I wanted an MFA degree at one time.
But do you know where this desire came from, where it probably comes from in you?
It’s about wanting permission to be called a writer.
I have this degree, therefore I can use the title “writer.”
This is a lie. Because it’s much more simple than that.
You don’t need someone to tell you that you are allowed to write.
You need to sit your rear-end in the chair and write everyday of your life.
Of course, I did go and get two other graduate degrees – so take everything I say with a grain of salt.
Sure, there are advanced degrees in writing and various signifiers that a career might be under way, but ultimately a writer is someone who writes. And a writer who writes is one who finds a way to give herself permission. The advanced degree is useless in this regard. No writer I know wakes up in the morning and, while brushing her teeth, thinks: Check me out, I have an MFA. Or, for that matter, I’ve published x number of books, or even, I’ve won the Pulitzer Prize. There is no magical place of arrival. There is only the solitary self facingthe page.
-Dani Shapiro, Still Writing