You might be contemplating an MFA experience and going through all the questions typical of making this life changing decision. It's true that you don't need an MFA in creative writing to be a writer, but an MFA opens the doors to incredible possibilities. Not only do you get to focus on your craft, you get the mentorship of professional writers caring about your work. I didn't quite understand this until I started the Hamline MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults.
When I was first shopping around for programs, I was having a hard time finding something that seemed to fit what I wanted. My interests were in picture books, middle grade fiction, and young adult fiction. I believed that attending a program that offered a more general MFA would be fine, but once I discovered what Hamline offered, I was hooked. I never imagined that the facuilty and fellow MFAC students would be ... just like me.
Imagine a gathering of people, from all over the country, that are interested in the same thing you are. We all come from different backgrounds, but those little quarks that make grown adults love children's literature, bring us together. Yes, we own replica mockingjay pins, and yes, some of us paint our houses like the one from UP.
Whatever your interests are, finding the MFA program that fits your needs will open the doors to people just like you. It is a fantastic feeling to be able to reach out to others in the program; to receive the support, and understanding, needed to continue on. Plus, you gain the opportunity to network with professionals, and future professionals in your field of interest.
So when you are investigating a writing program, look deep inside yourself, and ask what is it that you truly love to write. Find the program that matches those interests and you just might find your people.
A conversation with Gene Yang, author of American Born Chinese, and newest Hamline faculty member