How I Wrote My Statement of Purpose

The MFA Years

Hey, Cady here. Just want to let you know I read the message boards. I’m active in one Facebook group for applicants, and I help moderate another. I am aware that every last one of you is panicked about the statement of purpose.

I’ve been known to show my statement to people, but that’s not what I’m going to do here. I know this is a strange thing to say about a document that I sent out to a bunch of strangers at one point, but it’s personal. Maybe if we know each other, or if you catch me in a good mood. But probably not. Sorry.

What I’m going to do instead is more helpful to you. I’m going to break my statement down paragraph by paragraph, giving instructions on how to write one like it. There are even quotes! Let’s go.

Paragraph 1: 164 words

My opening sentence…

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How to be a writer

Creative Writing Studies

We asked novelist Sally O’Reilly, who is researching creative writing at Brunel University, to introduce her new blog and forthcoming book. Sally writes:

I am a writer, journalist, PhD student and creative writing tutor with more than two decades of experience of writing for a living. During this time I’ve contributed to the Guardian, Sunday Times, Evening Standard and New Scientist and written two novels, published by Penguin books in 2004 and 2007.

In the process, I have learned a great deal, not only about how to write, but about how to BE a writer. This has never been easy, and in the current depressed and uncertain publishing market, it is perhaps more difficult than ever.

My experience has taught me that the greatest pleasure in writing comes from “process” – the act of writing itself. No matter how important it is to see your work in print (and…

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