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  • Alison Clifford

Writing Boot Camp

Updated: Aug 3

Have you ever wanted to write, or start writing again, and you haven’t been able to? Perhaps the blank page stopped the words coming, or the magnitude of writing a book seemed too big? It happened to me, and then I found a writing boot camp.

A woman typing on her laptop

I’ve written and self-published 10 books – 11 if you count the book I wrote twice because I didn’t like it the first time around. When it came to writing book 11…nothing.

So, I let myself off. It’s okay, I told myself. You’ll pick it up again.

Life got in the way and I ended up not writing much of anything for over two years. I wanted to write, I really did, but I couldn’t motivate myself to sit down and do it.

It was time to get professional help.

Enter the Australian Writers Centre. I stumbled across the Finding Time to Write course, which while I had time to write, I also offered tips for getting the writing done. And it came with another course; 30 Day Writing Boot Camp. I signed up, did the first part, and then set the boot camp into action.

The 30 Day Writing Boot Camp

This is a self-guided course. Each day you are sent an email with tips, ideas, bursts from other writers, and best of all, a writing goal for the day. I was asked to write at different times, different locations, different word counts, all so I could try all the options to find what suited me best.

How Did I Go?

It was hard to start with. I wasn’t used to writing, and it was a struggle the first few days to find the words to put down. I persevered, then on day three it suddenly became easier. Not easy, but less of a fight. I sailed through the rest of the first week and met or exceeded the set goals.

The full 30 days were up and down in terms of ease of writing. Some mornings the words flowed, other mornings I grumbled as I sat down, but I put my butt in the chair and got the words done.

The Boot Camp is set so that if you meet the minimum word count each day you will write 11,800 words. I wrote 20,053. It was the push I needed to get back to writing.

"It was the push I needed to get back to writing.'

What Did I Learn?

You have to show up. The words won’t write themselves.

Don’t wait for inspiration. It won’t get you in the chair and writing day after day. If you start writing, then the muse will show up—most days. When it doesn’t, then you just keep going and getting the words down.

A bit of planning makes the writing easier. I don’t plan out the entire story – though if that’s how you write, go for it. I’ve discovered that if I can make a couple of brief notes about the next scene when I finish a session, it makes the next session so much easier.

Telling someone what you are doing motivates you to get it done. I posted my daily progress on Facebook. I first explained what I was doing and why, and invited my friends to hold me accountable. Each morning when I had finished my writing session, I posted what the goal had been and how I had gone. My friends and family came to the party and encouraged me and cheered me on.

What Happens Next?

What happens next? I keep writing. And I can reset the boot camp at any time and do it again, and again, and again. Is it easy? Not always, but now I know what to do when the slump hits.

Keep writing.

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