As summer officially gives way to fall, our attention moves from recreation to education. Kids are back in school. Universities are back in session. One season gives way to the next. The sun retreats behind the rain clouds. Baseball yields the field to football.
For the writer, what does it mean to turn our minds to education? For some, it might mean pursing an MFA in creative writing. This is a huge, ongoing debate – to MFA or not to MFA? This week, I’d like to look at some of the reasons why you might want to pursue a higher degree in writing. Here are a few of the top reasons I found in my own research this week:
- Learn about and improve your craft
- Make connections with other writers – both at your level as well as professionals
- Dedicated focus on your writing
- Increased exposure to other writing styles
- Gain valuable skills in critiquing the work of others
If you want to read more about the pros and cons of and MFA degree, here are a few of the articles I found interesting:
- The Pros of MFA Programs, by Jennifer Ellis
- Is an MFA in Creative Writing Worthwhile? 7 Writers Weigh In, by Danielle Corcione on The Write Life
- 27 Writers on Whether or Not to Get Your MFA, by Elisabeth Donnelly on Flavorwire
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:
Write a letter or journal entry as the start of a novel. Some of the best stories in the world (Dracula, Pride and Prejudice, Dangerous Liaisons) are related to their audiences through letters and journal entries.
Write this exercise as your protagonist. Go back again and do it as your antagonist. To whom does your villain write a letter? What weaknesses are revealed as your hero pours out his heart in his journal?
I’ll leave you this week with this thought from Nelson Mandela on the value of education: