Choosing to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree may be the right choice for some, but probably isn’t for everyone. Here are my thoughts on the pros and cons of the MFA.

Show Notes and Links:

01:39 The fifth anniversary of my blog

03:28 Some of the most popular posts have been centered around the topic of the Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degree

04:50 My own path to an MFA

07:27 Misgivings and fears about pursuing an MFA

10:10 Every year, thousands of writers have a similar experience to mine: desire for structure, feedback, and community

13:00 Overview of the MFA question: some pros and cons

14:44 There ARE other ways to accomplish most of the same goals, except for an accredited degree

16:10 There is an instinct to rush into an MFA program, but it isn’t always the best option. Which is right for you?

17:29 Consider what you will do AFTER the MFA BEFORE you even start it.

19:10 If you decide the MFA path is the path for you, tackle it with everything you have. Make the most of that time.

20:00 Go into the MFA with eyes wide open. It takes more than just the program to continue a productive writing life after the program is over and the external motivation is no longer there.

23:40 What an MFA will NOT do for you.

26:00 The question, “Should I get an MFA or not?” is a valid one. Here’s what I tell people who ask me that question.

28:27 What DO you get from an MFA? A lot of positive things, in a convenient way.

30:12 Only you can decide if an MFA is right for you. I hope these thoughts on the MFA have helped you make a good decision.

Links:

Donate or Sponsor the Podcast

Episode 19: Finding Quality Writing Instruction

Blog: To MFA, or Not

Blog: Thinking About an MFA?

Blog: What an MFA Won’t Get You

Blog: On Time and the MFA

Queens University of Charlotte Low Residency MFA

Poets and Writers Magazine

Check out some of the authors/mentors mentioned in this episode: Ashley Warlick, Jonathan Dee, Naeem Murr, Pinckney Benedict, Fred Leebron, Elizabeth Strout.

(Also a shout out to Ann Cummins, Dan Mueller, and Lauren Groff who I didn’t mention in the podcast, but were instrumental in my MFA.)

More Stories Podcast Links:

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Other Eric Sheridan Wyatt links:

▪My author page on Amazon.

▪My blog, Stories I Read, Stories I Tell

▪My homepage, Words Matter Creative Writing

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Podcast Episode 21: What’s the Deal with the MFA?
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  • Great podcast! I appreciate your attention to the bigger picture of the writing life. Surely, MFA programs aren’t the beginning or the ending of the writing life. I got my Masters Degree 11 years ago and have been writing in the evenings and in my spare time ever since. I’m only now looking forward to the publication of my first novel with Ooligan Press in Spring, 2017. https://goo.gl/nwMCcS . I’ve had to juggle writing with a day job and the needs of a wife and 2 children, which makes writing… problematic… a loooooong process… but no less rewarding or necessary for me. I certainly wouldn’t call writing a “hobby” even though it is a little further down my priority list than my family and job. I have taken months off writing here and there, and I’ve quite simply found it an essential soul-feeding practice. For about 20 years writing has been its own reward for me, and that has been enough (though most of the time it has felt like not enough). While it is not ideal, I would still encourage other MFA graduates to keep up their writing work in the midst of life’s other necessities. And at least once per year, read Annie Dillard’s thoughts on “necessity” in her essay, Living Like Weasels http://www.courses.vcu.edu/ENG200-lad/dillard.htm Be clear in your own mind where writing fits in your life: whether it is a want, or a need, or a life-long exercise. Thanks again for your thoughts and the discussion. It does me good.