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What to Do With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFAcW) is designed for students who want to make a complete artistic transformation of their writing practice, and who are prepared to take on an intensive course of study. Offering an entirely new approach to creative writing, the MFAcW challenges students to develop their craft, experiment with form, and experiment with content, while being supported by a team of expert practitioners and a thriving community of other creative writers.

What will you do with an MFA in Creative Writing? Here are just some of the many opportunities available to you, whether you use your creative writing as a platform for activism, social change, or simple pleasure. In the coming months, we’ll be publishing a number of blog posts that will highlight practical ways that you can put your MFA in Creative Writing to good use.

Practical Ways To Use Your MFA In Creative Writing

In the meantime, why not take a minute to peek into the future and consider the practical ways that you can put your MFA in Creative Writing to good use? Here’s a sample of some of the things that you can do with an MFA in Creative Writing:

1. Pursue Your Career

One of the first things that you’ll want to do following your MFA in Creative Writing is to find a job. It may not be the most glamorous of professions, but being a member of the creative writing community gives you a distinct advantage in your job search. It’s likely that you’ll be tasked with writing something creative, and that your work will be judged on its own merits – not on your education or credentials. This is especially beneficial if you’re looking for a full-time job, since you won’t need to settle for something that “enough people can do.”

There’s also the option of going into academia, where you can continue to cultivate your interests in creative writing, fiction, and poetry while also advancing the discipline and contributing to our collective understanding of the creative process. Whether you end up in a traditional role or a more entrepreneurial one, your MFA in Creative Writing will serve you well in your career.

2. Develop Your Craft

Once you’re established in your career, you may find that you have more time to focus on your craft. One of the great things about an MFA in Creative Writing is that it will support your efforts to develop your voice and become the best writer that you can be – regardless of whether you use narrative or poetic forms. This is a crucial element of any creative writing program, and it’s one that can’t be overstated.

Under the tutelage of some of the greatest writers in modern literature, you’ll develop the ability to tell stories in a unique and engaging way, using methods that will engage and surprise your readers.

3. Experiment With Form

Another great thing about an MFA in Creative Writing is that it will provide you with the freedom to experiment with form. You’ll be introduced to a number of new styles and methods of delivering your narrative, and you may be encouraged to choose a form that is more fitting for your voice, your themes, and your artistic sensibilities.

This element of your MFA in Creative Writing will give you the opportunity to develop your literary artistry. While there are no limits to the forms that you can experiment with – including plays, movie scripts, and song lyrics – we suggest that you develop your skills in the following areas:

a. Free Verse

Avant-garde and modernist literature have largely been responsible for popularizing free verse – both of which can be found within your MFA in Creative Writing. This is a form of poetry that is often associated with modernist writers, such as William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound. In free verse, the language is more or less improvised and it’s up to you to determine how you want your lines to sound. In traditional forms of poetry, such as the sonnet, you’re given a meter and a pattern of stresses and off-stresses, as well as a set number of syllables, which are generally followed by a set number of words.

b. Lyric

Some of the greatest innovators and practitioners of the written word have worked within the lyric form, including:

  • Emily Dickinson
  • William Shakespeare
  • Robert Frost
  • Sara Teasdale
  • Vachel Lindsay
  • Walt Whitman
  • Andrew Wyeth
  • Anne Sexton
  • Carl Sandberg
  • Isaac Rosenberg
  • Ted Hughes

What’s wonderful about the lyric is that it doesn’t have to be limited to just one or two songs. You can experiment with and discover new modes of expression within this versatile format, using a variety of poetic techniques to craft original works of art. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to work on short lyrics as part of your MFA in Creative Writing, which you can then use to further develop your craft – or for fun!

c. Narration

With the rise of the novel in the early part of the 20th century, the written word moved from the sidelines to the spotlight. One of the most influential innovators of the modern novel was Vladimir Nabokov, who worked with the novel form that he and his fellow scribes had concocted, to create a more artistic and refined version. This new breed of novelist, called the New Critics, looked to authors like Edgar Allan Poe and Henry James, who were early pioneers of the modern style, for inspiration. The result of their collaboration was the literary masterpiece, Pale Fire.

In the 21st century, we’re still discovering the artistic potential of the written word, and a number of gifted writers are continuing the tradition of the innovators who came before them.

Your MFA in Creative Writing will provide you with the tools to become the best writer that you can be, no matter what form you choose to write in. Use this freedom to develop your craft and find your voice, and you’ll be able to contribute something unique and valuable to our world.

Good luck out there.