In a Writing MFA, writers must...
Read. Most MFA programs have a literature component, where students must take a series of literature classes along with their writing coursework. At The New School, not only do you have to take literature classes, you actually have to write a literature thesis as part of your graduation requirement. In that sense, reading is a huge component of the MFA process. Similarly, DIY MFA puts an emphasis on reading the literature. By creating a reading list, reading the books and writing responses to what you read, you can simulate the literature study you would do in an MFA program.
Write. Of course a writing program must include a lot of writing, and so must DIY MFA. In a writing program you'll receive instruction on the craft of writing and be pushed to produce a substantial number of pages each semester for your workshop. This process of writing and rewriting helps you hone your craft and strengthen your own abilities. Without a writing component, the MFA (including the DIY MFA) would miss the point. To be a writer, you have to write. It's that simple.
Connect. One component that many writers forget is connecting to the writing community. Connecting can happen in many different ways. Attending readings, going to conferences, connecting with other writers via the internet... these are all great ways to engage with the writing community. The reason community is so important for writers is that otherwise writing can be a very lonely enterprise. Community gives us a reality check and helps us stay motivated.
Which of these elements is easiest for you? Which is the biggest challenge?