I don’t have many regrets in my life. But, one that niggles my mind from time to time is that I don’t have a college degree and its child: an MFA in Creative Writing. If my brain was a pie and a quarter slice of it represented the part of me that would drop everything and run towards a oft-repeated fantasy, then that’s the slice that dreams of spending the rest of my life as a permanent student. You see, it’s not graduating that I covet. It’s the time to study and analyze craft.
My coach says I’ve done enough craft study as an autodidact that I’ve given myself a home-based MFA. I hired her because books gave me everything I needed except one critical touch point: a human teacher who could read my writing from an objective place and offer feedback.
Hiring a writing coach will be on my list of things new writers should do, when the time is right. It’s not first. I’m really glad I spent years reading and listening before making the financial investment of a coach for writing that wasn’t ready for someone’s eyes. Shitty First Drafts aren’t mythical; they are all too real. I had (and still have) so much to learn.
That said, the tabs in this category list my favorite resources for studying craft. My bookshelf isn’t nearly as extensive as some of my friends’; craft books are addictive. I suspect one reason for that is because as long as we’re “studying craft” we can justify our slow pace or downright absence from the chair and still call ourselves, “writers.” Maybe. It might also be just that writing is hard work and studying craft helps us do it better. Hard work done well is also addictive. Nothing gets me as high as satisfaction.