This summer, I am participating in the Clarion Write-a-thon, an annual fundraiser for the Clarion Workshop, the longest-running and greatest writing workshop for speculative fiction. Notable alumni include Cory Doctorow, Kim Stanley Robinson, Bruce Sterling, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, and ME! What makes the workshop really stand out is its instructors, which in the past have included George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Samuel R. Delany, Harlan Ellison, Joe Haldeman, and other luminaries.
But the way Clarion makes its students better writers is the six weeks of concentrated writing time. In the spirit of that method, the write-a-thon encourages participants to write like crazy and accept pledges from kind donors in order to support this incredible workshop. The write-a-thon runs the same six weeks as the workshop itself, from June 24th to August 4th. Here is my author page:
I suggest you click around. You’ll see that authors you may know are participating as well, including Kim Stanley Robinson and Karen Joy Fowler (also a graduate, and author of “The Jane Austen Book Club”).
As you can see from my page, I’ve set a somewhat ambitious goal for myself of 42,000 words. That rounds out to precisely 1000 words a day, every day, for six weeks. 1000 words, that’s about 5 pages. But if you’re interested in participating, you can set a much more modest goal for yourself. Say, a page a day, or, one blog post a week! Or whatever you like.
If you don’t feel like writing, but want to support the next generation of hot shot genre writers, consider donating to me, or your favorite author!
If you want to write but the whole write-a-thon thing freaks you out, I’ve set up a Google Spreadsheet where I’ll be tracking my daily progress. Tweet @themattlondon if you want me to add you to this spreadsheet. Feel free to add your name and your goal and your daily progress if you want to follow along.
I find that the the best motivator for writing is the fear of public humiliation — remember all those papers you wrote in college the night before, because you were scared of your teacher? Yeah, me too. So keep track of my progress as well as your own — the more eyes I have watching me, the harder it will be for me to slack off.