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Karen Osborne @karenthology
, 12 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
People are talking about how they paid for Clarion, so I'm going to add my two cents.

I applied for Clarion in 2009, and was rejected. After that, I started my own business making wedding videos, so taking six weeks off during wedding season was obviously Not A Good Idea. ~
Whenever my partner and I have Regular Jobs, we sock away as much as possible. I had just left a position that wasn't treating me exceptionally well, and while I had a tiny cushion for the job search, it wasn't enough to send me to San Diego. ~
I got in off the wait list, and there wasn't a lot of time to come up with the money, so we took one of those bank loan deals that come through the mail.

I don't advise this path for everyone.
These deals are *quite often* unfair and exploitative, and you have to be extremely careful. We did the math, made a solid plan for paying it back, figured out how much more in interest we would owe the bank above and beyond what we paid to Clarion, and decided it was acceptable.
I did not even think of crowdfunding. I did not apply for a scholarship. I recognized my privilege and I didn't want to take a single dollar away from someone who needed it.

Clarion was great, of course.

What happened later was... mixed.
The lessons I learned at Clarion had an immediate, significant and positive effect on my writing. I have been selling regularly, and am working on my second book for Tor.

But since returning from San Diego, I have not been able to secure a regular salaried position.
I live in the gig economy now. It's not a great place. I'm making a hell of a lot less and working a hell of a lot more. We have trouble paying the bills sometimes. We have no more financial cushion. I worry about money *all* the time.
And don't ask me about that bank loan. We ended up paying a lot more on it than we thought we would. Oops.

Knowing what I know now, would I still have gone to Clarion?

Hell yeah, I would have.
I want to encourage the SFF community of fandom and writers to make it easier for people to go to Clarion. They're already giving up a lot: cash, time, possible future earnings.

$5k was hard for me to do at age 37, after thirteen years in the workplace.

It's harder for others.
Imagine getting into Clarion, but you're a writer in your early twenties. from a country where the average wage is massively lower than it is in the U.S.

It's even harder.

So let's make it a common thing to raise up writers raising money to go to Clarion.
Let's boost their GoFundMes. Let's establish & contribute to scholarships that bridge the financial gap. Let's make Clarion possible based on *talent alone.*

If we all give a little, we can accomplish a lot.

I know that's an old-hat statement, but it's old hat 'cause it's true.
Anyway, I hope this bit of transparency helped in the discussion. I gotta go! Gig economy deadlines wait for no-one.

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