So, I did it. After five years of noncommittal attempts to a.) decide whether I really wanted to pursue a graduate degree in creative writing (while, of course, constantly telling people that I was considering an MFA) and b.) justify to myself the various costs of a graduate degree in creative writing, I'm finally here. (Temporally speaking. Physically, I start this summer.)
Thing is, it took deciding that an MFA wasn't important to me as a writer to figure out why I still really wanted an MFA. I needed to know that I could (and would) continue writing even as I pursued a demanding day job; that I could publish without that shiny extra degree by my name; that I could seek out the tools to improve my work all by myself without the aid of a classroom or a mentor. I could, and I did, and so can you.
But maybe sometimes there is more, not for everyone but for some, and maybe that's okay. It's okay to want the MFA experience, to yearn for that tight-knit group of peers who are just as dedicated and as passionate as you. It's okay to want to be around other people who've spent years finding their authorial voices and who still understand the value of communal learning. Of course, you can find those people without going back to school, and I'm lucky enough to have done so—but if that's still not enough, well, there you go. Beyond that, it's okay to want the experience (not unique to grad school, but almost certainly easier to find through this path) of working with incredible published authors who are living the life you want to live.
So, yes. It took me a while to apply for my MFA because it took me a while to understand if I truly wanted one and why, and to feel... allowed, I suppose? Allowed to pursue something so obviously, unavoidably creative in its nature that only when I actually start talking to someone can I explain how writing is my way of improving the world?
But today I said yes to Stonecoast for their Popular Fiction program, and while I tried to write a few dumb jokes to close this out, I honestly could not be more excited and that sentiment is bleeding through my attempts like a knife wound of sincerity. All right, team. That's it. That's all I got. I'm stoked!