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There are several gauntlets being thrown down here in Ontario (and maybe even the odd one in Quebec *plunk!* ). Can you hear them? The bravado across the interwebs is building. I’m not above adding my own brouhaha to the mix. It’s all in good fun, right?

In July I head up to Huntsville for my 5th Muskoka Novel Marathon. SO hard to believe I lived through 4 already. This year, the pre-marathon hype seems unusually high. This makes me happy. 30 writers getting together for a long weekend of writing! There’s nothing cooler. What we do it for is EVEN cooler (Ignore that I JUST said there’s nothing cooler in the previous sentence!). Together, we collect sponsorships for our novel marathoning. This year, our goal is to raise $10,000.00 to use in the fight against illiteracy.

Amid the excited scrambling to sign up for the marathon this year, some of the writers have been blogging about the experience. Like Susan Blakeney, who was my ‘coach’ last year—I was unfit for marathoning in 2011, but Susan helped to keep me going (every single time I wanted to throw in the towel and admit defeat!). She went all Mickey (Rocky’s Coach) on me and kept me going when all I wanted to do was sleep.

Sometimes writers need motivation too. Especially when they are writing non-stop for 72 hours. And extra-especially when they came to the marathon completely unprepared and in the middle of their worst bout of insomnia ever.

This year, I will sit near Susan again…if I can. I should keep it on the down-low how awesome she is as a motivational speaker. The competition is crazy this year. Three months before the marathon and all the spaces are already booked.

As a four-time winner of the Best novel Award you would think I would have advice or a strategy of some kind.

You would, in fact, be wrong if you thought so, though.

Here’s a quick list of the strategy I have used thus far.

1. Do NOT prepare.

2. Wander lots. Try not to focus. Sleep on your keyboard.

3. Be annoying. Be a chatty Cathy (with the capability of pulling your own cord—which is difficult to do when the cord is positioned square in the middle of your back!)

4. Wander away from the venue several times–for Nutty Chocolatier visits, Ice Cream Parlour visits, coffee breaks, jay-walking, etc.

5. Eat. Eat. Eat.

6. Listen to music to the point of distraction.

I think that’s about it. Yep…those are the ingredients to a successful novel marathon. Works for me. (-;

My strategy is to have no strategy.

This image clearly outlines my novel marathon strategy. Visualize the horsey as The Nutty Chocolatier and the black pawn as Pat Flewwelling. (-;

Pat Flewwelling’s NINE DAY WONDER site (because it’s not fair that I single her out without also promoting her blog!).

This year, the marathon organizers set fundraising up a little differently. We can still collect donations in meatspace, but there are also online options that each marathoner can set up. Here is a link to my online donation page:

Muskoka Novel Marathon – Writers Helping Readers – Kevin Craig’s Donation Page

(In all seriousness, please consider making a donation to the literacy cause that the novel marathoners are backing. Any size counts. We’re all in this together–All the competition and fun-poking is our silly way of having a good time with this. We are supporting each other through these marathons and we are, more importantly, supporting non-readers…by attempting to take away at least one of the barriers–the financial barrier–that stands between them and literacy. Thank you in advance for your support!)

For those interested, my 2007 Muskoka Novel Marathon novel, SEBASTIAN’S POET, which won the Best Adult Novel Award for that year, will be released this coming June by Musa Publishing!