A Writer’s Education

Going to school to write, if you believe what is readily available on social media, is a complete and utter waste of time and resources. As I have been working through my courses I have found it comforting to find that a majority of the authors I am studying went to school to write, or became a writer after school. Nevertheless school seemed to be an important step in the writing process.

It is true you are not required to have a degree to write, and you could simply pick up all the classics and read them at your leisure. But no matter what some authors, or other students, say, education for writing is invaluable. Going to school to write can make the difference between submitting works to contests and winning or not getting anywhere, or just daydreaming about one day writing a book, and making that one day a reality.

Actively working toward your dream will make that day much closer. Working with professors and other students will improve your writing drastically. It can make all the difference between wishing to get paid for your writing and actually getting paid for your writing. For myself, I have found that going to school with the dream of writing was not a waste of my time or resources. I still have a long way to go before completing my degree, but what I have learned has shaped who I want to be, and what I want to write.

I recently read an interview of writer Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Pray, Love, where she discusses that “a degree in writing is not what makes you a writer. And writing every day is absolutely free.” (Berthelette, 2015) Gilbert also advises never to go into debt for you craft; that you should never hope to make a living at writing. It seems as though it has become a trend to criticize people who want to go to school to become a writer. Education for the sake of education is no longer an accepted ideology. And education for the sake of art? That’s even less accepted.

I find it irksome that people feel it is their responsibility to tell aspiring writers to not risk student loans or hope to make a living doing what you love. It is condescending to those that go to school when you suggest that, “if you can afford schooling and feel like you need it, go ahead.” (ibid) Gilbert seems to be suggesting that a true artist, a true writer, does not need school.

A writer who goes to school is no less an artist than a writer who does not. They are simply artists who have taken different paths. Gilbert cites a young woman who has enrolled into a University at the cost of $200,000. Granted, this is a significant amount of money. However, I do not think it accurately reflects the entire story. There are graduate schools that are a fraction of the cost, and this number leads me to believe that she is misquoting or leaving some information out.

Education for the sake of education. Education for the sake of bettering yourself, and working towards your dreams. To me, this is the reason to go to university, there is no better motivation to complete your schooling than because it will lead you closer to the realization of your dream. I am just over half way through my undergrad degree, and already doors have opened for me, what will I see when I am finished my degree? While education does not come cheap, why would you not want to invest in yourself?

Berthelette, Luc. Writers: don’t Quit Your Day Job. (2015, February 19).
Retrieved from Writers Relief: www.lucberthelette.com

Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature