Starting my MFA journey has been an interesting experience. In addition to my 6 credits of creative writing (in which I will be working on my historical YA novel) and my 3 credits of craft and reflection, my interdisciplinary studies (IS) course this semester will be a 3 credit concentration on Fantasy.
Cambridge is a nice place to go to school. Lesley is nestled against Harvard, so there are book stores and coffee shops on every block, although, so far, I will still rate Starbucks’ hot chocolate the best.
The students are very diverse, and I met some really interesting people. The residency is tightly scheduled, so there isn’t a lot of time to socialize, but we have lunch and dinner provided, so you get to know people then. The residency also gives you a chance to get to know the faculty, which is important since you get to request your advisor in later semesters. (But, like the Marine Corps, they don’t promise you your first choice). My adivsor this semester, Chirs Lynch, is a literary rock star, so I did well this time around. And I have a pretty good idea of whom I would like to work with next. I was very impressed overall with the faculty, although I did find some who were uncomfortable with the idea of a student not being a total novice. My impression was that, for some, the idea that you have a solid foundation in writing and knowledge of the publishing industry already will lead you to dismiss their advice. Or expect them to get you published. As if any program can promise you that-overall, I suppose it should be seen as amusing. I am where I am though, in my career, and I don’t believe that my experience as an author so far precludes learning in an MFA program. But from here on out, I’ll avoid letting faculty know what I’ve already done.
So, overall, a good experience, and I am excited to consider my work in a new light. The feedback I got from my advisor was beneficial, and I think I’ll be able to use the continued advice to hone my skills. I think it will be a productive experience for me. But I would never consider an MFA essential for a career in writing, it just happens to be the right path for me at this time.