Saturday, April 24, 2010

U is for University: The Formal Side of Writing Education

I have a secret desire (well, not so secret, since I'm blogging) to get my MFA in Creative Writing.

Given that I am two classes' from a Master's in Finance, and already have a job making quite decent money, it's probably not the most logical life choice. But we'll see how the next several years shape up; if this stays a dream of mine, it might just become a reality. After changing my major three times in college and my life plan many more times since, I accept that dreams are sometimes fluid!

But man. How much fun would it be to spend two years studying nothing but the art of writing and, well, writing? Plus I love to teach, and I'd love to be able to teach writing someday!

Would you ever think of getting your MFA?


disobedientwriter said...

I obsess about it. I really regret not doing it before I had my son. I always figured I would do it once he started school, but I had no idea how guilty I'd feel spending all that time and money.

I found some low-residency programs that seem reputable, relatively inexpensive, and won't take me away too much. I am seriously considering one of those when he starts full-time elementary school.

Krystal said...

I took Fiction Writing in my college's MFA program as an elective. I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure I could do the entire MFA program. We had a "certificate" option that was four classes instead... I tried to tell myself that I didn't need the classes and degree to prove I could write creatively.

Good luck in your decision!

Tiger Holland said...

I just finished the course work for my MFA, and passed my thesis defense. :-) I should be holding my degree in two weeks! I'd love to talk abt the experience, if you've got questions. Of course, I'm coming from the poetry side, and fiction MFA's are slightly different.

Dawn Simon said...

I'd love to get my MFA. Maybe someday. :)

Ellen Brickley said...

I used to want to study writing formally, but having studied English Lit formally I no longer feel the need. That said, I know many people who have done advanced degrees in writing who swear by them. It all depends on what works for you!

Old Kitty said...


Is there a way you can have a "trial lecture" - just to have a taster?

I nearly did a Masters in Creative Writing but decided not to at the very last moment (even went as far as registration and paying my fees and turning up to the first lecture!).

the idea sounded so good to me - to be able to immerse my academic mind into a more disciplined approach to writing.

I guess it was the wrong time at the wrong uni for all the wrong reasons for me.

Maybe it'll be something to think about when I retire!

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Take care

Piedmont Writer said...

I would love to get my Master's. However, I would love to study in England or Ireland.

Kittie Howard said...

If there's a way to get your MFA, go for it. But, I'd also look at the possibility of seeing if your day job transferred somehow to one of Europe's capitals, where you could take art courses, etc. Regardless, push yourself NOW for time has a way of closing in later as life's responsibilities multiply, ie, home and hearth and kids and so on.

Guinevere said...

Disobedient, it's good to hear about your experience -- putting an MFA program off until post-kids is something I've been thinking about.

Krystal, was there anything in your class that turned you off the idea of doing an entire MFA program, or was it just not your cup of tea/the right timing?

Congrats Tiger! I'd love to talk to you about an MFA program... maybe we could even do an interview for the blog? :)

Sounds like we're in the same club, Dawn. :)

Guinevere said...

Ellen, I thought it was interesting look at MFA curriculums how many included a series of crossover Lit electives -- love that idea too! I loved my Lit classes as an undergrad, I read so many books I probably wouldn't have discovered on my own.

Old Kitty, I think that'd be an awesome thing to do in retirement! I like your idea of trying classes out beforehand... that'd be fun, anyway, as well as giving me a better sense of whether it's really something I want to do. I have a tendency to plunge into things impulsively!

Ooh, Piedmont, studying in England or Ireland would be brilliant! I'm hoping MJ can get a job overseas at some point - he's working for an American branch of a British company right now, and I'm hoping someday we can spend a few years as ex-pats!

Kittie, that is so true, and I LOVE the idea of going to Europe.

E. Elle said...

I've considered it but I don't know if I'd ever go through with it. I'm up to my ears in loan payments as it is and one of my big goals is to be debt-free. But, maybe the stars will align and I'll be guided down a different track. :o)

Jennifer Shirk said...

well, I have a BS in pharmacy but thought about doing another two years to get my doctorate. But considering I'm not using that degree right now, I'm glad I decided to nix that idea. :)

Neurotic Workaholic said...

You could do one of those low residency MFA programs, where a lot of the work you do is done independently and you communicate with the professors online or through snail mail; then you only have to go to the actual campus for the seminars for a few weeks rather than several months. I wish I could give you the links to one but I'm sure you could Google it and find some good ones. (I read an article about the low-residency programs in Writer's Digest from an issue that was published a few months back.)It might be a good option if you want to keep your day job; you'd
still get the opportunity to learn from professors and fellow writers.