These words–from my own agent (Jeff Kleinman at Folio Literary Management)–are probably the best advice I’ve ever received as a writer. After all, the #1 way to improve your odds of getting published is to write a great book so writing beautifully is the obvious first step. But what does this advice mean, exactly? How do you know when you’ve written something truly great?
After all, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably read countless books on writing, written hundreds of prompts, and practically have the three-act structure branded onto your brain. If you’ve taken those necessary steps to master nuts-and-bolts craft stuff, what do you do if you’re hearing crickets every time you send your work out to agents or editors?
The truth is that working on your own will only take you so far as a writer. There’s more to getting published than just writing a good book: you need a writing community.
Writing is not a solo sport.
There’s a reason most MFA programs and most writing classes revolve around a workshop structure. Sharing your writing, getting feedback on your work, these things are crucial for writing success. Community not only keeps you sane and offers you support, it will also make you a better writer. And in the end, becoming a better writer will help you write a better book… which improves your odds of getting published. (There’s that “write a great book” tip again.)
These days, there are a zillion and a half writing communities both online and off, so how do you find the one that’s right for you? If you’re into the DIY MFA approach, then you don’t have to go very far to find a vibrant, engaged community.
Introducing DIY MFA 101
DIY MFA 101 is our flagship course, designed not only to help you write a better book and navigate the publishing process, but to help you connect with a community of like-minded writers. This course is based on the three main tenets of DIY MFA–writing, reading and community–and it covers the seven basic elements of a writing education so you cover the essentials of an MFA curriculum in just 10 weeks!
When I first came up with the idea for DIY MFA, this was the course I envisioned. Over the past year, I’ve poured my heart and soul into building and testing every detail. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it has turned out and I’m so excited to share it with you all today. More importantly, I am humbled and honored to be working with a phenomenal group of writers who have already joined the course.
These amazing, dedicated writers have blown me away with the sharp questions they’ve asked and keen insights they’ve shared. It’s such a diverse community, representing everything from novels to short fiction, poetry to memoir, and so much more. I am so thrilled to work with these writer and to have witnessed their leaps-and-bounds progress so far. I can’t wait to see them become the best writers they can be.
As an added bonus, when you take DIY MFA 101, you not only participate in the course this semester, but you have continued access to the materials and community long after the class is over. Unlike many writing courses where you get to the end of the semester and everyone parts ways, my goal with 101 is to continue building this community of intrepid writers so everyone can grow as a group and learn from each other in the process.
Here’s what writers are saying about DIY MFA 101:
“On the other side of the helpful techniques and general knowledge that would have taken me years of trial and error to learn on my own, the DIY MFA 101 course came with a collection of other writers to help form that ever elusive writer community. The other students of the course helped me to realize that even though writing feels like a solitary pursuit, there are other writers out there going through the same struggles and we all love to support each other.”
“Since taking the class, I’m writing more and feeling more like a writer. I’ve joined another critique group and I’m finding more about what’s out there in the writing world. Also, the class materials are really well done and very motivational — especially for someone like me for whom writing can feel solitary! When each workshop came out, they always seemed to address a question I was having or a place I was stuck. It was almost eerie how apt they were.”
“At first I was hesitant because of the time commitment–I wasn’t sure if I could keep up. I also did not have the flexibility to go to a classroom so I liked that it was all online. Before taking the class, I thought writing was magic. Now I pay attention to how things are written and I know that writing is craft and practice. My writing has improved immensely, I have made great friends via my critique group which started with this class, and I have gained some great job skills as well. I would definitely recommend this class. It is flexible, affordable, and gives you the opportunity to meet like minded writers.”
Registration for DIY MFA 101 is officially open. If you’re looking to join an exciting writing community that will both support you and challenge you to do your best work, look no further.