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Write As If No One Will Ever Read Your Work, Former MFA Professor Advises

Ryan Boudinot, executive director of Seattle City of Literature, shares his observations from teaching in  in a master of fine arts creative-writing program - peoplewhowrite

Ryan Boudinot, executive director of Seattle City of Literature

“We’ve been trained to turn to our phones to inform our followers of our somewhat witty observations. I think the instant validation of our apps is an enemy to producing the kind of writing that takes years to complete. That’s why I advise anyone serious about writing books to spend at least a few years keeping it secret. If you’re able to continue writing while embracing the assumption that no one will ever read your work, it will reward you in ways you never imagined.” So writes Ryan Boudinot in a post for The Stranger that shares eight observations from Boudinot’s time teaching in a master of fine arts creative-writing program.

Also among Boudinot’s learnings: “For the most part, MFA students who choose to write memoirs are narcissists using the genre as therapy. They want someone to feel sorry for them, and they believe that the supposed candor of their reflective essay excuses its technical faults. Just because you were abused as a child does not make your inability to stick with the same verb tense for more than two sentences any more bearable.” And this: “Anyone who claims to have useful information about the publishing industry is lying to you, because nobody knows what the hell is happening. My advice is for writers to reject the old models and take over the production of their own and each other’s work as much as possible.”

Read the full piece here.

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