Pre-Clarion Socializing

I met up with one of my Clarion 2006 classmates this past Friday night. Rahul Kanakia is an undergraduate at Stanford University.

When the final class list was announced, I noted that there were two other fine folk from California (and Northern CA at that!) I emailed Rahul, as Stanford is right up the road from me, and he agreed that meeting in person was far superior to cyberstalking (if somewhat less satisfying).

We met at the Student Union on campus. This was one of the few times I ventured onto the Farm without intent of malice (While in the Cal Band, most trips across the bay were for reconnaisance, raids, or Big Game). A Stanford alumna coworker helped me map the best way to get there. Damn that campus is huge!

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I will be interred for 6 weeks in Michigan with at least one very nice guy. He's young, and energetic, well read, and full of great ideas. I was impressed with the breadth of authors he has read. He definitely has his finger on the pulse of the spec-fi world.

Rahul and I also noted that we are suffering from a common Clarionite problem: writer's block. All of my future classmates have said with much lament that they are finding it hard to write If you're a Clarionite who's writing up a storm, please prove me wrong! I might have to wax on incoherently in future posts as to why this might be so.

My first impression of Rahul is that he is tall, but I won't hold that against him :-) Seriously, if half the people are are cool as him, it's going to be a great summer.


At 5/7/06, 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Writing is like sleeping, you can't force it. Sometimes you are inspired and sometimes not. But always write about what inspires you most. Otherwise it's not going to inspire others I think.

And that was deep thoughts by Carol Marshall... ;-)

At 5/7/06, 2:03 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Everybody has different writing practices, so your mileage may vary, but...

I don't have writer's block, but, then, I do force it when it doesn't happen magically.

I have however been feeling down over the last few months. I've been more critical of my work lately, etc.

I had some personal as well as writing-related setbacks in March and I've still got some big worries about money and Clarion-performance. So even some good news recently has failed to get me fully out of the funk. But I'm still working.

Some successful authors are binge-writers and that works very well for them. But I found I've become most efficient after training my mind to get into that place at a certain time each day and pretty soon I've whipped that muse into shape to meet me at the time of my choosing. (Now watch they'll schedule my regular writing time as regular lecture time and I'll be in the worst shape of anyone...)

One more hint: give it at least 15-20 minutes before you give up on a writing session. That's about how long my brain takes to get immersed in create-mode again after a disruption. Those first 15-20 minutes of crap are necessary, but very painful.

Again, YMMV. I've done the binge-writing thing, but I find I'm less pleased with myself between binges than I am when I'm daily writing. I guess it's like getting all my caffeine for the week at once on a Sunday and by Wednesday completely losing steam.


At 5/10/06, 11:12 AM, Blogger Steve said...

Maybe, like myself, you don't have writer's block, so much as writer's avoidance.

Symptoms of writer's avoidance are:

Organising your cd/dvd collection,
Deciding to crit instead of writing,
Spending hours trawling the net for that one piece of writing advice that holds the key to it all (I'm still looking...)

One possible reason for this writer's avoidance is that you're becoming a better writer. By better, I mean in the technical sense; sentence rhythm, word choice, avoiding cliched dialogue and infodumping etc. So when you come to write you're probably fighting a battle between what you've learnt and what your old writing self would slap down. This can be crippling if you ponder on it too much.

Something that may help, but which I've always failed to put into practice, is switching-off the internal editor on the first draft. It still baffles me how writers can get 'flow' but tell a story at the same time. I think it's connected with character and voice...

Also, I find that having a disciplined routine helps to overcome this problem. Slow and steady has always helped me...but I guess it's a case of different strokes for different folks.

Okay. Enough of incoherent ramblings. You'll hear plenty of that in person soon enough!

At 5/15/06, 6:14 PM, Anonymous Rahul Kanakia said...

Mwuahaha, since speaking to you I've written around 7000 words, although that includes roughly 2500 worth of crap that I will never use. Okay, that's entirely due to the fiendish grades pressure of my writing class...but that's pretty much why I am taking it.

At 5/22/06, 7:44 PM, Anonymous Cealláigh said...

I wish I could say that I'm writing up a storm. I guess I am, in a way. I'm trying hard to finish a big world-building project so that I can outline and start writing a series of novels after I get home in August. I'm actually a little intimidated by the amount of work some of my fellow students are getting done. It seems every time I sit down at my computer to write, I wonder if this will be the day that I can't do it anymore. It's a weird fear. And I'm also worried that I won't be able to produce when I get to Clarion.

Ah well. If anything, it's good to know I'm not alone *grin*

Keep writing, dude.



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