Our #1 goal at DIY MFA is to create a welcoming, supportive community. To that end, we have a few guidelines that will help our courses run smoothly. These guidelines apply to our online courses, conferences, and also our soon-to-come online community.

DIY MFA word nerds are a smart bunch and these guidelines are simple and so common-sensical that I almost feel silly listing them here. It all boils down to three no-brainer things: don’t be selfish, don’t be rude, and don’t do anything stupid. As long as you stick to the golden rule–treating others as you would like to be treated–you’ll do just fine.

Be Generous

When it comes to critique and sharing work, no one likes a writer who only takes feedback but never gives any in return. But here’s secret that separates the good writers from the great ones: you learn more about writing by giving critique than you’ll learn from receiving it. One of the most valuable aspects of being part of a writing class is being able to offer suggestions and help to other writers, not just because it’s the nice thing to do, but also because you’ll learn SO MUCH from it.

This applies whether you join a formal critique group with fellow writers in the class, or if you’re just participating in the Facebook Group and the Office Hour calls. Being generous also means asking questions in the Q&A sessions that don’t just apply to your specific work, but could help others who are wondering about the same thing. By being generous with each other, we will all grow as writers. The more you give, the more you will learn and gain from this course.

Be Respectful

I enjoy a good debate and love hearing from people whose perspectives are different from my own. My team and I encourage lively discussion in the community.

That said, I will not tolerate any gossip, cussing, verbal bashing or negative energy in any DIY MFA programs. If you have a problem with someone in the community, don’t call them out in public. Handle it privately, or email our support team so we can address the problem.

Be Responsible

We take copyright infringement VERY seriously and will not tolerate writers who take another writer’s words and present them as their own. If you suspect someone has done this, please email [email protected]. This is grounds for dismissal from the program and we will investigate thoroughly.

While copyright protects your written words, it cannot protect your ideas. We want you to feel comfortable brainstorming story ideas without worrying about someone else stealing your work, so we have an additional honor code in this course. If someone shares an idea and you’d like to use a similar concept, just ASK their permission first, and if applicable give kudos where they’re due. It’s that simple.

That said, the internet is a big place and we’re all one “share” away from seeing our words and ideas plastered on every computer screen in the world. My team and I work hard to make our online community a safe space, but when posting your writing, ALWAYS use common sense. Don’t give out private information or passwords. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t normally put online. Use the kid/boss/mom test: if it’s something you wouldn’t let your kid or your boss or your mom read, think on it before posting it.

That’s about it. We’re all grown-ups here and if everyone acts like his/her awesome self, things will go just fine. As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions regarding this course, you can reach me and my team at [email protected].