Episode 127: How to DIY Your MFA (Interview at The Creative Penn)

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Thanks for being here with me today. I’m so excited to share this interview with you. It’s a little bit different from what I usually do. Instead of being the one hosting the interview, in this episode I’m sharing an interview that I gave for my friend Joanna Penn on The Creative Penn Podcast.

You might remember Joanna from episode 106 when she came on DIY MFA Radio and I got to interview her! She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers under J.F.Penn and also writes nonfiction for authors. She’s also a professional speaker and award-winning entrepreneur. Her site, TheCreativePenn.com, is regularly voted one of the Top 10 sites for writers. She is a self-publishing superstar and I’m thrilled that she had me on her show.

In this episode Joanna interviews me about:

  • How I started DIY MFA, where I got that first glimmer of the idea, and how I built it into what you see today.
  • The writer’s need for validation and why that “stamp of approval” needs to come from within.
  • Honoring and understanding your process, and how there’s no right way to be a writer.
  • The importance of author identity, and being the best version of yourself, but still be authentically you.

I also share some of my signature DIY MFA techniques, like:

  • The Angst Jar—what it is and why it’s my go-to tool for handling rejection, imposter syndrome, and any other curve ball my inner critic throws at me.
  • The Revision Pyramid and how to use it so you can rock your post-NaNoWriMo revisions and make your manuscript sing.
  • Visual outline techniques and why I’m so obsessed with design and graphics. Hint: It comes from my former life as a toy designer and psychology researcher.

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About the DIY MFA Book

Have you ever…

  • Dreamed of writing a book but had no idea where to start?
  • Started a writing project, but couldn’t stay motivated?
  • Struggled to carve out time in your life for your writing?
  • Searched for a writing community, but didn’t know where to look?
  • Been overwhelmed by all the writing and publishing advice online?

Order your very own copy direct from the publisher by clicking this affiliate link. As with any affiliate products we promote on this site, when you purchase via this link, DIY MFA gets a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you supporting DIY MFA!

DIY MFA is the definitive guide for writers who can’t–or don’t want to–go back to school.

Inspired by material I’ve created and compiled since the inception of this website, this is more than a writing guide in book form. Based on proven techniques and graduate-style curriculum, DIY MFA won’t just help you improve your writing skills, it will empower you to take control of your creative life.

If DIY MFA were a school, this book would be the student handbook. It’s a one-stop-shop with all the fundamental elements from the website in one place. If you are new to DIY MFA, this book is the perfect springboard to get you going, and if you’ve taken one or more of our courses, this book will supplement and expand on what you learned.

DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, Build Your Community will help you get that graduate-level experience without going to school. Don’t put your life on hold for two or three years and accrue a huge amount of student debt. Instead, learn to recreate that MFA experience for yourself and seamlessly incorporate writing into your life. This book will show you how.

I wrote this book for word nerds of all stripes, but particularly with these three particular writer groups in mind.

  • Writers in the trenches: If you’re one of these writers, then you are in the thick of it, actively engaged in a writing project at this very moment. You work hard to improve your craft and are hungry to learn tools and skills you can apply to work-in-progress. This book will give you the techniques you crave.
  • Serious newbies: Just because you’re new to writing doesn’t mean you’re not serious. If you’re one of these serious newbies, then you are motivated to learn all you can, so you can start your writing journey on the right foot. Learn how with this book.
  • Career authors who need a boost: No matter how experienced a writer you are, sometimes you lose “that loving feeling” and it’s hard to get those words on the page. This book can help shake up some of those stale habits and get you pumped up about your writing again.

Warning: If you are dabbler or dilettante looking for a “magic bullet” solution or a shortcut to success, this book is not for you. Seriously, it might spontaneously combust in your possession. (Just kidding. Sort of.)

If you’re ready to bump your writing up a level, grab your copy today!


Link to Episode 127

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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