Every year I do the Clarion Write-a-thon for 6 weeks to raise money for a great writers’ workshop that changed my life. I use this as a time of creative renewal and mad experiments. Somewhat unconventionally I’ve used it to do lots of things beyond words. I’ve used it to challenge myself and push myself outside of my comfort zone. I’ve recorded songs (bloody terrifying that is), written love letters to inanimate objects (soothing, invigorating and an excuse to explore the history of cutlery), and most significantly it gave me permission and motivation to become a comics artist as well as a comics writer.
Things Without Arms and Without Legs (a comic about creatures who are kind) came out of this challenge and significant motivating factor in that fragile first year was to honor the contributions of sponsors.
This year I’m moving away from units of creative awesome into something that scares me and returns me to my roots. I’m going to try to write three short stories in six weeks. This goal scares me a little. Three short stories in 6 weeks. Am I mad? And yet that’s only half the output of the workshop (and the people in the workshop will be doing a lot more than writing stories).
During this time I will also maintain my webcomic’s update schedule and draw a comic dedicated to Keyan Bowes (one of last years sponsors, I’m so sorry Keyan! I wanted to do something really special so I kept procrastinating, it will happen soon, I promise!).
Since I decided to set myself this task I’ve felt ideas come to me. I love what a good challenge does for the brain. I think I’ll also use the medium of short stories to explore concepts and landscapes I will use in future novels… see, I am working on my novel by writing short stories, really and truly!!!
In past years I’ve given you the power. $20 and you could buy a unit of creative awesome and demand something of me. This year focusing inwards instead of outwards, but you’ll still be a motivating force. If failing to write a short story costs Clarion potential income I’ll feel like a pretty terrible person. Your pledges will push me onwards. I love how we can collaborate together!
If you would like to join in the adventure and challenge of the write-a-thon it’s not too late. You can sign up here, just press the log in button and make sure you select the “Set up a Writer Profile Page.”