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What qualifications do I need to become a published writer?

The short answer is none! Well, in the formal, traditional sense of qualifications. The only real pre-requisite needed is a love of writing – everything else can be learnt, even the ability to write well.

Publishing is a very accepting profession with a cosmopolitan and democratic attitude. And the rise of self-publishing websites means that now anyone can publish their writing – you don’t need a traditional publisher at all.

If you do want to get your work accepted by a publisher in the traditional way, you’ll often find they're not interested in what degrees or certificates you’ve got. What they want to see is the work you’ve had published in the past – your portfolio. This is far more interesting to them – they can see how you write and who you’ve been published by – so they can decide if your style fits their publication.

If you choose to self-publish you don’t need to convince anyone other than your potential customers that you can write well.

Using Your Current Qualifications
However, if you already have qualifications in an area – a degree, certificate or diploma for example – you could put it to very good use. Writing for niche publications or in a specialist area can be very lucrative. For example, if you have a qualification in nutrition you could become an expert for your local newspaper – answering queries from readers – or you could write for a health publication and, depending on your level of expertise, you could even write for peer journals or trade magazines.

Using Your Experience
The same applies to experience. If you have 25 years of experience in beauty therapy, for example, you certainly have the knowledge to write about what does and doesn’t work for your clients and your experiences in the profession. You could target local newspapers – offering a question and answer column – you could also write for beauty magazines and trade journals.

So, as you can see, having formal qualifications is not necessary at all when you want to be a published writer.

For the qualities you’ll need to become a published writer click here and to see the skills you need click here.

Find out more about how you can become a successfull, published writer by requesting a Writers Bureau Creative Writing course prospectus with no obligation to enrol.


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Theresa Gooda Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2021

“I began my first Writers Bureau course (Comprehensive Creative Writing) in 2007. Having more than covered the course fees from published pieces I have never looked back. Initially my ambitions were to get going. I knew I wanted to be a writer, I just didn’t know how to go about it, or, if I’m honest, quite what I wanted to write. Since, I have gradually blended a teaching career with writing, first with articles and short stories, then increasing the writing commitment dramatically when I secured an agent in 2016 to ghostwrite a series of memoirs. This year I have undertaken The Art of Writing Poetry course to really hone my skills in what I now realise is a genre I love - and have already had my first poems published.”

Theresa Gooda - Writers Bureau Student of the Year 2021

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