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Congratulations Yasmin- that's a huge piece of writing! I'm slowly thinking my way through an idea for a creative writing PhD but it;s simmering on the back burner while I'm looking after my dad. I did an MFA about 10 years ago at Kingston Uni. It's an American style degree, more than an MA and less than a PhD. I wrote a portfolio of poetry - the equivalent of 40,000 words and a long dissertation - can't remember the word count. I loved every minute of it and the collection of poetry was published a couple of years later, so well worth approaching publishers with your manuscript. Good luck with the final edits and formatting!

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Thanks for your comment and good wishes, Lucy. Prior to starting my PhD I did an MA in Creative Writing and for that I needed to put forward the first 15,000 words of a potential book along with a 1000 word genesis document. That seemed like a big deal at the time! But I have the whole manuscript of that book in my files, urgently wanting to be reworked and I'm looking forward to getting back to it. Knowing that my writing skills have improved through doing the PhD, I think I'll cringe when I look back at that draft but it's a super subject (place writing mixed with biography and memoire) so it will be a welcome project to slip into after this.

Your experience of the MFA will be of interest to others who are thinking of taking a qualification. Thanks for sharing, and all the best to you and your dad.

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Recommend reading John Graves’ “Goodbye to a River”, an easy read and a fine example of what you refer to as place writing. Graves paddled down stretches of the Brazos, intermingling history (Indians and settlers) with his sense of the river. He did it thinking the wildness of the river was about to be forever taken by a number of dams for water storage. Fortunately for those who love waterways, very few of those dams were built.

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Nov 21, 2023Liked by Yasmin Chopin

Oh my, plenty of people do doctorates later in life! I’ve supervised people in their late 60s. I was turned 50 when I got mine.

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Nov 20, 2023Liked by Yasmin Chopin

Good luck with submitting and the viva! I did my PhD own Creative Writing part-time over 6 years at St Andrews. Blasting through it in 3 years in an impressive feat! I really enjoyed mine, and I still get a kick out of putting Dr when I'm filling in forms :-)

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You should definitely be proud of your achievement! I've really had to focus to get it done in three years, and tried to manage my time carefully.

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Congratulations on completing your doctoral thesis! A major feat.

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Thank you Jill. I have a little way to go before it's finished but I'm nearly there. It does feel like quite a momentous time!

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A truly fascinating piece! I enjoyed every word.

Congratulations on choosing to make this journey. Despite the time and hard work, it’s like a gift to yourself.

Best wishes in your submission and its success!

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Thank you, Lizzie. Yes, it is a gift to myself, that's exactly how I've looked at it.

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I'm impressed...very impressed, in fact. The amount of work that went into this project is mind-boggling to me...which is another way of saying this kind of program would be good for me in developing discipline in my writing.

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Hi Jack, there is indeed a lot of work involved, and writing is only part of it. I think I've spent at least half my time in research and reading.

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Nov 2, 2023Liked by Yasmin Chopin

All the best for the home straight Yasmin!

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Thanks, Sue. Nearly there. I'm feeling quite relaxed about it, surprisingly!

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This was fascinating. Thank you. I'd love to do a creative writing PhD. However, there's no mention of funding, and how to see yourself through three years. Can you expand at all on that element? Thank you and good luck!

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Hi Jane. I didn't mention funding as it's such a big subject and different for everyone. But, for me, it's been necessary to self-fund. The cost of Creative Writing PhDs seemed to be around the same figure across the various universities I looked into... about £5,000 per year for three years full time. You can do a PhD part-time of course, and this might help spread the cost. And if you are under 60 you might get a government loan. There are some fully funded places for PhDs but these have to be applied for and the system is quite competitive. The disadvantage with a funded PhD is that you have to please your sponsor as well as the university. Hope this helps a bit?

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Nov 20, 2023Liked by Yasmin Chopin

Jane, I did mine part-time and managed to get my fees paid from a University bequest scholarship fund, so it's always worth checking if the Uni you're wanting to study at has any of these. Otherwise, in the UK, you can apply to AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council). but as Yasmins says, these are competitive and it helps to have some understanding of how to frame your writing as academic research.

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Yes, thank you for mentioning this. I was going to try for one of the AHRC funded places but it's a bit scary because you have to apply for a place with the university first, then put in your application and hope! In the end it was easier to just pay and be sure of a place. At least I was then totally in control of my future, and totally committed to it.

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Thank you! I think I'm scared to make the first move. Worried I'm too old (59), not capable of doing it, won't have enough time or money, or both. All the things that people, and possibly middle-aged women in particular, procrastinate about.

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Don't worry that you might be too old, Jane. I'm older than you! 😊

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I’m studying in a completely different field and at Masters not PhD but I understand fully your anxieties. I’m 59 too, I understand the financial commitment, my fees are not huge but I’m studying abroad and the cost of that is. In some ways it seems extravagant to spend this money just on studying because I enjoy learning but it’s all in the mix and in the end it’s what I’d really like to do so I’m going for it. It’s hasn’t been without it’s trials so far but it’s all just logistics and when I’m in the library reading up with the luxury of the time to do only that I’m in my happy place. So, go for it, whether it is the right thing or not will unfold.

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Thanks for your contribution to the conversation, Rita. You've reminded me that when I first started looking at a Masters and PhD, I wondered if I should try doing it in Europe. I was thinking of Spain because there would be a strong focus on learning the language as well, and that rather appealed to me at the time. There are lots of options. Good luck with your studies. Hope it all goes well.

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Thank you! I’m studying Baroque Art in Malta!

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Oh, good luck with your masters! I finished a masters in 2021. I absolutely loved it, but as a full time carer and working full time, 6 years completing a p/t PhD just feels like it could be a step too far, however much I’d like to do it. I will carry on pondering.

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Thank you, yes that is a tough one! I did have to plan out the logistics, saving enough funds, dipping into my pension pots, waiting until my kids were financially independent, etc. Everyone’s circumstances are different though, I’ll leave you to ponder, hope you get to do what you want to do.

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Thank you for this suggestion, Geoff, and thank you for commenting. I look forward to reading this account by John Graves.

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Thanks for re-stacking my post Summer!

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