1. What is the Write-a-thon?
  2. How does the Write-a-thon work?
  3. Why should I take part in the Write-a-thon?
  4. What are the dates of the Write-a-thon?
  5. Does it cost anything to enter?
  6. How many writers participate?
  7. Who gets the money donated during the Write-a-thon?
  8. How much does the Write-a-thon usually raise?

Additional information for sponsors: 

  1. How do I know if my PayPal donation went through?
  2. Is there an easy way to sponsor several writers?
  3. Can I send checks directly to Clarion West instead of using PayPal?
  4. I have another question that is not answered here.

Additional information for participants: 

    1. Can I write screenplays or poems or essays or other non-speculative fiction work
    2. How can the Write-a-thon help me with my writing goals?
    3. Will I meet other participating writers?
    4. Do I have to fundraise to join the Write-a-thon?
    5. What support does Clarion West provide Write-a-thon writers for fundraising?
    6. What name should I put in the “Display Name” box?
    7. How will I know if someone has donated to support me?
    8. I know I have sponsors, but I haven’t received any sponsorship reports.
    9. How will my sponsors know if their PayPal donation went through?
    10. Can my sponsors send checks directly to Clarion West instead of using PayPal?
    11. I got a SSL error when I tried to register for the Write-a-thon. How can I register?
    12. I tried to join the Write-a-thon, but when I clicked Submit on the form I was taken back to the Clarion West homepage. How do I join the Write-a-thon?
    13. How do I update my profile?
    14. How much is everybody else writing?
    15. Do I have to post what I write during the Write-a-thon on some publicly accessible site?
    16. The PayPal button on my profile doesn’t work yet. What’s wrong with it?
    17. Can I post my word count to my Write-a-thon page?
    18. Can I change other information on my page?
    19. Can I use bolding or italics on my writing sample or goals?
    20. Is Twitter a good place to ask for sponsors?
    21. Is there a Facebook page for the Write-a-thon?
    22. I signed-up for the Write-a-thon, why isn’t my name listed?
    23. I have another question that is not answered here.

1. What is the Write-a-thon?

The Write-a-thon is Clarion West’s six-week annual online fundraiser. Participants set public writing goals on their personal Write-a-thon page, then work toward them. Friends and family can pledge donations in support. It’s like a walkathon, but with writing.

The Write-a-thon is held at the same time as the Clarion West Six-Week Summer Workshop every year, and is intended to be a way for writers and supporters to experience some of the camaraderie and intense creative energy of the Summer Workshop. The Write-a-thon has been held every summer since 2003.

2. How does the Write-a-thon work?

Participating writers sign up on clarionwest.org in May and June. They set writing goals, put up excerpts of their work, and use social media to let people know that they’re writing for a good cause. There are all kinds of writing goals — from the manageable “write for five minutes a day” from the writer who has a newborn to the ambitious “finish a novel” or “finish six short stories.” Every writer in the Write-a-thon chooses a goal that works for them.

After the Write-a-thon kicks off on June 17, friends and family can visit the Write-a-thon site, choose a writer or writers they would like to support, and use the customized button on each writer’s page to sponsor them. Every week, writers get a report on who’s donated to them, allowing them to communicate with their supporters. Many writers send their supporters updates on their progress, or show off their completed work at the end of the Write-a-thon.

3. Why should I take part in the Write-a-thon?

One of the amazing things about the Clarion West Summer Workshop is how it brings writers together — both the writers in the workshop itself, and the larger community surrounding Clarion West as a whole. The Write-a-thon is a reflection of that: it is a place for writers to shine, and also connect with the larger Clarion West community around the world.

The Write-a-thon is also Clarion West’s one large yearly fundraiser. We try to keep tuition and housing costs as low as possible for our students, and rely on the support of our community in order to do that. The Write-a-thon is part of that support — writers do what they do best, and the community supports both them and the workshop with their sponsorships.

4. What are the dates of the Write-a-thon?

The 2018 Clarion West Write-a-thon runs from June 17 to July 28.

5. Does it cost anything to enter?

No! If you’re a writer, all you need to do is set your goals, and write.

If you would like to make a contribution, though, we suggest that writers make a small sponsorship donation to themselves as a way to get started (and to make sure the PayPal button on their page is working).

6. How many writers participate?

On average, around 250.

7. Who gets the money donated during the Write-a-thon?

All donations support Clarion West and its workshops. Clarion West uses the money to run workshops for emerging writers, including its prestigious Six-Week Summer Workshop. We also hold events, offer scholarships, raise awareness, and promote diverse speculative fiction in Seattle and all over the world.

Clarion West is a nonprofit educational organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Federal EIN 91-1352168).

8. How much does the Write-a-thon usually raise?

It varies from year to year — but so far, it’s usually brought in between $12,000 and $22,000. This is a significant percentage of Clarion West’s yearly budget.

9. How will I know if my PayPal donation went through?

PayPal sends an automatic confirmation email immediately after the donation is complete. In addition, Clarion West sends a thank-you letter which can be used as a tax receipt in the US. For donations up to $100, or for donors who do not provide a postal mailing address, we send the thank-you letter via email.

10. Is there an easy way to sponsor several writers?

Yes! There’s a PayPal button on the main Write-a-thon page. You can click that button, make your total donation, then let us know in the notes field how we should divide the donation. Alternatively, you can send a check with a note by post to Clarion West, P.O. Box 31264, Seattle, WA 98103-1264.

11. Can I send checks directly to Clarion West instead of using PayPal?

Of course! You can send checks payable to Clarion West with a note about sponsoring the Write-a-thon and the writers you wish to support to:

Clarion West
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264.

We’ll take care of everything else!

12. I have another question that is not answered here.

For questions not covered here, please send email to writeathon@clarionwest.org, and our volunteers will get back to you as soon as they can. Thanks!

13. Can I write screenplays or poems or essays or other non-speculative fiction work?

We welcome any form of written work for the Write-a-thon. Many choose to work on novels or short stories, but you can also work on screenplays, essays, poems, songs, or any other type of writing.

14. How can the Write-a-thon help me with my writing goals?

The Write-a-thon offers you a comfortable, persistent online environment to track your goals in and a supportive community of writers like you. Many writers find that the creative energy of taking part in a group activity, as well as the accountability of a public goal is fantastic motivation to write.

If you are in the Seattle area, Clarion West hosts weekly writing meetups for an even more exciting, personal experience. We also send out helpful information, updates, and are all cheering for you!

15. Will I meet other participating writers?

We hope so! If you’re in the Seattle area, do join us at our weekly writing meetups, which will be held throughout the Write-a-thon (more information on our Meetup.com page). We also have an active Slack channel, where writers all around the world can do writing sprints (or commiserate) together.

16. Do I have to fundraise to join the Write-a-thon?

The Write-a-thon is a fundraiser for Clarion West, but it’s about the writing first. You’ll have a PayPal button on your page so your friends and family can find your page and support you even if you don’t ask them.

We know you’re a writer, not a fundraiser, so we try to make fundraising as easy as possible – and perhaps even fun – with tools, tips, and ideas. The Write-a-thon is Clarion West’s major fundraising effort for our summer workshop, but we never pressure our participants to raise money or hit donation targets.

17. What support does Clarion West provide Write-a-thon writers for fundraising?

We provide a personalized profile page where you can write about your goals, your progress, and anything you’d like to offer your sponsors. We’ll also have digital badges and fliers you can display on webpages or social media to let people know you’re participating. We also have resources ready at hand for you whenever you need them, including our 5 Steps to a Great Write-a-thon and Participant Information pages with examples, templates, and the full schedule!

18. What name should I put in the “Display Name” box?

We generally suggest that you use your professional byline, the name you want to appear on your published work, for the display name, but you are welcome to use another pseudonym if you prefer. If you are asking friends and family to support you, you may wish to use your own name.

19. How will I know if someone has donated to support me?

We’ll send out sponsor reports every Friday night, and you can see your donor status there.

20. I know I have sponsors, but I haven’t received any sponsorship reports.

There are typically two reasons this happens.

1) Your spam filter may be filtering the reports. Please add writeathon@clarionwest.org to your list of accepted senders.

2) We may not have the correct e-mail address. Email us at writeathon@clarionwest.org and we’ll work with you on a solution.

21. How will my sponsors know if their PayPal donation went through?

PayPal sends an automatic confirmation email immediately after the donation is complete. In addition, Clarion West sends a thank-you letter which can be used as a tax receipt in the US. For donations up to $100, or for donors who do not provide a postal mailing address, we send the thank-you letter via email.

22. Can my sponsors send checks directly to Clarion West instead of using PayPal?

Of course! They can send checks payable to Clarion West with a note about sponsoring the Write-a-thon and the writers you wish to support to:

Clarion West
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264.

We’ll take care of everything else!

23. I got a SSL error when I tried to register for the Write-a-thon. How can I register?

You may have some extra security enabled in your Web browser (we’ve seen this with Google Chrome). Email writeathon@clarionwest.org and we’ll get you signed up.

24. I tried to join the Write-a-thon, but when I clicked Submit on the form I was taken back to the Clarion West homepage. How do I join the Write-a-thon?

That means that you already have a Write-a-thon page on the Clarion West site. If you remember your login name (you should have also gotten an email reminding you of your login), go to Returning Writer Registration, which has instructions for resetting your password and logging in. If you don’t remember or can’t find your login, contact writeathon@clarionwest.org and we’ll get everything sorted out.

25. How do I update my profile?

See our step-by-step instructions for updating your profile.

26. How much is everybody else writing?

It varies a lot. Some participants set extremely ambitious goals, and post publicly about their progress on Twitter, Facebook, or personal blogs. For others, getting out just one sentence a week is worth it. You don’t even have to write new material: you can set goals to revise, do research, or submit already-written work. Anything that helps get you motivated!

27. Do I have to post what I write during the Write-a-thon on some publicly accessible site?

No, you don’t. Some people offer their sponsors the opportunity to see excerpts from their writing as a kind of fun accountability exchange. But many just update their profiles as they make progress.

Tip: If you do feel comfortable sharing draft versions of your work, this can be a great way to encourage more donations.

28. The PayPal button on my profile doesn’t work yet. What’s wrong with it?

Enabling the PayPal buttons is a manual process and it may take a few hours for one of our volunteers to enable your button. If it’s been more than two days since you’ve signed up and your PayPal button still doesn’t work, please email writeathon@clarionwest.org and we’ll get it fixed.

29. Can I post my word count to my Write-a-thon page?

Yes. If word count is one of your Write-a-thon goals, you can easily publish your ongoing word count by logging in, visiting your page, and updating the count in whichever field makes the most sense to you. (We recommend the Updates field for this purpose.)

30. Can I change other information on my page?

Yes! Maybe you’ve thought of a reward to encourage your sponsors, or you’ve sold a story you want to list in your publications; you can now revise your own page to reflect your news.

31. Can I use bolding or italics on my writing sample or goals?

Great question! One of our updates for 2016 was adding the ability to format your writing sample and goals. Go forth and italicize!

32. Is Twitter a good place to ask for sponsors?

Absolutely! Use the hashtag #writeathon, and feel free to talk about your progress, your process, and your goals, your trials, your tribulations, your joys. Send your friends to your Clarion West Write-a-thon page. Ask them to sponsor you.

TIP: You can easily link your Twitter account to your Facebook page so that publishing a tweet will automatically post to your Facebook. This is a great way to make posting to multiple social media venues easier.

33. Is there a Facebook page for the Write-a-thon?

Yes! We’ll be promoting the Write-a-thon on Facebook through our official Facebook page.

34. I signed up for the Write-a-thon, why isn’t my name listed?

We don’t know, but please send us email at writeathon@clarionwest.org and we’ll figure it out. Also, please check which Write-a-thon you signed up for. This is the Clarion West Write-a-thon, benefiting Clarion West in Seattle. You might have signed up for the Clarion Write-a-thon, benefiting our sister workshop in San Diego.

35. I have another question that is not answered here.

For questions not covered here, please send email to writeathon@clarionwest.org, and our volunteers will get back to you as soon as they can. Thanks!