Recently, Neil Gaiman stuck his foot in his mouth when talking about Clarion West, a Seattle-based science fiction & fantasy writing workshop that has churned out a lot of EXCELLENT talent. While I don’t think he intended to insult authors, it did open up a discussion on what it means to be a REAL author.
Writing often and improving your craft are what I consider to be requirements, the latter of which can be done via writing workshops and conferences.
The Clarion West workshop isn’t for everyone, much in the same way that an MFA in Creative Writing isn’t for everyone. It’s hellishly expensive–not just in its tuition but also in the fact that you have to take a six-week working-vacation from your day job. Six weeks away from your job, your home, and your family. It’s intense, yet out of reach for many starving artists. It certainly was for me.
However, there’s no denying that writing workshops CAN and DO help people become better writers. I’ve been to my fair share of them (not Clarion, but certainly writing workshops). Clarion has a few one-day workshops they do as well and they support the Locus Writing Workshop, which taught me a ton about writing (it’s where Class-M Exile got its beginnings!).
Every year, Clarion West puts on a Write-A-Thon to fund-raise for their both their programs and the scholarships given. I’m participating this year with the goal to write 60,000 words in 6 weeks, which for me, is normally very doable.
It’s a good cause, and if you’ve got the time and the inclination, you can SPONSOR me as a participant. Just click the button below. You can also sponsor other participating authors or multiple people if you wish.