Last Friday I spoke at a Career Day here in town. It's my second Career Day talk and my third school visit, and at each event I've been asked the question What's the best thing for me to study in school if I want to be a writer?
If you want to be an engineer, you study engineering. A teacher, teaching. But writing is funny.
I know very few writers who actually majored in creative writing. It's more common to come across those who studied English, but usually they intended to teach, not write.
The beautiful thing about writing is that whatever your life experiences are, you take them into your writing. Like John Grisham likely wouldn't write the way he does had he not been a lawyer. Or my friend Sarah Sundin - pharmacist by day, novelist by night.
What's great about this is that you're not going to screw up your chances for being a writer by choosing the wrong degree. It's not like getting your degree in hotel management and then deciding you want to be an architect.
If I had it all to do over again, I think I would have majored in English and minored in business/marketing. I say English because I'd like to be "better read" than I currently am, and business/marketing because being a novelist is like being a small business. It would be handy to have some formal education in business and not just be "winging it."
If you're interested in writing historicals, I'd look for my opportunities to take history classes. Medical thrillers? Study up on science.
So don't limit yourself to thinking being a writer means a degree in English or Creative Writing. In writing, you really benefit from being a well-rounded person. Gives you a better pallet for creating diverse characters.
Got a writing question? E-mail me. And if you've finished reading this post and thought, "Man, I really wished Stephanie had talked for longer," don't despair. I also blogged at Girls, God, and the Good Life today.