Is getting an MFA worth it?


#21

I’m very glad I went into IT instead of an MFA. I’ve yet to ‘Break Out’ though I’ve had some success with my books it was a matter of weeks, not years. Having a steady paycheck while I learned the craft has made everything possible.


#22

That’s quite a judgement call. I might be blunt, but that’s Over The Top to me.


#23

That’s a crappy move that should get you kicked out of ANY critique group.

That woman was full of herself, and I bet she still is.


#24

Vicious as in “With your insufficient grasp of the art, you had better stop writing than waste other people’s time.”
What part of the art did the writer not grasp.
Or “This is so bad my toenails curl.” Why. How do they curl. What is bad. How could it be fixed.

These are judgements, not critiques.

I’m fine with critical feedback. I might swallow and feel depressed for a day, but then I kick into action and edit. I had exactly that experience with the publisher I’m contracted with. The feedback - hurt. But it was correct, concise, constructive and helped me to write what i believe is a better book. The other comments were meant to pull the authors down (they were not directed at me. I just read them and decided that place was not for me.)


#25

Rude doesn’t describe that. That’s downright destructive.


#26

There are a lot of writers out there who are more than Ego-Driven, more like ID-DRIVEN.

They scare me. (Here be monsters!)

It’s not just writers, the GoodReads Troll Wars were a fascinating look into the human ID.


#27

I would’ve taken her red pen and wrote “irrelevant” on her face. The professor said that she was laughing when the woman started to tear up.

Done, so done. If I was there, we’d have a talk. There’s NO reason to be so horrible no matter how bad the MS was. And if this woman was accepted into the MFA program, I don’t think her writing would even be bad.


#28

Even if she were a good writer, that sort of approach (worse, if she was laughing) is unworthy of the writing spirit. Most authors are actually very supportive of each other. Yes, there is competition, but it does not tend to be as much elbows out and trample the person nearest to you into the mud if it advances you an inch type of action.
Plus, arguments are needed. You can say something is irrelevant, but you need to explain why and come up with suggestions on how to do things better, so they become relevant.
The prof could have easily exposed her.
“So, you believe this is irrelevant. Very interesting. What exactly makes you think…” blah.
Drill down a bit deeper and the little monster deflates quite quickly.


#29

I meant the woman that was harassed. If she was accepted into the program, she’s at least a good writer because it was a small MFA program.

The other woman… I don’t even care about her. I hope she doesn’t succeed in the writing community. Not sorry to say. We don’t need that kind of nastiness.


#30

Our world of publishing is full of Trolls. (shake my head)

Reminds me of an FtF writer’s group. I got sneered at by one of our more ‘vocal’ members and got rolled eyes from the old crusty college professors for writing a Romance.

Then when I DIY published I got sneers all around, but after I had an Amazon Best Seller they were all DIY published in a year. Cracked me up!

So sometimes you can get in the last word and not say a thing.


#31

I got an Amazon review like that once (well, maybe a little more ranty, but it was definitely more about the author than the book). I flagged it and Amazon deleted it, possibly due to its “spiteful comments.”

When even Amazon’s community standards are higher than those of a writer’s group, that’s a problem.


#32

I doubt she will. In my experience, the people doing well in their craft tend to raise other people up (or at least try to be gentle when presented with an unsalvageable manuscript).


#33

Good one! I liked that story


#34

Agree Amazon or Goodreads comments can be pretty - disappointing. But I believe you understand now why I politely stepped away from that type of review.


#35

Having won some competitions and published quite a lot in journals, with a book in the works, I got a poetry fellowship to a top-notch creative writing program, for a year. There was an option to pursue an MFA or a Ph.D. But I saw both degrees as teaching qualifications, having little to do with commercial publishing or earning a living by writing.

What I wanted was a chance to work with some really good writers and learn to evaluate both their work and my own in a way that made sense to the literary community. After considerable embarrassment and flailing, I got that. In one year, I took in so much that it took me years to really integrate it.

Meanwhile, instead of heeding the notes in my box about applying to this or that writing program, I returned to my Forest Service job in Wyoming.

God, they were pissed! They’d dredged me up out of the muck, and I couldn’t wait to leap back in.


#36

Maybe I’m lucky, but most of my reviews were fair. It was only that rant which had me scratching my head like “What detail in this book is she even railing about?”


#37

Sometimes… you wonder. There are some nutters out there, but despite the noise they make i believe they are few and far between


#38

I like that! I live on a 5 acre farm, so I understand getting out of the rat race!


#39

Summed up, if you have a sincere desire to teach creative writing, an MFA should be in your career plan. Otherwise regard it as an excursion, and hope to do it with a scholarship, grant, etc.

I don’t think it’s worth taking on a load of debt.


#40

i’m about to graduate (hopefully!) from my master’s in creative writing. i… am acutely aware that i’ve added to my student debt without giving myself any significant extra job prospects.

HOWEVER. :joy: my undergraduate degree was in computer science, and my day job now is in computer science as well. when i applied for my MA, i was fresh out of an undergrad degree that wasn’t my passion. i’d been writing for 10+ years but i’d never had any real feedback on my work, and i basically said to myself that i wanted to finish my education having done something i truly loved, and then hinged it on my application. to me, if the university i wanted to attend liked my work, it was meant to be, and if not i’d just try to find a job in the field i’d trained in with my undergrad degree.

i did get accepted, based off of my portfolio, and it was a year’s experience i really enjoyed. i did, with somewhat tricky timing, also get pregnant with my son during that year, so my time workshopping was limited and i wasn’t quite as present as i’d imagined i’d be. but i met some great people, read some great work, and had a year’s worth of dedicated writing time on a beautiful campus.

i don’t know if any of this has helped, but this was my master’s experience! :blush: