I'm a young writer, just starting out. I'm working on my first novel and I've just been accepted to a pretty good MFA program, but I'm still considering whether or not to go. I know there are a lot of writers, such as yourself who have made amazing, truly enviable careers for themselves out of smarts and talent, and I keep waffling on whether the MFA is necessary or even that beneficial to the career. Do you have any thoughts?
Ooh, what a good question that opens up a lot of debate, so readers, please do chime in on the comments section.
The truth is that I don't think there's a black and white answer to this, and I also think this might depend on your literary goals. Most writers I know have not gone through an MFA program, but most of the writers I know are more focused on magazines, so getting their MFA wouldn't necessarily help them. That said, I also do know plenty of novelists, and in my close circle, again, many don't have their MFAs.
That said, there's no doubt in my mind that if I were a more literary writer - my stuff is commercial fiction - that an MFA program could and would help me fine-tune my skills. I also believe that a degree would help you land an agent, but only if you graduate from some of the more prestigious programs, such as Iowa, in which agents scout for new talent.
So...the answer is that I really don't know. Again, I think it all depends on your anticipated course and where you are right now, in terms of writing and success.
Readers - what say you? Yay or nay to the MFA?