I’m re-hashing an old debate here, but I only want to rehash it for the sake of silencing it once and for all:
Is writing creatively something that can be taught? Is getting an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts degree) in Creative Writing a waste of time and money? [Read the instances of these arguments: Should Creative Writing Be Taught? and here Why Always Write in a Room Of One's Own?]
Okay, let me say right off the bat that I’m not a fair candidate to debate this issue since I’m currently enrolled in an MFA Program. But I think I can still fairly go on a mini-rant.
The MFA isn’t right for everyone. A lot of people are doing it. Many people consciously are not.
I am one of the former.
Sometimes I wish I hadn’t gone to grad school because I’m going to be in debt from student loans for decades, but I know myself. I’m not self-motivated enough to start my writing career without the luxury of two years time dedicated to my writing. Sometimes I think I could have just started a writing group and blogged more and gone to workshops about the publishing industry instead of doing this MFA, but then I know that the realities of my full-time activist job meant that I couldn’t really focus on writing or have time to do all those things. But that’s just me. Some people are go-getters, well-connected. My graduate program is helping me tap into my ambitious writerly self that others can create for themselves. My full-time job sucked up all my brain power and creativity (for a cause I care about), and left little to no energy for writing. I am paying (a ton of money) for this luxury, and I certainly know that’s not doable or preferable for many people.
Also, I just love school. I’m a nerd like that.
Long story short, I won’t try to talk anyone into or out of getting an MFA, and I don’t think people on the internet should waste their time doing so, either. It’s an institution that’s not going anywhere for a long time. Universities are making money off their MFA programs. Many well-known contemporary writers got their starts in graduate school. Many others never studied writing formally. Neither path is better or more likely to lead to success. It’s about the individual and their needs. Admit that to yourself. Get used to it. Live with it. Now, internetz, start talking about something else.