Worse? or… Better?
Got my workshop assigment for Worldcon. (Yes, I’m obsessing… this is me, remember?). The people leading it are freakin awesome and people I’d love to meet. The other two people in it with me? Also awesome, which I was able to glean via google. Thank you google for making me even more insecure. Both of the people with me are published already. On the one hand, I can’t wait to get their stories because I’m betting the stories, even in draft form, will be pretty darn good.
On the other hand, and it’s a big hand, I’m somewhat intimidated. I realize it’s just a workshop, but this whole damn con is in some ways my introduction to the spec lit “scene” so to speak. I’m freakin new to this whole writing as community thing. I’ve taken huge steps in the last year. Joining OWW was a big step (strangers! seeing my writing! oh noes!). Getting into an MFA program was a huge step (professors! seeing my writing! oh noes) (dropping out was another step, though Iv’e decided to commute that to a sentence of a year off to think about things and look at options). Starting to actually send things out on submission was the biggest step of all (editors! seeing my writing! oh n- you get the idea).
And now going to Worldcon. I got my feet wet at NorWescon (pro writers! seeing my writing! oh noes!) and had a blast. I know objectively that I’ll be fine. I’m looking forward to putting faces to names and now that I’ve gone over the huge programming schedule, there are definitely interesting panels to go to. I’ll have way too much to cram in, I’m sure.
And the workshop. I wonder if I made a mistake subbing a story I really love that’s on version 9 or so. It’s gotten a few form rejections and a couple positive rejections, but still, it’s just rejected at this point. I subbed it because I’d like to hear not only how to improve it but really I’m hoping to understand why it isn’t quite hitting the editorial spot. But man, between the starry list of workshop leaders and the two other already publishing workshop-ees, I’m intimidated. I know objectively that I’m nowhere near the number of rejections where I should start wondering if it’s me/the writing, but subjectively I have high standards for myself that so far I’m not meeting. I’ve watched what happens sometimes in workshops to the worst story in the room, so to speak. It often isn’t pretty. Not that I fear people being mean, I doubt they would be. But as an introduction to people I might want at least a professional relationship with, well, being the worst writer in the room… it’s scary.
I just keep returning to the W.S. Merwin poem “Berryman”. “You can’t ever be sure”. I don’t know if I’m ever going to be any good at all. But I’ll keep trying.