I got my Clarion email

I didn't get in.  I've never done a particularly good job of coping with rejection, so I'm not sure whether the pain I'm feeling right now is going to ebb soon or keep flowing.  But getting over it now should be good practice -- I intend to do a lot of practice with exposing myself to rejection this year.  (First of all, I intend to submit at least one of my Clarion application stories to a venue by the end of today, and probably start new edits on the other.) So, this means I'll be able to go to Readercon this year, which, then, means I need to get together money for registration and a hotel room.  It also means I really need to buckle down on my writing over the next eight months, the time frame I have to write 2 new application stories for next year's Clarion.  (And also I need to find out whether you can simultaneously apply to Clarion and Clarion West.)

I really wanted to go this year.  I was really, particularly hoping for the opportunity to learn from Cory Doctorow and Kelly Link.  (I only found out after I'd applied to Clarion that Neil Gaiman would be teaching at Clarion West.  I'd love to learn under him, too.)

With a heavy heart, I've just turned off my Clarion IFTTT email alert.  I'll turn it on again next year, after I've applied.

Oh, and to any other pattern-seekers waiting for their clarion emails:  my rejection came within the same hour in 2013 as it did in 2010, on the third Monday of the month.  Last time, it was a waitlist email, so my new guess is that the third Monday of March is when they send all the not-accepted-s.  So that will be the date I set my anxiety to next year.

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While I'm on the subject, now's a good time to brainstorm some potential writing rules for the rest of the year (I'll come back and look at them more carefully later):

  • One short story first draft a week
  • Pixar drill every day[1. See this post, rule #4.  I've been writing synopses every night based on that format for a week or so now, and I think it's really helping.]
  • Never let my Critters score drop below 75%.
  • One story in the Critters queue at all times
  • One short story second draft a week
  • Every story gets at least three drafts
  • Stories that have had three drafts have to be rejected 10 times before being revised again
  • Read one short story from an SFWA qualifying venue every day
  • Read at least two books a month

I'm not sure how many of those I can actually do, I'm going to have to pick more carefully to figure out what I can balance in with my school life, and, this summer, my job.  And working for the school paper.  And writing a research paper for prize money.

I will return tomorrow with a more carefully considered list of commitments, and a timescale on which they will last.  For now, I'm going to spend a little bit of time feeling bad for myself, then get back to work doing all the crap I have to get done today.

Wish me luck.

Last week's late pants points report

I'd like to say I forgot to do this last Friday, but the truth is I couldn't be bothered to go and get my date book, which is where I record all the scores, so I didn't have the numbers to report.  (Also, I didn't want to bother adding them all up, which contributed to my desire to leave it until today.  And I wanted to write the post about leggings.) Last week's score was 283/350, total so far 1633/2000.

That week includes quite a few days of relative high scores compared to my apathy -- it does not include the fact that, on Friday night, I went to sleep fully dressed.  It was kind of an exhausting week.

And while I'm on the topic of my life on the scale of weeks, if this year's Clarion email comes at the same date and time as the one I got in 2010 letting me know I was on the wait-list, it will come, this Friday, during the sociology class I wrote about last Friday.  I have an IFTTT trigger set up to text me whenever I get an email from either Clarion or the Clarion foundation, so I will know as soon as the email arrives.  If it isn't convenient for me to check my email during class, that may be a very un-fun hour.

It's shaping up to be a long, drawn-out week, which sucks, because I'd love for it to be one of those short, punchy ones that goes by so fast you feel like you've wasted part of your life.  Anything to get to Friday, really.  (Oh glob, I really hope the email does come on Friday.)

Clarion writing advice, and a tangent about my own self-esteem

Cory Doctorow posted a link to a list of quotes from this year's Clarion workshop.  It's amazing, and digging through it is lighting up all sorts of points in my head about the story I'm currently working on (for the WriteWorld Album challenge). The quote that stuck out to me the most dramatically was this one:

“You have to be willing to be bad in public, to be a writer.”

Abstractly speaking, I know that's true.  I know that I have to put stuff out there, and I also know that the more I work, the more painful it's going to be to go back and look at my old stuff.  But in practice, I'm not very good at getting over it.

I mean, it's fine on the blog.  I produce so many posts every day that it's not hard to convince myself that the stuff I'm embarrassed to have said is so buried that no one will ever see it.  And, to any historians who might be combing through my archive to write a book about me (just in case), a lot of the most embarrassing stuff back there is stuff I don't believe anymore, or regret saying.  But some of it is just stuff I wish I'd said better.

But with short stories, I have so few, and with none in public, I feel like I'll be throwing a spotlight on my failure.  That needs to be at the top of my list of things to get over -- in fact, I think I'm going to add some stuff about that to my SuperBetter account.  It's not like trying to sell my writing will prevent me from saving money, and it will push me towards being better at the chance of making money doing what I want to do with my life.

Relatedly, I am applying to Clarion this year SO HARD.  Cory Doctorow and Kelly Link are both going to be resident teachers.  So, like, wish me luck and stuff.