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Six Days Left, Six Reasons Why.

June 19, 2010

There are only six days left to sign up for the Clarion Write-a-Thon!  With the deadline so near and the Clarion Foundation only halfway to its goal of 75 writers, it’s time to pull out all the stops.  Please contact other spec fic writers you know to spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, email, or your local emergency broadcast system — and of course be sure to sign up yourself.  Why?  Glad you asked.

1. It’s fun. This is, of course, the most important reason.  Writing can feel like a chore sometimes, but coming together with 74 other writers to share goals, compare progress, vent frustrations, and indulge in a little healthy competition can make it seem more like summer camp than an unpaid job.

2. It’s a way to “get your name out.” The lonely calling of writing does in fact have a social element, and the speculative fiction community in particular tends to be surprisingly tight-knit.  Name recognition may not be enough to get you published or win you an award, but it will certainly make conventions, internet discussions, and creative collaborations more rewarding.  Don’t wait until your name is on the bestseller list to start thinking about the impact you’d like to make on the SF&F community.  Start by participating, and by showing that you care.

3. Clarion needs you. For 42 years, Clarion has been a respected training ground for some of SF&F’s most diverse and groundbreaking writers, and we’d like to be here for another 42.  Understandably, though, people are tightening their belts lately.  That has meant fewer donations, and at the same time increased need for scholarships.  Clarion elected not to cut back on our services this year, nor to deny scholarships to talented writers who needed them.  As a result, we’re going to need some significant help if we’re going to have a Clarion Class of 2011.  It’s not a pretty reason, but there it is.  Now let’s get back to the happy stuff.

4. You could win fabulous prizes! Steampunk jewelry, gourmet coffee, even a shiny new iPad!  The rewards are many for those who not only participate, but bring in significant donations to the cause.  Even if you’re not the “sell ice to Eskimos” type, it’s not that hard to convince a few friends to chip in $5 to a worthy cause, and that could be enough to earn you some cool swag.

5. You’ll accomplish something worthwhile. Even if you don’t bring in dollar one, you’re still doing something important both for Clarion and for yourself.  Your attempts to attract sponsors, even if they don’t result in cascades of cash, will raise awareness about Clarion and its mission.  And in the meantime, having so many people checking up on you will make you more likely to meet the writing goals you set for yourself.

6. We’ll help you every step of the way. Everyone at the Clarion Foundation is rooting for your success.  Via our soon-to-be-launched forum and our motivational emails during the six weeks of the Write-a-Thon, we’ll be there to help you attract sponsors, decide on realistic goals, and achieve what you set out to achieve.

So there you have it.  It would be difficult, in fact, to come up with a reason not to participate.  If there is one, then wonderful writers such as Kim Stanley Robinson, Karen Joy Fowler, Robert Crais, James Patrick Kelly, Cory Doctorow, and Nina Kiriki Hoffman overlooked it, along with over 30 other writers so far (thanks, guys!).

Becoming a Clarion Write-a-Thon writer costs nothing, it benefits future writers in your favorite genre (possibly even you!), and it asks nothing of you that you oughtn’t really be doing anyway (i.e. writing).  So if you can come up with a good reason not to sign up, we’d love to hear it!  Otherwise, click on the quill chart in the sidebar to join the big event.

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