One of the things that's happened to me after graduating from an MFA program last week is restlessness. There's this void where you no longer have the packet deadlines. But I have to do something to stay in the game. Luckily I have some writer friends and a former mentor who keep me focused and force me to set goals for myself.
So I've been trying to set goal for the coming year. Because it's the beginning of the year, I'm basically setting New Year's Resolutions, which I hate. (This is how bad I am at New Year's resolutions: one year my New Year's resolution was to stop making New Year's resolutions, and as you can see I can't even make good on that one.)
This is vulnerability at its core. For one, setting goals puts me in a position to fail. Secondly, it's goal-setting is difficult. You have to set the goals high for them to be worthwhile. By definition, this means you have to risk failure. But if you set all your goals too high, then you can fail at all of them and become easily discouraged.
So I've set some attainable goals, that are more modest, and some ambitious goals that will be difficult to accomplish (and some actually may contradict each other, so I doubt it would even be possible to accomplish them all). But would very worthwhile and make me proud to achieve one of more of them.
1) Continue to revise and polish my novel until it's agent-ready
2) Apply for writing fellowships
3) Apply for adjunct teaching positions
4) Pursue freelance writing opportunities.
5) Read for one hour a day
1) Secure an agent for my novel
2) Get accepted for a writing fellowship
3) Land an adjunct gig for fall 2012 or spring 2013
4) Revise three short stories that have been sitting in the belly of my laptop for years and secure publication for at least one
5) Apply for creative writing Ph. D programs (just in case...)
6) Put myself in a position where, going forward, I can earn enough money to get by on some combination of freelance writing and teaching and fellowship money.
We'll see. I may be a compete failure come December.