If you’ve ever considered going to grad school to get an MFA in creative writing, but have talked yourself out of it, here are some good reasons to go ahead and do it!
1. Great teachers. They don’t let just anyone teach in an MFA program. The teachers in creative writing programs, at the graduate level, usually have a great body of work and tons of experience. In fact, most of the great contemporary american writers work in MFA programs. If you have a writer you like, you can google them and probably find out where they are teaching. Imagine knowing them on a first name basis and having them be personally invested in your work? It’s kind of a dream.
2. You get to teach. If you choose to do so, you can get paid to teach undergraduate english classes. While teaching isn’t a plus for everyone, for those of you that are even halfway interested in the job, it is great experience. Plus, a lot of programs let you teach undergraduate writing workshops, which is a great experience and super fun.
3. Time to write. Because it is a writing program, the department wants you to have time to write. And even if you’re busy, you learn to make time to write in order to get your work turned in on time. If you’re teaching you can give yourself time to write in your office hours. Plus, everyone in the program understands if you say “can’t talk now, writing.”
4. Workshops. A creative writing workshop is one of the best things a writer can do. You get to read the work of others, and get others to read your work. Everyone is usually respectful, and they’ll get an earful from the instructor if they’re not. It helps you develop a community and get instant feedback on a piece of writing that you’re unsure about. Everyone has to read your work for a grade, and they are very honest. So you never feel guilty about making someone read your writing, and you know that they are going to give you great feedback.
5. Publishing experience. Most creative writing MFA programs have a literary journal that they run. Some of the great literary journal names are out of ordinary universities. While it is a lot of work, it is very rewarding to learn the ins and outs of literary journal publishing, and you get your name in print! It is one of the most helpful things about a creative writing MFA. Working at a journal lets you know exactly how it works and what the review process will be for your work when you send it to other journals.
6. Friends. It may sound hokey, but you make some of the best friends of your life. And, the bonus is that after your graduate, your friends still want to help you write and will be willing to read your work.