Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MFA in Creative Writing

If you don't already know, I've recently enrolled in a MFA program for Creative Writing. I am so excited about it, but I can't help but feel a nagging in the back of my mind telling me that I might be wasting my money. While I understand that having an MFA is not required for most jobs, I'd like to be able to teach higher education. So, having my MFA is important for that. Also, if I could make a living off of going to school, I totally would. I love school and learning and teaching. But alas, being a Professional Student is not a paying profession.

Let's start from the beginning. Ever since I was a child, I've been writing. I remember staying up all night sometimes writing stories. When I was in high school, I found my love for art and animation. I decided that I wanted to get a degree in illustration. I did, for the most part, but because of issues with my school, the program I was in and my own burn out, I found myself graduating in a hurry with a B.A. in Studio Art. What does that degree even mean? I couldn't begin to tell you because I wasn't in that program until my last semester. After graduation, I ended up in my current job doing web design, marketing, graphic design, etc. All things I like to do, but I've never had formal training for. I've been building websites and coding and working in flash since I was 15, but I apparently lack creativity. Which, I suppose, was part of the problem I had in school too.

Why did I share all of this? I needed to paint a picture of why I'm now struggling with my decision and with my life (financially and living situationally). I have a degree that is pretty much useless, a love for story telling and teaching that wants to explode from me, and a knack for coding/IT. I wonder if I should just nut up and go back for a degree in coding/IT because I'm afraid that even an MFA in creative writing will be as useless as the BA I currently hold. At the same time, having my masters opens up teaching possibilities, but will not likely provide the financial stability that IT would. I'd be poor, but happy. And honestly... I can live with that. And this is why I will be getting my MFA. Sure, the back of my mind is doubting, but my heart is telling me that this is something I should do.

For anyone who reads this and is trying to decide whether or not to get a degree in creative writing: Do what you feel in your heart is right. When I was researching, this was pretty much the most common answer and I know it pissed me off. I wanted a clear, set in stone answer... but now I realise why there isn't one. In the end, you will come out a better writer with more opportunities and hopefully feel fulfilled and happy. That seems like a great reason to me.

What are your thoughts on getting degrees in writing?


  1. Education is never a waste of money. I do hear a lot of nay-sayers telling us that education is not necessary for writing. No, it's not, but i does improve your writing, your technique and understanding of genres etc. IT will provide you with the tools to be a knowledgeable teacher. I say congratulations on a difficult decision, you'll have a lot of work ahead of you, but it will be quite an accomplishment.

  2. If your passion is writing, then I say go for it. Follow your passion, because through your passion, you'll be able to express all the creativity you'd like. ^_^ Don't doubt your creativity because from all the ideas you always tell me... I know you burst with it <3 Its kinda corny perhaps, but you should always follow your heart <3

  3. @Charmaine Thank you so much for your input. I completely agree that education is never a waste. And thank you, I'm so excited to get started!

    @Azucar My passion IS writing and looking back on it, I think it always has been. It just took me a little longer to realise it. And I agree about always following your heart.