To MFA degree…or to not?

Remember when writing was fun?

Me being silly!

I’ve seem to forgotten that lately. Back in my college days, Writing Workshop was fun. I spent those three-hour classes just letting go. I wrote my heart on the page and I felt free. I felt so relaxed and in-tuned with my inner self, that now four years out of college, I seem to be having a hard time remembering those days.

Sometimes I’ll have my moments in the sun. I’ll write a few pages to a story I haven’t touched in a while. I’ll write a new poem. I’ll come up with a new story idea. I might take a week and work solely on one project, (for once.)

And then by next week it’s all trashed again. Remember those bills I got to pay? That work or job I don’t want to go to? Those places I want to travel? Those mountains I want to see?

What will I find in the shadows of the mountains? Is the California sun really as bright as it looks on TV?

I keep telling myself that writing is my dream, but more than lately I feel like writing seems to be what I’ve been using as an excuse to get to those places. Can’t be a best seller if I don’t write…right? Can’t make money if I’m not a best seller and everyone knows that you can’t travel without money.

Sigh. I’ve just been so bored with life lately. Nothing inspires me. I love being busy, but when I’m not…suddenly I have a hard time breathing. I never knew that a person could get anxiety just by simply doing nothing?

Someone would think that with all this down time I should be using it to write, but sometimes I feel like I don’t have enough life experiences to write anything remotely interesting.

Now that brings me to my next thought: What if I went back to grad school?

I’ve been toying with the idea back and forth to get an MFA (Master of Fine Arts Degree) in Creative Writing and I spent some time today reading some pros and cons to such a venture.

Some people argue that the MFA degree in some areas has become so structural. That you often become influenced by the program that your writing changes as a result. It changes because you’re told that the world is looking for a particular type or style, while other people argue that it’s not really worth the debt that you’ll be potentially putting yourself in. It’s no secret that college in the U.S. is expensive.

Others say that yes, the MFA degree is for those that are looking to get back in the craft, (or it used to be,) to fine-tune writing that already has great potential.

Whatever the reason, an MFA could…inspire. Or put me in more debt.

The pro for me would be getting out seeing new places of the world, and getting back into that writing world, which I not only dream about lately, I yearn for it.

The con would be uprooting my life that I have now, a boyfriend, leaving family, a lack of money and where would I work while getting a grad degree?

But I can’t seem to get rid of that distant dream that has always been beckoning me on the horizon. Although an MFA degree might not be particularly useful in the job industry, (I mean, honestly, what English degree is nowadays,) it would be wonderful just being back in a college environment again. Oh, I miss it. I really do.

And I could always pursue journalism, or something.

What do you guys think? Where do you stand on the whole MFA issue?

I figure if J. K. Rowling can go without…that means something. But it doesn’t mean that someone can’t benefit from going back, right? Hmm. Certainly deserves some thought.

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8 thoughts on “To MFA degree…or to not?

  1. For what it’s worth, many writers and thinkers, myself among them, often talk about the unoriginal, formulaic quality of MFA literature over books written by non MFA writers. This is perhaps because structure and sequence can churn out formula without feeling, and that magical component.

    • I agree, although the article I read also pointed out that a writer who has their own unique style tend to overcome this. Although I did have a creative writing teacher who didn’t like when I planned to continue writing my fantasy novel in her class because its what she claimed to be “magical realism.” I hate those words, lol.

  2. I think I may be in a similar position to you. And as a result, I plan on going to graduate school in New Zealand or somewhere else abroad. (I’m from California.)

    I want to push myself and hone my craft. I want to dedicate more of my time to my passion. I can experience the formulaic style of writing (if this is indeed what I will learn), and if it doesn’t fit me, I can shake it off. I will be getting out of my shell in ways I never have before. I will see a new place, and I will indulge in a new culture and a new lifestyle. Not to mention, graduate school in NZ is only a one-year program, and it costs a lot less!

    • That sounds amazing! I wish I could go with you…actually there’s no one stopping me, but me, right? I actually thought about London abroad when I thought about Grad school, its interesting that you mention this. I bet it would be a lot of fun!

      • London is another place I am considering, but it’s more of a backup. I’m limiting myself to English-speaking countries since that is my first language. And in terms of weather, (which is actually very important for me,) Australia and New Zealand are the best fit.

        We could definitely do research together and bounce ideas around!

      • Oh that sounds great! 🙂 email me some of your ideas if you want! All those places are on my bucket list to see, but weather is important to me as well, definitely. I’m so bummed I’ll be caught in another New York winter this year.

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