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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Big MFA Question

Today Kidlit.com posted an interesting article: Should You Get an MFA?

This, of course, is the central question to anyone pursuing a DIY MFA.  Should you uproot your life or perform feats of time-management acrobatics in order to go back to school?  Or should you go it alone?

I chose the former and was glad I did because the MFA program taught me several things, though not all necessarily about writing.  We learned about the literature in our field and attended several publishing talks.  Of course, it helped that the program was specific to children's writing.  At the same time, though, I realized when I graduated that the MFA is not for everybody, which was the whole thought process that motivated DIY MFA back in September.

Now, as we near the end of October, I wanted to check in with all of you who participated in DIY MFA.  How is everything coming along for you?  Have you found some readings to attend and read some good books from your list?

Most importantly, how's the writing coming?

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

There are some careers where a masters is vital: teaching, banking, business... but I don't know anyone who has benefited from an MFA in creative writing, and quite a few people who couldn't get a job at 30 because they hadn't hadn't ever had one before.

My stance is this: if you really want to learn to write, you have to write. You can't read about it, or watch a video on it, or hear a lecture on it. No editor or agent gives a flying dog turd about the piece of paper on the wall in your office, or what your student loan balance is, or how well your mom or english lit professor liked your critical analysis Mockingjay. What matters here isn't can you do it, but have you don it. And most traditional MFA-ers are too busy listening about writing and analyzing writing to get any actual writing done.

So there you go. DIY, all the way, baby, and save the student loan payments for therapy.

Najela said...

The writing is going well. I'm currently revising some of the chapters so they flow better. Just trying to let the characters do what they want and seeing how that method goes.

As for an MFA program, personally, I want to get one because I want to work as a professional author at some point. I know I can probably do it alone but I need the guidance and a situation that helps me craft discipline. That's something I could do on my own, but I tend to work better under pressure from deadlines and other people. I'm not good at setting my own deadlines because I tend to compromise with myself. That being said, I've found my BA degree in creative writing to be rewarding in some regards, but you only get out what you put in. =/ Some of the things I learned outside of writing, such as critical thinking and the craft of writing I wouldn't have gotten trying to teach myself.

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

I'm gearing up for NaNoWriMo.

Kerryn Angell said...

Lol, Shaddy. Enough said. :)

I've got back from holiday but I did finish outlining my DIY MFA program which I'm beginning to trial tomorrow. Wish me luck!

I attended a whole day as part of the Manchester Literature Festival on historical fiction which I don't think I would have ventured out to if it wasn't for DIY MFA. I've also picked a couple books along the lines of some novel ideas I have to put on my reading list. And I've come up with another idea for a Big Paper. I think I like this studying stuff. :)

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