I was previously part of a group of freelance writers who were convinced that they were special. In the group are content writers like me who make a living off writing, and also people who have always wanted to write but never really had the chance to learn. One of these members (from the latter) made the mistake of asking the group what it would take to learn how to make a living freelance writing without going to college.
He got chastised by at least a dozen of these writers armed to the teeth with college degrees. How dare he think that he was even smart enough to go to college, much less learn the ‘incredibly complex’ and ‘difficult’ world of freelance writing. One hour in, and they weren’t letting go, so I had to jump in.
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Enough is enough
I told this guy the truth in the open forum for the entire world to see that:
- Yes, you can learn to write without going to college
- Yes, you can learn to freelance without a business degree
- You can earn a very good living in freelance writing without the benefit of a college degree
- You can work from home as a freelance writer, buck-assed naked if you so desire
- You can learn to be a freelance writer without spending a single dime on incredibly expensive college courses
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I also sent the young man my regular email and website URL and told him I would teach him the basics of freelancing, and help him find a school to hone his writing skills.
In return, I got ejected from the group. The reason? They thought I was a hypocrite since I went to college to learn how to write, and I would just be wasting the poor guy’s time.
You can imagine their shock when I told them that yes, I went to college just as I had listed on my social website profile, but not for journalism, as they had assumed. I majored in Medical Administration. I also showed them proof that I was being paid to write before I started college at age 21. I taught myself to write. And that was the last straw.
Not only did his group kick me out, a few other writing groups I was in (I think it was four of them) kicked me out too. I started my own writing group but no one signed up.
You can do anything
But the point of this sad story is that if you want to be a freelance content writer, you can be. All it really takes is dedication and a heartfelt commitment to the craft. By the way, the young man (Ben) has been following my lead for more than 6 months and it is already paying off.
He has two clients, is still learning to write, and I throw him work when I bite off more than I can chew. I’m glad to report that he is a very good writer now and is very well liked by the people for whom he works.
Resources for learning How to Write
If you Google “Learn Freelance Writing,” you will get hundreds of thousands of results. There are a lot of people who know how it is done and are willing to help. Learning to write… now that is a horse of a different color. Part of freelance writing or writing in general, is in knowing how to perform deep research. Just because you may not have plans to go to college, it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from their free online courses (expect to do a lot of reading):
With well over 600 topics to choose from in free online courses, this site has numerous writing courses open to the public. Search for gems such as Writing What You Know, or the ever-popular What Is Good Writing to get started.
Literature and poetry are not only fun; they are essential if you want diversity in writing. The site offers free courses in both subjects.
Believe it or not, MIT offers courses in both humanistic and writing. Yes, it is free. You will not believe what you find at the end of this rainbow (I almost passed out from sheer joy). Christmas in August. Writing in Cyberspace is especially enlightening!
This list would not be complete without the Purdue Onling Writing Lab (OWL), one of the best resources for any higher education need, without the higher education price. The Writing Process is far more than it appears to be, and their resource list is amazing.
To be a writer
Never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. Those yahoos on that website are miserable now and will still be miserable tomorrow. Meanwhile, Ben will soon be making more money than they do simply because he believed in himself and conquered his fear of failure (which was the only thing holding him back from his dream).
If you want to be a writer, nothing can stop you. In fact, you can find a lot of help from Google and a lot of these fine online courses for free. Don’t stop learning. There is nothing that you cannot do if you put your mind to it.
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