Q. Do I need to get a bachelor’s degree in creative writing in order to be a writer?
A. No. Get a degree in something that interests you, like chemistry or English literature; or get a degree in something that will bring in a paycheck, like computer programming or dental hygiene. Take as many electives as you can in things like literature and history and anthropology, and don’t stop writing.
Q. Do I need to get a Master’s of Fine Arts in creative writing in order to be a writer?
A. Definitely not. If you truly like academia and can afford to spend the time and money, you might enjoy the experience; and if you have ambitions to write a particular kind of literary novel, you might make some useful connections that way; but most writers do just fine without needing to acquire paper credentials.
Q. Do I need to attend a writers’ workshop in order to be a writer?
A. No. Again, if you can afford the time and the money, you may enjoy the experience; and (as with undergraduate and graduate writing courses) you may learn some bits of craft and technique in the class or workshop setting at a more accelerated rate than if you’d struggled to figure them out on your own. Still, most writers do fine without attending either classes or a workshop.
Q. All right, then. What do I need to do in order to become a writer?
A. Read. Read a lot, and read widely. Read fiction and nonfiction; read good books and trash.
And write. All you need for that part is a pen and some paper, or an open computer file.
Write until the page isn’t blank any more.
Then do it again. And again. And….
You get the idea.