Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Great Write Off



Picture me at 4 a.m. sitting at my desk, alternately staring blankly at my computer screen and then shooting off micro-bursts of words on the keyboard.  That's my rhythm.  Think, type, think, type.  My second-story office overlooks the street below.  My Butte neighborhood is dark at this hour.  Silent, still, holding its breath for the coming day.  But me, I need to stay ahead of that coming day.   Because I work a full-time day job (which I affectionately call the Paycheck Job), this is the best time—the only time—for me to get any meaningful writing done.  So, in the silence of any given pre-dawn morning along Argyle Street—a stillness rudely broken by the clicking keys on my laptop and Das Rheingold pouring from my speakers—this is where you’ll find me at work.

I write every day of every week (or I try to) but between now and Friday, I’ll be ratcheting up the pressure on myself because I’m writing for a good cause—namely, a fundraiser to support six non-profit organizations based in Michigan: Dzanc Books, Fiction Writers Review, 826michigan, The National Writers Series, and the Neutral Zone.  I’m on Team Dzanc, so any money raised will go toward the publisher’s many charitable endeavors, including its Writer in Residence Program, which places professional writers into classrooms to provide creative writing instructions to public school students who could not otherwise afford the opportunity.  I’ve written before about how Dzanc is simply one of the best champions of literacy and literary fiction in America today.  For a small sample of its titles, check out this previous edition of Front Porch Books.  I’m proud to be wearing the jersey for Team Dzanc in this year’s writing marathon.


How you can help
Go to Dzanc's Great Write Off page, scroll to the bottom to find my name and click on the Donate button and then fill out my name in the comment line provided in Paypal.  Of course, you’re free to sponsor any of the other Team Dzanc participants (like Matt Bell, Jac Jemc or Jason Ockert), but I do hope you’ll pledge on my behalf.  Why?  Because the more people who get behind me this week, the harder and faster I’ll write.  Lots of dollars means more wordy micro-bursts coming from the keyboard.

This week, I’m writing a short story (working title: “Bebout”) which is a semi-autobiographical account of my time in Army basic training.  I’m dedicating the words I write between now and Friday to the Great Write Off.  Whether or not I finish “Bebout” by the end of the week, rest assured your monetary pledges will fuel me all the way to the finish line.


What’s in it for you
When you donate, you'll receive a thank-you email with a donation receipt (Dzanc is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so your donations are tax deductible), along with the offer of a free eBook from the Dzanc catalog (all of their eBooks work on Kindle, Nook, PC/Mac, and all other reading devices).  In addition, anyone donating more than $100 will receive a one-year membership in Dzanc’s eBook Club (a $55 value).  AND everyone who donates will be entered in a random drawing after the Great Write Off is over, with one lucky winner receiving a full run of Dzanc titles from All Over by Roy Kesey through the forthcoming Neighbors of Nothing by the aforementioned Mr. Ockert.


But wait! There’s more...
Those are Dzanc’s incentives.  I’m adding a few more enticements of my own for anyone who pledges in my name:
  • Donate $20 and receive an original unpublished poem and whatever I'm able to finish writing on "Bebout" this week (with the understanding it will be in pretty rough shape)
  • Donate $50 and receive the poem, "Bebout," and an exclusive excerpt from Fobbit (cut from the final manuscript just before it went to press)
  • Donate $100 and receive the poem, "Bebout," the excerpt, and a signed copy of Fobbit
  • Donate $150 or more and receive all the prizes PLUS an ultra-cool Fobbit T-shirt, coffee mug and tote bag (as modeled by yours truly below)


Last year, The Great Write Off raised nearly $30,000 for participating organizations, thanks to the generosity of more than 100 participating writers and hundreds of donors.  My deepest appreciation to those who take a moment to join this year’s fundraiser.


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