To MFA or Not to MFA
Posted on April 4, 2012
I am currently contemplating whether to get further education and apply to an MFA program for creative writing or to try and do this writing thing on my own. I think that sometimes as writers, we may feel like we are the lone man on an island. I am happy to report that I’ve quickly found that while we writers may be on an island, we are definitely not alone.
I’ve found a few amenable writing groups in my area to discuss works and find community like I talk about in yesterday’s blog post. There’s a local writing center where I’ll be taking a 2-day seminar in world building with a friend. There are online forums through different websites to extend that community. But I’m beginning to wonder if it will be enough.
I have been in the academic world mainly for literature. Creative writing is a whole different area for me. Going to an MFA program would feel…familiar. However, I’m wondering whether or not it is a necessity in order to get published? The pros of a program would include being in a specific writers’ environment with writers who have passed some level to get into the program. There would be exposure to different writing both in literature and from other writers with lots of workshops and, most importantly, feedback. There would be strict deadlines – I think this may be a huge incentive as I am not disciplined (as of yet) to hold myself to those.
The cons? Money is a huge factor. It seems to already take money at a certain level to do this (for Scrivener, for materials, for workshops, for writers’ books and magazines…). Who knows if I’d get into a program in the first place? And my big factor is that through looking, it seems like many programs are not supportive of “genre” writing, which is anything other than realism. There goes a lot of support for my fairies, witches, and zombies.
I guess I’m wondering what others are doing and whether or not you/they are pondering the same question. Does it take an MFA to get skills, exposure, and ultimately help to break into the publishing world? Or is it possible, as a lone writer, to do that for myself?