Decisions, Decisions

An MFA in creative writing. Doesn’t that sound fabulous? Actually, it sounds like what it is – a lot of hard work. However, that isn’t my question. My question is this; is it worth it?

I know that “honing your craft” is vital. No one is as good as they could be at writing. Aside from authors who are already dead, that is, because seriously, once you’re dead, you’ve pretty much reached your limit. No amount of education is going to help.  In the meantime, a professional writer does everything they can to keep getting better. Notice I said “better,” not “perfect.” Since perfection probably isn’t attainable, the goal must instead be consistent improvement.

Conferences, workshops, and seminars provide great information and training in a convenient, cost-effective package, but they don’t confer a degree. At university, one can earn a degree, but the best programs generally require an enormous amount of money and, the real sticking point, TIME. I’m sure it would be beneficial. I’m just not sure it’s necessary.

I’ve dabbled in writing for most of my life and I’ve gotten progressively more serious about the profession over the last decade, to the point that now, it’s the only thing I really want to do with the rest of my life. Teaching, I’ve retired from and was satisfied to do so. But I can’t imagine a life without writing.

Or rather, I can. It’s just an exceedingly grim picture. (shudders.)

I’m sure I’ll probably pass away with a computer keyboard on one screen and a K-lytics report on the other. It’s because I’m serious that I take every opportunity to work with and learn from a variety of authors. Each week I read as much about the craft and business of writing as I can cram into my schedule. I attend signings and conferences as often as possible.

 And I write.

And isn’t the actual practice of writing the thing that builds a good writer into a great one?

Higher learning is a great thing. I would give (insert proverbially large sacrifice here) for an opportunity to pursue my passion while I worked on my Masters. But if pursuing an MFA took me away from actual writing – if it stole that time from me…

Would it be worth it?

Tell me what you think. What are the pros and cons, for you, of getting an MFA vs. the less formal route of conferences and writing workshops?

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