1. AngelHazard
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    AngelHazard New Member

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    Would an honorary degree help my writing career?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AngelHazard, Oct 17, 2010.

    Hi I'm new and in need of some advise.

    The Problem:
    My religious article was sent back for a complete rewrite today. The copy editor liked my work, commenting that it was good, but due to the fact that I do not hold a degree in religion or teaching I will have to completely write the article in reference to another person's work.


    Will these Ideas Help?:

    Would getting a honorary degree (or maybe being ordained as a minister) help give credibility to my writing and keep this problem from happening in the future? I found a website that offers both online, but I am not sure how this type of thing is viewed by Demand Studios or employers in general.

    I've also thought about creating a blog for my articles, but I am unsure if this would help to add credibility to my name?

    Thank you for your time
     
  2. Spring Gem
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    Spring Gem Member

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    One article rejected by one publisher doesn't equate to needing a degree or becoming ordained.

    Here are some things to consider:

    Have you submitted your article to other publishers? If not, then do some market research and submit it elsewhere.

    Are you wanting to work as a freelance writer? If so, write another article to submit to this publisher, or reslant the article you've written to fit the publisher's needs. A freelance career is made of writing many articles and submitting to many publishers. You can learn to slant the same basic information to fit various markets.

    Are you wanting to write primarily religious articles and become a recognized authority on the subject? If you are wanting to become an authority on religious matters, then getting a degree or becoming ordained could give you a foot in the door to some publishers, but it doesn't guarantee that your work will be published.

    Hope this helps.
    Lavern
     
  3. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would consider the idea of rewriting the article. This is only a guess at the editor's motivation, but if you are making claims and presenting ideas, he/she may be afraid that your idea is based upon someone else's idea. In academic circles such cases are gray areas that border on plagiarism. I'm not saying that you stole any ideas, just that the editor needs some sort of assurances that you have not. Additionally they may want to see credentials that certify you have done your homework and researched the topic at hand.

    This can be done in two (possibly more) ways:
    1) Get a degree that proves you are an authority in the field and thus, your ideas have been vetted by your peers.

    2) Do a re-write and cite other authors, showing a clear path of how you came to your idea (who influenced you) and how your idea differs from your mentors'. (Make your paper an academic paper)

    The plus side to route #2 is that it is faster and route #1 will very likely require route #2 any way. There is never a down side to citing your sources and showing how your thoughts were formed. If nothing else, it strengthens your case by showing that you have researched opposing views and are aware of possible flaws in your own thinking.

    A great example of this can be found in the personal blog of a member of this board: hiddennovelist's article, "Men are that they might have joy". Notice how she cites her sources, acknowledges opposing views, and clearly indicates how her views differ from those of her colleagues?

    In the end, it is your paper and your choice. You may, as has been suggested, be able to find another publisher who may accept the paper as is. In any case, best of luck to you.

    Cheers,
    -Kyle
     
  4. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Only get ordained as a minister if you have (a calling).
    Do not worry about a rejection letter we all get them. Keep writing, try other publications and good luck.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    fake degrees [and ordination] can only hurt any career eventually, as you will be found out... and will especially kill the rep of someone who bases a writing career as a supposed 'expert' on phony credentials...
     
  6. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I must say I'm left a little stunned by the request. Not being sure what the editor's motivation for this was, it's hard to figure out what his/her issues are if s/he likes your work. If the writing is sound and your facts are presented with accurate footnotes where necessary, I just don't understand the problem. If, as you seem to suggest, the editor wants those footnotes in reference to a source or two, then I don't see that as a major re-write issue but merely a credit issue.

    It is up to you if you want to re-write for this editor or keep shopping. In any case, getting an honorary degree is no easier than getting a legitimate one and not the best avenue to choose for publication.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think that an honorary degree - one where you didn't actually complete a documented course of study - would be any good for this purpose.

    I'm not entirely clear on what's being asked of you. If the problem is that you're making statements of fact, or statements of opinion that should logically be based on a substantial base of knowledge and training, then I can see that you would need to cite authorities who have that knowledge and training. Would it be extremely difficult to find those sources to cite?

    For example, a statement of opinion, like:

    Garlic adds flavor to many dishes.

    shouldn't need citation. However, a statement of scientific fact, like:

    Garlic stored in oil can develop botulism, due to lack of oxygen. Unless some form of acid is used to retard the develop of botulism, garlic-oil mixture should be kept for no longer than seven days, always under refrigeration. If, through error, the mixture comes to room temperature, it should be discarded.

    might well need a citation. But the need to hunt down an official source for this fact shouldn't negate the value of the writing as a whole.

    ChickenFreak
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Are you covering primarily religious issues? If so, it'd probably help, although you should only get ordained as a minister if you actually believe in that faith -- a degree in theology might help too.

    If you cover numerous topics as a reporter/journalist, then spending loads of loads of time and investment won't help much if you'll only cover that subject occcasionally. Just get expert sources.

    Are you a stringer, or covering a specific beat? (reporter-wise)
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Unless things have changed radically in recent years, you don't just "get an honorary degree". It is offered by an institution of higher learning in recognition of major achievements. It makes a nice addition to your C.V. but does not indicate any particular expertise in anything.
     
  10. mummymunt
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    mummymunt Member

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    Other people have addressed your questions, so I'll leave that to them, especially since I have virtually no experience with writing articles.
    There is a problem with your post, though. This is going to sound incredibly nit-picky, and please understand that I'm not doing this to annoy or upset you, but when you post on a writing site then this kind of stuff will likely be picked up by someone.
    The first thing is: "Would a honorary degree help my writing career?" It should be an honorary degree, not a honorary degree.
    The second thing is: "Hi I'm new and in need of some advise." It should be advice, not advise.
    Like I said, it may seem nit-picky, but if your article or any of your other writing is full of mistakes like that I don't think many editors are going to take you too seriously. They're simple mistakes that really can't be excused in an industry where the written word is everything.
    Sorry if I've offended you :(
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Generally we let those nits pass outside of critique threads, though, unless it's directly relevant to the topic or the errors are so dominant as to make the post difficult to read.
     
  12. Axo Non Roadkill
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    Axo Non Roadkill Member

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    One thing comes to mind: If you completely rewrite your article to make it a bunch of references to things already written, you take away all meaning. Forget that publisher. He is basically asking you to make yours into not-yours. And I don't know about the religious field, but an article full of references would appear to me like a redundant semi-ripoff.
    So I suggest if that publisher doesn't accept YOUR work, drop them, look for another or a blog. If you write your blog well and carefully, your credibility should be fine.

    As for any degrees, I think if the work is good, it doesn't need a certificate. Not in the art/creative field. I was offered an internship with Hollywood and I'm a dropout.
     

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