I didn't expect writing to be harder when I graduated from the University of Tampa's Master of Fine Arts program. There were deadlines. Short stories and annotations had to be turned in at a certain time every month. It actually shouldn't have been a surprised. In December, when all of my assignments had been turned in, I found that I didn't write the way I did when I was trying to get assignments done. It's weird. I remember being able to write a draft in one day. But I'm glad that I'm finally working on a story and I'm learning to step back and figure out what's keeping the story from dragging.
One thing I have done is to write everyday, even if it's just in my journal. Even if I just brainstorm titles, characters, and first sentences. Though, I will admit that I usually only consider writing a draft an accomplishment. I have also decided to use the deadlines of literary magazines and short stories. But, I probably need to give myself deadlines. When do I want this draft done? When do I want the final draft done? Reading has helped a lot, along with keeping my eyes and ears open. I didn't think it was going to be that big of a transition going from writing stories for assignments and writing stories on my own for possible publication.