I am preparing for my teaching of Clarion West Week #2, June 27 -- July 1. "Preparing" means several things: reading the students' submission stories, thinking over the writing lectures I want to give, wondering what the unpredictable Seattle weather might be doing that particular week. It also means signing up for the Clarion Write-a-thon.
Clarion, sometimes called "boot camp for SF writers," is an intensive six-week workshop in which everyone lives together in a sorority house (minus the sorority girls) and talks, breathes, critiques, dreams, and performs the writing of science fiction and fantasy. Each instructor, all working professionals, stays one week, after which his or her drained carcass is hauled away and fresh meat is brought in. The Clarions (there are two) have produced some notable writers, including Vonda McIntyre, Bruce Sterling, James Patrick Kelly, Andy Duncan, Felicity Savage, Ted Chiang,and Cory Doctorow.
The Clarion Write-a-thon is a way to raise funds for the workshop. A number of writers (by no means all of them are instructors) have agreed to write a certain amount each week, and donors have agreed to sponsor them. The details are on the Write-a-thon web page, http://clarionwest.net/events_page/write_a_thon. Basically, however, this works like sponsoring runners in a race for a good cause: sponsors pay a certain amount to Clarion for each goal met. My goal is 10,000 words each week that I am not teaching either Clarion or Taos (which leave the instructor no time for writing, although students do). I will receive a list of my sponsors (I hope) and will email them each week my word count, plus a snippet of the writing I did that week on my new novel. All this begins this week.
However, it doesn't solve the Seattle weather problem. If I could ask you to send Clarion warm temperatures instead of dollars, I would.