To MFA or not to MFA?

Whether or not one should get an MFA in writing is a highly contentious issue, and a relevant one here, as many of you editor types are writers too. But while lots of people have opinions, no one lays out the issues better than Danielle Evans. (Why don’t physicists have this existential dilemma about pursuing an education?)

I got my MFA because, among other reasons, there was nothing else I cared enough about to pursue a graduate degree. Getting a grad degree, even a masters in fucking around (wait, you’ve never heard that before?) is a huge amount of effort. And it sucks to have to exert yourself for something you don’t like. Just ask any high school student.

I also thought getting an MFA would take me further down the writer/editor professional road. And it did. Not because I made connections there (poets don’t do the agent thing because there’s no money at stake, I mean, really, no money), but because it taught me a ton about writing and writers and giving and receiving criticism. And it made me put my ass in my chair and write, write, write.

Just don’t go into debt for an MFA. Med students know they can repay the debts eventually because doctors actually make money. Poets? Not so much. (Although the HR guy at my first copyediting job took one look at my masters degree and gave me $2000 more, it was a small small drop in the tuition bucket.)

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