Welcome to the first episode of DIY MFA Radio, our new podcast! I’m so happy to share this creative adventure with you. This weekly show will offer tips and techniques that you can apply to your writing practice right now. My goal is to help you get those words on the page and finish that book you’ve always dreamed of writing.
In this episode, I’ll explain to you just how and why I started DIY MFA, and how it can help you to write more, write better, write smarter. You can listen to the episode by clicking play below, or download it from iTunes.
The idea for DIY MFA came to me four years ago, when I was sitting at Graduation, waiting to receive my MFA. I had gone back to school for this master’s degree but was shocked to discover that almost everything I learned in school I could have taught myself. I started wondering if there couldn’t be a do-it-yourself alternative to the MFA hiding out somewhere on the internet. When I got home, I immediately booted up my MacBook and asked the Google. As I scrolled through pages and pages of links, nothing like what I was looking for seemed to exist. I decided then and there, that somebody had to build it, and that somebody might as well be me. The rest, as they say, is history.
What is the DIY MFA program and how does it work?
Before creating a curriculum for DIY MFA, I observed what went on inside an MFA program, sort of like an undercover agent disguised as a student. I also researched various top MFA programs across the country and I began to notice certain common threads popping up in the different curricula. The writing workshop, for instance, appeared to be the cornerstone of every writing program.
Most MFA programs also placed a lot of emphasis on studying literature and attending author readings. Some pieces of the puzzle seemed underrepresented, like belonging to literary associations, attending conferences and understanding the publishing process. And if you wanted to study commercial, genre or YA/Children’ literature, you had to enroll to one of the rare schools that represented these areas of literature. Otherwise you were out of luck.
After months of observation and research, I developed the three-part formula for how I wanted to structure DIY MFA:
DIY MFA = Writing + Reading + Community
Think of this as a writing pie and these three components are the slices. Depending on what’s going on in your life, one pie might get bigger and the others will shrink to adjust, but you should always have all three areas present to some extent.
Here are three steps to help you get started on your own, personalized DIY MFA.
Step One: Sign up for the email list. You’ll get a free DIY MFA starter kit filled with tips and exercises to help you jumpstart your journey and you’ll be in the loop and be first to know any DIY MFA news.
Step Two: Check out our various resource links. These pages list our top articles at the website, articles that answer frequent questions or address important topics.
Step Three: Write something. Seriously. Take ten minutes right now and write. Don’t have any ideas off the top of your head? There’s an app for that. Head over to the Writer Igniter, click shuffle and start writing.
(Right-click to download.)
If you liked this episode…
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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.