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Clarion West Write-a-thon 2011

Newer readers of this blog may not be aware that, in addition to being angry and black and female, I also write fiction. Science fiction and fantasy, in particular. Several years ago I attended a 6-week intensive writing workshop called Clarion West, which is an organization that brings together promising new writers with amazing and talented established writers so that the former can learn from the latter. It was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot. In fact, my experience at CW planted the seed that would eventually grow into this blog, though in a very circuitous way.

The workshop is a non-profit effort, and though students do pay tuition, it doesn’t cover all expenses. So every year they host a write-a-thon to raise money.

For those of you who don’t know, a write-a-thon is a lot like a marathon. Instead of sponsoring a person per mile, you sponsor them per week. If the sponsored reaches their writing goal for the week, you pledge to send a certain amount of money. There are six weeks of write-a-thoning to mirror the six weeks of workshopping at Clarion West, so it’s also a bit of a nostalgia trip for those of us who went in years past.

Why am I raising money for CW (besides the fact that I went)? Three big reasons.

  1. As I said, my time at the workshop was wonderful and I want to do my part in supporting an organization that has supported me. The opportunity afforded to students who attend a Clarion-style workshop goes beyond just having 6 stories critiqued. It’s also about meeting people in the genre community who are generous with their support, friendship, and talent. Just as with any other profession, networking is important for writers who aspire to become working professionals.
  2. The board and administrators of the workshop are dedicated to increasing diversity in the genre by attempting to make sure writers from all backgrounds are aware of Clarion West and aware that there is financial aid for those who need it. Entrance into the workshop is by merit, but CW understands that if you throw the net wide and do your best to get applicants beyond the white, male, and upper class majority, then the cream of the crop will naturally end up being more diverse.
  3. Clarion West tuition is high. An anonymous donor paid my way the year I went. I do what I can to repay the generosity of that person by paying it forward and supporting the workshop and its students.

Now for the part when I ask you for stuff. I’m in the process of gathering sponsors right now. This year I’m focusing on getting a lot of micro sponsors — people who can’t afford to donate a lot of money but care spare something small. Do you have $5 or $15 you can give? Can you pledge $2/week? $10/week? Every bit helps. If you’d like to sponsor me, please click here to let me know and read all the details.

If you’re a writer (in any genre, including non-fiction), you can also participate in the Write-a-thon. If you do sign up and you get three sponsors or raise $100/week, you’ll be entered into a drawing for an eReader. Details about all that here.

The write-a-thon begins on June 19th. Stick around the blog and I’ll let you in on exactly what I intend to write….