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the pressure is getting to me

March 17, 2009

Not knowing.  Damn I hate not knowing.  I wait and I wait.  I try not to get disappointed as fewer than half the acceptances have come forward from Clarion West and none from East (though I suspect some calls have been made).  The uncertainty mixed with the hope mixed with the pressure…I can’t focus.

I put my daughter to bed last night and was too choked up to sing to her.  Part of it was the pressure of not knowing.  Part of it was the desire to actually leave her for six weeks.  Do I really want to do that?  Of course not, but I do want to attend a Clarion.  Unless I wait until she’s a teen and doesn’t want me around, I’m going to have to leave her for a while.  It sucks.  Thinking about it was hard.  Strangely, the feeling that it might not happen that way (if I am not accepted) made it even harder last night.

Knowing my wife doesn’t want me to go makes it even tougher.  She wants me to get the experience, but not leave.  Double-edged sword.  She doesn’t really understand my writing.  Her love is photography and she has made a small business out of it.  She knows I want to do that with writing but seems to doubt the reality of that idea.  Knowing how much she and I will have to sort out if I get accepted (who will help her with our two-year-old, where is all the money coming from, how will we keep in touch,…) makes the anticipation worse since the stress of that conversation will be for naught if I don’t get in.

I know my skills are at a point where Clarion (east or west) will push me onto the fast track to pro publication.  Did the stories I submitted represent enough of those skills?  Hard to say.  The folks at Baen’s Bar suggest my CW story had very stilted dialog and a pretty harsh deux ex machina.  Not promising.  I never saw my dialog as stilted (forcing background information the characters wouldn’t really be talking about into their dialog) as much as it was conveniently sarcastic.  *sigh*  No point in fretting over things now.  I work well under pressure, but there’s no pressure here, just anticipation.  All I can do is wait and second-guess myself.  Bad.

My work on the Kree story has ground to a halt.  Anticipation has given me writer’s block.  NO!  I know an acceptance will unblock me.  Will a pair of rejections?  It will clear the anticipation but not likely help my confidence.  Maybe I just need to power through it, finish the story in all narrative summary if I must, just get the idea down.  Maybe I need to take up smoking.

That’s all for now as I suffer through the last few days of waiting.  I keep praying that God’s will be done in this, not my own.  That doesn’t help my waiting but may help how I deal later on.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2009 4:22 pm

    Half? I’ve only tracked down three acceptances to Clarion West, and one acceptance to Clarion. Your Google-fu is stronger than mine!!!

    Dude, you need to sit back and remember than a rejection from CW & C wouldn’t be the end of the world. Thousands of writers succeed every year without going. If you don’t get in, keep writing and apply next year. Or apply to Viable Paradise, or Odyssey, or Orson Scott Card’s Boot Camp, etc, etc, etc. Or keep subbing to the Bar. There’s so much information and help available out there these days that I suspect the real benefit to Clarion is the networking.

  2. osomuerte permalink
    March 17, 2009 5:45 pm

    I said fewer than half. Three is fewer than half. I mostly meant I won’t start losing heart until half are down.

    I know missing Clarion will not end the world. I just need to KNOW. I’m bad waiting for rejection slips, too. I do not handle suspense well.

    I made a conscious decision that if I was going to make the sacrifices to do a workshop, it was going to be Clarion or CW. I may look into some one or two week programs down the line, but my eggs are going in the Clarion basket. If I don’t make it, I’ll still write and I may make it on my own.

    It’s “The Lady or the Tiger”. It matters less which is behind the door than it matters that I open the door and find out.


  3. March 18, 2009 12:20 am

    Well, Odyssey is six weeks, and Carrie Vaughn came outta there, so that’s gotta be a good thing.

    But you gotta learn to wait. I hear most publishers have a slushpile that’s two years deep these days.

  4. osomuerte permalink
    March 18, 2009 1:48 am

    I can wait endlessly. No problem. I don’t wait to a deadline well. Christmas was a killer as a kid. I had trouble waiting the time it took to get my wife’s pregnancy test results. What was that, three minutes? -Oso

  5. March 18, 2009 3:33 am

    The waiting is frustrating to me, too. I’m starting to imagine conversations in the selection process, such as, “I don’t know which one to pick, they’re all good. How about we just close our eyes and pick?” Other variations crop up which are not so optimistic.

    I’m trying to keep my mind off of the pressure by working a goofy story that I’m not emotionally invested in.

    I understand what you’re saying about your daughter, too. I have a nine-year-old son with Asperger’s Syndrome, and I’m worried he’ll either have a rough time when I go or not even notice. I’m more worried about me missing him, and my spouse. I’m thinking I might by a webcam so I can talk to them. You know, if I get that call.

    And from my point of view, pregnancy test wait time is MUCH longer than normal time. We’re talking temporal anomaly.

    Hang in there!

  6. osomuerte permalink
    March 18, 2009 3:52 am


    Thanks for the support. I really just needed a vent for my frustration. It’s good to know people out there understand. -Oso

  7. March 18, 2009 1:06 pm

    It was the first thing I thought about when I woke up this morning, and no doubt I will jump every time the phone rings today. We should know one way or the other very soon. Then the real work begins, either way, right? I’m writing, and I’ll keep on writing. I’m promising myself that I’ll double up the effort no matter what.

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