Photo by Drew White

Sign-up Time For Clarion's 5th Annual Write-a-thon!

badge_goforit Clarion writeathonYou don't have to be a Clarion grad to join Clarion's 5th writeathon, which runs from June 22nd for 6 weeks (paralleling the Clarion workshop). You only need to write, and get some sponsors. This fund-raiser for Clarion provides moral support and community as you write. Win-win-win! (The third win is for readers, who will get some good stories out of this.)

Here's the Clarion Foundation blogpost about it: The 5th Annual Clarion Write-a-thon

Here's the Clarion Writeathon website where you can sign up to write, or sign up to sponsor writers by making a donation.

I'm a Clarion graduate (2007) and it was honestly life-changing for me. It takes years to unpack everything you learn, and a lot of it isn't even about the craft - you learn about the whole writing ecosystem, so to speak. The write-a-thon funds help to keep this workshop alive, and to sponsor writers who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend.


My friend and Clarionmate Justin Whitney's poured hours of work into revamping the Write-a-thon website. Here's what he says about it:

"The vast bulk of the work I did this year has been to make the site easier to use. Basically, it's finally begun operating like most other sites out there - lots of highly responsive javascript type of work. I created a bunch of web services so that I can save and retrieve from the database without the user ever leaving the page. I also added a bit of eye candy here and there. I imagine for most dot-coms it's pretty routine stuff. But then they usually have teams of specialists working on the different areas that have to come together. I'm rather pleased with the work I did but I'm not really sure how to promote that to new and past users. It kind of looks the same, but the plumbing is WAY BETTER!

"The most significant change was to address the chief complaint we've gotten over the years - the actual sponsorship process. On the fast end, you can now pledge toward a writer's goal with no more than 3 clicks (if you're already logged in) and without ever leaving the writer's page. On the slow end, a brand new visitor can sponsor a writer in about 5 clicks and a couple of short forms, again without ever leaving the page. And that includes both a one-time registration and a one-time credit card form (contact info only - no credit card information). After that, the credit card contact info will be prefilled and login will be remembered, so it's even easier. OR, she can skip registration entirely and go straight to payment - I created a way to keep track of visitors who sponsor multiple writers without ever registering, so it doesn't turn into a big mess on the back-end. Everything is integrated with the admin tools I built so that the entire Thon can be run by 2 part-time volunteers.

"Still, other than revamping the entire sponsorship process, the site looks almost the same as last year, albeit a LOT cleaner."

CLARION: The Best Broken Heart You'll Ever Have

Check it out! If you're a writer, sign up! If you can't, but can donate money to sponsor and encourage writers, that's great too. (And if you can do both, so much the better.)

If this post sounds like hard-sell Hurrah Clarion! - it's because I feel that strongly about the workshop. There's a great blogpost from Sam Miller on the Clarion Blog, called The Best Broken Heart You'll Ever Have. Nails it.
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Clarion West 2012 Write-a-thon

Flex your writing fingers, sharpen your editing reflexes, dominate your submission process. Whatever your writing-related goals this summer, the Clarion West Write-a-thon can help you meet them.

What is the Write-a-thon? It's a way to state your writing goals publicly and work on them in community with other writers. It's a fundraiser to benefit Clarion West Writers Workshop, to raise general funds to pay for instructors, manuscript copies, facility rental, student scholarships, and everything else needed to run a workshop, right down to the paperclips.

The Write-a-thon is open to the whole Clarion West community: alumni, instructors, friends, passersby. The deadline for signing up for the Clarion West Write-a-thon is June 16, the day before the workshop starts. The sooner you sign up, the sooner your page will go live, and the happier the volunteers working on the Write-a-thon will be. The online sign-up form awaits you at:

There are about 40 pages live already (thanks again, testers and early signups! I kiss your virtual feet), and we’d like to get as many more as we can set up in the next few days. Remember, the Write-a-thon is completely volunteer-run, and there will be some days when our volunteer hours have to be juggled in a particularly difficult way.*

Last year, we had 142 participants and 420 donors, and the goals for this year are even more ambitious: 200 participants and 500 donors. There's $2000 in challenge donations riding on the number of participants, so you can help Clarion West's bottom line just by making your writing goals public.

If you’ve done the Write-a-thon before, you know what it did for your productivity. C’mon back, and bring a friend with you. Got a challenge for your classmates? Bring it on!

Give yourself a tough but realistic writing goal and have a good time. If you’re not writing this year, cheer on those who are. Sign up sponsors in support of your goals, or just write alongside the others. Yes, the Write-a-thon is a fundraiser, and a very important fundraiser for Clarion West, but the writing is more important than the money. The writing comes first.


* Okay, what I mean here is that I'm going to Alaska to visit my in-laws next week, which means that other volunteers will have to fill in for me. They're perfectly competent to do the stuff I usually do, but I usually do that stuff, you know? So I'm fussing about it and want to get it done ahead of time.

** My relentless boosterism is aimed at Clarion West in Seattle, but I'll also cheer on adherents of our sister workshop, Clarion in San Diego. Their workshop starts a week later than ours, so the deadline for signing up for their Write-a-thon is later than our deadline. Some people do both, for seven weeks worth of writing goals rather than six.

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Yo, writers

Will you write this summer? Look for an agent, shop a novel, submit short stories, revise chapters, finish some beginnings, start some first drafts, vacuum a cat? Do you have any writing-related goals you want to commit to get done?

Be one of 100 writers in the Clarion West Write-a-thon!  Use the Write-a-thon to help you reach your own goals; help Clarion West meet some challenges and raise money for the workshop along the way.

Kate Schaefer (yes, that's me), Karen G. Anderson, and Vonda N. McIntyre have issued a challenge: we'll sponsor all participants for $1 each, up to 99 participants, for a total of $297 ($99 dollars from each of us). If the Write-a-thon gets 100 participants, we'll make it $5 each, for a total of $1500 (that's $500 from each of us).

The deadline for signing up is midnight PST on Saturday, June 18. The Write-a-thon itself runs from June 19 to July 29, during the six weeks of the workshop.

If you prefer to support Clarion in San Diego, go for it! Their Write-a-thon starts and ends a week later than Clarion West's and runs concurrently with their workshop. If you like, you can do both.

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Apply to Clarion West right pert smart quick

Application season for this summer's science fiction writing workshops is about to end. Teaching at my personal fave, Clarion West in Seattle, are Paul Park, Nancy Kress, Margo Lanagan (Clarion West 1999), Minister Faust, L. Timmel Duchamp, and Charles Stross. The lineup at Clarion in San Diego includes Nina Kirika Hoffman, John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, David Anthony Durham, John Kessel, and Kij Johnson (Clarion West 1987).

Applications are due by March 1, and that's a received-by date, not a postmark date, so if your application isn't in yet, email is your very best friend.

If you've already gone to Clarion West or Clarion, you might think about going to Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop, July 10-17; its application period opens on March 1 and closes March 31.

Support the Octavia E Butler Scholarship and Win An eReader

In case y'all haven't heard about this (which is a possibility as I forgot to post it here), the Carl Brandon Society is holding a drawing to raise funds for the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship. I do volunteer work on occasion for CBS and I helped put this one together. If you enter the drawing, you can win an eReader pre-loaded with lots of awesome stuff. Tickets cost just $1.

The Butler Scholarship provides financial assistance to writers of color attending Clarion and Clarion West. The goal is to provide a full ride two one student in each workshop every year.

As I said, the prizes are eReaders -- two Barnes & Noble Nooks, two Kobo Wireless Readers, one Alex eReader. You can buy as many tickets as you want for whichever eReader you want to win, and the more you buy the better your chances are. A bunch of writers of color donated books, stories and more that we're pre-loading on the device. So not only do you get some nice tech, but also a ton of reading material.

If you're not into eReaders, we've also got an autographed first edition of the Dark Matter anthology available.

The drawing ends on Monday at 11:59PM Eastern. Head over to the Carl Brandon website for all the details. And please spread the word!
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Clarion(s!) Write-A-Thon

Jealous of all the Clarion West writers doing their annual write-a-thon? Be jealous no more! No matter if you want to support Clarion West, Clarion South, or Clarion (UCSD), you can sign up for this year's write-a-thon. But you'd better hurry!

I think this is the Clarion link, but you can get to the other write-a-thons after you click 'Participate as a Writer'.

Support the Clarion of your choice!
Be motivated to write!
Win fabulous prizes!
Camaraderie! And other fun words!

Sign up soon. Or sponsor some people who are.

Oh yea, and get the word out!

(I'm not one of the people in charge or anything. I just noticed nobody had posted to this community yet.)
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Clarion West Executive Director Job Announcement

The Clarion West Writers Workshop, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Seattle, Washington, is seeking a part-time Executive Director.

We're looking for...

An Executive Director with demonstrated fundraising and leadership ability who will embrace the Clarion West culture of collaboration and teamwork, and support our staff, volunteers, and board of directors in nurturing the workshop and sustaining the organization.

The Executive Director does not directly manage the workshop; we're looking for a leader and manager for the organizational structure that promotes and sustains the workshop and the extended community of alumni, donors, supporters, and industry professionals.

This is a paid part-time job estimated at 500 hours per year. Although the workshop is held in summer, the Executive Director has year-round duties and responsibilities. The position is based in Seattle.

Key Priorities

• Lead fundraising and development operations.
• Manage Clarion West staff (with Workshop Director, Communications Director, and Office Manager as direct reports).
• Ensure that all workshop, fundraising, communication, and administrative activities run smoothly and meet the goals set by the Board of Directors.

Key Responsibilities

Leadership and management
• Recruit, hire, manage, and evaluate office, workshop, and communication staff. Ensure adequate volunteer support.
• Demonstrate sound human resource practices, commitment to diversity, and timely response to staff requests.
• Ensure that all operations meet the goals set by the Board of Directors.
• Ensure that the organization operates within budget guidelines.
• Oversee maintenance of official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.

• Plan and oversee the execution of fundraising, development, and alumni relations operations.

Board relations
• Develop program, organizational, and financial plans as requested by the board, and carry out plans and policies authorized by the board.
• Act as the interface between the Board of Directors and the rest of the organization, seeing that the Board is fully informed on the condition of the organization.
• Work with the Board of Directors to assure that the organization has a long-range strategy for its survival and improvement, toward which it makes consistent and timely progress.

Community relations
• In concert with the Workshop Director and Communications Director, maintain and support sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with speculative fiction community groups and other relevant organizations.
• In concert with the Workshop Director and Communications Director, maintain overview of developments in the speculative fiction field and in the area of writers’ workshops.
• Ensure that all Clarion West staff and board members work together to represent Clarion West programs and the point of view of the organization to agencies, organizations, media, and the general public.


• A proven ability to create fundraising strategies and process; manage fundraising operations; and raise funds from a range of sources.
• A proven ability to lead, support, and mentor staff with integrity, enthusiasm, an emphasis on collaboration, and a commitment to results.
• Excellent communication, listening, and relationship-building skills.
• A minimum of four years of management and supervisory experience.
• Proven commitment to diversity and inclusion.
• Knowledge of nonprofit board structures and principles of governance.
• The ability to work a flexible schedule.

To apply

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information (phone and email) for three professional references. Submit your materials electronically, in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format, to:

Kelley Eskridge
Clarion West Board Chair

We will begin reviewing applications on April 21, 2010.
The position will remain open until filled.

If you have questions...
Please contact Kelley Eskridge, Clarion West Board Chair, at

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"Taste of Clarion" at Potlatch 19

The "Taste of Clarion" workshops at Potlatch 19 will be run on Friday afternoon of the convention (March 5-7 2010).

These are Clarion-styled miniworkshops with a high student/instructor ratio. This is open to all writers, regardless of experience, and whether or not you've attended Clarion, Clarion West, or Clarion South.

This year's workshop will be conducted by noted writer and bonne vivant Ellen Klages. To apply for the workshop, please submit a 2,000 to 8,000 word story in .rtf format to by midnight PST on February 1, 2010. Formatting for your story should follow the guidelines here.

For further information about the workshop, please go to the workshop page on the Potlatch 19 website.

And for further information on Potlatch 19, ... well, you know what to do.

You must be a paid member of Potlatch 19 to participate in the workshop, but there is no additional fee.
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Clarion West seeks interim art director

Clarion West's current art director, Elizabeth Lawhead Bourne, is on leave of absence due to a family medical emergency, so we're looking for an interim art director beginning immediately, and continuing at least through the end of the year. The workload through December will be approximately 20 to 30 hours. The stipend is $500 - which is really only a token payment, of course.

Here's the job description as written by John D. Berry, type guru and the previous art director:

The art director manages the visual identity of Clarion West. Working with the Director of Communications, the Website Manager, and the editor of the Seventh Week newsletter, the art director makes sure that Clarion West presents a consistent, high-quality face to the world and to its own alumni and supporters.

The art director is responsible for designing and producing all printed materials for Clarion West, including flyers and brochures, programs and tickets for the annual reading series, and each issue of the Seventh Week. The one exception is press releases, but even these are printed on stationery the art director has designed. Everything that comes out of Clarion West should look consistent (though not always the same) and should maintain the same level of quality in typography and graphic design that we strive for in writing fiction.

The art director manages the design of the annual summer poster, as long as the Board authorizes one; the actual design and production of the poster, however, is usually done by an outside designer (for the past several years, Jacob McMurray).

The art director acts as a consultant on the appearance of Clarion West’s public website, reviewing design and graphical elements at the discretion of the Director of Communications and the Website Manager.

The amount of time that the job takes varies wildly, but the most time-intensive periods are in the run-up to the summer workshop, in the Fall when ads are due for next year’s workshop in several sf publications, and twice yearly when the newsletter is in production. Obviously, it’s more work and takes more time to create new designs rather than fitting each year’s new content into existing designs. Of course, trying out new design solutions is also part of the creative pleasure of doing this job.

I would estimate that I spend about 40 hours a year on Clarion West design and production – more the first year, when I was re-designing the newsletter format. (Admittedly, I came up with a design for the Seventh Week that takes more work to produce than a simpler, more straightforward design would have taken.) The tools I use for design and production are Adobe InDesign and some of the many professional-quality fonts that I have available. (Using OpenType Pro fonts with extra typographic features, in a program like InDesign that can recognize and make use of those features, is definitely the easiest way to handle production typography.)

Being Clarion West’s art director is an opportunity to create effective communications for a high-profile writers’ workshop. By definition, this is design that respects content. It’s worthwhile, and it’s fun to do.

Clarion West has been fortunate in its art directors; before John, Paulette Rousselle held the post. John and Paulette are both available to answer questions, but neither of them has the time to fill in for Elizabeth right now.

If you're interested, please drop a comment here and I'll get you in touch with Nisi Shawl, our communications director.

Thanks so much.