Clarion West: Paying for the Workshop

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves as well. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen accidents, meetings and material assistance that no one could have dreamed would come their way. Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.  – Goethe, found in A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire 

The Clarion West class of 2012 has just been given the go ahead to break the cone of silence and tell the whole world that they have been accepted to the workshop. This is great, because not only will the students get to share their good news with everyone, but they can also begin to publicly raise money for attending the workshop.

When I got the call last year telling me I’d been accepted to the workshop, I told Neile “Yes! I will definitely be there!” The only problem was, I had no idea how I was going to pay for the workshop. I began by writing a blog post, detailing my ideas for raising money.

My Plan to Raise Money and Why It Failed

Here was my original plan of action:

  1. Start a kickstarter project
  2. Seek donations from the science fiction community
  3. Hold a bake sale 
All three of these failed.
Don’t worry, in the end I was able to pay for the workshop, attend, have a blast, and survive to write about it. But before we move on to what did work, I’ll tell you just a little bit about what didn’t, and why. 
What I wish I had done with my kickstarter project:

  • Set the goal much, much lower (like at $100). If you don’t make your goal, then you receive ZERO amount of the funds you’ve raised. All of the money is refunded to the donors. 
  • Offered a story as part of the rewards (I offered a non-fiction zine)
  • Not done kickstarter at all, but rather used Chip-in or another system that would allow me to keep any money pledged, whether or not I met my goal. 
My fellow classmate Mark Pantoja had a very successful kickstarter project to raise money for Clarion West. I believe that part of Mark’s success was in the support he received from groups outside of the science fiction community.

Here’s the thing about trying to raise funds from other science fiction and fantasy writers: they’ve probably already donated to the Clarion West scholarship funds. And if you’ve applied for a scholarship, then you might receive some of that fundraising money to help with your workshop costs. (Eternal thanks to Les and Neile and all of the Clarion West donors!) You might still connect with some SF readers and writers, but it might be useful to consider those donors off of the table.

I received some wonderful pledges from writing friends, but in the end I wasn’t able to use them because I did not meet my fundraising goal. This is a huge downside to kickstarter – you have to meet your fundraising goal in order to receive any money (and then that money will have fees from PayPal and Kickstarter deducted from that amount).

The bake sale failed for a very simple reason. I don’t know how to bake, and pre-Clarion West turned out to be too stressful a time to learn.

Unexpected Successes in Raising Funds

  1. Cash Donations from Family
  2. Item Donations from Family & Sales on Craigslist
  3. Clarion West Scholarship
The most useful action for raising money is to just share your excitement in attending the workshop with everyone you know. 
Tell them how much it means to you to go.
If you’ve applied before and been rejected, if one of your favorite authors is going to be there, if you’ve been wanting to attend since you were ten years old – tell your friends and family all of this. 
The main way that I was able to pay for my Clarion West expenses was from a donation from some family members I would have never straight out asked for a donation. But my partner told them how famous the workshop was, that it was an honor to be accepted, and that I had been wanting to go to this workshop for years. And they stepped up and offered me financial help to attend. I don’t know if I can ever repay them, but you can bet that if I ever publish a novel they’ll be front and center in the acknowledgements. 
Thank you to everyone who helped me attend Clarion West in 2011!
I also received some cash donations from other family members. Even family members who had never heard of the workshop before helped me out because they knew that it was important to me to attend.
My father donated several items that I sold for cash – some djembes and surround sound speakers. I listed them on Craigslist, and sold them all within 24 hours. I wish I had pursued this route earlier, asking family members and friends if they had items they didn’t want or need anymore. It turned out to be far more helpful than I had imagined. 
And of course, the Clarion West scholarship. I had applied, not expecting to receive any money. But I did receive some, and it was extremely helpful. I wish I could thank all of the donors to the scholarship fund personally, and tell them how much every cent of that scholarship meant to me. 
A few days ago I received a letter in the mail from Clarion West, asking for a donation to the Alumni Scholarship Fund. I’ll give what I can, and hope that in the future I can give more. 
If you’ve been accepted to the workshop – congratulations! Tell everyone you know. Get your friends and family as excited about the workshop as you are. Commit yourself to attending, and watch as the unexpected avenues of help rustle their leaves in the forest. 
If you’d like to contribute to the Clarion West Scholarship Fund,
find more information here

In a Rush to be Famous

After I graduated from college, I got a job as an office assistant. I made pretty good money, had regular work hours, tons of opportunities to move up the ladder of assistantry, but I was incredibly lonely. Not physically lonely. I was living with my boyfriend and had a friend who gave amazing parties full of interesting people.

But I was writerly lonely. Which is a different kind of evil.

I read blogs by authors and reviewers, freaking out because I hadn’t gotten famous yet from writing. I reasoned that the only way to have writing friends was to become famous, and then I’d suddenly be hanging out with people whose stories I loved. 
I was twenty-four. A voice in my head whispered: it’s already beginning to be too late. Feeling the walls of the office building closing in around me, I applied to several MFA programs and by the end of the year I was on my way to Alaska. 
Flash forward five years.
I’m sitting in a hotel room at AWP, talking to Ashley Cowger. We talk for hours. About writing, about stories, about our hopes and fears for the future – both within our writing careers and in our other lives. She’s my kindred spirit. Her husband Damien comes in and we hang out together, playing games with their young daughter, Amalie. It’s wonderful. A happy nook of friendship amid the vast chaos of a huge conference. 
The next day I go down to the bookfair and Ashley’s at the Autumn House press table, signing copies of her short story collection, Peter Never Came. Damien’s behind the table for the New Ohio Review, where he’s the Managing Editor.
Ashley Cowger signing her book Peter Never Came at AWP 2012

Damien Cowger at the NOR table at AWP 2012
At the bookfair there’s a sea of people, and I only know a few of them. But they’re good friends, amazing people, and very talented artists. 
I met Ashley and Damien while I was at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Ashley was a year ahead of me in the program, and her stories were more polished and well-written than I thought mine could ever be. And even though we’re both shy, we became friends. 
They invited me over for dinner before they left to move to the lower 48.
They came to my first public bellydancing performance.
We carted away their mattress and box springs when they moved away, thankful for the first real bed we’d have in Alaska.

At Clarion West, a Very Famous Author once came up to one of my classmates and ruffled his hair.

I was agog.

I had spent hours in bookstores reading Very Famous Author’s books because I was too poor in college to buy them. VFA’s stories changed what I thought was possible in fiction, and they made me feel like writing could not only be deeply affecting, but also fun.

“He’s just a guy,” my friend said.

And he’s right. Very Famous Author may be a very famous author. But he’s also just a guy. And once, long ago, he wasn’t very famous. But even then, he was still a writer.

I wish I could go back in time and talk to myself.

This is what I’d say:

  • Make writing friends however you can with people who are just starting out. 
  • Join an online writing group. 
  • Look up your city’s local literary association. They may not publicize stuff on the internet. Be brave. Call their phone number. 
  • Don’t be in a rush to be famous. That’s not what matters anyway.
  • Push yourself to talk to people about writing, but don’t push too hard. You’ve got a long time to take all the little steps you need. 
  • Write. Read. Live. Read. Read. Read. 
I’m not sure if younger me would listen. But maybe it would lessen the stress I felt every day, and the fear that’s still in the back of my mind of never being a good enough writer.

I’ll turn thirty in May. I’m still not a famous author. 

But I have writing friends. Amazing friendships I found through my MFA program, through Clarion West, and through my local literary association. I’m not a lonely writer anymore, and that makes the writing so much easier.

They’re just guys and girls and people. Just like me. 

Speculative Fiction at AWP 2012

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Annual Conference is primarily a literary conference. It’s like World Con for literary writers.(Heck, there were even some costumes.) Many of the attendees either have earned or are currently earning their MFAs in Creative Writing.

I went in with the expectation that most of the panels, readings, and book fair booths would exclude genre writing completely. So I was very excited to find a small but active knot of genre-focused events.

Panel: “Beyond Pulp – The Futuristic and Fantastic”
My first genre panel at AWP was “Beyond Pulp – The Futuristic and Fantastic as Literary Fiction.” The panelists were Anjali Sachdeva, Kate Bernheimer, Kevin Brockmeier, Brian Evenson, and Matthew Williamson. This panel took place at the Palmer House, which is beautiful but not a place I’d like to be trapped in all alone at night. It has the kind of opulence that couldn’t have been pulled off without creating a few ghosts in the process.

The Red Lacquer Room at the Palmer House in Chicago

Fellow Clarion West classmate Maria and I sat at the panel, taking in the crazy splendor of the Red Lacquer Room. There were maybe ten or so chandeliers, each mounted in ornate appliques on the ceiling.

Chandelier in the Red Lacquer Room

At one point, the panelists started talking about Clarion, and how they knew people in the Iowa Writers Workshop (the most prestigious MFA program) who were graduates. Maria and I were practically bouncing in our seats. We wanted to wave our hands and go, “Hey! We got your Clarion Westies right here!”

The panelists each read a prepared statement or gave a brief talk on the relationship between the literary and the fantastic.

Some interesting points:

  • Writers should practice free love when it comes to literary/ genre writing. Write everything. Love everything. 
  • The artificiality in genre distinctions has more to do with marketability than content. 
  • In genre fiction, online magazines have more prestige and better stories, while the print magazines are mired in nostalgia.  
Reading: Apocalyptic Literature
The next genre event at AWP that I attended was a reading of apocalyptic literature. The readers were Brian Parker, T.R. Hummer, Pinckney Benedict, Judy Jordan, and Kevin Brockmeier. 
At this reading I learned two things:
  1. Kevin  Brockmeier is amazing and I must read all of his books. 
  2. Apocalypse tales are better when they have a sense of wonder amid the horror. 
After the panel, Kevin Brockmeier announced that he had some copies of “Ten Great Novels of the Apocalypse“, an article he wrote for Oxford American. The one moment of out and out kindness from a stranger that I experienced at AWP happened at this panel. I was waiting in line to get a copy of this article, and they ran out right before me. I walked away feeling a bit dejected. Then a young guy came up and handed me his copy. “Here, my friend got one. I’ll share with him.” 
After the Thursday morning elevator insanity, where people fought over a ride down, this small act of giving completely surprised me. I like to think that people who write or read about apocalyptic events are more likely to be kind in the days before the world goes crazy. 
Bookfair: Genre Journals
The panelists from “Beyond Pulp” mentioned two print markets for fiction on the borderlands of the genre/ literary divide:

Both of these journals had booths at the book fair. They’re beautifully printed and bound. 
Fairy Tale Review and Unstuck

The small white square in the center of this photograph is a music CD, full of songs inspired by fairy tales. I can’t wait to listen to it.

In addition to these journals, Western Colorado’s MFA program was also there. They had a little sign listing all of the different courses of study, and one of them said Genre. Two of the people at the table were genre writers, and they were really enthusiastic about the program. 
Keynote Speaker: Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood was the keynote speaker this year at AWP. She was witty and funny and brief, and I loved her for taking hands with the sign language interpreter for a joint bow at the end of her speech. 

Margaret Atwood speaking in the Roosevelt Theater, Chicago

Atwood was asked to speak about the craft of writing, but she explained in her speech that she had never formally studied writing. In the end, she learned by reading and reading and reading, writing and rewriting and beginning all over again.

There was a book lottery for people to have up to two books signed by Margaret Atwood. I entered. I didn’t win. But it was amazing just to be able to be in the same giant auditorium with her, and to hear her speak about working tirelessly to craft stories in an encouraging but realistic way.

The Ultimate AWP Event: Hanging Out

On Saturday, the book fair was open to the public for free. Westie classmate Nick Tramdack came over to the Hilton, and we spent hours hanging out in a hallway outside a ballroom, debating the virtues of past and present tense.
Clarion West 2011 Classmates Maria Romasco-Moore & Nick Tramdack
Maria also introduced me to Meghan McCarron, the Clarion West alum who suggested that Maria apply to Clarion West. We spent a good twenty minutes in a busy aisle of the book fair talking to Meghan, who was super friendly and full of great stories and advice.

Missed Opportunities: Panels & Events I Didn’t Attend
There were several genre events that I didn’t attend. AWP is like that – there’s always ten interesting things going on at the same time.

Here’s some of the genre events that I missed:

  • Readings & Parties:
    • Wag’s Review & Unstuck Reading, with readers Noam Dorr, Lucas Mann, Rachel Swirsky, and Julia Whicker. 
    • Unstuck Reading, with readers Gabriel Blackwell, Ian Richard Jones, Meghan McCarron, Joe Meno,  Kiki Petrosino, Dan Rosenberg, Zack Savich, Francesca Thompson, and Matthew Vollmer.  
    • Literary Rock & Roll with Audrey Niffeneger
  • Panels:
    • Women in Jeopardy: Crime Fiction
    • Fallout & Facts: Creative Nonfiction in the Nuclear Age
    • I’d Take Stephenie Meyer’s Royalty Check: What Should We Be Teaching Our Students?
    • Midwest Gothic: Dark Fiction of the Heartland
    • Vampire by Vampire: Genre Writing and the Creative Writing Workshop

If you write genre/ weird/ fantasy/ science fiction stories and you’re thinking about going to AWP next year, then you’re likely to find a good number of events to attend and journals to discover.

For me, the best part of any convention, literary or genre, is hanging out with your writing friends. The genre people were especially open to speaking with the crowd after panels, talking about their journals at the book fair, and being introduced to genre friends. I was a little worried that I’d feel marginalized and lonely as a fantasy writer at AWP, but in the end it was a wonderful experience. 

Clarion West: Changing Your Schema

CW Class of 2011 with instructor Paul Park

If you’ve read personal accounts of Clarion West or other residential writing workshops, you’ve probably heard one phrase mentioned over and over:

“It changed my life.”
But what does this mean? 
Some writers may leave a workshop with stories they publish soon after in pro markets. But the people who say a workshop changed their lives far outnumber the amount of writers who leave a workshop with a publishable story. 
You’ve probably also heard writers say that they expected for a workshop to be life-changing, but in the end the experience wasn’t quite that. It may have still been a wonderful, fun, inspiring experience – just not life-changing. 
What I think happens in a workshop, and what determines whether you describe it afterwards as life-changing or just excellent, is whether or not you experienced a change of schema. 
Your schema is your worldview. It’s how you see yourself, the world, and yourself in the world. 
People experience schema shifts when they decide to embrace or reject major modes of thought in their lives. These are usually concepts that impact daily living: 
Adopting a religion. Or rejecting one. Or all of them. 
Becoming vegetarian/ vegan/ raw. Or moving away from these after embracing them. 
Having a child. Adopting a child. Or deciding not to have children. 
In the case of the writing workshop, your schema has to do with how you view yourself and your writing. And very importantly, what place writing has in your daily life. 
If you go to a residential workshop like Clarion West and you already have an agent, a published book, and/or a coterie of established authors you hang out with at conventions, then the workshop experience might not be a life-changing one for you. Writing is already part of your schema.
But if you’re like me, an unpublished beginner with a handful of writing friends who writes in short bursts of inspiration once a month, then a workshop like Clarion West could very well change your life. 
I know it changed mine. 
After Clarion West, writing was part of my life. I considered myself a writer. Not a gifted writer, or a crappy writer, but someone whose daily work is writing. Maybe not for money, but for myself. 
And because I considered myself a writer, I wrote more. 
I couldn’t allow myself the excuses I’d made before the workshop. They didn’t fit my schema anymore. 
When I came home to Alabama, I missed being around other writers. At Clarion West there were always people willing to talk about Star Trek, your story in progress, or watch an episode of MST3K at midnight. There’s a community for you, both inside the house and at the Friday night parties. 
After Clarion West I sought out my local community. This was something I hadn’t had the courage to do before Clarion West, and to be honest, I thought it didn’t matter. But I realized that community is so important. It is probably the second most important part of writing life, after the actual sitting down and writing part. 

There are tons of other, smaller changes. Reading more short story magazines, joining my local writers group, signing up for a novel workshop – I could catalogue the changes down to finally getting a new pair of glasses. My schema changed, and I changed, at a fundamental level.

More than anything, this schema change post-workshop made me feel whole. It gave me a sense of calm and drive as a writer. I felt less of a rush to publish, win accolades, find a fan base. The daily act of writing, of being with the story, was no longer drudge work. It fulfilled and sustained me.

They say that every year at Clarion West two writers fall in love. Two years ago, in the middle of my MFA program, I hated my writing. I wanted to torch my stories. At Clarion West, I fell in love with writing again.

The deadline to apply to Clarion West is fast approaching. Submit your stories by March 1st. Check here for more information. 
If you’re still not sure whether you want to apply, here are some posts from my classmates:
Sarah Hirsch – The only one of us to blog a little while at the workshop. Her posts give a good sense of being there. 
Mark Pantoja – Mark had an amazingly successful fundraising project on Kickstarter. 
Jei D. Marcade – wrote some lovely parting thoughts on her way home from Clarion West. 
Whether or not Clarion West changes your life, it is a wonderful, unforgettable experience. I’d recommend it for anyone interested in writing. 

Applying to Clarion West

This time last year I was busily revising my stories that I would submit with my application to Clarion West.

It was my third time to apply to the workshop.

This doesn’t mean I’m a worse writer than those who got in on their first try, or that I’m a better writer than those who weren’t accepted for the workshop. It just means that last year I was at the right place in my writing life for me to benefit the most from attending Clarion West.

I’m thankful to the judges who didn’t accept me the first and second times that I applied, because I was not ready. It’s easy for me to say that now, after I’ve been to Clarion West. But I still remember how it felt to apply and not be accepted. I was terribly crushed each time I received the rejection email. I felt ready. But looking back on the stories I submitted, I realize now that I wasn’t.

The first year I applied I submitted an excerpt of a novella, with a synopsis of the ending. It was a story that my graduate classmates had really liked, it was fantasy, but it had no structure and no emotional core. I applied to Clarion West at the last minute, using a version of the story I hadn’t looked at in weeks. I felt like I had it in the bag. I wasn’t accepted.

The second year, I submitted a literary short story (by literary, I just mean that it didn’t contain any speculative element). This was an earlier version of a short story I eventually sold. It was a fine draft of the story. It had an arc, real characters, things happened. But it didn’t have specific details, and there were parts that needed to be cut to get to the real heart of the story. I applied once again feeling like I had to be accepted, and once again I received a rejection email. This time, however, my rejection email had an additional line added, prompting me to apply again next year as my story had ranked highly with the judges.

The third year, the year I was accepted to Clarion West, I spent the entire month of February working on my submission stories. I revised, edited, and revised again two stories. One was a story that had an experimental structure. The other was a short piece that was lyrical and intensely emotional. Both had elements of fantasy. In essence, I worked on two stories that displayed my strengths and interests as a writer. I showed my style in these stories. And although they did not have the best structure and I have revised them post-workshop, they were a clear impression of my writing abilities. I submitted. I decided not to get excited. Then Neile called to tell me I was in.

Clarion West is open for submissions for their annual writers workshop. This year the instructors are Mary Rosenblum, Hiromi Goto, George R. R. Martin, Connie Willis, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant, and Chuck Palahniuk. The deadline for applying is March 1st. You can find more information on applying here.

If you’re thinking of applying, then go for it. Even if you think you can’t afford it, or that you won’t get in. If you’d like to go, please take the time to apply. Clarion West is an amazing experience, and people will help you get there if you’re accepted.

And if I may suggest, write the type of story that you love. Use the writing devices that make you smile and keep your fingers on the keyboard late into the night. Because if you love writing it, there’s a good chance that the judges will love reading it, too. And as much as you can bear, spend less time looking for Clarion West blogs, and more time revising and editing your stories. You’ll have all of March to spend daydreaming about what it will be like at Clarion West.

And if you don’t get in, try again next year. And the next. Writing isn’t a race against other people, it’s a personal journey. The only person you’re competing with is your past selves, to be a better writer each new day.

Good luck to you! I hope you find yourself at Clarion West this summer.

The view of Seattle from one of the Friday evening parties at Clarion West 2011.
{NOTE: I do not have any insider information on how the participants are selected. These are just my personal feelings about how my submissions progressed over the course of a few years. Please take this information as one person’s viewpoint, and follow your own instinct when making the choice about your submission stories. 🙂 Good luck again!}

Continue reading

Looking Back on a Year of Writing

The VerisimiliToad eager to start writing on the first day of Clarion West 2011.

This has been a great personal year of writing. A large part of this is due to attending Clarion West this past summer. The workshop gave me energy, insight, and friendship with 17 of the most talented writers I have ever met.

As for publications and acceptances, I had one short story accepted at a small literary journal. I’m very excited, because this short story is one I worked very hard to complete. My mentor, Gerri Brightwell, guided me through the revision process, continually asking questions that made me dig deeper into my character and his motivations. I’ve written many pages in my life, but I consider “In Miniature” to be my first real short story, where the characters, the plot, and all of those other little pieces came together to make a whole. It will be published in 2012 in the River Oak Review.

My friends from Clarion West have had a great year, full of professional sales and prestigious awards. I’m continually learning from them, and also just having a wonderful time reading their stories.

Here’s to a great year of learning, making friends, and writing! I know 2012 will be just as grand. 🙂

Corinne Duyvis
    S.L. Gilbow
    • “Alarms.” Lightspeed Magazine. 2012. 
    • “The Old Terrologist’s Tale.” The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. May/ June 2011. 
    Sarah Hirsch

    • “A Dancer for Aonou.” Kaleidotrope. 2012. 
    • The Nightmare Eater.” The Colored Lens. December 2011. 

    Cassie Krahe

    Jei D. Marcade
    Jenni Moody
    • “In Miniature.” River Oak Review. 2012. 
    Jack Nicholls
    • Katherine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction Award, 2011.
    Mark Pantoja
    David Rees-Thomas
    • Reads “Kavar the Rat” by Thomas Owens, Pseudopod, Episode #249
    • Reads “Still Small Voice” by Ben Burgis, Podcastle, Episode #181

    Maria Romasco-Moore

    • “Fisheye.” Fish. Dagan Books. 2012.
      Jeremy Sim
      • Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship, 2011. 
      Anne Toole
      • “The Red Bandit.” The Digital Wall. 2012. 
        • Reprint of “Night in the Library”. Originally published in Crossed Genres, February 2009Issue #3. 
      • “Accidents Happen” and “The Voices” for Me2. 2011. 
      Nick Tramdack

        Riding in Cars with Authors

        Every Friday night at Clarion West there is a party. These parties take place at the homes of local supporters of the workshop – wonderful, kind people who welcome students and local writers alike into their homes.

        At these parties we were encouraged not to clump together with our classmates. There were strict penalties for clumping. Sometimes grapes rained from the sky to break us up. But it can be hard to break out of the comforting group of classmates and wander off to talk to an author you’ve been reading since childhood, or an author you’ve only just heard of, whose talk to the class on craft issues was so insightful and helpful that you took ten pages of notes.

        The parties took place away from the sorority house where we lived and workshopped during the week. In order to get to these parties, we would depend on either Sarah’s bus-savvy, Alberto’s wonderful kindness, or we would ride with volunteers.

        Many of the volunteers that drove us to the Friday night parties were writers. Some were Clarion West alumni, who gave us cheerful advice on how to survive. Some were writers we’d read and heard of long before coming to Seattle. Some were both.

        Around Week 4 or Week 5, Vylar Kaftan came up to visit Seattle, and volunteered to drive some of us to the Friday night party. I signed up to ride in her car, along with my classmate Alisa.

        Riding in the car with Vylar, Alisa and I got to talk to her one on one about Clarion West, about writing, about being an author in general. It was fantastic. I would have been too terrified to approach her at a party, but on the way to the party we had a great conversation.

        I’m thinking of this because I recently read two awesome articles by Vylar posted on the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) Facebook feed. The most recent one is “Submission Statistics and Revision Habits.”

        This post is so immensely helpful to me right now. When you come out of a workshop like Clarion West, you have these first drafts of stories that need revision. But you might also have tons of ideas for new stories, and new ways of telling stories. I feel torn between wanting to revise my Clarion West stories and wanting to start new stories. My Clarion West  stories feel the closest I’ve ever been to writing stories that I love, and I feel like they’re just a few paces away from being stories that other people would like to read, too. But I’m afraid I’m getting mired in re-working these stories too much, because it keeps me from writing new stories using the tools I’ve learned.

        Vylar makes a wonderful point in her post about revision:

        The amount of time it would take to bring an old story up to your current standards is usually better spent writing a new story. 

        She goes on to point out that she is not advocating that writers avoid revising their work. But that once you start sending a story out for submission, that you keep it going until you either sell it or decide to trunk it.

         L. Timmel Duchamp, our Week Five instructor, told us how important it is to the writer to submit your stories. To send them out so you can begin writing new ones.

        It’s good for you on a deeper level than being efficient and good for your writing. It energizes you and makes you feel like you are part of the writing world, even if the story doesn’t sell.

        So I’m setting a goal for myself to revise my stories and submit them, but to also start writing new stories. Very soon.

        I’ve heard people say that most people who want to write don’t publish not because they aren’t talented, or have interesting stories to tell. It’s because they give up. Somewhere on the road they decide to take a step off of the pavement and do something else.

        For me, submitting my stories is like signing-up to ride with an author I’d like to talk to, but am timid to approach otherwise.

        It’s another step forward.