Anyone who has followed my blog (both of you) may have noticed that I’ve not posted anything since–gasp!– July! The good news is that I’ve been focused on other writing endeavors, most importantly The Dissertation– the book that I am writing that will get me the M.F.A. in creative writing for which I came to New Mexico. Now that the end is in sight–I’ll be defending this semester, late March or early April–I’m wondering (and everyone is asking),
And it scares me.
I hate that question mostly because I don’t have an answer.
When I left San Diego to attend graduate school I envisioned completing my degree, and returning: to Southern California, to my marketing job, to my friends, to my family, to my life. But when I lost my job in February, everything changed including my well-crafted plan to return to California and pick up where I left off.
Instead, I’m at a place where I have to figure out what’s next.
First, if I want to teach college level English, I’m at a disadvantage because (1) I don’t have any real, front-of-the-classroom teaching experience, (2) Funding cuts to institutions of higher education mean fewer jobs, or part time jobs with no health insurance benefits (3) For a tenure track position teaching creative writing I’d need a book published (or on contract). It’s not that think these are insurmountable obstacles, but I’m a realist. If this is what I want to do, I need to find ways around those obstacles.
I’ve thought about finding a job. Jobs are much more plentiful in San Diego, especially if I want to go back into online media and marketing.
I’ve thought about freelancing: consulting businesses on creating and managing online presence. The benefit would be that if I can build up a good revenue stream, I could take that “job” with me wherever I go.
I’ve thought about editing, and manuscript consulting.
I’ve thought about getting my book published, about getting a grant for some of the creative / community projects I want to do. I’ve thought about my next book, and the one after that…. and writing proposals to get those paid for up front.
I’ve thought about running off to Hawaii.
I’ve thought about applying for fellowships and residencies and other opportunities for freshly minted writers with MFA degrees.
But mostly, right now, I’m thinking about finishing my MFA degree: it’s number 1 on my list of goals for 2012. Other goals on my list include:
Listen.. to others, and most importantly, to myself (this is more of an intention than a goal, as goals need to be measurable).
Write… 1 blog post per month and work 5 hours per day on my book (“writing” time includes planning, reading, revising, submitting and researching).
Submit… craft 4 “chapters” of my book into stand-alone essays, send out to a minimum of 48 literary journals (that’s only four per month).
Create… a multi-media essay of one of my short essays.
Yoga… twice a week.
Develop… a plan for what’s next.
I know I’ll be ok.
I know I’ll land on my feet.
I just don’t know where.