I have been thinking of how to say it for a few days now; I am SO anxious about my application to Clarion Writers’ Workshop. I think about it constantly. The pleasure and sense of accomplishment I felt the day after applying (March 1) has worn off, and now I daydream about it and search the internet for advice and journals from Clarion graduates. The picture is pretty much uniform and coherent: it was amazing and stressful. Some of the things folks say they learned (for example, how first person present narrative is SO newbie) stress me out because I’m still doing those things. But I get to thinking that maybe those newbie mistakes are okay. I gotta start somewhere.
After reading about the experiences of others at Clarion, I don’t know what I’m more afraid of: acceptance or rejection. Well, probably rejection. Of course, I want to go, for all the reasons that people state, like validation of my work, the experience of workshopping with other writers, producing work that has real potential, having the time to write and the motivation (at the same time) and so on.
However, I have anxieties about how I will handle the emotional part. I’ve done fiction workshops many times before, but the criticism there was not usually anything harsh. I want honest critique, but I don’t want to cry like a little baby in front of my peers. I don’t want to be sleep-deprived and snappy. I don’t want to come home feeling depressed when it ends. I don’t want to make friends and then mourn the loss of them when it’s over.
Last year, Vylar Kaftan over at the Clarion West Writing Workshop forum challenged applicants to write a story while waiting for notification. That way, you write without knowing the deadline. It could be tomorrow, so you have to work hard. I may try that.