Beacons: Write Out Writing Marathons

Oct 20: National Day on Writing

To celebrate National Day on Writing, many Writing Project sites, National Parks, and others are holding writing marathons—face-to-face or online! Here are a few Write Out 2020 Virtual Writing Marathons that welcome your participation:

  • The Springfield Armory National Historic Site and the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. Here’s a link to register; an email will be sent when it begins the morning of October 20.
  • Weir Farm National Historic Site and the Connecticut Writing Project. It will launch on Weir Farm’s Facebook page at 9:00 am ET on October 20.
  • University of New Hampshire’s Community Literacy Center Writing Party meets here. A live event will kick off via Zoom at 12:40pm and run through 2pm ET.
  • The Kent State Writing Project and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is hosting a marathon throughout October. Get started here.

Don’t forget, when posting on the National Day on Writing, use hashtags #whyiwrite in addition to #writeout.

Writing Marathons

What is a writing marathon? 

A writing marathon is an opportunity for writers to gather, write, walk, talk, explore, and grow through shared experience and community.

A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves. – Wendell Berry

How does it work?

Writers gather at a central location. From there, smaller groups form and break off from the whole. As groups wander, talk, and explore the landscape, they take time to stop and write silently for a given amount of time. Once this time is up, writing is shared without comment or evaluation. The group then moves to a new location to continue the process.

What is a virtual marathon?

A marathon facilitated at a distance and via Zoom (or another conference platform) of course! Virtual Marathons often also use an online map with embedded links to place-based content to inspire writing and exploration.

Where might we begin?

Check out Writeout Adventure Writing Bingo for some virtual writing marathon fun inspired by this summer’s Write Across America for work.

Review this Writing Marathon Planning Resource for ideas and suggestions and use this Writing Marathon Infographic as a guide for organizing your own writing marathons, virtual or otherwise.

And tap into last Wednesday’s “Creating Writing Marathons in our classrooms, parks and beyond!” discussion about designing marathons in classrooms, with students, and at our National Parks!