You Don’t Need An MFA To Be A Writer

By Roxanna Coldiron

When I got the letter that I was accepted into this MFA program for creative nonfiction, I was excited. I’m a professional writer but still struggle with being the type of writer that I want to be. The MFA acceptance letter was validation…and hope that I could focus on writing and improve my style.

I taped the letter to the wall in my bedroom. Yet, here I am, three years later, and I still haven’t begun the MFA program. Life happens. MFA programs can be great but I have so many bills to pay. I have to work. And I only have so much energy.

The benefit of an MFA program is that you immerse yourself in the writing world. You live, breathe, eat, and sleep literature and work with published authors in your genre to hone your skills and talent as a writer. You are forced to write that first manuscript. It can be beneficial to those who need that push, or who have the means to do an intensive two to three-year writing program.

But you don’t need an MFA to become a writer. Yes, MFA programs can help you to become a better writer.

Being a writer, at its core, only involves the act of writing. Just get words on a page.

You become a better writer the more that you write and yes, the more that you read.

There are plenty of free and low-cost resources to get an education similar to an MFA without the expense of going to college or moving to another state.

I’ve been using the library and reading books about the different types of writing that I want to do. You can also find focused books on topics like dialogue or first chapters. Take notes and practice the tips that you read.

Join local writing groups so that you can get feedback on your work and also learn from other writers.

It’s great if you are able to participate in an MFA program, but you are not less of a writer if you don’t get an MFA degree. The important thing is that you continue to learn how you can improve your writing…. and that you keep writing.