Curious Georgiana writes...
My main goal while I am in my MFA program is to write and finish a major
chunk of my novel. I was wondering if I should explain this in my
personal statement. Currently, my novel is a huge blue mess and so I
don't want to send it for my writing samples, opting instead to submit
my polished short stories. Although maybe I should send my first
chapter, which is short and I think an excellent sample of my writing. I
am planning to explain how my experiences and passion for writing have
all contributed to this novel that I will want to devote all my time on,
and then I will give details about the novel. Do you think that this is
what the "MFA People" are looking for, or should I just write a general
personal statement about who I am as a writer?
Maybe I've just answered too many questions about personal statements, but the answer here seems simple to me. On the other hand, it's been eight years since I went through this process, so maybe some current students will have an insight that I no longer have. If so, I hope they'll post them in the comments section.
My take: Send your best work. If that's the beginning of your novel, send it. I can't predict what a particular committee will look for in a personal statement, but since your novel seems to be a large part of your work and way of seeing life as a writer, definitely mention it. Just don't get fixated on it during the statement. Best of luck and rock on.
Additional note: as a reader pointed out in the comments section, it might be a good idea to send both the opening of the novel and a story. Spread your nets wide. And as always, send your best work.