I Applied To Clarion and All I Got Was This Awesome Insight

So I applied to Clarion and Clarion West. A day early, because apparently I don’t understand the difference between March 1st at midnight and March 2nd at midnight. I hadn’t written since going to Boskone – spent the past two weeks alternating between catching up on freelance work, relaxing with people I care about, and fussing over how to fix my memory story. All of a sudden, I was left with 24 hours to submit (in my time-universe, anyway) and so I forgot the memory story and instead finished my fairy tale (submitted to both), urban fantasy (for CW), and sociopath origin story (for Clarion – and wow, does that description make it seem better than it is).

I’m not sure how I feel about applying. A dear friend of mine just got into Odyssey, which I plan to apply for next, and he is both a great writer and a dedicated one. I feel a little…wishy-washy in comparison? Or maybe the word is squishy? When I read his writing, it’s like someone drawing a very clear map to somewhere, and mine feels more like the person who says “umm…well, if you look to the left, you’ll see a McDonald’s, or maybe it’s a Wendy’s, and then it’s 3 more blocks to the right, kinda.” It’s the same when I read stories from other folks who have applied to Clarion and have gotten published and I’m like – wow, I love your language and your style and I want to steal little bits of your talent and hug them and study them and then return them back to you unharmed.

I don’t think I’m a horrible writer or anything like that – as one of my favorite lines goes, “Stop worrying if your vision is new. Let others make that decision – they usually do. You keep moving on.” I think I just feel like these people are so passionate and they know exactly where they’re going and how to hone their talent and I’m just like “Blah – let me put this idea on the page and okay now read it here we go.” I want to figure out how to get from here to there. In some ways, the most exciting thing about applying to the Clarions was that I actually finished real non-flash stories. And they could be better, but they’re done, and that’s something.

One step at a time down the path, I guess. I don’t know if this is the year for me to get into a Clarion, but I did the application and I didn’t self-reject, and the rest is up to…well, whoever it’s up to.

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