As always I’m participating in the Clarion Write-a-thon, an entity I will always have the deepest fondness for. The Clarion Write-a-Thon began in 2011, using a structure kindly donated by our sister organization, Clarion West, who have been raising funds like BOSSES for many years.
That year we did a lot of hand coding, Justin Whitney was the tech guy (and still is, hasn’t he done a great job with the new Write-a-Thon interface?), Nancy Etchemendy as tech gal organizer mighty mighty person, and I was someone updating people’s profile pages and letting people know when their profile page was live and when they’d raised money. People love to see a fast turn around between action and reaction. I became obsessed with sharing the good news and cheering people on. Ten dollars or two hundred it was amazing to see community rise up around a shared goal.
Neil Gaiman, who has now served as an instructor for Clarion and Clarion West, kindly tweeted about us and encouraged people to sign up… on a weekend… when everyone else had gone off to have a life! It was like being hit by a fire hose! It was a busy time, a wonderfully manic time. I don’t know how many e-mails I sent and manually entered information into a spreadsheet that was then manually sent to the hard coded website. We live in different times now!
I really felt connected to all those people that gave us the gift of their time and fundraising efforts, it was humbling to see how much people would give of their time, creativity and cash. There are folks I’d only known a little before the ‘thon and became good friends as we chatted back and forth. I mentioned how we e-mailed people about their donations within at least 24 hours to one of the lovely Clarion West administrators, who, knowing the system we were using said “That’s impossible, it would drive you insane!” Which is a fair statement. It was many hours of volunteer labor every day for six weeks.
I always used the Write-a-Thon to do weird projects that challenged me and that I wouldn’t do otherwise. Three years ago I created Things Without Arms and Without Legs, a comic about creatures who are kind, because of the Write-a-Thon. The Write-a-Thon gave me permission to explore.
This year I will not be doing any (extra) crazy projects, because I’m already pushing into things that scare me a little and will make me grow as a creator and creative professional… although I do have a Shatner of the Mount inspired project in mind for 2015!
This year I will be staring twenty nine Eagles in the beady eye. To stare them in the eye I must in a day 1) do something that challenges me as a creative professional 2) and put fresh words on the page… so it’s basically write most days with an extra twist.
If you would like to sponsor me you are welcome to do so. There are many other authors available to sponsor, Clarion alumni, Clarion instructors, writers from a multitude of backgrounds that want a structure to challenge themselves with. Folks like Shauna Roberts, James Patrick Kelley, Delia Sherman, and Kim Stanley Robinson.
AND you can also go over to Clarion West‘s website and check out all the fab folks to sponsor over there too!
I hope you have a terrific summer/winter (depending on hemispheres). If you want to join in the fun it’s not too late. Six weeks of creative challenges, go!