Writing Life: A Call to Action

Over the last several weeks, we’ve looked at some ways to incorporate writing into your life, and your life into writing.  We’ve talked about discipline, inspiration, research, community, and catharsis.  Now it’s time to put it all into action.

This is an exciting time of year for Clarion.  Right now, eighteen aspiring spec fic authors are tying off loose ends at work, shopping for Awesome Writer Clothes, and gnawing their fingernails to stubs as they contemplate the upcoming Clarion Workshop in San Diego.

In recent years, the lead-up to Clarion has been about more than just nail-biting.  Clarion’s increasing Internet integration means that these days, the workshop’s students now have the chance to get to know each other long before they arrive.    I’ll never forget shaking Ken Schneyer‘s hand on my first day, finally seeing the warm smile that went with all of those kind words, and clamping down hard on the urge to hug him senseless.  (My restraint lasted all of about a week, but I was pregnant at the time, so your mileage may vary.)

The point of my maudlin example is that the feeling of community among my Clarion class began before we ever set foot on campus.  The Internet will never replace face-to-face contact, but it’s a great way to start the process of finding like-minded individuals and striking up friendships that can one day move beyond the virtual.

With that in mind, for the next two Saturdays I’ll be usurping my own Writing Life spot to round up as many of our blog readers as I can — Clarion grads, Clarion hopefuls, people who’d never heard of Clarion until a random search for Jack London or moon gravity brought them here — and bring them together in a flurry of madly productive summer writing.  What we have in store for you is a six-week stretch of discipline, inspiration,  research, community, and catharsis so grueling and exhilarating it almost deserves to be called an “athon” of some kind.

That’s right, I’m calling out all of you to participate in this year’s Clarion Write-a-Thon.  Clarion has two more weeks to meet the announced goal of 75 participants.  On June 25th, we’re going to close off admissions and officially launch forums for the Write-a-Thon Class of 2010: a virtual “campus” where sponsors can provide support to their writers, and writers can support one another.  For the low low price of zero dollars, you’ll receive the following benefits to your writing endeavors:

Discipline: Who needs a Writing Enforcer when you have a publicly announced goal, money donated in your name, and a hundred pairs of eyes on you?

Inspiration: You’ll be virtually surrounded by other writers whose writing prompts, rejected ideas, and boundless enthusiasm may well ferment into something brilliant.

Research: In a forum full of intelligent, literate, and well-educated people, someone is bound to have answers to your tough questions, or at least enough knowledge to point you to some great books or articles.

Community: You’ll get to know others who share your goals and your passions: people you  may run into later at conventions or book signings.  Put your best foot forward!

Catharsis: As much as you want to focus on your writing, there will be days when life is kicking you in the teeth.  Vent to your fellow writers, and they may be able to help you to turn that agony into gorgeous fiction.

If you act now, we’ll also throw in a special bonus: Recognition!  That’s right, your name will go up alongside that of Kim Stanley Robinson, Cory Doctorow, Robert Crais, Karen Joy Fowler, and many other accomplished authors who have chosen to take part in our inaugural Write-a-Thon.  You’ll be in good company, and you never know who might swing by to browse the participant list and check out writing samples.

Next week I’ll give you a more detailed peek at the perks available to Write-a-Thon participants, but for this week I’m running my own special contest.  Starting now and ending Friday at 11:59 p.m., the first person to sign up for the Write-a-Thon, secure $25 in sponsorship money, and email me the good news will receive a gorgeous leatherbound copy of either T.H. White’s The Once and Future King or H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, mailed direct to you from Easton Press.

Click on the quill chart in the sidebar to get started!


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