Why I’m writing for six weeks for Clarion West

writersilBetween 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.

ClarionWestTwitterA 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.

One Response to “Why I’m writing for six weeks for Clarion West”

  1. Frank Catalano» Blog Archive » The geeky solidarity of Clarion West’s Write-a-thon Says:

    […] I’ve drawn five weeks into the six-week Clarion West Writers Workshop Write-a-thon. I entered the Write-a-thon with what I thought were realistic plans and expectations: an hour a day carved […]