I worked with a number of students writing memoirs.
I worked with a number of students writing memoirs.One of my Real Deal students wrote a memoir that actually made me cry. For the most part, MFA students who choose to write memoirs are narcissists using the genre as therapy.
And then there were students whose work was so awful that it literally put me to sleep.
Here are some things I learned from these experiences. Either you have a propensity for creative expression or you don't. That's not to say that someone with minimal talent can't work her ass off and maximize it and write something great, or that a writer born with great talent can't squander it. The MFA student who is the Real Deal is exceedingly rare, and nothing excites a faculty adviser more than discovering one.
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.
Students who claimed to enjoy "all sorts" of books were invariably the ones with the most limited taste. ), told me she preferred to read books "that don't make me work so hard to understand the words." I almost quit my job on the spot.
No one cares about your problems if you're a shitty writer.
But writing that's motivated by the desire to give the reader a pleasurable experience really is best.
I told a few students over the years that their only job was to keep me entertained, and the ones who got it started to enjoy themselves, and the work got better.
I can count my Real Deal students on one hand, with fingers to spare.
If you didn't decide to take writing seriously by the time you were a teenager, you're probably not going to make it.