Sunday, August 27, 2006

Writer's Boot Camp + A Poll!

I am the Queen of Excuses, I'll fess up. The kids have been home for the summer...I've had a lot of freelance work...My mother was ill, and she and her dog stayed with us and our puppy for a while (Oh, you can't imagine)...I haven't found a stretch of time to get into the zone....My muse is avoiding me. Lots of reasons why I haven't progressed on my wip. Funny (or not so) when mine is a story I love and am committed to complete. Not working on it is the reason I often feel a hint of anxiety in the pit of my stomach; it's my twisted innards saying, "You're not doing it. You let another day slip that you'll never get back. No one else can write this book." This is a story I know inside and out, a story that has already been written once (before I knew better), a story that is outlined to the max with every scene, every motivation, and every action accounted for.

So what's my problem?

I've developed a bad habit--the habit of NOT writing--and I need to break it or I'll probably develop an ulcer already. So I've taken drastic measures, starting with this one:

I bought a book.

Not drastic you say; but Novelist's Boot Camp by Todd A. Stone is not just any book, as you can see by the army-green cover. Here's a peek at the intro:

Welcome, new recruit, to your very own novelist's boot camp.

Now drop and give me twenty.

Everyone knows that military life is different from civilian life, so you can expect this book--modeled on the boot camp that makes soldiers out of everyday men and women--to be different from ordinary how-to books. And it is.

You will see and do things differently. And you will do push-ups.
Wow. A book that makes me smile. A book that has grabbed my attention. A book that could very possibly help counter the effect of chocolate. I like this book so far.

The second part of my grand plan involves the Flogging the Quill Online Storytelling Workshop. That's right, I took the plunge. Not because I don't already have fabu critique partners, because I do, but because the experience will be different from the ordinary; and I believe it will be valuable and enlightening to share works with writers from other genres and with an accomplished editor.

The third part of my kick-own-butt strategy sends me away from home. Once the kids get on the bus September 7th, I'm going somewhere. I'm not sure where, but it won't be here--in front of this computer, in this chair, in this house. I'm going to find somewhere new and commune with my AlphaSmart. Who knows? I may be holed up in a corner at Lowes. You may read about me in the news: Desperate Writer Stuffs Self in Hummingbird Feeder to Escape World. Thing is, something has to give. My home environment has been one of non-productivity for the last few months, and I need a new one in order to revivify my hibernating muse.

At least that's the plan.

Different kind of book, different group of people, different scene. The irony that summertime boxed me good is not lost on me. Maybe I'll even skip the chocolate for a while. You know, while I'm doing my push-ups. Ack!

Speaking of, I need to order some Godiva for the AlphaSmart contest, and though I have my own personal preferences, I'm not sure what the general consensus might be. So I'm asking: you do prefer dark or milk? Hmm? Granted, I could wait and order after the winner is announced October 2nd, but then there's the ship-time wait and all, so I'm just going to go with a mass vote! Opinions? Comment here or email us at writerunboxed(at) ... and enter the contest if you haven't already!

I'm off to check my wardrobe for ca-mo. I don't think bile-green is my color, but I'll try anything at this point. ;)

Write on, everyone!


Blogger Melissa Marsh said...

I prefer Godiva's dark chocolate, myself (seeing as how that's the only chocolate I can have now).

I remember those days of staying home while the kids were in school all day - now that I have a full-time job, it's strange that I actually am more motivated to write than I was with large chunks of time at my command.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Kathleen Bolton said...

Hurrah, Bugger's comment section is back online!

Great post, Teri. I wonder if the push ups that the Stone book is talking about were the same ones Dan Brown did when he was writing the DaVinci Code. He'd write, then drop and pump a few.

But if that's what it takes . . . .

6:13 PM  
Blogger redchurch said...

Writer's Boot Camp? I thought that was called National Novel Writing Month? Which, by the way, is coming up pretty quick for November. I was crazy enough to crank out a really bad first draft last year during the contest. I suppose I'll do the same thing this year, only I'll try to be more organized about it and have my scenes ready beforehand.

Consider it 30 days of Unboxed fun. ;)

10:29 PM  
Blogger Cathy J said...

I know something that inspires me ... going out, having a few drinks with the girls, laughing (lots and lots of laughing), and leaving all of the BS behind! Now that's inspiring!

2:35 PM  
Blogger Melly said...

Contest? What contest?
I'll check it out.

Godiva is one of the few chocolates I like. Very picky about this... With Lindt I prefer the dark, with Cadbury milk, with Godiva, I like both!

As for writing woes. I myself am having such problems right now that I'm just completely lost at the moment. I hope it's not an excuse and that I just need time.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Therese Walsh said...

Hopefully I'll be in gear for the challenge in November, Eric. Can you use the time for a previous wip or do they want you to start fresh? Because I'm sticking with the wip for now!

Thanks Melissa and Melly (welcome back, Melly!) for chocolate feedback. I'm leaning dark at this point...

And I agree with you, Cathy; a night out with the girls is absolutely top-shelf medicine.

4:33 PM  
Blogger thea mcginnis said...

milk, pls.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Tess said...

The book looks great - thanks for the tip!

And I LOVE dark choccie.

Good luck with getting back to writing :-)

12:02 PM  
Blogger Elena Greene said...

Chiming in late in the aftermath of a relaxing vacation...

Best of luck with the plan, Therese! Remember when easing back in--to ease back in. If you flog yourself too hard it can be counterproductive. I oughta know... Starting back in with modest goals and ramping up often works best. :)

4:37 PM  

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