Tag Archives: Clarion West writeathon

Clarion West writeathon – I DID IT!

I set some serious goals for myself for the Clarion West writeathon – 250 words or more, 5 days a week, for six weeks. AND I DID IT!

Writing consistently is so important, so quick, and so hard. When you write every day, you wake up every morning thinking about what you’re going to write. You actually produce work. You feel good about yourself. And when people ask “Are you writing?” you don’t get that sinking feeling in the bottom of your stomach!

So I met my writeathon goals, but I need to keep this thing up.

Starting TODAY.




When the word count quota feels like a chore . . .

I’m still at it with the Clarion West writeathon! I have lost track of exactly how many words I’ve done, but this week I wrote T, W, TH, F, and will need to write Saturday. (I’m measuring the weeks Sun through Sat.) Today, however, I felt pretty darned unmotivated. I spent yesterday sitting at Chuck E Cheese revising a paper copy of my work-in-progress, and I don’t want to write any more until I have those revisions entered. I started a flash fiction earlier this week, but I don’t want to work on that either. So, for your reading amusement, here is what happens when a writer gets stuck but has to write anyway


            “You’re getting ahead of the story,” I said to myself. “It is opening up to manifold possibilities and one story should not have quite so many. It should not be a multiverse.”

            “However,” I replied sensibly, “I have a word quote for the Clarion West writeathon. I have to get to 250 words every day, five days a week, for two more days and two more weeks. Then I will have met my goal.”

            “That’s all well and good but Phoenix and Raven just want you to stop a minute and let them catch their breaths and gather their identities. Why don’t you work on something else in the meantime?”

            I scratched my head. “Well, there is the washing machine story, but I have to admit, I’m a little stuck. Have you got any ideas for what a washing machine could do that would upset a household exactly as much as a thief stealing their stuff?”

            “Weren’t we going with a laundry avalanche, or something like that? Sort of a Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage out?”

            I made a derogatory noise at myself. “That’s been done.”

            “Well, Chrome is making a lot of noises and she could be rocking the foundation of the house. It could cause a collapse of their closet. In fact, the entire closet could fall through the floor into the basement.”

            “But that’s silly!”

            “So is the concept of a sentient washing machine. Fiction can be silly. You can do whatever you can with it.”

            “Never mind. I’ve hit 250 words already.”

            “Let’s call it a day, then.”


– Kristin

The writeathon — charging on ahead!

Two weeks into the Clarion West writeathon, and I’ve met my goal so far! Here are the daily counts:

  • Day One: 403 words
  • Day Two: 305 words
  • Day Three: 388 words
  • Day Four: 383 words
  • Day Five: 288 words
  • Day Six: 403 words
  • Day Seven: 346 words
  • Day Eight: 435 words
  • Day Nine: 480 words
  • Day Ten: 295 words

It doesn’t take long to get these words out. But it’s hard as anything! I’m always so certain that what I’m writing will never amount to much, that it will never be a story. Then, as I write, story emerges. Sentences come out of my fingers and surprise me. But self-doubt haunts me the whole way. Sure, things are happening, but there’s no way I can get to the ending! Once I do — sure, it’s a full story, but it’s bound to be no good!

So the writeathon is helping enormously. To be the writer I want to be, I have to write, and I have to do it daily and consistently. That’s the advice that’s always given to writers, and few of them actually manage it. For me it’s fear. There’s only a little bit of fear and anxiety, but it’s just enough to make me say, “Well, of course I’ll do it, but later.”

Well, with the writeathon, later is now.

– Kristin

By dotmatchbox at flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0] , via Wikimedia Commons

By dotmatchbox at flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0] , via Wikimedia Commons

How is the write-a-thon coming along?

Day One: 403 words. A nameless narrator explains how she met the mysterious Phoenix. He’s mysterious to me, too.

Day Two: 305 words. Phoenix went up in flames. I guess that was to be expected.  Also, lots of procrastinating by playing with the GIMP image distortion features.

Day Three: 388 words. Our unnamed narrator receives a message from Phoenix, from before he went up in flames.


Sponsor me for the Clarion West Writeathon!

I love to take baths. The warm water feels so good on my skin, and after I’ve cleaned myself off I sit and sit until the water goes cold. But somehow, I never want to get into the bathtub. I find the transition difficult.

In the same way, I love to write stories — but it’s hard to get started. I write on the computer downstairs in my office, but somehow, whenever I get there, I end up on Facebook. It’s a matter of training my brain to expect to get to work, of establishing a habit. And that takes a while — somewhere between 18 and 254 days, apparently.

So I’m setting a goal for myself: 250 words per week for six weeks. If I can set a habit of writing 250 words per day, and keep it, then as a writer I will be set! Sadly, I don’t take myself seriously as a taskmaster. That’s why I’m asking you, dear friends and readers, to help guilt me into writing!

How? Through the Clarion West Write-a-thon! It supports scholarships for fledgling authors taking part in a six-week intensive writing program called Clarion West. There, they learn the trade of science fiction / fantasy / speculative fiction. They learn the craft, and they make connections. Maybe five, ten years later, some book of theirs shows up on the shelves of your local bookstore, and you pick it up and stay awake all weekend reading it.

I didn’t take part in the Clarion West workshop (I got an MFA instead) but Clarion West supports me as a writer in many other ways. The Richard Hugo House now has day-long Clarion workshops, and a con called Potlatch as a small workshop called “Taste of Clarion.”

So if you sponsor me for the Clarion West Write-a-thon, you’ll be doing two great things at once – you’ll be helping guilt me into writing, and you’ll be helping train the award-winning speculative fiction authors of tomorrow. Pledge whatever you’re comfortable with — even a $5 pledge helps! For every $10 pledge, I’ll put a 50-word excerpt up on this blog.

Here’s my official write-a-thon page, with all the details! While you’re there, be sure to check out the other fabulous writers who are taking part in this write-a-thon!

P. S. Check back on my blog — I’ll be keeping a log of how many words I wrote.