Where we’ve been

In case you missed it, or just need a refresher, in Part 1 of this three-part series we spent much of our time examining how it was that I arrived at Grand Valley State University (GVSU), and how it was that I came to switch majors, from Film & Video Production to Creative Writing.

Part 2 of this series then saw us dig in and start examining how, why, and where my degree in Creative Writing has fallen short in the ten years since graduation, specifically through the lenses of hands-on opportunities and securing employment.

Which brings us here, to the final part of the series, where we’ll be taking a deep look through the third and final lens: preparation for the future of the industry.

Preparation for the future of the industry

This might sound obvious, and silly, and redundant, but I’ll say it anyway: the primary reason why you go to college is to better your future. And by “better” I of course mean two things: 1) ensure that you have the skills and experience necessary to perform a job whose tasks you enjoy, and/or 2) increase your likelihood to live a middle-to-upper class life here in the United States as an adult; a life of relative comfort. To do so, the college you attend must prepare you for the future.

Yes, I know, redundant—again. But the thing is that “preparing you for the future” varies. From discipline to discipline, from school to school, etc. Factors of this preparation include, of course, instructional philosophies, choices in curriculum, hands-on opportunities offered, yada, yada, yada.

The important thing I’m saying here is that all of those choices need to add up to students actually being prepared for the future of the industry into which they have chosen to enter. And by future I mean ten years down the road, twenty years down the road, thirty. A career—have they prepared you for a career?

If a department and its university fails to do so, well then, what is the point of that department’s existence? What is the point of that university? Have they not failed at their purpose? And have you thus made a terrible investment?

Big questions. But let’s apply them here. Do I consider my education from GVSU to be a terrible investment? Do I regret attending?

Not necessarily. And sometimes, yeah. There have been many times in the last ten years that I’ve regretted going to GVSU. There have been many times in the last ten years that I’ve regretted studying writing, that I’ve regretted going to college at all.

Before I get too far down that rabbit hole, let’s bring it back to this: there are three ways in which I feel the GVSU writing department fell short in preparing its students for the future of the industry. I’m going to list those three ways below, and then one-by-one dive into the specifics. So, the list:

  1. There was a failure to anticipate how technology could be best utilized, even in the short term.
  2. The traditional route of publishing was presented as the route while non-traditional routes were looked down upon.
  3. Literary fiction was the one and only subgenre of fiction taught.

And, of course, starting with number three, here are the specifics:

A) Literary fiction... rules…?

I mentioned this in a Part 2, but at GVSU there are four genres offered to writing program students: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and drama. Students were to choose two genres in which to emphasize throughout their studies.

Fiction, I believe, was the most popular choice, and as someone who chose it, here’s something that I don’t remember the department disclosing at all: what you’re fed as a student of fiction is a steady diet of what’s known as literary fiction. And that was about it. No sci-fi. No horror. No romance. Literary fiction.

Which is important to note. Because while there are no doubt some exceptions to the notion that “you are what you eat,” if what you consume is literary fiction, it’s likely that what you’re going to produce as a writer is literary fiction.

Now, the really, really important question: who actually reads literary fiction? Who on a regular basis—and by regular I mean weekly or bi-weekly—purchases a contemporary work of literary fiction, devours it and moves onto the next one?

Students. That’s who. Middle-school students and high-school students. Students studying English or writing at the college level (both undergraduate and graduate). Oh, and the teachers of these classes. Oh, and also the graduates of writing programs, who continue trying to craft their own works within the genre they’ve been taught.

And that’s where I’m trying to go with this, to point to the idea that students who are taught literary fiction face a very tough road ahead of them, because though you may think what you’re being taught is of higher quality than any form of genre fiction, the fact remains that your work of literary fiction is going to be monetarily valued by the market just as a work of horror would, or science fiction, or whatever.

Give or take a few dollars, one new paperback of 250 pages is going to cost consumers about the same price as another new paperback of 250 pages.

This is not how several other art forms operate. And that’s because the public at large does not think of books as art; they think of them like they think of their music and of their movies: as entertainment.

The industry has been commercialized for a long, long time, and that means two things: 1) the marketplace is vast—and I mean vast, with hundreds of active countries, with thousands of active publishers, and even more active authors pumping content into hundreds of categories and genres—and that means 2) the cost of the product is always-always-always going to be low.

Unlike the sculptor, you as a writer are very unlikely to sell a “one of a kind” for $500,000. And if you were to try, it’s likely that you’d be met with confusion, and maybe even laughter. A book is a book—pages of paper sandwiched between stiffer pieces of paper. Even if they don’t read them, the majority of households have at least one of them in their possession.

So, if you want to make money writing books, the way you make money is quantity. Right? It’s about units moved. It’s about production. It’s about scale.

Now, does this mean that there aren’t pockets of the population who love literary fiction and do think of it as high art? Absolutely not. Those pockets exist; they just make up a smaller portion of readers than creative writing programs lead you to believe (we’ll get there in a moment).

But what it does mean is that the decision by creative writing programs at the university level to steer students toward the study of literary fiction is very warped. And I’m saying that as a fan of literary fiction. As a writer of it.

Facts are facts, though, and in the past decade they’ve been everywhere: literary fiction is on the decline.

I’ll link to one article here, from Australia in 2018, when there were zero—I repeat zero—works of literary fiction on their top 100 bestselling books of the year, but if you want to go down an interesting, albeit redundant, rabbit hole, just Google “literary fiction decline” the next time you have a few minutes.

If you’d rather not, I’ll just sum it up for you: literary fiction books don’t sell anymore, and nobody really knows why. There’s a lot of speculation, of course. Shorter attention spans of people today. That people don’t want to tackle challenging material, given the generally challenging state of the world. Woke-ism and anti-woke-ism. Etc.

My theory falls into line with what I’m about to say about creative writing programs at the college level (including my experience with GVSU’s) and it’s simple: with as many books as there are out in the world today—I’m not kidding when I say there are thousands pouring out day after day after day—and with as many avenues to reading those books as there are, readers have more choices than they ever have in the history of humankind.

“Facts are facts, though, and in the past decade they’ve been everywhere: literary fiction is on the decline.”

Because we have more choices than ever before, and because technology has also enabled us to be more globally connected than ever before, the vast marketplace that already existed has grown while also splintering, again and again and again. And that splintering—like music has (see: Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Amazon Music, etc.), and movies and television have (see: Netflix, HBO Max, Apple+, Disney+, Hulu, etc.)—will continue to evolve as our tools do.

That still doesn’t suggest why people aren’t choosing literary fiction though. Things can splinter. That’s fine. The cream will still rise to the top, right, and then be eaten by all, communally—joyously?

My answer is a resounding no when it comes to literary fiction, and here’s why: I think that when readers who are outside of the pipeline to literary fiction—or readers who have broken free; after all, they were likely forced against their will to read and write complicated essays upon works of literary fiction during their school years—see literary fiction as a genre that is A) difficult to actually categorize and B) despite being difficult to categorize, is a genre that is very, very homogeneous.

Let’s briefly break that down:

B) Literary fiction is difficult to categorize.

It’s actually considered a defining characteristic of the genre. Consider this definition from Wikipedia: “Literary fiction is a label that, in the book trade, refers to market novels that do not fit neatly into an established genre; or, otherwise, refers to novels that are character-driven rather than plot-driven, examine the human condition, use language in an experimental or poetic fashion, or are simply considered ‘serious’ art.”

Keying in on “not fitting neatly into an established genre”, that they’re “character-driven rather than plot-driven” and are considered “serious art”, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to me to say that the modern consumer wouldn’t feel great about sinking their money and, more importantly, their time (6+ hours on average) into something that isn’t accessible and that, frankly, seems quite unpredictable.

6+ hours is a big ask, particularly of people outside of the literary fiction pipeline—to carve that time from their presumably hectic schedule as parents, workers and citizens so that they can, what, maybe have their perception of the novel and its capabilities rewired while having their morals challenged by characters that are dark and complex?

I like to believe that it’s far less about the human desire to be challenged, or that we’re so averse to unpredictability, and that it’s far more about the time commitment. Because look, a painting can be difficult to understand, and so can a song, and so can a film. They all just ask for far less time from their audience than a book does.

So yeah, though I don’t want to, I tend to think that we as writers of literary fiction are asking too much of people outside of the literary fiction pipeline. Too much time. Too much energy.

I mean, imagine a person out there who works full-time, who has multiple children, and zero literary aspirations, who one day picks up David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest and thinks to themselves, “How exciting.” While their existence is of course possible, I find the scenario unlikely. The chances are greater that, if that person is a reader, they’d reach for something from the sci-fi shelf, or the romance shelf, something “genre,” something that might not be considered “light,” but something that does have familiar rules and constraints, something that has a pretty well known contract with its readers before the cover is even opened.

The same cannot be said for someone who has picked up Infinite Jest. It just can’t. The contract of Infinite Jest can be pared down to one word: work.

Now, are all works of literary fiction like Infinite Jest? No, of course not. And can literary fiction blur its lines so that it’s shaded by genres like fantasy & romance? Absolutely.

(in fact, it seems like this is happening more and more, almost as if writers of literary fiction have realized how dry the well has become and are stretching their arms and legs for the climb out)

But that just intensifies the issue: you don’t know what exactly you’re getting with literary fiction. You could be thinking that you’re getting one thing, and be served something else entirely. And we as humans are remarkable in just how quickly we learn to avoid something once we get burned.

We’re also quite quick to dismiss things we don’t understand, or to opt for the easiest, most convenient route.

C) Literary fiction is very, very homogeneous.

Consider what I said earlier, about who reads literary fiction—middle school students, high school students, college students (undergraduate and graduate), and the teachers of those students.

Consider next what else I said earlier, that literary fiction has been on a decline in popularity. And consider this, from Statista: in 1965 there were roughly 6 million college students in the United States, compared to nearly 19 million college students in 2020.

And also consider this from Data USA: in 2020, there were 6,583 creative writing degrees awarded, which give or take a couple hundred has stayed relatively consistent since 2012.

As what I believe will be a conservative estimate, let’s say that 40% of those who are awarded degrees are awarded degrees in fiction.

And lastly, consider these two lists from Self Publishing School, published in June 2022, the first being the top 12 most popular fiction genres on Amazon:

  1. Fantasy
  2. Science Fiction
  3. Dystopian
  4. Adventure
  5. Romance
  6. Detective & Mystery
  7. Horror
  8. Thriller
  9. LGBTQ+
  10. Historical Fiction
  11. Young Adult (YA)
  12. Children’s Fiction

And the second on the top 20 most popular book categories (“categories” as you’ll see are steps deeper than “genre”) on the Amazon Kindle Store:

  1. Romance > Contemporary
  2. Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Women
  3. Romance > New Adult & College
  4. Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Romance
  5. Literature & Fiction > Women > Romance
  6. Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Coming of Age
  7. Romance > Mystery & Suspense > Suspense
  8. Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban
  9. Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Erotica
  10. Literature & Fiction > Women > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Women Sleuths
  11. Romance > Romantic Comedy
  12. Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Literary
  13. Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Literary
  14. Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction
  15. Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Epic
  16. Romance > Fantasy
  17. Romance > Paranormal > Werewolves & Shifters
  18. Romance > Holidays
  19. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > Police Procedurals
  20. Literature & Fiction > Humor & Satire > General Humor

Add all of this up and here’s what you get: every year about 2,600 young writers who have been taught the workings of a dying subgenre enter the “writing workforce”. And those writers start trying to produce books to be read by a small population: those who are still in school or who, like them, are trying to produce books to be read by those who are still in school.

Large portions of any year’s annual 2,600 literary fiction writers are swatted away over time by responsibility, circumstance, a change of heart.

And those who continue the pursuit, if they haven’t already, start becoming interested in teaching creative writing for a living. Maybe even fiction.

So some do. They teach literary fiction to thousands of students over their career, and several of those students go on to teach literary fiction to thousands of their own students.

The cycle goes on and on. All for, and within, a genre that isn’t even in the top 12 of the biggest bookseller in the world.

Over-exaggerated? Sure. But when you take a look at the works of literary fiction the physical bookstore nearest you, or when you read the About section of a literary fiction author’s website, you’re likely to find that a creative writing program at an institution of higher education was a key stop of theirs along the way. That does not mean that Writer A’s first novel will be exactly like Writer B’s first novel, but it does mean that the narrative has been touched by the eyes and ears and hands of academia.

The work of Writer A and the work of Writer B, though created by individuals with different life experiences altogether, and by individuals who have been taught by other individuals, share this thread in common. And whether you’re ready to believe it or not, the academic experience undeniably tilts the lens through which one observes the world. Even if you’re a reluctant student and you resist that tilt, that tilt exists. It might be one one-hundredth of a degree, but it has been tilted—by the books you were assigned, by the workshop structure you were forced into, by the hands-on opportunities offered through the department.

Readers not in the literary fiction pipeline, I feel, can smell that. Even if they can’t definitively categorize literary fiction, they know what literary fiction looks like, sounds like, feels like. And they reject it. They reject the academic tilt. They reject not the challenges they’d face as a reader, but they do reject the work’s headiness. Or, rather, the genre’s headiness.

“The cycle goes on and on. All for, and within, a genre that isn’t even in the top 12 of the biggest bookseller in the world.”

They either associate it with traumatic experiences as a reader (i.e. they see a book billed as “the new Catcher in the Rye” and they think of the terrible presentation they had to give in 9th grade English class), or, you know maybe they just think it’s going to be straight up boring.

Add all of this up, my friends, and what we have is this: there is a high supply of literary fiction out there, and a very low demand.

My suggestion to creative writing programs across the country, including GVSU’s—assuming the practice still holds—is to change this. To diversify your offerings. To create paths for children’s literature, and middle grade, and science fiction & fantasy, etc.

By not doing so, you are putting your students in a position where the chance for success is very, very, very small. Not to mention in a position where relative success has no other measure: imagine, for example, working a job in the U.S. where every three or four years you receive a lump sum of $10,000 (equivalent of an advance for literary fiction) for the work you have produced. It’s absurd.

And oh yeah, you might have to pay some of that $10,000 back if what you produced doesn’t sell very well.

My suggestion to you? If you feel compelled to pursue fiction writing at an institution of higher education, first do your homework: what types of fiction does said institution offer? Scour the internet, ask professors, ask current students if they’re available online or in person. And if said institution only offers literary fiction, and that’s what you’re really into, still do yourself a favor and on your own time find classes outside of the university on how to write other types of fiction.

Failure to anticipate technology

Right now, you’re reading this blog post either on a laptop or on a very powerful device that fits into the palm of your hand. That device—you use it for a lot of things. And I mean a lot of things. It’s a plug into your social network, it’s your boombox, it’s your daily planner, it’s your investment portfolio, etc.

Now, did GVSU teach me how to write non-fiction—like I’m writing now—so that it can be read easily on that device? No. It did not. I was not taught that. I was not taught how to start an author’s website, or what to feature on that website. I was not taught how to write for the ebook format. I was not taught how to write a fictional podcast, or for recording at all.

This was 2008 through 2012, remember, and still, not even an extended mention of what it meant to market yourself as a writer on social media.

Granted, my degree is in writing, and not in publishing. But, come on. A website? A podcast? An ebook? At this point in time, these are three digital mediums of yesterday. At that point in time, maybe they were somewhat new, but they certainly weren’t cutting edge.

The point of the writing degree, I think, was to teach students the art of storytelling: to teach them how a story is created, not packaged. And, removed from the high of actually learning that (because I did get a high from learning that), I can say that that approach is deeply flawed. It’s like giving a soldier just a helmet and telling them to storm the beaches of Normandy. And wow, have there been casualties.

Over the course of my degree, I had writing and English classes with what I’d guess was at least 100 students (that guess seems conservative but I’m sticking with it because in my memory I see a lot of familiar faces from class to class).

You know how many of them I know for a fact are still pursuing their dream of writing stories—you know, the thing we spent thousands of dollars and thousands of hours learning? Including me, three. FOUR!

Pretty crazy, right? Pretty depressing? Yeah. It is.

Now, take that figure and plant it on a different discipline. Let’s say: elementary education. “Ten years removed from the completion of their program,” we can say on the university’s brochure, “4% of graduates become teachers!” Wait, wait, sorry. Not all of them are actually “teachers” yet. “4% of graduates still have aspirations of becoming teachers!”


But can that rate of attrition be attributed to a failure to anticipate technology? As you’ll see in my next explanations, not solely. But I believe it plays a huge part, because one thing we know about technology is that it does not work in cycles. It does not “come back around”. It is linear, always advancing, and quickly. And if you aren’t ready it’ll be by in a flash and you’ll have missed an opportunity. Opportunities to flourish, as you may know, are rare in the writing and publishing world—rare enough to the point that, if indeed it is the goal of any given writing department to ensure as many aspiring writers as possible have a good shot at a writing career, I believe the time of writing professors would be better spent investigating said opportunities than it would bringing to the foreground a rarely-seen plot device.

Traditional over non-traditional

Having read Part 1 and Part 2, and the previous sections in this final part, it probably comes as no surprise to you that over the course of my time in the GVSU writing department there was one route passed along to students when it came to “how to get your book published”. And that route was what’s known as the “traditional route,” which is quite simple and goes as follows:

You, the writer, queries an agent; an agent reads your work and thinks there’s enough of an angle that they decide to try and sell your work to publishers; they pitch your work to said publishers; a publisher wants to publish your book and works with your agent on a deal; the publisher, well, publishes your book. It’s printed by the hundreds or thousands, stored in a warehouse, and shipped to bookstores across the region, across the country, or across the world.

(side note that likely won’t surprise you: despite the push toward the traditional route, we weren’t taught how to write query letters either)

That route has been used for a long time, and there are obviously writers that have navigated the route well and who have been very successful. They find an agent they like—or they don’t, and bounce to another—their books find good homes, etc.

But, for every writer for whom that route has worked well, there are several writers for whom the route hasn’t worked, or for whom the route has been completely unnavigable (i.e. agent after agent rejects the manuscript and tells them that their book would be, “hard to sell” or, “you know, there just isn’t a market there anymore.”).

So many writers, in fact, that in the early 2000s companies (ahem, Amazon) discovered that the writing industry was in need of “disruption”. Or, rather, that the stars had aligned: an industry was in need of disruption, yes, but technology had evolved to the point where a proper disruption could actually take place. Which, as you may have already pieced together, led to the practice of self-publishing becoming both easier and less expensive to do (not to mention generally less wasteful, though, let’s be real: the majority of the major players in the publishing industry don’t really care about that—we’ll get into this in more detail in a later post).

Notice how I said self-publishing became “easier” and not “easy”. That’s because self-publishing was not something new to the publishing industry. Not at all. Jane Austen, for example, self-published her first novel (Sense and Sensibility). Ezra Pound self-published his first collection of poetry. Virginia Woolf and her husband started their own press in their house so they could publish their own work.

The list goes on.

Self-publishing has been around for as long as the printing press has, and, despite obvious successes, has over time accumulated a terrible reputation in the eyes of the people who’d kept watch over the publishing industry’s most lucrative gates for a long, long time—publishers, editors, agents, etc. The why is simple: self-publishing threatens to take bigger and bigger and bigger bites out of the publishing pie.

Said fear may have reached its apex in 2012, following the Amazon self-publishing boom. Late that year, Bowker reported that the number of self-published books published in the U.S. had risen by 287% since 2006.

Today, it has become a nightmare to track down reliable statistics on not only how many books are published each year in the United States, but how many of those titles are being self-published. But on Toner Buzz, the top hit on Google for such searches, this is what they had to say:

“The answer is more complicated than you’d think. Figures range from 500,000 to one million books published annually. However, if you include self-published authors you’re looking at close to 4 million new book titles published each year.”

And, uh, that’s just books that are printed. That isn’t taking into account ebooks or audiobooks, or books that have been self-published but do not utilize ISBNs that can be tracked and included in such data.

“They wanted the traditional route to remain powerful, because it would mean that the statuses they’d earned over the years would be safe. They’d paid their dues, after all, tuition and otherwise.”

Now, a gentle reminder that I attended GVSU from 2008 to 2012, exactly when the boom—nay, the self-publishing revolution—was happening. Any guesses at how many conversations were had in my writing classes about self-publishing? I remember zero conversations—you know, discussions between multiple people where information is exchanged in useful ways. But I do remember a few moments where professors spoke on the idea of self-publishing.

One referred to it as “vanity press,”, I remember, a “pejorative implying that an author who uses such a service is publishing out of vanity and that his or her work would otherwise not be commercially successful.”

Another skirted around a student’s question about the viability of self-publishing, saying something along the line of, “Hey, you should try it if you think it sounds interesting,” while truly feeling what I assume was something like, “I think that could be a terrible idea for your writing career.”

Because that’s what the general tone was from the overwhelming majority of professors in the writing department: that self-publishing wasn’t actually a thing, that self-publishing was a fad; that it was only a matter of time before the tide of traditional publishing washed it away.

This was, as time has proven true, the wrong way to be. I do not mean to say that traditional publishing doesn’t still have a place in the world. Of course it still does. But so does self-publishing. And that writing on the wall from 2008 to 2012 was big, and bold, and obvious.

The decisions to shame self-publishing, I believe, or, at the least, turn one’s nose up behind closed doors at its notion, came to them quite naturally though. Professors are products of the exact environment I was in. They were taught one route—the traditional publishing route—because one “esteemed’ route existed. They were travelers of this route. Trekking for years. So they, like everyone else who to that point had relied upon the traditional route for their livelihood, were fearful. They wanted the traditional route to remain powerful, because it would mean that the statuses they’d earned over the years would be safe. They’d paid their dues, after all, tuition and otherwise.

I’m generalizing here, so I do want to allow some room here for some individualization to be assumed. But if I’m right, this way of thinking was harmful to myself and my fellow students. Because the truth is that, though they’d once been students of the traditional route, and though they were active participants of that route, they as professors had a responsibility as a quasi-gatekeeper of the writing world at large to prepare writers for the journey they were about to take.

For me, specifically, so engrained is the push by my community at that time to go toward the traditional route of publishing that I have spent years and years not being proud of the works that I have self-published, but questioning them. Questioning myself and whether or not I have any actual talent. Because if my writing professors were right, and the only way to know that your work is worthwhile is for someone else to fall in love with it to the point of publishing it, then, well, that really hasn’t happened a whole lot for me.

And then I do this thing where I hear myself thinking like that and get pissed—at myself, at those professors, at agents and big publishing houses—to the point that the only thing I want to do is push against everything that is considered traditional.

It’s a severe swing of the pendulum.

If I’m right in thinking that myself and my fellow students were harmed by this way of thinking, I suspect that as the writing & publishing industry has evolved since 2012, continued arrogance and negligence has proved harmful to students that followed me as well.

And I can’t stop myself from again thinking of all of my fellow writing students who have seemingly stopped writing. I can’t help but picture professors funneling bright minds into one path, hearing the fact that 3% of their students are still even trying to write and publish books, and then shrugging. And smugly saying something to the effect of, “Well. It’s a tough gig.”

If that isn’t “falling short” I’m unsure of what would qualify.

What to make of this

Finally, we arrive here: I was let down in a few ways by my creative writing degree. So what? I’ve found ways to make ends meet. I’ve taken some swings. I’m a practicing writer. What’s the big deal?

I’m one person, with one set of experiences; I do not speak for everyone. So why spend all this time breaking down what went wrong?

My hope in having done so, I think, is twofold.

First, I hope that I’ve shown at least a few shades of messiness that I suspect several other writers out there have dealt with on their own paths (if so, please feel free to share below in the comments; I’d love to hear).

For example, I don’t consider my experience at GVSU to be negative, nor do I consider my time studying writing there to be negative. It’ll come by way of a post soon enough, but I met great people. I had some great professors. I learned cool things. But the four years spent there have significantly impacted the last ten years of my life. And not everything has been easy. The obstacles experienced deserve some light—some honest light, as bright as I can make it. Because shining light on them may help someone going through something similar, or about to go through something similar.

And second, I think that more and more it’s being exposed that college in the United States is a very risky proposition—for many, many fields of study. And for some fields of study, like writing, when you shine a light long enough, you might just find that the path you think you’ve been looking at is a mirage.

More on that in a later post as well.

End of article

Read the Rest of the Series

Where My Creative Writing Degree Has Fallen Short, Part 1
Pick a life, any life.
Where My Creative Writing Program Has Fallen Short, Pt. 2
Criteria for judgment.

How My Creative Writing Degree Has Served Me Well
Holding that expensive piece of paper up to a different light.
Why Being a Writer is Pretty Great—an essay
A dash of optimism.
Why Being a Writer Sucks—an essay
A dash of truth.
Would I Send My Daughter to a Creative Writing Program?
“Do you have time for a few questions?”

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