Though I've managed to publish several books and a wheelbarrow full of stories, essays and poems in literary journals, I did not do an Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing, which I do not regret and there were several reasons for this, some of which might be yours, and some of which might not. On the other hand, many of my contemporaries and indeed, one of my very favorite writers and editor, Dawn Marano, earned an MFA, and have told me it was a great decision. Every writer is different, and so if you're considering an MFA, my main advice to you would be:
1. State your intentions clearly (if only to yourself);
2. Explore your options and do your research. I mean, really explore and really research-- these puppies ain't cheap.
There's a splendid and very economical opportunity to explore and research MFAs in the one-day seminar which will be held this October 13 at The Writer's Center, just outside Washington DC, so check it out:
The Writer’s Center presents Make Lit Happen: Journeys Through the MFA and Beyond.
9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, October 13.
This one-day seminar will examine the value of MFA programs, the differences between low-residency and traditional MFA programs, and alternatives to the MFA. The seminar will include two panels focusing on MFAs and alternatives.
The first panel, “MA & MFA Nuts & Bolts,” will include directors of local MFA and MA programs and will meet from 10 am to 12 noon. The second, “Personal Journeys,” will meet from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., and will include individuals who’ll relate their particular journeys as writers and the role the MFA played, or did not play, in the process. We’ll have a 1-hour break for lunch in-between the two panels and a wine and cheese reception for informal mingling and networking after the second panel. We will also have light refreshments -- muffins, orange juice and coffee -- at 9:30 a.m. before the first panel meets.
This seminar is for anybody who is:
•curious about an MFA program
•already in a program
•considering other intensive writing workshops
•seeking to maintain focus in a stimulating environment after having completed an MFA.
Panelists will include Michael Collier, David Everett, David Keplinger, Eugenia Kim, Tim Denevi, Tarfia Faizullah, Barbara Klein Moss, Jenny Moore, Amber Withycombe and moderators Amin Ahmad and Nicole Idar.
Location: The Writer's Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, MD 20815
Fees: $50 ($35 for members and educators, $20 for students).
---> So if I didn't do an MFA, how did I learn to write fiction and creative nonfiction, and find an agent, and all that stuff? More anon.