After Tin House, I spent the fall taking a few more workshops, including Kathy Fish’s Fast Flash Workshop. If you’re tempted, go for it. If you think you don’t need it, I’d reconsider. Kathy’s online workshop was definitely intensive (you’re pretty much producing a new piece every weekday), but it worked for me. I don’t tend to write with prompts or structure in mind and having to forced me to be creative in ways I hadn’t been before. Kathy encourages everyone to stick to giving positive feedback and all that encouragement really propelled me to do more. I got lots of awesome flash pieces out of it and so far two have been accepted by Maudlin House and Split Lip. I also made some good connections with other writers, including a lit mag editor. I’m hoping to take another one of Kathy’s workshops, should I be able to fit in!
I also took another online workshop that just faded out. The instructor didn’t post several scheduled assignments and skipped offering promised feedback, then the other attendees stopped posting stories and commenting. It was supposed to take a month to write 6 flashes. Hardly comparable to my other experiences. I won’t name names, but I wasn’t surprised after my experience with the instructor as a mag editor. I did make a friend out of it though, and produced some good stories. What feedback I got was helpful, so I don’t think it was a total waste of money, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
Now I’m just waiting to hear back from Clarion West (my third time applying). I got a personal and very encouraging response last year, but I wasn’t thrilled with the short stories I submitted this time (I’ve spent most of the last few months writing flash!). So we’ll see. It will be harder for me to go after this summer because of my hopes of moving to the UK with my wife, but there’s not much to do about that and I will be lucky to get in any time.