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By submitting this request for more information, you are giving your express written consent for Lindenwood University and its partners to contact you regarding our educational programs and services using email, telephone or text - including our use of automated technology for calls and periodic texts to the wireless number you provide. Message and data rates may apply. This consent is not required to purchase good or services and you may always email us directly, including to opt out, at [email protected].

Home Blog How an MFA in Writing Prepares You for so Much More than a Career as a Novelist

How an MFA in Writing Prepares You for so Much More than a Career as a Novelist

March 11, 2023

Contributing Author: Alley Bardon

7 mins read

Nearly everyone has a favorite book, television show, or song, and there's one common thread that runs through them all -- the writer. Today's writers create much of the content we feel we can't live without. For instance, it's a screenwriter who adapts our favorite books for the big screen, and it's a songwriter who composes those tear-jerking movie scores. Ad writers are the ones convincing us we can't survive without that new gadget, while web writers are the ones responsible for the pages on our most-read websites. 

Writers offer invaluable services to consumers every day, and if you're someone who has always enjoyed writing, this could become your career as well. A Master of Fine Arts in writing can set you on your way. 

Why Pursue a Career in Writing?

When someone mentions the word “writer,” what do you envision? Do you instantly think of a novelist tapping away at a keyboard as they create the next New York Times Bestseller? While this is certainly an example of someone who writes for a living, it's not necessarily the norm. There are all kinds of writers, and many of them are self-employed. They include: 

  • Copywriters 
  • Technical writers 
  • Playwriters 
  • Screenwriters
  • Songwriters
  • Journalists
  • Novelists

Editing is a field that's closely related to writing, as well. With a degree in writing, you could pursue a career in publishing with a local publishing house or become a freelancer who works from the comfort of your own home. There are many benefits to pursuing a writing career.

What Can You Learn in an MFA Writing Online Degree?

Many people think writing is easy or that anyone can do it, but this is far from the truth. The best writers are those who have a natural talent combined with the right training. In a Master of Fine Arts program for writing, you'll study coursework designed to mold you into a proficient writer, including: 

  • Fundamentals of writing 
  • Creative writing 
  • Poetry workshop 
  • Creative nonfiction
  • Genre fiction as literature
  • Narrative journalism

With a graduate degree, you'll be well prepared to enter the literary world in various roles. You could write for commercial publications, produce content for the internet, compose white papers for a corporation, or write the next great novel or memoir. 

If you've always turned to writing to chronicle your thoughts, work through your problems, or keep yourself or others entertained, earning a degree in a writing-related field could lead to a highly rewarding career. 

Choosing a Writing Concentration

Once you've decided to focus on writing, you'll need to choose a specialty. Are you interested in becoming a journalist who covers events for major news outlets, or would you prefer writing advertising copy for a local radio station? Would you enjoy editing other people's work, or would you prefer to write web pages for local businesses? Regardless, a Master of Fine Arts can help you achieve your goals. 

At Lindenwood University, we offer several options for online MFA degrees in writing: 

You can choose the one you're most interested in pursuing and earn your degree entirely online when you choose to pursue your MFA in Writing at Lindenwood University. 

What Skills Will You Gain from an MFA Writing?

The Master of Fine Arts in writing at Lindenwood is a graduate degree that builds upon the skills you learned while obtaining your bachelor's degree. It narrows the focus on the type of written content you wish to produce, meaning the skills you'll learn will vary according to your chosen concentration. However, as you accumulate your 48 required credit hours, you can expect to become highly skilled in several areas, including: 

  • Fundamental skills in writing 
  • Analysis of written work
  • Revision
  • Copy-editing
  • Compelling composition

In other words, you'll be able to write compelling copy that hooks the reader and keeps them engaged until the end, whether that end is a single paragraph or a 160,000-word novel. You'll develop skills in proofreading, revising, re-writing, and editing. You'll be able to offer quality feedback to new writers and provide them with valuable insights on how to improve their own writing. 

Skills such as these can take you far in the publishing world and may lead to a lucrative career doing something you love. 

The Benefits of an MFA in Writing

Someone with a Master of Fine Arts in writing has an advantage because of the determination and dedication required to earn this degree. Employers prefer applicants who demonstrate a passion for their work. For this reason, having your master’s degree in writing may easily make you a more marketable job applicant for the roles you most desire. 

Additionally, a master's degree may help you begin your career above entry level, allowing you to earn more money, enjoy more responsibility and flexibility in your job, and enable you to take on a higher position within your company.  These benefits are in addition to all the skills you'll accumulate as you complete the required coursework.  

Build a Network

Earning a master's degree gives you the time and opportunity to build your own network of like-minded professionals. In fact, Forbes calls networking a "key tool" in building a career for several reasons. Initially, it puts you in contact with like-minded people with whom you can exchange ideas. Networking can also provide new opportunities for growth, new resources, and provide the support you need to take risks. Everyone benefits from having friends in high places, and networking is an ideal way to secure them. 

Improve Your Writing Skills

Earning your Master of Fine Arts in writing will also polish your writing, proofreading, and copy-editing skills. You'll learn more about the fundamentals of writing and what makes one piece of writing more effective than another. Additionally, you'll learn what it takes to hook your reader and keep them on the page, as well as learn valuable information on how to prepare your work for the market and connect with your audience. Lastly, you'll master the mechanics of writing and how to create various forms of content, including social media posts, blog content, marketing content, how-to manuals, whiter papers, novels, and more. 

Increase Earning Potential

A master's degree typically increases your earning potential. Master's degree holders earn an average of $3.2 million over the course of their careers, which is a large boost compared to those who hold bachelor's degrees ($2.7 million). Of course, much of this depends on the degree you earn, but Communications and Journalism ranks number eight on Forbes' list of top-earning degrees, exceeded only by careers in STEM, business, and healthcare. 

This means going the extra mile to earn your master's degree is well worth the time and effort spent. It may very well pay for itself over time in increased earnings, job stability, job marketability, and promotability. 

Writing Career Paths

Reading and writing are skills everyone needs. If you think about it, there are few jobs you can do without the ability to write at least reasonably well. Writing is a form of communication that's required in nearly every profession, from programming to politics. With a Master of Fine Arts in writing, you'll be able to open doors to a number of occupations that range far beyond that of a short story writer or novelist. You could find yourself working in public relations on the campaign trail for your favorite candidate, or as the social media specialist for a Fortune 500 company. You could become a copywriter at a news station, a broadcast journalist overseas, or someone who writes the blog for national products. 

Alternative Career Paths for Writers

Even if you have no desire to become the next great American writer, there's a lot your MFA in writing can do for you. It can prepare you to teach the art of writing at the college level, help you become a successful editor at a publishing house, put you in line for a prestigious position at a national magazine, or make you a prolific speech or technical writer. There are other related careers you can pursue with your MFA in writing, including: 

  • Communications manager 
  • Program administrator 
  • Staff writer 
  • Public relations specialist 
  • Advertising manager

Simply earning your master's degree sets you apart from many other applicants in a competitive job market by providing you with a top-notch resume. A master's degree will always be a feather in your cap, regardless of how the job market rises and falls. 

Pursue an MFA in Writing Online

If you're considering a career in writing or a writing-related field, we invite you to explore the Master of Fine Arts in writing at Lindenwood University. The MFA in writing at Lindenwood can be completed entirely online, which makes it ideal for nontraditional students who need to study around work and life responsibilities. 

Lindenwood University has been educating tomorrow's professionals since 1832 and is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Contact our admissions office today to request more information on the MFA in writing program.

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