make fun of or belittle anyone who has a degree. I think it's equally wrong to make assumptions about someone's competence just because they don't have a degree.

But to answer your question, I got an agent after I had already written two books, one of them contracted by a university professor who gave it to me and my brother because he didn't have time. The professor was concerned only with our knowledge and writing ability, not with letters on a diploma. The publisher recommended the agent, who handled several of their other authors. I don't recall the agent ever even asking about whether I had a degree.

I was also hired as a senior technical writer for an internet start-up. This was about ten years ago, but again, they were more interested in my ability and experience than in my lack of a diploma. I will grant you that that would be more difficult today. My resume would probably be screened and tossed before anyone even looked at it.

I'm currently ghostwriting for a highly successful health-related website. The site owner, who is an excellent writer and researcher herself, went through a few college-educated writers who were not able to match her style or do adequate research before she hired me. She hired me because I was able to do the job, part of which required matching her writing style. That seems to be something few can do successfully, and it's a skill that doesn't appear to have much to do with having a degree.

I question your assumption that a college degree provides any assurance of competence. I have seen too many people with a string of letters after their name who can't write a compelling, grammatically correct sentence, let alone an article or book.

Yes, I've outsourced, and I frankly hate doing it because it's so difficult to find anyone who can write well and follow instructions. I have indeed seen too many who "just didn't know what they were doing," but that applies to those WITH as well as without college degrees.
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 12-18-2011, 02:38 PM
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For some reason, Pittsburgh Craig's List loves to offer writing gigs about the Steelers for writers without any compensation. Seriously, there are always ads to write about Pittsburgh sports teams without any compensation. Heck, most of the CL from this area wants high quality for no pay.
Yep! I'm from Pittsburgh too and our Craigslist sucks in terms of writing jobs.
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 12-18-2011, 02:42 PM
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OK, now you've got my back up a bit by saying you're stunned that I was able to get an agent with my appalling lack of education. You've made your opinion of those without college degrees quite clear and most likely think it was a fluke or error that allowed me to write. Whatever. (How's that for eloquent?)
Wow. That's not even remotely what I meant. I genuinely wanted to know how you did it because every time I query they want to know your educational credentials even if it's not at all an academic subject.

Someone was rude and insulting about people who went to college. I was insulted and tried to set the record straight. That's really all I have to say about it. All of this is strange horror at someone liking writers with degrees is unnecessary and, well, odd. Get one. Don't get one. I don't care.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 12-18-2011, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr.Shiro View Post
I'm from the UK so it's three here.

For most writing gigs a degree is completely unnecessary and will come into play very little except for very specialsied subjects. Of course experience through internships is useful too, but you don't need to have a degree to have experience like this. What I'm saying is that the isolated degree itself is not relevant for most writing jobs.

I would much rather have a writer who consistently provided good work for many different clients for three or four years than a writer who just has their college degree.
I also disagree that a degree is completely unnecessary and won't matter when it comes to professional writing. I have a degree in Communications with a concentration in Journalism, and I certainly use it for every single project I work on. I've always had a passion for writing, but a degree gave me the technical skills I needed to turn that passion into a profession. There is a lot more to writing than talent.

All the classes I've taken in electronic and print media as well as the years I spent writing for the school newspaper have most definitely not been pointless. I use what I learned in college every day.

Whether you are self-taught or have a college degree, education most definitely counts.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 12-18-2011, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoping2 View Post
Wow. That's not even remotely what I meant. I genuinely wanted to know how you did it because every time I query they want to know your educational credentials even if it's not at all an academic subject.

Someone was rude and insulting about people who went to college. I was insulted and tried to set the record straight. That's really all I have to say about it. All of this is strange horror at someone liking writers with degrees is unnecessary and, well, odd. Get one. Don't get one. I don't care.
OK. I was just reacting (quite possibly over-reacting) to your being stunned, particularly after you said you would never hire someone without a degree.

I fully understand that you were insulted (rightfully so IMHO) at the remarks making fun of those with college degrees. But (also JMHO) it's going to far to say that only those with degrees are worthy.

But at least I know never to ask you for a writing job. Good info to have!
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 12-18-2011, 03:03 PM
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I AM a pagan and it's certainly funny to me .
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