Clarion Write-a-Thon: Join Team Bears Discover Fire

Wanna light a fire under your writer’s bum and do a good deed?

Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop has developed the Write-a-Thon to help YOU and to help THEM.

You might be in a place in your life where you haven’t been writing much, but you wish, wish, wish, that you could–or that you had the time.  What we need, rarely, is the time—we need encouragement. The time will magically appear when we feel people in our life actually WANT us to write.

So Clarion has developed teams of writers to help you reach your writing goal—AND help Clarion reach their fundraising goals.

Here’s how it works:

1.  You say to yourself, I give myself permission to write for six weeks as much as I can.  I don’t have to take off from work, but I will find some time–with the help of my spouse, my significant other, my parents–to cordon off even a smidgen of time a day to write.

2.  You sign up with Clarion Write-A-Thon by clicking on those words.

3. (from the Clarion write-a-thon website)

  • First, sign up to write! Fill out as many of the fields as you can. It’s especially important to include a bio and excerpts. A link to your website and/or personal blog helps, too. Your name and a link to your new writer’s page will appear automatically on the Browse Writers page of the Write-a-Thon site.
  • Be sure to upload a recent photo of yourself. A .jpg that is a maximum of 200 pixels in width is ideal. But our software can resize it for you if necessary.
  • Post frequent updates everywhere. Refresh your Write-a-Thon writer’s page often with new excerpts. Post writing progress reports on your personal website, your blog, your Facebook page, and your Twitter feed. Make sure all of your efforts link to your Clarion Write-a-Thon writer’s page.
  • Line up your sponsors. Contact friends, family and fans to let them know you’re raising money for Clarion while nurturing your writing life. Your writer page comes complete with personalized donation buttons to make it easy for your supporters. Feel awkward about asking? Here’s a model letter to use as a starting point.
  • Participate as both a Writer and a Sponsor. When you support others, they’ll support you in return.
  • Join a team and get a mentor. Once you have $20 in donations, you’ll have the option of joining a small group of eight Write-a-Thon writers. Each group is mentored by a Clarion Workshop instructor or graduate, ready and waiting with advice and encouragement. To join a team, wait for your emailed invitation, or write to treasurer@theclarionfoundation.org.
  • Get Write-a-Thon badges for your blog and your website.
  • Remember, there are prizes! We’re giving away iTunes, Amazon, or B&N gift cards to our top earners, along with Write-a-Thon keepsakes. And each writer who brings in $250 or more gets a free story critique from a Clarion author!
  • You can also earn Write-a-Thon merit badges. You can begin writing any time. But beginning on the June 24, the official start of the Write-a-Thon, we have a special treat for you. On your Write-a-Thon writer’s page, you’ll see a grid with a question mark in each square. You can earn a maximum of one merit point every 24 hours by clicking the “I WROTE TODAY” button that will soon appear near the grid. As your merit point total passes certain milestones, merit badges will appear in your grid. We’re keeping the formula secret, so you never know when a badge will appear or what it will be. It’s all part of the motivational fun. We’re also trusting you to be honest. Only click the button if you really did some writing!
  • Sign up for the Clarion E-bulletin mailing list. It’s the best way to keep up with the latest Write-a-Thon news

See that part about “JOIN A TEAM”— that’s where I come in.  I’ve volunteered to be a mentor–with advice and encouragement!  My team is called TEAM BEARS DISCOVER FIRE after Terry Bisson’s story, “Bears Discover Fire.”  You’re going to discover fire in this group–as I’ll encourage you to write every day.  I’ll give prompts for those who want them, and encouraging little notes as we go along.  You’ll be in a group of people just like you who are pushing themselves for six weeks!  It’s just six weeks.  I wonder what YOU could do in six weeks if you had the encouragement from family and friends to do a little writing.

MY goal is to churn out six stories—they’re trunk stories, for the most part, but I need to get them finished.  And Clarion is the way to do it!

You might have a book that needs more chapters.  You might have some stories that need to get out.  You might have an idea that needs a story!

This Write-a-Thon is Write Up Your Alley.

Join my team and light the fire you need to get some stories and writing done.

BEARS!  Go light that fire!

[Visit the TEAM BEARS DISCOVER FIRE on WordPress and see what we’re up to!]

Clarion Write-A-Thon: Helping Writers Reach their Dreams

 

Writers Andrew Emmott, myself, Desirina Boskovich and Matthew Cody at Clarion

 

I signed up for the Clarion Write-A-Thon, a fundraiser that puts a whole bunch of writers into a sensory deprivation tank while they write for six weeks.  

Oh wait, there’s no sensory deprivation tank….

But still, the writers are joining together to keep Clarion San Diego alive and well for years to come by raising money to provide scholarships.  I’ve already written a whole essay about how life-changing my Clarion experience was.  I know it has been for my whole group of cohort writers–all 18 of them.  

The Link to My Writer’s Page lets you know what I’ll be doing for six weeks, and encourages you to donate a bit of money–maybe per day, per word, or just a small sum ($20, $50, $100) in total.  All proceeds go to Clarion for scholarships, helping more people like me get to attend.  Most of us who attend a six week workshop make sacrifices to be there, and certainly the costs can be high to spend six weeks anywhere in the world (even my apartment is $1050 just in rent for six weeks), but the benefit each student receives from that time is ginormous.  

Each Student gets:

  • individual instruction from 6 major writers in the field
  • connections to agents, publishers, editors
  • advice on how to create a writerly business
  • a cohort, band of writers that encourages during the long haul
  • a lifetime of mentoring
  • six weeks of time free to write, concentrate on their art

It’s very difficult to shave off time for writing, and this six weeks is a huge jumpstart.  I have sold 4 out of the 5 stories I wrote for Clarion, and frequently I take out that notebook that I kept during Clarion to record what the teachers/writers said, and I go through it again.  You can’t GET this kind of instruction anywhere else but with publishing writers, established in their fields.  

Enjoying the 4th of July: Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, Matthew Cody and myself

 

If you have trouble imagining what this would be like (maybe you don’t write science fiction), imagine a workshop of six weeks where each week you got to spend with these people: Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, John Updike, John Irving, Kazuo Ishiguro and Alice Munro.  And then editors from Harper Collins, Random House, etc came by to chat with you and take your pitches, and agents came by, and you went to a giant convention where all the big writers hung out.  You got to eat and drink with people who were doing your career— like job-shadowing, except they became your friends–for SIX WEEKS.  It’s just like that but with the big names of Science Fiction and Fantasy!

In the Golden Age of Science Fiction, a writer learned by joining up with a pulp magazine and writing stories every week to push into those magazines–they trained with writers around them, doing the same thing, encouraging each other.  

Nowadays, we’re all trying to get stories into those “pulp” magazines, Asimov’s, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy–but we’re not in a room full of other writers writing together–we’re strung out across the world.  The only places we get that kind of training are these workshops–they stand in for the kind of on-the-job writing/training you would get at a magazine.  The intensity is the same.  I think the quality is higher.  But without Clarions, writers wouldn’t have that avenue for training, and many who might not figure out how to write for the magazines, or their novels by osmosis, wouldn’t get published. 

For the six weeks, I will be working on chapters of my first novel, chapters a publisher is expecting and has asked for.  

Please consider donating even a small amount to the cause of helping writers in the Science Fiction and Fantasy field.  We brought you space shuttles and cell phones, fax machines and computers, rockets and really great entertainment.  

If you talked on your cell phone today, hug a science fiction writer for imagining it!  

And consider a small donation to the workshop that helps the visionaries think up such an interesting future.