I've been looking at high-residency, low-residency, and no-residency MFAs for advanced training in writing, specifically for gaining access to mentors and finding a writing community that I can take work to for advanced critiques. I'm not impressed by the cost-benefit ratio of MFAs for someone who has strong writing skills and no interest in teaching.

What are some ways outside of MFA programs where I can find published writing mentors and communities who will work with me year-round for a couple of years to improve my craft? I'm happy to pay. But I don't want to pay $50K+ for five weeks of residency with the rest of the two years spent working on my own, which I do anyway. Or alternatively, having a heavy teaching load as a GTA while trying to do my own thing.

Reasons why I should get an MFA are off-topic, thank you.

  • This is a very open-ended question, as you seem to be asking for multiple things: mentorship, expert review, likeminded community (and maybe instruction?) while not being clear what you're prepared to do. You may well not find them all in the same place - expert review can be paid for, community can be found in writers' groups, networking is a complex topic, and there's no shortage of places selling short courses. You certainly don't need an MFA, but to improve your writing and enter the literary world you may have to do more than just write.
    – Stuart F
    Mar 17 at 20:30
  • 1
    I agree with @StuartF that you may not find all those things in the same place. You might want to take a different approach. There are any number of writers' conferences. Hitting a couple of those a year, which can give you short intensives, may be useful. Some of those may offer meetings with editors/writers as part of the package or for a small additional fee. Work on being part of a writing community. Interaction can give you the opportunity to learn but also to share what you know. Trying to find someone year-round to work with you, outside of a college writing program may be hard. Mar 24 at 17:50


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