The Clarion Writing Workshop was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had. A lot of it was explicitly positive, some of it was positive eventually (or may still be gestating) but was really hard at the time or for the months … *ahem* years … after.
Both the Clarion Writers workshops http://clarion.ucsd.edu/ and http://www.clarionwest.org/ are now taking applications. One of my instructors, Jim Kelly asks, “How about sharing five things you learned at Clarion?”
- There’s a fine line between pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to write stuff that doesn’t excite you.
- Great writing has energy. Sure, get the mechanics down, but in the end it’s theme and emotion that drive the most powerful stories.
- Always be innovating. Every story start is sexy and fun and full of new relationship energy, full of riffing and whatever clever thing comes out of the id, but then the plotting and rewriting can feel like a drudge. That’s the time to bring the innovative mindset to finding connections and problem-solving. We can choose to be clever in every part of the writing process.
- Put as much work into your life as your writing. Yes, most of us need to lock ourselves away to learn the craft and find our voice, but it’s equally important to learn how to present and interact with each other. Skillful social awareness can help our career just as much as excellent prose.
- Writing is not a competition. Someone else’s genius doesn’t make you less genius. We analyze each other’s fiction so we see what works and doesn’t, both to point out to others and for ourselves. When this turns into a wash of negativity, we’re not helping anyone. The more we support each other as writer’s the stronger we all become.
If you write and you want to see what you are capable of, Clarion is well worth the time and money.
I woke up at five am this morning feeling awful. Partially because i’m on day three of a painful stress-induced neck lockup, but also a sore throat and my sinuses full of junk. I’m feeling nervous because people have been throwing around the word pneumonia a lot lately.
I’d been invited last night to an all-night study/writing session by Elina, but i had the gut feeling that … well, my guts weren’t in very good shape.
Course, the thing is i have this shiny new job and accompanying shiny new health-care, so i should have a reasonable course of action. But i’ve been so caught up in work / relationship / writing / life stress that … i’ve been completely lame and not taken care of it (also said health-care provider has made it extremely difficult to secure a doctor.)
Also also, i’m supposed to get on a plane for Istanbul in six days (and later a plane for Paris) and i’m finding myself having a terribly human argument in my head between “not going to miss this trip” and “don’t really want to die.”
The truly ridiculous thing is that my real stress is that i feel puffy and ugly and i’m getting my picture taken today for work marketing materials.
Yes, my major stress in the face of pain and possibly life-threatening illness is, “Do i still look hot?”
I’m getting a little ridiculous about aesthetics; possibly because i’m doing so much design lately.
This is primarily manifesting in my personal life as a strong desire to create my own beautiful space. I’ve been trolling diy, craft and living-space design blogs, thinking about what would make a room look beautiful to me.
Decor8 – Apartment Therapy – Design Sponge – Recyclart – Dudecraft
And, y’know, now that i’m making consistent income i’m also jonesing for a beautiful house. Someplace i love and care for. A place i could leverage into a space for writers and friends and, i dunno, just a place that’s beautiful and inspiring and can serve many purposes.
I keep looking at these outrageously expensive Victorian homes in Portland … cause i’m crazy … and possibly stupid. I think maybe i got infected with the awesomeness of Neil‘s house. I keep thinking, “yeah, i could do that.”
The main house i’m crazy about is: http://www.bnb4sale.com/sale/oregon/the_lion_and_the_rose.html
I keep racking my brain for ways to finance this ludicrous plan. I’m having fantasies about writer’s retreats and workshops and and and … If i don’t get over this obsession soon, there could possibly be a call for crowd-sourcing.