So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Can you make it without an MFA? Thomas Mullen did.

Twelve years after my first book deal, I’m happy to report that no editor has ever asked me if I have an MFA. What matters to publishers is the book you write, not the path you took to get there. ... Thomas Mullen

For the first time I missed going to the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference in Blue Ridge, Georgia. I had sent my application and definitely planned to go, but going down to south Georgia last week played havoc with my physical and mental health. I just could not get myself up to spend the day at the conference. I am an INFJ on the personality chart, so I know why I don't want to see anyone or talk to anyone right now.

My friend, Carol Crawford, who was instigator of this wonderful small conference over twenty years ago, sent me an email and a message about Thomas Mullen who was a presenter there today.

I am giving you this link to a great article he wrote for Poets and Writers.

I know many writers who, like me, did not get that MFA and always wonder if that would have made a big difference in their writing career, will find solace in Thomas' words on this subject. I did not meet him, but, after reading this piece, wish I had.


  1. I am sorry that your health prevented you getting to the conference, but am very sure that you made the right decision.
    Writers write. With or without degrees.

  2. I agree, EC. We write because we can't NOT write. Like Thomas Mullen, writers persevere in the worst situations, and I hate that having an MFA is now thought to be essential. How many of our best writers didn't get those advanced degrees? How many of our most successful people in all areas, did not have the opportunity to attend college? I think of my brothers who became financially successful, and only one of them attended college. Education is great and necessary in many ways, but if one has the desire to do something, he will follow that passion, work when he can, and hard as he can, as Mullen did. I am glad to see you are back. Hope the heat has lessened there and life is better for you.


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