So, you’ve finished your MFA. What now?

Since I’m just getting things back up and running, I thought that I would tackle one of the reasons I’m starting this blog up again.

I finished my MFA this past summer, and I was proud of what I had accomplished. My MFA was unlike a traditional school in that all work and scheduling was my own responsibility. I didn’t have anyone that I answered to daily, and my progress was solely judged on what I snail-mailed to my advisor every three weeks.

I met people at Goddard that I know will be my friends for years to come, and when I got my diploma I was happy. I felt like I’d done something solely for me, and that I would finally feel confident in saying that “I am a writer”.

Fast forward several months…

Am I still happy? Yes. Of course. I don’t have any regrets in getting my degree. Do I think I was a little optimistic in thinking that my degree was going to solve my problems? Entirely too optimistic.

I have diligently written almost everyday since I graduated, and I see no other way that I can improve my craft other than doing just that, but with that said, I still feel rather conflicted by the fact that I haven’t done anything with my degree other than that. I certainly know that it will take longer than a few months (try many years) before I will likely see the results of my hard work, but I’m someone who needs goals to stay motivated. Sure, a long term goal of potentially getting published one day is great, but it’s still a rather abstract goal, and I need something more immediate to keep me going.

Que my newest idea, which might or might not prove to be a smart idea. I think that I will try to self publish a collection of my short stories. That way I can start to get my name out there. It will at least allow me to say that I am published. Now, I am a complete stranger to self publishing, so I have a lot of research ahead of me, but I think that it will give me something to strive towards. I already have a collection of pieces that I can edit and improve for the collection.

I’m still rather old fashioned, and I would like to try and find an agent and publishing house for the novel that I’m working on, but just because I want to have my book published through a house doesn’t mean that I need to have all my work produced that way.

I’m just trying to keep a delicate balance between being optimistically driven and paralyzing self doubt. I do tend to lean towards the later, so this will certainly be an experiment in pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

Next week I’ll hopefully have a better idea of how to start down the rabbit hole that is self publishing. If anything, I’ll have a good story to tell.

Be well.

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