Thursday, September 23, 2010

to MFA or not to MFA ... that's today's question

I'm trying to decide if I should enroll in an MFA program (Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Writing).  If time and money were not an issue, I would simply enroll. However, I've got three teenagers who not only eat up all my money, but also eat up all my time. Love them...and they are my main focus right now.

However, I told myself a year and a half ago that if I didn't have an agent by now...I would enroll in an MFA program.

What to do?

Interestingly I've been contemplating this decision, I've come across a lot of blogs and magazine articles that point toward: NO don't do it.  Comments like, MFA programs only focus on literary achievement and not commercial publication; or MFA doesn't mean anything in a query letter to an agent; or MFA programs only focus on publishing short stories not how to get an agent; and so forth.

Opinions? Do you have an MFA? Are you going to pursue one? At a local university or online? Do you think it will help in the publishing process?


  1. I've contemplated it. I think I'm going to go back and continue my History degree into a Masters, instead. It's something more solid to fall back on!

  2. I'm a new follower! I stopped by to see your take on compelling characters (don't worry, I'll lurk later!)

    As far as getting a degree with a family that not only eats money but eats time, that's a tough call. I've heard it both ways, some people find it very helpful to understand publishing and the ins and outs. However most of those I follow on the blog are debuting their novels next year and went to college for something entirely different.

    They learned everything they needed to know by networking on their blogs. In January of this year I started my blog, knowing I'd write a book and thinking directly after I'd be published. It's been written and now sitting in the revision state, meanwhile I've been on blogger learning that life isn't as simple as you plan. Most people say that everything you'd learn in class is at your fingertips online, you just have to be willing to listen.

  3. Chantal - thank you for your comments! :)

    Jen - thanks for stopping by! I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment. Really... that's how I feel as well, but like you said, "...knowing I'd write a book and thinking directly after I'd be published." The process is so much more time consuming than I ever imagined. But...I can't help wonder if classes would help improve my craft, or if "online" (non-degree seeking) learning is enough.

  4. I don't have an MFA nor am I a published author, but I haven't read anything that could compel me to sign up for one, either. And I would love to be a professional student, trust me! I've taken a number of online courses and have learned tons.