Between June 23 and August 2, I’m doing something I haven’t done since I began writing professionally: write primarily fiction for at least an hour every day. And I’m doing it as part of the Clarion West Write-a-thon.
Why would I need to commit to this? After all, I’ve been a relatively successful freelance writer of columns, essays, Dummies books and (yes) even short fiction since my teen years. There are three good reasons:
A missed goal to be recaptured. When I turned 50, I set what a friend of mine playfully called five “Golden Jubilee” goals to be accomplished that year. Not a bucket list, this were objectives that were achievable — and fun. While I accomplished four of them (including mastering the yoga pose Crow and buying an annual pass to Disneyland to use several times), I missed only one: write a new long piece of fiction. This is my delayed opportunity to accomplish that.
A challenge by Clarion West. A couple of years ago I spoke at a science-fiction convention in Seattle, the first time in many years that I’d done so. While there I attended a session about the Clarion West Writers Workshop, its successful graduates and advice for new writers, because I knew some folks on the panel. One speaker, who organized the Workshop, mentioned offhand from stage that it was never too late to sign up for Clarion West as a writer student — and then mentioned me, by name. I fumbled a clever response about not being able to take six weeks off from work to attend. But I can do the Write-a-thon at the same time the Workshop is underway.
To raise money for a great Workshop. Clarion West is an incredible experience, by all reports. Top notch writer-instructors, a new one each week (this year, among them, Neil Gaiman and Samuel R. Delaney). A focus on speculative fiction. An emphasis to write-write-write relentlessly, which is the only way you get better at writing. I’ve been a donor for the past few years, but this is a great way to directly put some text in the game.
So I encourage you to support me with a donation at my Clarion West Write-a-thon page, which outlines my writing approach and goals. The latter, in brief:
Write an hour each day (no matter where I am) for the duration of the Write-a-thon to complete an outline and first chapters of my (first-ever) novel, plus three GeekWire columns.
Even a small PayPal donation is helpful. And if you don’t like my writing style or objectives? Not a problem. There are literally a couple of hundred other writers taking part you can support instead, each for the same good cause.