In a short time, DIY MFA THE BOOK is being released to the world. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) as a member of the Street Team to promote the book. I wanted to share my review (posted on Goodreads, etc.) with all of you as well. I’m fully disclosing that I write for DIY MFA, and it’s possible that this has biased my review. However, I also had very, very high expectations of this book, because of my very, very high respect level for Gabriela Periera and her program. And this book exceeded all my expectations. I believe it will become one of the top books for someone starting off in the field, and a reference for those already established.
Review: I have been a big fan of DIY MFA since I first heard Gabriela Pereira speak at the Writer’s Digest conference in August 2014. As an educator, I responded to her strong ability to command her classroom’s attention; deliver a clear and detailed lesson, chock-full of advice and information; and show confidence in her audience’s ability to absorb and understand the material. Since that conference, I have become a columnist for the DIY MFA website and a proud member of Gabriela’s team. I’m also a member of the Street Team for the book, and received an ARC to review.
As previous reviewers have mentioned, this book is divided into the three main pillars of DIY MFA: Writing, Reading and Community. All three sections could easily stand alone as their own manuals for writing craft, purposeful reading, and building a writing tribe. The fact that they exist under one cover makes this book a must-have for any writer, no matter where she is on her writing journey.
What I’ve always loved best about DIY MFA, though, is Gabriela’s strong voice. Reading her writing, from this book to the website and her “Word Nerd” email list, is like talking to a friend who’s not afraid to tell you what she thinks, but also respects your individuality. She knows what works for herself, but also goes out of her way to find methods that work for others, and suggests them all as answers to your writing questions. This book reveals that Gabriela’s own path to writing success comes from much trial-and-error, failures that turned into learning opportunities, and “iterations” (a favorite word of hers) to improve her habits. The authenticity of that path gives Gabriela credibility as both a writer and an educator. I admire her because she does what I personally try (and sometimes fail) to do: pursue continuous growth and learning about myself and my chosen career path. If Gabriela were to write this book again in ten years, I bet it could be twice as long, given that she continues to learn and share what she’s learned about the world of writing.
If you only read one book about writing this year, make it this one!