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piscesgirl80
10-27-2012, 09:55 PM
So, after wanting to earn an MFA in creative writing for many years, I finally decided this fall is the time I am going to apply. The thing is, as I'm starting to work my way through the applications, I'm finding myself filled with self-doubt. I'm questioning my ability/skills as a writer much more deeply than I have in a long time, and wondering if applying is wasting my time and the time of the folks in the admissions office.

I was wondering what tricks other people use to keep their confidence levels up when pursuing new writing goals, whether applying to school, like I am, or trying new genres or markets, or whatever. Thanks!

Susan Littlefield
10-27-2012, 10:28 PM
Hi piscesgirl80,

I remember feeling that way before I started paralegal school and before finishing by B.A. degree. Both programs required a writing sample, and you writing skills were supposed to be above average. When I finally finished both, I was so glad I followed through.

With writing, at the beginning every story is new. For me, I just write and make sure I follow through. Sometimes completing a story takes awhile, but that's okay.

TheIT
10-27-2012, 10:33 PM
Go for it. Better to try than to not try. True, you might not succeed, but one of the things you have to ask yourself is how you'd feel if you never made the attempt at all. Better to make an honest effort than to sit on the sidelines. And who knows? Maybe everything will work out just fine.

Good luck!

:Sun:

dangerousbill
10-27-2012, 10:37 PM
I'm questioning my ability/skills as a writer much more deeply than I have in a long time, and wondering if applying is wasting my time and the time of the folks in the admissions office.


Not everyone thinks an MFA is worth the trouble or that it will improve your ability to write publishable prose. You might want to search AW on the subject, since much has been said about the value of the MFA, largely negative.

NeuroFizz
10-27-2012, 10:59 PM
Well, we can always sit in our comfy, safe homes, and stick with comfy, safe activities, with comfy, safe friends, and I'm sure we will have a good shot at comfy, safe lives. Wouldn't that be exciting?

Filigree
10-28-2012, 02:38 AM
When going for an MFA, one has to balance out whether the experience will be worth the cost. If you can swing the price or get part of it covered by a grant, it can be a life-changing adventure. Sure, it may not be an automatic ticket to a literary fiction award or a New York gallery show, but you will probably benefit from the structured environment forcing you out of your comfort zone.

Look at the application as the start of that process, and forge ahead.

theDolphin
10-28-2012, 02:55 AM
I was wondering what tricks other people use to keep their confidence levels up when pursuing new writing goals, whether applying to school, like I am, or trying new genres or markets, or whatever. Thanks!


I just write and make sure I follow through. Sometimes completing a story takes awhile, but that's okay.

Hi there!

In the first place, coming and asking for tips is great, because you are reaching out to get some support! So good job on that! :)

I would agree with Susan that for me follow-through is the best way to get my confidence back up. That's been true for me with both writing a genre-bending novel and with working toward get it published. When struggle, I find keeping my nose to that grindstone really helps. Sometimes it means breaking a goal down into manageable chunks so that it doesn't get overwhelming and tackling those small pieces one at a time. Each little step I take toward my goal helps me to continue to believe in it. :)

Don't give up!

Putputt
10-28-2012, 02:15 PM
What often helps me in times of doubt is remembering that I have nothing to lose by trying. If you were to get rejected, you don't get to go on the program. If you don't apply, you don't get to go on the program either. So...you can only gain something by trying. :) Keep at it. I wish you the best of luck!

VeronicaX
10-28-2012, 03:35 PM
I know all about lacking confidence. I have never attempted to go to school to study creative writing, but I did ponder about it a year or so ago. Where I live, Creative Writing classes isn't common and I looked at a program online via a university in Texas. I decided against it because I had no clue if I was even good enough, I wasn't feeling 100% focused, it was expensive, online schooling is hard and even more so when the school is so far away I can't just drop by one day I got some questions etc. And, I also asked a friend of mine, a published writer, for advice. I explained the situation and I was advised not to. I told her how I had been writing for so many years, how I'd been dying to publish for such a long time, but always chickened out, how I dislike school and I was never fond of it.

Looking back, I kind of regret I didn't do it. I still lack confidence and I think it could've helped me to get over that if I indeed tried to take some classes. Instead I'm trying to finish up my mini colletion of short stories and self publish it. Right now I'm working on a short story with yet another subject I know very little about, but I hope it will turn out as nicely as the others have done (not that I can say they're good, but at least one person like them so far, which is a small beginning at least since no one else have read them so far :) ).

Sometimes I think it all depends on how much you want something, if you're willing to let go of your fear and how much you're willing to learn. Of course there are many ways to learn something and it can also be individual what works for you and what's not. But at the end of the day it all boils down to the same thing: in order for you to gain, you have got to let youurself let go of your fear.

I try to do that every day. :)

Good luck!

bearilou
10-28-2012, 03:50 PM
Well, we can always sit in our comfy, safe homes, and stick with comfy, safe activities, with comfy, safe friends, and I'm sure we will have a good shot at comfy, safe lives. Wouldn't that be exciting?

Sign me up!

I'll get started just as soon as I finish getting the house adjusted to a new puppy.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v368/bearilou/kermit-flail.gif

IOW, what he said.

elindsen
10-28-2012, 05:28 PM
Like others have said, trying can only be positive. As for the confidence, sometimes you just have to straighten your shoulders and fake it til you make it.

ARoyce
10-28-2012, 06:31 PM
The risk of rejection and criticism can be paralyzingly, I agree.

I agree with others who've said that trying is worth the effort. It's also important to keep in mind why you're doing it. Whether you're applying to a program or trying a new genre, why are you doing it? If your goal is to be a better writer, then every step you take can bring you closer to that goal, even if there are detours along the way.

I also agree, though, that it's important for you to research MFA programs to see if that's really the direction you want to go in.

gothicangel
10-28-2012, 06:32 PM
I'm starting a second degree in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology in February, my first degree is in English. So yeah, I do wonder if I will be able to switch disciplines. My survival instinct is to lose all ego about already having a degree, and go in as though I know nothing [obviously I know enough to be offered a place!]

Jamesaritchie
10-28-2012, 07:15 PM
Not everyone thinks an MFA is worth the trouble or that it will improve your ability to write publishable prose. You might want to search AW on the subject, since much has been said about the value of the MFA, largely negative.

Or you might get away from AW and look at the long, long, long list of very famous writers who hold an MFA.

Amadan
10-28-2012, 07:17 PM
Or you might get away from AW and look at the long, long, long list of very famous writers who hold an MFA.


What percentage of MFAs are famous writers, and what percentage of famous writers are MFAs?

Phaeal
10-28-2012, 08:26 PM
Take Oscar Hammerstein's advice to heart:

You can be as brave,
As you make believe you are!

Confidence doesn't descend from heaven. You gain it by taking risks. That is, the doing begets confidence, not vice versa.

An Inner Drill Sergeant can help, too. Mine says (or rather, bellows):

So what if you fail? So what if your stuff gets rejected? What are you, a precious speshul SNOWFLAKE?? Waiting for Mommie to HOLD YOUR HAND??? Get down and give me twenty -- submissions!!!!

Phaeal
10-28-2012, 08:38 PM
What percentage of MFAs are famous writers, and what percentage of famous writers are MFAs?

Also, what percentage of famous writers are not MFAs?

I say if you want a degree, especially if you look forward to teaching writing, then fine. But research, research, research, and talk to past and present students in the program. If your writing goals don't mesh with what the faculty and your fellows deem acceptable literature, you're signing up for torture, not instruction.