Tools for Planning Your 2020 Medium Writing Year

But you need to know them, if you want to be a writer.

By Shaunta Grimes

A couple of weeks ago I got a padded manilla envelope in the mail. It took a while, but my graduate school finally sent my actual Master of Fine Arts diploma to me.

A pretty document to frame, I suppose, and hang on my office wall.

It says that I received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. It represents four semesters of work during which I read 250 books and wrote two middle grade novels.

It was a low residency program, so I went to school for eight days at the start of each semester and took intensive classes in subjects like writing for television and creative theory and pedagogy and writing picture books.

There are a few things though, that I didn’t learn in graduate school.

There wasn’t a single course offered in the business of writing. I suppose on some level that makes sense — this was a Master of Fine Arts program after all. I was there to learn the art of writing.

It’s interesting to me that an MFA teaches you how to write, but not necessarily how to be a writer.

Here are the three things that I didn’t learn in graduate school — but that I think are just as important as the art if you want to make a living as writer.