Anyone worth his or her salt in PR will tell you not to announce something on a Friday unless you want it to fly under the radar. Friday announcements tend to go unnoticed, buffered as they are by weekend days, making it difficult to generate “buzz.” So I’m going against the grain here by announcing my own personal two-week write-a-thon. Reason? I’m excited and I don’t want to wait until Monday. Not to mention I could use the weekend to write!
I will give you all the details on how my write-a-thon will work (and since it’s mine, I get to make up all the rules!). But first, let me reveal the beneficiary – The American Heart Association (AHA). February, as you may know, is American Heart Month, which includes the Go Red for Women campaign also sponsored by AHA. More recently, AHA launched the Be the Beat initiative aimed toward teaching heart health, CPR and AED skills to teens. AHA’s mission is “to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.” They are a leading source of funding for research and public education campaigns to promote heart health in the U.S.
I chose the AHA because members of my immediate family have suffered from many types of heart problems.
- I never met my paternal grandmother, who died of complications from heart disease in her forties.
- My maternal grandfather suffered from diabetes throughout his life.
- One of my dear uncles passed away after suffering a heart attack at age 51.
- My father passed away suddenly, at age 64, from a ruptured aortic aneurysm (we did not know it was there).
- My stepmother, who has already survived a heart attack and has enjoyed a mostly clean bill of health since then, spent the night in the hospital a couple of weeks ago after experiencing severe chest pain. She is now receiving a full work-up to determine the cause.
- My mother takes medication for chronic high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Given this genetic stew, the chances that I and/or my children will suffer from heart disease is greater than the average person. We are doing all we can to prevent that outcome by exercising, eating healthfully and getting regular check-ups, but the fact is that genes play a big role in heart conditions. That is why I am so grateful for the AHA’s work.
HOW THE WRITE-A-THON WORKS
It’s very simple. The write-a-thon starts today and ends at midnight on March 5th. I pledge to write for 30 hours in that 15 day period, averaging 2 hours per day (although there’s nothing that says I can’t front-load on a given day and write for more than 2 hours). Before you decide that 30 hours is not very much writing in two weeks, please take a look at the exclusions below. Believe me when I tell you 30 hours is a huge challenge for me, since I’m not writing anywhere near that much per day right now. That’s the beauty of this experiment. In benefiting AHA, I will also benefit myself by exercising the habit of writing every day. Such is often the case that in giving to others you give also to yourself.
If you want to support me in this effort, you can donate any amount to the AHA using the link to firstgiving.org (in this post and on the sidebar) where I’ve set up a personal fundraising page. I do not touch any of the funds. They go straight from firstgiving to AHA. ANY donation amount is welcome. This effort is not about who can or will make the biggest donation. In fact, I’ve suppressed the donation amount on the fundraiser page. You’ll be able to see who has donated and the total amount of the donations, but not how much each person donated individually. A $1 donation is equally as welcome as $100. I’m just looking to make a small difference in my own little way – not to turn myself or this blog into a fundraising behemoth. This is the first time I’ve ever tried anything like this, so that is part of the fun. At the end of the two-week donation period, I will make a donation to match, dollar for dollar, your collective donations. I will make my final donation (and the amount) visible on the fundraising page for all to see.
NUTS & BOLTS
Writing that qualifies for the write-a-thon:
- Work on any writing that I actually intend to sell someday (existing manuscripts, new manuscripts, articles, etc.)
- Query letters related to the above
Writing that does NOT qualify for the write-a-thon:
- Writing for this or any other blog
- Participation in critique group sessions
- Emails or any other type of correspondence
- Personal journal writing
As you can see, the write-a-thon is centered on my “professional” writing. I’ve added an “hours written” ticker to the blog sidebar so you can track my progress.
DO I GET MY MONEY BACK IF YOU DON’T REACH YOUR WRITING GOAL?
The short answer is no because the funds go directly to AHA after you donate. The longer answer is there is no way I would let that happen. If I’m running behind and I have to stay up for 30 hours straight to reach the goal, I will.
DOES YOUR WRITE-A-THON HAVE A CATCHY NAME?
It’s a bit of a mouthful, but I’ve decided to call it Write from the Heart for the Heart.
If you have any other questions, concerns or comments, please let me know. Like I said, this is the first time I’ve ever attempted personal fundraising, so I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting. Thanks for coming with me on this journey!Volunteer/Community, Works in Progress, Write-a-thon, Writing · Tags: AED, American Heart Association, American Heart Month, CPR, firstgiving, Giving, Go Red for Women, Personal Fundraising, Write-a-thon, Writing