We have in the past established that I’m fairly lazy (or energy efficient, as I like to call it). I’m also extremely frugal, bordering on cheap. But I also want to really, systematically improve my writing and do everything I can to make a real go of this author thing. So I started looking into MFA programs and reading people’s blog posts about their experiences. The consensus seemed to be that an MFA is great if you have two years and thirty to forty thousand dollars lying around, but it isn’t necessary to get published or even get a job in publishing.
So never mind that.
But I still wanted to become a better writer, so I decided to start going to workshops. I went to one a few months ago and made my very first real-life writer friend, who introduced me to DIY MFA. Right up my alley! The author, Gabriela Pereira, came to the same conclusion that so many others had regarding MFA programs, so she decided to distill her own MFA experience into a take-what-you-like buffet of strategies, principles, and tools to help writers improve on their own. The three cornerstones (dunno if they can really be cornerstones if there are only three, but whatever) are “Read With Purpose,” “Write With Focus,” and “Build Your Community.” Here are some particular action items that I plan to pursue:
- Read with purpose: create a well rounded reading list complete with craft references, an anthology of short fiction, competing titles, and contextual titles. Respond to and analyze said titles.
- Write With Purpose: I really like the “copycat” exercise described in the DIY MFA book. Basically you copy a short passage from a writer whose voice and style you admire and then imitate their style in a few paragraphs of your own.
- Build Your Community: This is where I struggle (like., a LOT) and there are many, many action items on my list in this category. But one that you lovely people can help me with is to get more involved in the blogging community. Please feel free to send me an email or even leave a comment with blog posts you’ve written and would like me to read and comment on. I’m also interested in finding crit partners and writing buddies so feel free to describe any WIP’s you have going and would like help with. If you want to point me toward your Twitter or Facebook or Instagram (I LOVE INSTAGRAM) that would be cool too.
I’m pretty excited about this DIY process and I plan to post updates about my progress and maybe share some of my copycats and writing prompt responses here. I would love, love, love it in anyone else wanted to give it a go and do it with me. Check it out here: https://diymfa.com/
What do you think? Anyone interested?