Do You Need Qualifications to Become a Freelance Writer?

I burned all my old certificates a couple of days ago. (Alright, so I shredded them. But that’s not such a good opener, is it?)

My GCSEs (two Bs, four Cs and three Ds, baby), my photography A-Level, my Food Hygiene Certificate (don’t ask), my National Diploma in Media Publishing, my fucking Apprenticeship in ‘Team Leading’ – all gone. I even shredded my Personal Licence, which legally allows me to serve alcohol in England and Wales. (Which, by the by, is a certificate you’re supposed to ‘surrender’ when you decide you don’t want it any more, but I loves breakin’ me some rules.)

Okay, so I kept my Journalism degree, because I worked hard for it, I’m proud of it, and it cost money. But I’ve never actually used it for anything.

The thing is, you really don’t need any qualifications. Not if you want to become a freelance writer. I mean, you can just start doing it, you know?

Having a Journalism degree, or an English degree, or any other writey degree is by no means a prerequisite to a successful freelance writing career. (And it certainly won’t stop you using words like ‘writey’.) I could definitely have done what I’ve done without my degree. (In fact, I specialised in Radio Publishing, so it’s barely relevant to what I do at all.)

There’s no one to tell you you can’t do it without a degree. There’s nothing to apply for. No interviews. Just you, your idea and your gumption.

Where would you end up if, instead of spending 3–4 years studying, you spent that time building a freelance writing business?