One question we are asked to weigh in on is whether an MFA in creative writing is worth the investment. After all, an MFA is a huge commitment and can be costly so writers should investigate thoroughly before jumping in.
Becca and I don’t have our MFAs but we know many others who do. An MFA can be a terrific way to gain the tools one needs to make writing a career. But, a graduate program is one path a writer might take. There are others to consider, and each person should decide what is right for them.
We are blessed to live in a time where great education is often only a few clicks away. We can invest in learning online when it fits our schedule, from home, and it works with our budget!
Choosing online education can lead to another hurdle, however: how do you tell the worthwhile courses from ones that are not? No one wants to waste time or money. If we are in the market for a course, we want to take it from someone who has proven themselves again and again, right?
Well, if you are looking for this sort of help right now, we know of a program that might be right for you: DIY MFA 101.
Get the Knowledge Without the College
What if there was a way to get the MFA experience without going to school? You could become a better writer and make progress toward your writing goals, and maybe even get published, without…
- Having to quit your job
- Abandoning your family responsibilities
- Moving to a new city
- Plus, you could save tens of thousands of dollars by not attending a traditional writing program.
Believe it or not, this is totally possible. In fact, that’s what DIY MFA is all about. When you DIY your MFA, you have the freedom to build a writing life—and career—that fits within the scope of your real life and also serves your writing goals.
Our friend and resident writing coach, Gabriela Pereira, is the founder and instigator of DIY MFA, and she’s built a program for writers who are hungry to master the craft, write stories, and share them with the world, but who don’t want to put their lives on hold in order to do it. Gabriela has been working with writers for over a decade and has helped hundreds of people just like you craft great stories and pursue their writing goals.
But she doesn’t just talk the talk. Gabriela built her own career as an author by doing the very things that DIY MFA teaches you how to do. She also knows a thing or two about the traditional MFA system because she earned one herself.
Based on both her own experience in graduate school, and extensive research she’s done on other programs, she discovered that an MFA in writing boils down to three basic pillars—Writing, Reading, and Community—and her flagship course DIY MFA 101 covers all three things. (More about DIY MFA 101 here.)
Her 10-week program includes ten modules, full-to-the-brim with material to help you write more, write better, write smarter. You’ll also be able to participate on three discussion calls with Gabriela so you can connect with other writers in the class and get your questions answered.
This course includes 10 weeks of video lessons, each week focusing on one essential aspect of a writer’s education. Topics include:
Writing habits and productivity
Crafting strong characters
Plot and story structure
Point of view and voice
World building scene-by-scene
Reading like a writer
How to get feedback on your work
Each week’s materials includes video lessons as well as audio recordings and slides, so you can digest the material in the way that’s best for you. You’ll also get worksheets with each lesson so you can absorb and understand what you learned.
The entire course is housed on a private course website, so you can access the materials anytime, anywhere. You’ll also have access to group discussion calls and a private course-only Facebook group where you can ask Gabriela questions and connect with other writers in the class.
Finally, you’ll also get continued access to the material even after the course is over. This way, if you can’t take it all in during those ten weeks (there’s a LOT in this course!) you can always come back and finish it later.
This is a comprehensive program that doesn’t just give you tons of information on the writing side of things, but also helps you with those other important things like navigating the publishing process or learning how to apply what you read to your writing.
To learn more about DIY MFA 101 and to register, go here. (Note: this is an affiliate link, meaning WHW will receive a thank you fee should you decide to sign up for this course. Affiliate partnerships are very common in our industry, but not for Becca and I. We only partner with those who provide something exceptional to our readers.)
If you are looking this type of help, I urge you to visit the DIY MFA site and poke around.
Read some articles, listen to Gabriela’s great podcast, or watch her TEDx talk. Spend time getting to know what she is all about and why we adore her!
You may also want to check out her free video series HERE where she looks at common writing blocks and shares key mindset shifts to help you be more resilient and productive as a writer.
Learn more about DIY MFA 101.
Happy writing, all!
Angela & Becca
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Val Harbolovic says
I have an MFA which yielded 2 advantages: a wonderful network of writers/friends, and the possibility of teaching in an accredited creative writing program – good luck with that one!
However, I only really started to learn the craft of writing after I graduated in 2011. I attended workshops I thought would be helpful, and I found wonderful resources online. A great place to start online is Writers Digest 101 best websites on writing:
The diy MFA sounds like a wonderful compromise for the serious writer who is trying to acquire craft but doesn’t want the hassle of a prescribed course of study.
Mary Ann Slavcheff says
A big problem with many self-published writers is that they don’t take the time to learn the craft. An untrained writer is no more prepared to work than an untrained and unpracticed brain surgeon.
I applaud anyone who sigs up for this.
My own master’s degree is in English, Writing Track. Ny university did not have an MFA program.
Gabriela Pereira says
Aw, thank you for your kind words, Mary Ann. You made my day!
I wholeheartedly agree with you on the importance of education. To this day, I still block off time in my writing schedule for continued learning because, like you, I think it’s super-important. The more we learn, the better writers we become, and we’ll create better books in the process!
My mission ever since I started DIY MFA was to help serve writers who are committed to life-long learning and have a deep desire for MFA-level instruction but logistically just can’t go back to school. I’m super-lucky: I have an MFA but I also live in NYC and have dozen or so MFA programs in my backyard. I realize that for many writers, going back to
a traditional grad program is just not be feasible, which is why I created DIY MFA. 🙂
This looks like a very good program. I know that writing the best book you can is very important. I have one book that has been published, but I didn’t make much in the way of sales because I have a difficult time promoting my book. Does this program discussion book promotion?
Gabriela Pereira says
This is a great question. We definitely cover some aspects of book promotion in one of the modules when we talk about author platform. That said, this course definitely focuses more on the fundamentals of building your author platform instead of all the nitty-gritty details of book marketing. The latter could actually be a course in and of itself.
In fact, that’s actually exactly what happened. As I was building 101, I realized that I had so much to say about marketing and book promotion that I realized I needed to create a separate, more advanced course on the subject. Unfortunately, this course—Pixels to Platform (P2P)—just closed for enrollment earlier this spring, and I’m not sure when we’ll be reopening it next.
In short, if you’re looking for a platform overview alongside in-depth info on the craft of writing, then I think you’ll like 101. But if, on the other hand, you’re looking for more specialized instruction on book marketing, this class may not be the right fit.