I’m home, and working my way through my two Clarion notebooks in an attempt to recall and distill what I’ve learned. (!!!)
Of course, I intended to this while at Clarion, but alas, the road to hell, paved with, etc. So instead I’ll reflect back on the entire Clarion process in the hopes that future Clarionites (and potential Clarionites) may be comforted by the fact that none of knew what we were getting into and it all turned out OK.
I applied to Clarion 2016, and I didn’t get in. I spent a few days moping about and feeling sad, but then I decided that I could still work on short stories. I spent the rest of 2016 reading tons of short stories, writing and submitting (er, collecting rejections, that is) and getting myself familiar with spec fic markets. So that was really valuable!
I almost didn’t apply for 2017 but almost at the last minute (within the last two weeks of the deadline, I think) I polished up two stories I’d been working on and submitted them.
Things I’d done differently from 2015 to 2016:
- I had by then read a LOT more short fiction in the markets I wanted to publish in, and had submitted to various places too.
- I was more honest and vulnerable in my application, instead of a bit stiff and formal as I was in the first one.
- The stories I sent were riskier — meaning they were a little outside of my comfort zone. They were stories I felt passionately about but wasn’t sure I could do them justice, but tried anyway. Clarion is not for writing things you already know how to write. Bring that attitude to your application stories, too.
- And, I kind of let myself stop caring about it. By which I mean, of course I *cared* about getting into Clarion. But I also fully accepted the idea that I might not get in (easier to do since I’d been rejected for 2016!). And I think that loosened up my writing in both my story submissions and my application.
Next time, I will talk about preparing to attend Clarion! Leave a comment with any questions and I will try my best to answer!