I’ve been thinking extensively on whether or not I’d like to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing. Being a year out of undergrad, I’m feeling an urge to be back in the classroom again (something I never thought would happen!).
I’ve been doing some writing this past year, but not anywhere the amount I’d like to see happen. My goal for 2016 was to try and write a short story each month and get it pretty polished. Guess how many short stories I’ve starting writing? About five. Guess how many I’ve finished? Almost one.
In the back of my mind I’m telling myself two contradictory things:
- Maybe going back to school will motivate me to finish some work.
- How can I get a master’s degree if I can’t even finish a ten page story?
Getting my MFA is something I seem to have a lot of contradictory thoughts about, which tells me I’m probably not ready to make that kind of commitment. I’ve been reading a lot on the benefits of an MFA and different authors and writers who encourage writers to go onto to further their education and authors and writers who don’t think it’s important.
If you’re thinking about getting an MFA in Creative Writing, here are some thing you (and I) should take into consideration:
How much you love to write.
Obviously this is a biggie. You’re not going back to school if you’re only half in love with writing. Writing should be a necessity, one of your daily food groups. If you go through each day without even thinking about writing, maybe it’s not something you’re as in love with as you thought you were.
Your financial situation.
I don’t know about you, but even with a hefty scholarship, I’ll still be paying off my student loans for the next decade. If your drowning in debt, are you really thinking about making another financial setback for another degree? Some MFA programs give out really nice financial packages, but those are sometimes not a guarantee. Do some research and see if any of the fully-funded program strike you as something you’d love to participate in.
Where you are in your life.
At 23 I’m at a point in my life where I have a lot of doors open to me because my responsibilities revolve around myself. I’m in a relationship but we’re not married, I don’t have children, I don’t have a steady full-time job I’m in love with. It’s so easy for me to pack up my belongings and move across the country to start school again. But maybe you can’t do that as easily as I can. Would you be willing to move somewhere? Can you take the time to pause or switch directions of your life? If you’re bent on getting an MFA, maybe a low-residency program would be more your speed.
Obviously this is not a complete checklist, nor is it anywhere near as specific as it could be. But these are the three big questions I’ve been thinking about and ruminating with whenever I think about getting my master’s. It sounds like an appealing opportunity but am I going to be as in love with it as I think I am?
These are my preliminary thoughts laid out in front of me. Where are you in your MFA search or your program? What are some factors you’re taking into consideration? Any advice?