The Application Letter

I recently got my copy of The Creative Writing MFA Handbook by Tom Kealey back from a friend who borrowed it (and was accepted to Goddard College) and was transported back to two years ago when I was in the “MFA zone.” All I did was research, revise my story, research some more, talk to people, research some more, and prayed I’d get into an MFA program. When I was rejected by all seven schools, I took a break. But man, it was brutal to try to put yourself on the page, sell yourself, and want to study with other writers.

Even though this may be premature for some (or not), I have included some questions to ask yourself for writing the application letter from The Creative Writing MFA Handbook. I know what it feels like to write a cover letter about yourself and your writing. Thank Tom Kealey for the insightful questions below. If I would have followed his advice, maybe I would have been in a program now. Who knows? Hope it helps.

1. What is the reward for writing? Why do you do it?

2. What three books have affected you the most in your life? Why, for each one?

3. What is your writing schedule (how often and where do you write)? And what would you like your writing schedule to be?

4. Describe the book you would like to write. Describe it on your own terms.

5. Describe your weaknesses as a writer. Describe your strengths.

6. What life events have affected your writing? What interesting things have you done (on your terms) that impact your writing?

7. What have you learned in writing classes, or other classes, that has impacted your writing?

8. How would an outside observer describe your writing?

9. When did you first start to write, and why?

10. Finally, why are you applying to these programs at this point in your life? What are you hoping to gain from this experience?


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