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Question
Hi,
I'm currently a college student studying psychology. I have always been interested in becoming a freelance writer. I'd like to write fictional stories. Do most authors today have degrees solely in English or communications? Are there any relatively successful writers that have degrees outside of the writing field? I'd like to start my writing out as a hobby, and perhaps some day get a book or two published. What is the process one has to go through in order to get published? Is it realistic for someone without a degree in the writing field to get a fictional book published, and actually make some sells? Thanks!

Answer
Dear Maurice,
Thank you for your question and for sharing your aspirations with me. You're on the right track if you follow a career path and do freelance writing as a hobby. Usually it takes at least a couple of successful books before you can depend on writing for your income. Therefore, you will want to get a degree in a field that interests you, where you can make a living.
Journalism is a good field for writers. Many journalists eventually segue into full time writing on their own projects. Law is another good field, because you can use your writing skills in your work, while you accumulate ainteresting material for future stories. Psychology is also a good field. In addition, being a published writer can help your career.  Like, if you choose education as a career, they say "publish or perish."
So, study what is meaningful to you.
Education is good for a writer, but nobody would reject good writing because the author has a degree in law or psychology, instead of English.
Also, it helps to join a writing group and take creative writing electives. Another thing that can help is study American literature (if you're American), or any body of literature. It pays to know what has come before, so you have a context of where the art of literature stands by the time you get into it.
It's also good to study languages. Some writers swear by their knowledge of Latin (or other languages) as the source of their writing skills.
I hope this helps,
Sincerely,
Nori

P.S. Here is my page for writers: http://steamboats.com/writing.html

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