I've always loved to write. Granted I haven't been writing very much these days because of university but I want to publish a book one day. I want to keep writing as a hobby because I want to do more but I've never published anything before and I keep getting discouraged. I'm in a medicine university and I try to write when I'm free but I feel like it's never good enough.

I've been trying to write more on Fanfiction, read more and try to widen my vocabulary but I feel it's all in vain. I feel like something is missing for me to be a better writer. I'm too afraid of actually writing a book. I'm worried that I'm not experienced enough that people will hate it and that it won't be as good as I've always wanted.

Please tell me is there anyone that are writers without a degree here and if there is how did you do it? How did you manage to publish something? How can I teach myself to be better than I am today? I'm still eighteen and I know I have miles away before I can be that writer that really connects to the readers. Just how can I do it? I want to do medicine and I want to write. I want to do both and I'm torn apart. I feel like I've made a mistake and I don't know anymore. I'm really scared for the future so can someone please just tell me please.

If anyone knows a website I can go on to that professionals could actually critique my work and give me helpful advice I would really appreciate it (not whatpad the only genre that matters there is romance).


3 Answers 3


You do not need a degree to become a writer; you have the Internet. You can teach yourself what you need to know to become a writer; including some experiences you may not yet have (or may never have), and thus may not "connect" to entirely. Keep in mind that writers often have characters doing things they themselves have never done; murder being one extreme, or engaging in homosexual sex, or being in a sword fight for their life, or kidnapping a child, or a woman killing her rapist or abusive husband, or being involved in an elaborate con, or being a spy.

They did not learn how to make these sound authentic in college, they did research outside of it. Some things (being an authentic doctor or lawyer) may demand a lot of research, but even there: You don't have to actually practice medicine or law to get to something plausible. Just like the actors on TV don't have to be doctors, physicists or lawyers or psychologists in order to make a plausible acting experience.

You can also read what others have written, and emulate that (not copy it).

Further, you can read what published fiction authors have written about writing and how to go about it, like Stephen King ("On Writing") or Orson Scott Card or hundreds of others. Read ten books by different people and get a feel for what a story is.

(Books on writing are heavily biased toward plotting and planning a story. Many of us do not write like that, Stephen King is a "discovery writer", letting his story and characters develop as he goes. I suggest his book as a balance to most of what you will find out there.)

As for being discouraged: Most published authors write a few books before they get one published; or they revise endlessly until their first book gets published (JK Rowling revised and submitted the first Harry Potter for five years, rewriting it several times). This business takes persistence, and the average pay for a first book is around $3000 or $5000. Of course more if it is a blockbuster (like Harry Potter) but don't think you get rich on one book.

Discouragement is part of the journey. If you are writing for the fame and money alone, I don't recommend continuing. If you are writing because you love to write and find the writing and research entertaining, and hope to get published, keep on. Few people regret the time and money spent on hobbies they enjoy, even though their hobbies generate no income. Think of writing this way, with a possibility of paying but not the only reason you do it.

  • Thanks for the replay I really really appreciate it a lot. I know I'm still young and I still have a lot going on but I'll keep trying. I absolutely love writing and I have such big a passion for it. So I'll keep trying. Do you know if there's any website I can go to that my work can be reviewed by other writers?
    – Faith
    Apr 25, 2018 at 18:38
  • 2
    I am sure there ARE, but I don't recommend it! Follow the books, and the authors you like. Use them as your guide. Get analytical; not just "oh I love this", but why. How long are their sentences? How many details do they include in describing something (or someone)? How do they handle the passage of time? What do they leave out (eating, sleeping, eliminating)? You have to become your own judge of what good writing is. Groups are amateurs that will give you poor advice, they aren't pros or analysts. Learn from pros; including indirectly by analyzing their fiction. Be your own critic.
    – Amadeus
    Apr 25, 2018 at 18:48
  • 1
    I realize your question asks for "professional" writers to critique your work. Do not expect that for free, pros are busy writing. Other pros do it for money, lots of money (thousands to critique a book). What you will get for free is "writer's groups" where you critique others in return for them critiquing you; but if you don't think you can critique your own work, what can you tell others about theirs? You like it or don't like it, basically. This is what you will get in return, too. You would do better taking an elective creative writing class, so the prof is paid to read and critique you.
    – Amadeus
    Apr 25, 2018 at 19:09

I studied creative writing at university and then had to leave after the second year when my husband's job took us to a different country.

I can tell you with all honesty that I learned more from writing and submitting my first novel than I learned in those entire two years in a classroom. I couldn't even get an agent for that first novel let alone a publisher. It was a 130,000 word magnum opus of a failure but DAMN it taught me a lot.

Nothing can teach you to write like writing can.

Listen to Anne Lamott's Word by Word (or read her book, Bird by Bird). She'll tell you to give yourself the freedom to write shitty first drafts. From it you'll write a slightly less shitty second draft and maybe a passable third.

And I promise you that every writer on this stack has the same fears, doubts and dented self-confidence as you do. Put them all to bed and write. Write every day, write on the bus, write on the train, write furiously, write quietly, just write.

Fear and doubt are an inevitable part of every writer's journey, you cannot avoid them, you just have to write around them.

As @Amadeus says, read Stephen King's On Writing. His journey will inspire you.

And professional writers offering critiques are expensive. Join a writers' group and if you can't find one locally, start one. Put an ad in the paper or online for other serious writers just starting out. Be picky about who you allow in your group. You need avid readers who know how to articulate what works or doesn't and why. You want peers who can be brutally honest about your work, but who genuinely want you to succeed, writers who know how to tear your work to pieces while keeping you together.

Good luck!

  • Thank you so much for replying. I've always been worried because I didn't go to university for writing and I'll try hard to keep writing even in my sleep :D Thanks again
    – Faith
    Apr 26, 2018 at 16:24
  • Lots of websites will tell you that you need X and Y to be of interest to agents. It's not true. You just need a book they can't resist. I worried too, as I didn't finish my degree or have any writing credits, but that didn't stop me from getting six offers of representation in my first round of ten submissions on my second book. You just need to write a book that agents can't turn down. If it's good, and well-written, they won't care about your accolades. As someone else said on here, most of us have a dodgy novel or two under our beds. Your first novel is like a pair of potty training pants!
    – GGx
    Apr 26, 2018 at 17:34
  • We've all peed in them before we moved to our big-boy pants!
    – GGx
    Apr 26, 2018 at 17:35
  • But you have to go through that training. This business is extremely hard. Some will tell you it's a rollercoaster ride, but that's a lie. It's more like being swept up into the clouds at 40,000 feet and being pushed out without a parachute. You hit the runway like a lump of strawberry jam, scrape yourself off, put yourself back together, and get back on the plane. In these moments, it's much better to nurse your writing than nurse your self-doubt. Listen to Denzel Washington, you fall down seven times, get up eight. And just keep writing and trying again. I wish you all the luck in the world.
    – GGx
    Apr 26, 2018 at 17:40

Of course not. Who suggested that you might?

To be a writer you need, basically, first imagination and then talent.

All other things being equal - which almost never happens - anyone with the same basic attributes might see them polished by a degree but I hope that's not what you meant…

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.