the future is unreal

The information package about the Clarion West Writers Workshop landed on my doormat today. It’s comprehensive, useful, and reinforces my respect and admiration for the efficiency and care that the administrators of the workshop exhibit towards the attendees.

The class is getting to know one another through blogs/journals/email, and that’s a wonderful help. It means I won’t be meeting 17 strangers (plus admin, and instructors) in mid-June.

Strangely, I’m not nervous or worried about the workshop. Perhaps it’s because the trip doesn’t seem real… yet. Each time I receive a letter or email from Clarion it’s a mini-surprise. I expect a note or phone call any day to inform me there’s been a mistake and I’m not going after all.

In preparation for my Seattle adventure I’m reading material by the six writers and editor who will be leading our class, and that’s a very enjoyable task. I’m also trying to take it easy, and pay attention to my health and fitness. I’ll be happy if this level of calm continues, as I want to be in the right mental space for six weeks of concentrated learning and writing.

It’s obvious from the material I’ve read that Clarion is a tough, but rewarding experience. Past attendees have been forthcoming with advice and tips, and it enforces a number of principles that I’d decided upon.

I want to challenge myself, and to do so I can’t be afraid of failure. So, I plan to take risks with my writing. I want to tackle new subjects, themes and genres. For instance, even though I read a lot of science fiction I rarely write it. I hope to come up with at least one sf story during Clarion.

I’m not going to the workshop to impress anyone–my fellow classmates, the instructors, or friends and family. I’m attending so I can learn, explore, and advance my craft, but I’m very much looking forward to being in the company of writers for six whole weeks.

I’ve always had a strict policy that forbids discussion of intimate issues, or personal relationships on my blog. It’s hard to predict how much time I’ll have during June and July to write in this journal, but those of you who are looking for inside drama, gossip, or intrigue will have to click elsewhere.

I’m aware that people around the world follow the online Clarion journals, and while it’s lovely to have an extra audience, please don’t pester me for posts. I’ll have plenty to do, and this blog will feature low on my priority list.

In the meantime, I have work to tackle, books to read, movies to watch, writing to finish, research to begin and outlines to complete.


  • Mark Bukovec

    The info packet is really well done. I wish I’d received a lot of the writing advice back when I was starting out. Then again, maybe I’m a bit more humbled now and more open to it.The workshop does seem to be in some perpetual future. It might be because I don’t have to plan a trip. I’ll just get in the car and show up 10 minutes later at the house.

    • Maura

      It will be lovely for you to be so close to the workshop. Plus, it’s great for the rest of us to have someone who has local knowledge!

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