The Clarion West Write-A-Thon, Clarion West’s annual fundraiser, ended this past Friday! It started back on June 21, and ended on July 31. I signed up for the Write-A-Thon because I wanted to push myself to write a new draft of my first novel, which I had begun working on in late May/early June, and this seemed like a good way to hold myself accountable.

My primary goals for the Write-A-Thon were to complete this novel draft and write more poetry. My secondary goals were to start reworking my librarian pearlhunter novella and to assemble a full, book-length poetry manuscript to shop around. I wanted to write at least 1,000 words per day.

I started the Write-A-Thon with 17,445 words already written toward the novel draft, and I ended it with a total of 70,443 words!!! I also wrote 26 new poems during the Write-A-Thon, and 5 poems that I had already sold were published at Quatrain.Fish!

For the novel, I started out with a completely different main character, a loose outline of scenes I knew I wanted to write, and a well-developed world. I knew that the story I was about to tell would be very different from any of my previous drafts, so much so that it would be a completely different book.

The Write-A-Thon had its own Slack channel, which I appreciated, although I will admit that I didn’t use it very much because Slack feels a bit slow and clunky to me, and I was participating in a very active writing Discord server during this time, too. Looking back, I think I would have liked to participate more in the Slack.

I would like to do the Write-A-Thon again, but perhaps focus on writing short stories inspired some of the amazing writing prompts from Clarion West alums and teachers. If I wasn’t so hell-bent on getting this novel draft done, I would have loved to do some of them.

I also would like to try to make some of the classes next time. I had some uncertainty regarding my schedule, so I didn’t feel comfortable taking up a slot that someone with a more solid schedule could use.

TL;DR: All in all, the Clarion West Write-A-Thon was a great experience for me, it gave me an excuse to focus and write 52,998 words toward my novel, and I highly recommend it!

PS: In case anyone’s interested, here’s what I read while the Write-A-Thon was going on:

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