7. NO DEGREE, JOB EXPERIENCE OR PREVIOUS CLIPS REQUIRED.

7. NO DEGREE, JOB EXPERIENCE OR PREVIOUS CLIPS REQUIRED.

I’ve helped both teenagers and adult students from many nonwriting fields break in. Kenan Trebincevic, a Bosnian-born physical therapist, feared that English as his second language and a science degree with no writing background would hold him back. Yet his essay—about how friends and neighbors betrayed his Muslim family during the Balkan War—wound up in the Times’ Lives column, in The Best Travel Writing 2012 anthology and with a William Morris Endeavor agent and a Viking editor (for a memoir I’m now co-authoring).

Before committing to a two-year graduate writing program or completing 300 pages of a book, consider starting with 900 words. Nothing fuels a love for the craft more than the thrilling reward of your first major byline and seeing firsthand how three pages can change your life.

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