"Writing is easy," observed author Gene Fowler, "all you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."

Pacific’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program seeks to make the writing process a little easier with a two-year low-residency program. Students come together twice a year for 10 intensive days of literary events, workshops, classes, and readings with a faculty of nationally-recognized writers. In the interim, students follow a study plan in consultation with a writer advisor, continuing writing, receiving criticism, guidance, and support. The idea is to have the ability to carry out family and job commitments while still pursuing the art of writing.

Although the MFA degree is generally recognized for entry into doctoral programs, the goal of the program is not to build teaching or job credentials, but to create a portfolio, foster literary dialogue, and encourage excellence in writing.

The Pacific MFA program began in June 2004 as a partnership with Mountain Writers. Now solely a Pacific project, the MFA in Writing program has about 45 students.

“We are reaching for the stars,” said Director Shelley Washburn, a published writer herself. She called the faculty group “the best writers and teachers in America,” and noted that despite the low-residency format “the MFA program is distinguishing itself as one that fosters community among writers and students . . . Strong ties bind the members of this program.”