Via Jim Kelly, by way of Tim Pratt, and because I am desperately avoiding the writing I need to do tonight, here are a few things I learned (or confirmed) while at Clarion.
- I write stories about the human condition. It’s the people that interest me, their struggles that move me, and their pain that moves my pen. So, I guess that explains my fascination with people-watching.
- Find what works for and stick with it. I’m a slow writer and writing my first drafts (and sometimes second) longhand doesn’t help, but it’s how I get things done. It’s hard, sometimes, seeing my peers whip out short stories in an evening, but everyone is unique and I’d like to think that it shows in the end product.
- Trusting myself. That’s an ongoing process, but Clarion was a milestone in my self-confidence. Consider the odds when you apply: the competition is fierce (I think my class had 170+ applications) and only 17 are chosen. To be accepted means you beat out some very tough competition (and if you didn’t get in, apply again!).
- Sleep. At times, Clarion is paced like a convention, only six weeks long. Writers, when clustered together, like to talk and drink, and tend to repeat themselves. You find ways to squeeze in extra shut eye, like skipping breakfast in the cafeteria and eating a quick bite in your kitchenette.
- Read quickly, read critically. There are more stories to critique and you have a story due this week. I still think I suck at time management, but I’m way better now.
Once there, you’re living and breathing the craft for six weeks. Find out if you have what it takes to be a writer full-time, aside from the whole being able to support yourself nuisance. You learn from some of the best writers and editors in our field. Meet and bond with a group of up and coming writers like yourself. Clarion and Clarion West are open for applications right now. What are you waiting for?
[Crossposted from Adam Israel. If you'd like to comment, you can do so either here or there.]