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Storytelling-No Degree Required

Eons ago, when I was a young buck attending Miami University, I had a short stint as a journalism major. But it wasn’t because I had this oozing passion for journalism. No. Not at all. Instead, it was because I got my butt handed to me in the Richard T. Farmer business school. I knew I was good at writing, so I figured I would fall back on that. Writing, in my mind at the time, was the safe bet. The thing is, business was calling me, so I ended up reverting back to it and figured out Calculus enough to pass the course. By some miraculous feat, I obtained my B.S. in Business at Miami University.


Fast forward four years, and I would begin another degree, this time in accounting at Baldwin Wallace University.


Now my experience is in finance, my MBA is in accounting, and I have an undergrad degree in marketing.


I’m sure you’re aware that none of these focuses offer any type of space for creating. In fact, creative accounting can actually get you time behind bars. So, how in the world did a no-nonsense businesswoman end up a fiction writer and novelist? One word:

Purpose.

Purpose comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms and has very little to do with status. Ever heard the saying: “God will equip the called?” That means your gifts, talents, and reason for being created have more to do with your calling than your societal accolades. These innate giftings are just waiting for you to say “yes” to purpose.

 

Still, sometimes our education can be a great asset. It can open doors of opportunity, put us in the right rooms, on top of training us in our designated fields. Being a doctor, lawyer, or even an engineer requires this type of specialized academic training. But the beauty in being a creative is that your creativity is divinely embedded, awaiting its revealing. 

Your storytelling is awaiting its revealing. 

I think back on my path and how it led me to this creative haven of storytelling. Because I’m a serial entrepreneur, my business background has equipped me for success. A solid admin foundation and infrastructure are needed in entrepreneurship, even if they aren’t needed to be a creative. But even my business degree isn’t a necessity when it comes to flourishing as an independent. As long as you have the business mindset, you don’t need the degree.

Photography Credit: Photographer Steven Jackson, Alien Eyez Photos

The great Tyler Perry is someone who began with a rough hand dealt. With an inner-city, abusive background, all his childhood he was told he would never amount to anything. As a result, he barely finished high school and didn’t even try to attend college. The thing is, he didn’t need to. He was a creative, so he started writing plays. Now he’s a billionaire and one of the most successful Black men in entertainment. 

And he never even obtained a college degree.

My personal gift of storytelling has been cultivated through its usage. Apparently, being an avid reader makes one a great writer. Growing up, I found a safe space in reading. Faced with bullying and rejection from peers, books became my friends. All those years I hadn’t an inkling that I was absorbing an ability to express myself creatively by inhaling others’ works who were doing so. 

 

My writing career was being crafted through reading.

 

As an adult, blogging enabled me to dabble in nonfiction, which influenced the publication of my first two books. I never once dreamed I could write fiction, much less a whole novel. But then I took a workshop with Lit Cleveland, and that became a vehicle for my knack for urban fiction storytelling. I’ve been writing fiction ever since.

 

My experience has taught me that though we don’t need a degree to be storytellers, we still need development. Taking workshops, participating in writing groups, and even being a guest writer, like I am for this blog, all give me space to flex and enhance this ability. That’s the beauty of writing. The more you do it, the better it gets.



If you’re someone wondering about how to get started as a writer, I would suggest enrolling in workshops. One of the best things that came out of the pandemic, in my opinion, was virtual meetings. Now we don’t even have to attend stuff in person. During the pandemic, I tapped into workshops that spanned the country. Additionally, find ways to practice writing, whether it's blogging for yourself or others. Medium, Substack, and WordPress are all platforms for bloggers. I would also advise that you connect with skillful editors and beta readers. No esteemed author has ever published their original manuscript. Editing is key.

 

The funny thing is, though I forfeited that journalism major, my path of writing led me right back to journalism. I am now a freelance journalist for Cleveland. Again, it wasn’t me seeking a degree that led to these opportunities. It was me seeking purpose.

 

Now you know the nuances of becoming a writer. But if you want to be a successful well-known writer, well, that’s going to take more training outside of your gift development. In fact, that’s a whole other blog.

 

We’ll have to discuss gaining visibility as a writer another day. Stay tuned.

 

Photo: Credit: Photographer Steven Jackson of Alien Eyez Photos

Meet the Author:

Nicole D. Miller is a 4x’s self-published author, blogger, and novelist. She takes immense pleasure in crafting stories that intertwine Black culture and faith and looks forward to producing edifying works that will impact her community. She is a freelance writer and covers positive stories of hope in the city.


Additionally, she owns ND Miller Publishing, a hybrid publishing company where she specializes in assisting debut authors with manifesting their book dreams. In her spare time, she loves shopping, time with friends, anything 90s R&B, and a good glass of red wine.


To learn more, you can visit nicoledmiller.com or email her at nicoledmiller1983@gmail.com.



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