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cmi0616
02-14-2014, 12:05 AM
Hi, English major undergrad here.

I know we have some experienced and accomplished writers on this forum, so I was wondering if anybody could share their thoughts and experiences on MFA programs (or their thoughts on not experiencing or participating in MFA programs).

People who I've asked so far have basically said that:

A) MFA programs will not necessarily make you a better writer (in fact a few have said that MFA programs promote homogeneity and will not welcome people with different styles)

B) MFA Programs can be costly, and, if you don't find a job at a University afterwards, leave you in a lot of debt

but

C) MFA programs do provide writers with a lot of time to write which they might not otherwise have, in addition to networking opportunities.

What say you, AW?

amergina
02-14-2014, 12:09 AM
Depends on the program.

gettingby
02-14-2014, 10:40 AM
Look for funded programs. I am getting my MFA now. I have free tuition and a small stipend. I am so glad I am doing this. I can already see improvement in my writing. And I am around truly great people that all are amazing writers.

blacbird
02-14-2014, 12:26 PM
I have an M.F.A. from Iowa, with John Irving as my thesis advisor. I never got a penny of financial support for this from the University; I did have G.I. bill, courtesy of three years in the U.S. Army, via the draft, including a year in Vietnam. Oh, yeah, and I worked two jobs.

And pursued advanced degrees in a scientific field, from which I got an industrial career that paid the bills. About five years ago, I got an adjunct teaching gig at the local university, for which the M.F.A. was directly valuable, for the very first time.

I don't regret getting that M.F.A. It was a great experience. But I never counted on that as a money-maker, a career move. I did it because it was interesting.

Nor has having that degree ever achieved anything for me in the way of creative writing success.

That's my story. Now go write good stuff.

caw

shaldna
02-14-2014, 03:19 PM
Hi, English major undergrad here.

I know we have some experienced and accomplished writers on this forum, so I was wondering if anybody could share their thoughts and experiences on MFA programs (or their thoughts on not experiencing or participating in MFA programs).

People who I've asked so far have basically said that:

A) MFA programs will not necessarily make you a better writer (in fact a few have said that MFA programs promote homogeneity and will not welcome people with different styles)



It depends what you are looking for. They can teach you a great deal about the actual craft of writing. I found that many of these programmes tend to be very literary focused and not as good for genre writers. That said, you get out of these programmes what you put in, and you can learn a lot about your own style by studying others.


B) MFA Programs can be costly, and, if you don't find a job at a University afterwards, leave you in a lot of debt

A university job isn't the only job open to you. If you are looking at an MFA as a route to publication then you may well be disappointed. If you are looking at is as an educational and learning experience then it could be for you. You need to ask yourself what you WANT out a programme. I did a masters in writing with no inclination to find a job in that area. But I enjoyed it, met a lot of great people, learned a lot about my own writing and others. But it is costly, and not everyone can afford to do something like that for fun.


but

C) MFA programs do provide writers with a lot of time to write which they might not otherwise have, in addition to networking opportunities.

Ha. No they don't.

Seriously. When I was doing my masters I was studying 5-8 hours a day and THEN I was doing my writing for class. I didn't have time to even think about my own writing for over a year. What I, and pretty much everyone on my course found, was that it was so exhausting mentally doing all the required writing for class that most folks were too zapped or burned out to write there own books, and even those who were still fired up found that they simply didn't have the TIME to do it.