Why Liberal Arts Cannot Prepare You For The Writer’s Life

You can write better than the writer who completed that essay bought on Reddit? Good for you! You can write better and you want to commence to a life in the literary world as a writer? Oh, dear! No, nothing bad with that, of course. Simply, there are so many possible traps you need to avoid. What is one of them? The trap of going into the Liberal Arts thinking they will arm you with all the necessities to become a bestselling author.

Sure, liberal arts have their merits, they are a wonderful field to study, but don’t make the misguided assumption that once you finish that B.A. you’re now in possession of every tiny thing that makes a successful writer.

Why Liberal Arts Cannot Prepare You For The Writer's Life

What Do People Study in Liberal Arts?

They will learn how to analyze and detect patterns in imperfect “sets of data”. Students will gain flexibility for their future work.In language-based disciplines one shall study morphology, semantics, grammar, history of language, etc.

Universities sometimes also have rhetorics classes which will be quite beneficial no matter your background or aspirations. They will teach you how to present and speak with a style, inspiration, and confidence.

Other disciplines won’t give you that much practical skills. Sure, grammar is important. But morphology alone won’t make you a writer. Neither will reading some classic books. Yes, for all writers reading is important. But you can just as well read in your extra time.

Now, that doesn’t come to say you shouldn’t aspire to major in language and linguistics. No, we simply want to show you that going in that field thinking it will make you a writer is a misconception.

What Skills Can’t Be Taught There?

To be a successful writer you will need quite a lot of tools on your belt. Sure, one of them is to write well. But that isn’t the only thing you need. You shall also have to be persistent, to be even stubborn in times when it comes to writing. Authors must have discipline, as well. Otherwise, how can one complete a 100k book? Especially with deadlines coming…

Now, university cannot teach you how to be persistent. University will give you options to explore, an ocean of knowledge from which you can soak, but personal character – that isn’t something that is gotten from there.

Why Liberal Arts Cannot Prepare You For The Writer's Life

Well, when you are in college, you will learn how to write academically. But this is really, really far from the distinct writing style you need to find. It is exactly that distinct easy-on-the-eyes style that is required if you wish to pursue career in writing.

Then What?

No, we aren’t saying that you should throw out language and linguistics as majors. No, you can major in them with no problem. What we want to point out is that you need to plan your curriculum differently. Sure, there are some elements that should and will be taught and you won’t need. But you can adjust your curriculum to include more practical things you’ll need on a day-to-day basis as a writer.

Writing and Working

Remember, few are those who are successful writers straight out of college and have never had to work something else. Hell, even Stephen King had to work for years on low-paid jobs before success struck.

Where are we going with that? Well, you will need a degree that will allow you to get a good job. Preferably one that you will like and one that will leave you with enough time to pursue a writing career.

It is more than likely that you will need to work something else at least for a while. Here is where you will need all that perseverance and discipline. You shall have to endure rejections, desperation even. So, you will have to stay strong and you will probably have to go through different fields before succeeding as an author.

And You Can Learn Those Things On Your Own

Say, for instance, creative writing. There are many courses that are separate from the college education. You can easily enroll in one of them.

But we will put that aside for not all colleges offer creative writing classes. Now, can’t you learn grammar, composition, and rhetoric on your own? Sure you can! Those can be learned from various textbooks, books in general, and non-academical courses.

What To Do, Then?

Why Liberal Arts Cannot Prepare You For The Writer's Life

Sure, many writers have studies liberal arts. Some of them are bachelors in English, others – in journalism, the list goes on. Yes, they have attained some habits and rules from their college education that helped them further on with their careers.

But before you enroll you should be sure of why are you going to pursue that degree, what does the college have to offer you in a particular program, as well as what are your plans after graduation.

As we already said, you will probably need to work another job before you get published. You’ll probably need to go through many obstacles. So, checking your options prior to applying is always a good thing.

Sure, you can take English or creative writing if you wish.

That slightly different degree can mean furthering your connections to the world you want to walk in. You will see the routines and styles of many people who, just as you, want to become writers.

But if you go for art history or linguistics, that won’t put you in those circles. That will do basically nothing to further your career.

Then, what to do? Make sure you have all your options lied out in front of you. Consider how you wish your life to go. See what are your strong and weak sides. Check the colleges you are applying to and see what do they offer. Only then select on a degree, without thinking that there is necessarily something that will make you a writer. No, what makes you a writer is… well, writing.


We hope that we pointed out the main aspects of why linguistics and literature degrees aren’t a must-have if you wish to become a writer. With all said, we simply want to finish up with wishing you good luck on your journey towards successful writing life.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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