Get the Knowledge without the College!

The definitive guide for writers who can’t–or don’t want to–go back to school.

Inspired by material from the DIY MFA flagship 101 course, this is more than a writing guide in book form. Based on proven techniques and graduate-style curriculum, DIY MFA won’t just help you improve your writing skills, it will empower you to take control of your creative life. If DIY MFA were a school, this book would be the student handbook. It’s a one-stop-shop with all the fundamental elements from the website in one place.

If you are new to DIY MFA, this book is the perfect springboard to get you going, and if you’ve taken our flagship course, this book will supplement and expand on what you learned. DIY MFA will help you get that graduate-level experience without going to school. Rather than putting your life on hold for two or three years and accruing a huge amount of student debt, you can learn to recreate that MFA experience for yourself and seamlessly incorporate writing into your life. This book will show you how.

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About the Author

Hi. I’m Gabriela Pereira, instigator of DIY MFA.

My mission is to help writers get their words on the page and their stories out into the world. When I got my own MFA from The New School in NYC, I remember sitting in graduation thinking: “This MFA was a great experience, but what about writers who can’t go back to school?” What if writers were serious about their craft but couldn’t get an MFA? Who would help them? That’s when I decided to create a do-it-yourself MFA-style program: one that could help busy writers get the knowledge they needed, but in a way that fit their schedule. I went home, brainstormed a curriculum, and in a few short hours DIY MFA was born. The DIY MFA model incorporates all the best elements of a traditional MFA–things I learned from the inside–including the study of craft and literature, with a strong focus on peer critique. It also fills gaps that many MFA programs have by including resources and information about publishing and the business of writing. In DIY MFA, I bring together my best techniques so that you can write that book you’ve always dreamed of writing, and get it published.

Who Is It For?

This book is for word nerds of all stripes, but I wrote it with three particular writer groups in mind.

  • Writers in the trenches: If you’re one of these writers, then you are in the thick of it, actively engaged in a writing project at this very moment. You work hard to improve your craft and are hungry to learn tools and skills you can apply to work-in-progress. This book will give you the techniques you crave.
  • Serious newbies: Just because you’re new to writing doesn’t mean you’re not serious. If you’re one of these serious newbies, then you are motivated to learn all you can, so you can start your writing journey on the right foot. Learn how with this book.
  • Career authors who need a boost: No matter how experienced a writer you are, sometimes you lose “that loving feeling” and it’s hard to get those words on the page. This book can help shake up some of those stale habits and get you pumped up about your writing again.

Warning: If you are dabbler or dilettante looking for a “magic bullet” solution or a shortcut to success, this book is not for you. Seriously, it might spontaneously combust in your possession. (Just kidding. Sort of.)


Check out what people are saying about DIY MFA and the book!

A real writer’s classroom in a single book. No puffballs and promises here, only the practical tools and mindset every writer needs to make success a reality.

James Scott Bell, bestselling author of Plot & Structure 

Writing is a field that favors the self-starter. That said, we all get lonely and need the graceful companionship and humorous rigor found in DIY MFA. Pereira’s book is designed for both the creative and the business sides of writing, for both the person and the pen that s/he holds. If, on the other hand, you are a practicing writer and have chosen to stop learning at some point…well, that’s on you.

Stuart Horwitz, author of Finish Your Book in Three Drafts: How to Write a book, Revise a Book, and Complete a Book While You Still Love It

Think you need an MFA to become a writer? Not so! With infectious energy and enthusiasm, Gabriela Pereira shows you how to follow a DIY path to writing, reading as a writer, and building a writers’ community. Full of practical advice, DIY MFA is a guide to your learning journey, from coming up with story ideas to crafting your author brand.

Barbara Baig, author of Spellbinding Sentences: A Writer’s Guide to Achieving Excellence and Captivating Readers

The world is changing but the fundamentals of good writing don’t change. The challenge for the 21st century writer is to be single-minded in pursuit of her art, while open-minded about new routes to market, new publishing opportunities, and new ways to connect with her readers. 

In DIY MFA Gabriela Pereira will help you strike a delicate yet necessary balance between writing, reading, and connecting with the wider world. She will challenge you to be bolder and more rigorous in your writing, and more enterprising in how you bring your work to market. She will also support you with solid practical advice about each facet of your career as a writer. 

If you want to pursue your writing career on your own terms, DIY MFA is a must-read. Even if you already have an MFA, the chapters on community building will be the perfect complement to what you already know, helping your finely-crafted words to reach more readers.

Mark McGuinness, poet and creative coach; author of Motivation for Creative People and Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success