Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To Answer the MFA Question

I just had to add this little nugget from Kurt Vonnegut:

Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before... He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.

Thanks to everyone who offered some advice on this topic.  Several people said the MFA pursuit transformed their writing lives, while others offered more practical comments, especially when it comes to the financial burden that comes with such a choice.  I think the very best advice I got came down to a very simple but essential issue:  Be very clear about what you are hoping to get out of the experience.  (Thanks, Laura).

My uber-awesome agent, Elana Roth, has me dialed in to a tee; it's not about giving myself a leg up towards publishing.  I know I have what it takes, and I have exactly the right representation on my side.  But I am totally an information junkie.  I'm addicted to knowledge and love the whole school experience, as grueling as it can be.  Usually.

However, I am in a very different place in my life, now, and I have a lot of other things to consider.  Kids.  Husband.  All the complexities of mid-life angst.  So is the MFA really the best thing for me at this particular moment?  Probably not.  Are there compelling reasons that could supersede the more practical considerations against going for the MFA?  Definitely.  But they are not compelling enough right now.  And to come back to that most salient point, what I am hoping to get out of it, I may already have.  Sorry I can't be more specific than that, but suffice it to say the point is as much emotional as intellectual.

Add to the mix a newly-procured adjunct position at the local college and you have the final answer:  No.  It's not time to take that particular leap.  Maybe some day.  So while I let that simmer in the back of my brain for a while, I will bust through this current WIP and kick some YA butt.


  1. That's what I like to hear -- the prospect of awesome YA books? Count me in :]

  2. Yes, let's kick some YA butt.

    An MFA is a big leap. Sometimes I ask myself if I should go back to college, because it's so much fun and I love learning, but I have too much on my plate right now.

  3. Thanks, Lia!

    Yep, Medeia...I think my plate is full, too. Too much would get done half-way, and that just won't cut it.

  4. I love the positive tone of this post. Good luck! :D And that quote is very thoughtful- thanks for sharing.

  5. Thanks for sharing your decision-making process. It sounds like you chose well. I especially like your comment "what I am hoping to get out of it, I may already have." Wise and most likely true.


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