on Writing Forward:
People often ask me whether I think a formal education is necessary to a successful writing career. A degree certainly helps, but no, it’s not necessary. There are master writers who did not finish high school and plenty never went to college.
I want to be clear: I fully support higher education. If you pull me aside and ask whether I think you should go to college, I’m going to say, “Yes, of course you should!” I encounter plenty of writers (and other professionals) who lack confidence because they feel they need that degree to back up their abilities. That’s just not so. If you want to write, you should write, regardless of whether you have a degree.
Keep in mind that while a degree is helpful (and you certainly learn a lot of valuable things in college), it’s neither a license to write nor a guarantee that you’ll be successful. It doesn’t even ensure that you’ll write well. Whether you pursue higher education or not, it’s important to study the craft of writing. You can read books, join a writing group, or take a creative writing class.