Have Questions? We hope you’ll find them here! If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for or still need help with write-a-thon registration, please email us at writeathon@clarionwest.org. If you are participating in the affinity groups, classes, or sprints and have a question, please email us at helpdesk@clarionwest.org.

General Questions:

  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. Do I have to fundraise to join the Write-a-thon?
  7. How many writers participate?
  8. How do I join the Write-a-thon?
  9. Who gets the money donated during the Write-a-thon?
  10. How much does the Write-a-thon usually raise?
  11. I don’t write, but I like to read. Can I participate in the Write-a-thon?

Additional information for sponsors: 

  1. As a sponsor, where can I find special offers from participants?
  2. How do I find a specific writer?
  3. How do I know if my PayPal donation went through?
  4. Is there an easy way to sponsor several writers?
  5. Can I send checks directly to Clarion West instead of using PayPal?
  6. I have another question that is not answered here.

Troubleshooting errors: 

  1. What name should I put in the “Display Name” box?
  2. How do I update my profile?
  3. I got a SSL error when I tried to register for the Write-a-thon. How can I register?
  4. 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?
  5. I signed-up for the Write-a-thon, why isn’t my name listed?
  6. The PayPal button on my profile doesn’t work yet. What’s wrong with it?
  7. I know I have sponsors, but I haven’t received any sponsorship reports.

Write-a-thon 2020 events and opportunities:

  1. How can I join a flash fiction critique group?
  2. How do I register for the free workshops and classes?
  3. How do I join an affinity group?
  4. Will there be writing spints or other opportunities to meet and write with other participants?
  5. Will there be writing prompts?
  6. What else is happening?
  7. Is there an events calendar?

Fundraising:

  1. What support does Clarion West provide Write-a-thon writers for fundraising?
  2. How will I know if someone has donated to support me?
  3. How will my sponsors know if their PayPal donation went through?
  4. Can my sponsors send checks directly to Clarion West instead of using PayPal?
  5. Is Twitter a good place to ask for sponsors?

Additional questions:

  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. How much is everybody else writing?
  5. Do I have to post what I write during the Write-a-thon on some publicly accessible site?
  6. Can I post my word count to my Write-a-thon page?
  7. Can I change other information on my page?
  8. Can I use bolding or italics on my writing sample or goals?
  9. Is there a Facebook page for the Write-a-thon?



1. What is the Write-a-thon?

The Clarion West Write-a-thon is a summer tradition and free for writers — and readers! There is no fundraising requirement to join the Write-a-thon; you can participate as much or as little as you’d like in all of the associated events. 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. To date, the annual Write-a-thon remains Clarion West’s largest annual fundraiser.


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

Participating writers sign up on https://www.clarionwest.org/writeathon beginning June 8. 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.

This summer, writers may participate in any number of additional online events, including affinity groups, a flash fiction critique group, classes, writing sprints, and more.

After the Write-a-thon kicks off on June 21, 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, provide all of our events and classes with full ADA accessible accommodations wherever possible, and increase our outreach to an ever more diverse and inspired community. We 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 2020 Clarion West Write-a-thon runs from June 21 to July 31.


5. Does it cost anything to enter?

No! If you’re a writer — or a reader — all you need to do is set your goals, and write or read your way to a productive summer.

If you can make a contribution, 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. 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, but there is no fundraising requirement.

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 programs, but we never pressure our participants to raise money or hit donation targets.

7. How many writers participate?

On average, around 250.


8. How do I join the Write-a-thon? 

It’s easy! Go to our new writer registration page at https://www.clarionwest.org/writeathon/begin and fill out the form! Be sure to register early this year to take part in as many offerings as possible!

9. 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).


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

It varies from year to year — but the Write-a-thon usually raises between $12,000 and $22,000. This is a significant percentage of Clarion West’s annual budget.


11. I don’t write, but I like to read. Can I participate in the Write-a-thon? 

This year, we are encouraging readers to join our Write-a-thon! We will have a few special events and talks specifically for readers, as well as a book club channel on Slack. If you plan to participate in these events, please register here and tell us a little about yourself and what you like to read. We’re excited to have you join us! 

In addition, you can always browse our writers list and sponsor one of them. Each writer has a Paypal button on their page. When you sponsor a writer, you can send them encouraging messages! You can even sponsor multiple writers here

12. As a sponsor, where can I find special offers from participants? 

Not every participant is able to offer special promotions, but some of them do — and you don’t want to miss out! Every year our community comes up with dozens of special challenges & opportunities. Tuckerizations! Postcards from your writer! Matching donations! Writing critiques! Class challenges! If you’ve always wanted to be redshirted in a work of fiction, you’ll want to check the list here.

13. How do I find a specific writer? 

Are you looking for a specific participant? You can find them by searching through our Write-a-thon 2020 page. We apologize — we don’t yet have a search field, however, writers are listed in alphabetical order by first name. You may want to confirm with your writer if they are using their name, a nickname, or a pseudonym. 

14. 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 mails 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.


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

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


16. 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:

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

We’ll take care of everything else!


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

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


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 or let them know how to find you. Please do not put your email address as your username as it will be visible in your page URL. 


19. How do I update my profile?

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


20. 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.


21. 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.


22. 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. There is another write-a-thon benefiting our sister workshop in San Diego.


23. 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 team members 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.


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

There are typically two reasons this happens.
a) Your spam filter may be filtering the reports. Please add writeathon@clarionwest.org to your list of accepted senders.

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

25. How can I join a flash fiction critique group? 

Our flash fiction critique groups are an opportunity to take your writing to the next level. The goal: Write multiple flash fiction pieces in a strictly limited timeframe, learn to critique others’ writing, and receive critiques on your stories. Due to high demand, we have combined registration with the class lottery, closing June 17 at 12pm. Learn more about the critique groups here. Assistance and questions about critique groups should be sent to helpdesk@clarionwest.org

26. How do I register for the free workshops and classes? 

We have an excellent line-up of free classes for Write-a-thon participants this year, ranging from topics on craft to the business of writing. Class information will be available by June 8 on our website. Due to the high demand for these classes, we have created a lottery system. Lottery participants may win one free online class per person for the Write-a-thon. All participants will be given access to the lottery form from June 15-17 at 12pm. You must be registered for the Write-a-thon in order to have access to the free class lottery. Assistance and questions with these classes should be sent to helpdesk@clarionwest.org

27. How do I join an affinity group?

You will be sent an invitation to join our Write-a-thon Slack Channel after registration. Please read the Slack channel information and join an interest group from there. If you don’t see a group that interests you, please tell our Slack admin what you’re looking for, or send us a note at helpdesk@clarionwest.org

28. Will there be writing sprints or other opportunities to meet and write with other participants?

Yes! We have several writing sprints planned throughout the Write-a-thon, as well as other events for writers to meet and write with other participants. These are free and you can register any time beginning June 8. 

29. Will there be writing prompts?

Yes. Each week, we’ll post a new writing prompt from a Clarion West instructor in the Write-a-thon channel every Saturday at 6pm. 

30. What else is happening?

Don’t miss out on our Summer Reading Series every Tuesday night at 6pm. In addition, all participants will have early access to craft talks with Clarion West instructors. Links to these videos will be posted every Monday evening at 6pm in the Write-a-thon channel. 

31. Is there a calendar?

Yes! There is so much happening this summer, we thought we’d put it all in a calendar for you

32. What support does Clarion West provide Write-a-thon participants 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!

33. 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.

34. 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. We send a thank-you letter via email for all donors and a full summary of donations for anyone who sponsors multiple writers or more than once throughout the Write-a-thon.

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

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

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

We’ll take care of everything else!

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

Absolutely! Use the hashtag #writeathon, and feel free to talk about your progress, your process, your goals, your trials, your tribulations, and 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.

37. 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.


38. 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.


39. Will I meet other participating writers?

We hope so! This year we will have virtual classes, writing sprints, writing games, readings, and affinity groups on our Write-a-thon Slack channel. Writers from all around the world can connect together.


40. 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!


41. 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.


42. 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.)


43. 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.

Tip: If you’re offering a special reward for sponsors, please send us a note at writeathon@clarionwest.org so that we will be sure to list it on our highlight page.


44. 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!

45. 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.