The nine day marathon to apply to Clarion was an interesting experience. I learned a lot about myself as a writer. It’s one thing to be able to put words to paper, electronically-speaking. The goal was to submit two stories that best represented my current writing ability. I spent every spare moment working on those two stories, one a revision of a draft from late last year and the other was a new story based on an idea and world that I had been thinking about for several months. I even dreamed about the stories.
I was relieved when I reached the end of the deadline and submitted my application. I closed my laptop and cuddled with the wife. I spent the next day catching up on yard work and other chores that I had neglected during my marathon writing session. I thought I would be a little burned out by the experience. Instead it stoked my creative fires. Ideas on ways to improve the stories kept popping into my head. I got some feedback from a few people and identified some of the things I need to work on, like passive vs. active voice. One story contained 62 instances of the word “was” and 18 “had”; the second contained 48 and 22, respectively.
I’ve already started revisions of both stories. Even if I’m not accepted into Clarion this year I believe the application experience itself has taught me a considerable amount about the writing process. This was the the first time the process of editing and revision really clicked with me.
As for Clarion, I did have one minor moment of panic. I received an email from them Monday morning. It turns out I attached two copies of one story instead of one copy of two stories. They gave me the opportunity to send the second story and life is peachy. The committee that reviews applications will be notifying applications by May 1st of their status. I’ve read that those who are accepted will be notified via telephone and those who are not will receive their rejection via mail (postal or email, not sure). In either case, it’s too early to have any news.