30-Day Writer's Boot Camp, Writing

Day 8: The Daily Slog

I haven’t made much progress in my writing over the last few days. I’m supposed to be ¬†working on writing for at least 30 minutes each day, either towards my Work in Progress or freewriting. Truthfully, I’m scared. Sitting in front of the computer Sunday night staring at the old notes I had taken over my WIP, it suddenly hit me as to why I had never started this project. I have no clue where to take it. This really cool over-arching premise about good and bad vampires is present. I have a set of human twins who can turn the tide. The vampires have this ancient grudge and have been fighting for years. And… that’s it. All of these questions just begin to bombard me and I don’t know the answers.

Why are they fighting?

How can I keep it from sounding religious?

Is it just going to sound like another Twilight or Vampire Diaries?

What is the purpose of the twins?

How do I add components in without sounding too much like all the paranormal/fantasy stuff that’s out there already?

What is the main freaking point?!

Where in the heck do I take these ideas?

I guess I need to figure out what’s missing so I can move forward. Let’s problem solve. Looking over my notes, there is no conflict–just a war that’s old. Obviously, backstory has to be created. I wrote mini-biographies of the four main characters, but I already know that some of this simply won’t work because I’m thinking of making the setting on a different Earth. Originally, it was supposed to be a kind of Underworld that most humans knew nothing about, but then I run into a religious aspect that I want to stay away from entirely. This means that I have to create a new Earth and a new society that has completely different beliefs about life and death than this one. Or I could keep this Earth and still create a society with different rules that humans know nothing about. Or I could create a futuristic Earth. Aaarrgghh! So many decisions!

Right now, I feel like one of my students. At this point in the writing, I would ask the student a bunch of questions that might get them moving in a one direction. Then I would offer them possible scenarios. Rarely do they choose one of mine, but it inevitably leads them to an idea of their own. Since I can’t make a copy of myself, I’m going to publish this and spend the next 30 minutes or so creating a backstory for the war. If I get nowhere with this, I may just have to scrap this idea and try another WIP until something else comes to me.

30-Day Writer's Boot Camp, Writing

Off Track Already?!

Day 3: How am I off track already?

Day 3 of my writer’s boot camp experience has already gone off course. I can only blame myself, baseball, and grading. I try to do baseball and grading at the same time. For example, Camdon had a double-header last night so I spent three hours sitting in my chair at the game grading papers and trying to enter and update grades on my iPad mini. Admittedly, it¬†sounds laughable, but I constantly suffer from feeling guilty.

My students will ask me when something is going to be in the gradebook, and I tell them that I will try really hard to get it in that night. Then another class asks the same thing. I’m constantly thinking to myself, how in the heck am I going to get this stuff into the gradebook? Even after working for three hours last night, the inch-high pile of papers that I graded didn’t look impressive by any means. And I have a pile of papers 6 times that sitting in my backpack. One could say that I carry my guilt on my shoulders… literally.

I really want to make writing a habit, and I felt guilty the entire time I graded for a myriad of reasons.

  1. I wasn’t paying full attention to Camdon while he was playing.
  2. I am the slowest grader in man’s history and I felt bad that some of my assignments should have been done much earlier.
  3. I was already off two days on my writer’s boot camp day.

Even while playing softball, I’m sometimes in the dugout grading while our team bats. Last weekend, I had a couple of hours in between my double-headers so I sat in some shady grass and graded. This is where Rachel would tell me that she’s going to “break out the world’s tiniest violin and play a little song on it.” It’s time to get my stuff together and just do what needs to be done. No more punishing myself. It’s time to come out of the corner and do the work.


So here I am sitting on my bed and typing this post at 10 p.m. after Cam’s baseball game. It’s not an early morning, Rachel, but I’m making the time you and your book told me to make even though I’m tired. Day 3’s work is to come up with a schedule for writing which I did do. I originally scheduled my time right after school while I would still be at work but not under contracted hours. At that time, I would have a quiet place to work with no distractions. Baseball has affected that, so I will have to determine a new plan. However, even though I have not written in two days, I have had time to solidify a few thoughts about my goals.

Goal Setting Thoughts

In my earlier post, the goal was set to write for 20 minutes each day. Secretly, I was hoping for more, but I’m a realist and the idea was to just create some habits that would get the rock rolling. I discussed how I really need a plan for writing if I ever hope to get anything accomplished and any writing finished. I’m not sure, though, that I just want to work on one WIP (Rachel’s acronym for Work in Progress). Three WIP’s come to mind now that there has been some time to think.

  1. I really like this blog. I didn’t do it justice before, but it has potential to be something really fun and cool that could grow and develop. A couple of days ago, I showed my 9th grade classes this blog and told them about the idea for my WIP about the vampires. Today, I showed one of my classes the incomplete piece of writing I posted yesterday and realized that this is such a great teaching tool. At the end of class, one of the students told me that she was thinking about my WIP idea and was so intrigued that she drew the two main characters. How cool is that?! Also, another class was so intrigued about my fear of having others read my fiction, that they came up with a challenge for me which you can see above. Now I have three years to get this done. Sneaky little 9th graders.
  2. At some point soon, I would like to begin blogging about education, specifically teaching English to high school students. The years have changed drastically and so have the students needs, desires, and behaviors. Being a teacher now is signficantly different from just five years ago. The concern here is that I don’t know if I can come up anything truly unique for a blog such as that, so I would have to do some serious research on it.
  3. The WIP mentioned on Day 2 (Not the Vampire Diaries) as the main focus of this camp has been this kernel of an idea in my brain for a good five or six years. I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy/science fiction lately, making it easier to see how I might incorporate my ideas into an alternate Earth in order to free me from the concerns I have had regarding religion.

Despite careening off track for a couple of days, the time may have done some good. I feel that there is some direction now, and I’m really excited about that. This post also took me well over an hour to write, so I’ve more than met my 20 minute goal requirement for the day. Does that make up for missing two days? Rachel will probably say no way!

Thanks for reading.