Science fiction folks: consider Clarion this year

If you're someone involved in writing science fiction or fantasy, you've probably heard of, and perhaps considered, the Clarion workshop, and this year's deadline is coming up on March 1.

The six-week workshop at UC San Diego runs from June 26-Aug 6 this year, and, as always, the lineup of writers-in-residence is absolutely stellar: Nina Kiriki Hoffman, John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, David Anthony Durham, John Kessel, and Kij Johnson. You'll spend your time immersed in the craft: writing, reading, critiquing, soaking up tacit knowledge, and building life-long connections.

Of course I'm biased, since I'm a Clarion grad (1993), but it is, quite literally, a transformative experience for a speculative fiction writer. Unless you are spectacularly lucky, you will never again have the opportunity to focus entirely on writing for such an extended period of time, in the company of such amazingly talented peers and coaches.

Clarion is not easy: writing a story a week is bloody hard work. The feedback evenings can be frightening, devastating, and exhilarating, sometimes all in the same session. And living as a writer, with writers, for six weeks can be a pressure cooker. Of the metamorphic variety.

It ain't always fun. But it will teach you things that cannot be learned any other way, things that will be invaluable in your writing career.

I sold two of the stories I wrote there, one of which won the Theodore Sturgeon Award; many folks from our group made pro sales.A bunch of our classmates are still friends, almost twenty years later, and several of us still get together to workshop every year.

If you're thinking about it, why not apply this year.

Not a writer? You can still support the future of speculative fiction by making a donation to the Clarion Foundation.

Editorial note: If you've been wondering why I haven't been covering Portsmouth stuff, I'm a bit under the weather. Literally. I did something to my back shoveling a week ago. I hate sounding like a whiny blogger, but people asked.