Back at Norwescon, I was talking to kenscholes about short fiction writing and how to improve one's abilities. He pointed me towards workshops that are run by writers Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. A full list of the workshops is on Dean's website (details can be found on an older blog entry).
Ken highly recommended the workshops in general, specifically the ones dealing with short fiction (in September and March). The September one was of real interest to me as the instructors were Dean, Kristine, and Sheila Williams! But the workshops also said they were targeted towards professional writers, people with multiple sales. Ken said "ask about applying, what have you got to lose, I'll vouch for you." (very nice of him)
So, I said "what the hell" and sent Dean an email noting what'd I'd done so far (many stories, workshops, and Viable Paradise!) and my current plans (multiple stories a month, more submissions, work to get better). Dean replied saying that while I didn't have the sales I obviously had the drive and I could be in the workshop! Woohoo!
This happened in mid-to-late April. After that, I joined the email discussion group and started seeing names of authors who might be attending the workshop. There were many names I recognized, people whose work I read and liked. At that point I started to worry. What if it turned out I was terrible? Maybe I was just a big fraud, who had talked my way into a workshop for which I obviously was not at the right level?
This, I think, was one of the biggest causes of the May slump. My fear was that the workshop would reveal I was no good. I didn't worry about this when going to Viable Paradise, because VP was definitely a workshop for beginners trying to get better. The Smith/Rusch/Williams workshop isn't like that. It's for people who are already good and want to take it up a notch. Intimidation city.
In May, I started slowing down. There were other minor things, like work pressures, and household organization. But the biggest cause was my fear about the workshop. I'm not too sure why I popped out of the slump but since the beginning of June I'm more into writing again. Which is a good thing, as I have a lot of work ahead of me to get to the place I want to be by September.
And, as a result of the workshop I probably won't be attending WorldCon. There's only so much travel for SF writing I can arrange. I'll might see if I can weasel over to Denver for the weekend, on the cheap (sleep on a floor, etc). We'll see how that goes.
Now it's back to writing! Got stories to do, and submit, and critique and be critiqued. Keep moving forward. Don't look down. Write, Revise, Submit, Repeat.