The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia
19 May 2010
Write a marathon, or support those who do
Students may think the cost of writing workshops high; the true cost is higher. Many writing programs exist on shoestring budgets and must hold fundraising events and solicit money so they can keep costs as low as possible for students and give scholarships.
One fundraising device I was unaware of—until my own workshop alma mater, the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop, decided to have one—is the writing marathon. A time is set to write. Some people set writing goals for the marathon and then try to meet them. Some people "sponsor" a writer or three by donating money to the organization. Some people do both.
Everyone benefits. Writers—perhaps you?—produce pages they may not otherwise have done. Donors get a tax deduction (in some cases) and may win prizes (in some cases), as well as experience the satisfaction of increasing the crop of good writers. The organization gets to exist another year and train another batch of students.
The Clarion marathons last the six weeks of the workshop. Thus, you are writing along with the Clarion students themselves. You can set a writing goal of any size. To write in a Clarion marathon this summer or to support someone who does, check out these links:
✥ Original Clarion, 27 June to 7 August
✥ Clarion West, 20 June to 30 July
The New York Writers Coalition marathon is more of a sprint than a marathon. Its "Write Your A** Off Day," this year scheduled for Saturday, 12 June, is only one day long, and all participants have the same goal: Produce 3,000 words between 10:30 am and 6:00 pm Eastern time.
Professor Kenneth Schneyer—a fellow member of the Clarion class of 2009—wants to teach less this summer so that he can write more. So he has set up his own "marathon" of sorts. If donors contribute at least $2526.00 by Tuesday, 22 June, he will write six short stories this summer. Everyone who donates at least $1 receives news of his progress or lack thereof. Those contributing at higher levels get to see first drafts, critiques, even editor comments. To learn more about Ken's project (and perhaps get some ideas about finding backers for your own writing projects), click here. It's worth a visit to the site just to view the video.
Yes, it's cheesy and gimmicky, as he himself admits. But it harks back to the Medieval and Renaissance system in which writers supported their work through patronage and perhaps is a first step into what a writer's life will be like if the "art wants to be free" advocates have their way and writers no longer earn money from their stories and books.
Author interviews are back! Coming in the next couple of months are interviews with:
Edward Gauvin (A Life On Paper, a book of stories by speculative fiction author Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud translated from the French)
Stephen Parrish (The Tavernier Stones, a mystery novel)
Kathryne Kennedy ((The Fire Lord's Lover, a fantasy romance novel)
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I spent a lot of years teaching summer school, but through a combination of frugality with my money, not wanting much more than what I already have (except for books), and marrying a supportive woman, I've been able to take off the last couple of summers to write. And man have I both enjoyed it and been productive.
CHARLES, I'm glad you're going to be able to spend the summer writing. A talent like yours deserves that time.
What did you think of my thought that in the future, writers may need patrons?
Cool idea. Transferring the idea to my preferred method of creative expression, I can't imagine a painting marathon. I just busted hump to spit out a painting in a couple of days & my back's paying for it. Guess I need to train first. *L*
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