30-Day Writer's Boot Camp

Day 4: Getting Your Bearings

What Are My Writing Habits?

This is a little laughable as I don’t have any good writing habits right now. As it sits, I just write when the mood strikes me, which is usually around midnight on a Friday or Saturday night when I should be going to bed but the complexity of the week has caused me to want to burn some creative energy. It’s always such a bad idea because I can never write for very long; I’m just too tired to keep the flow going. Anyone else have the same problem?

Realistic Times and Places to Write

Rachel asks a few questions about things I prefer when writing when it comes to when, where, and how I do it.

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When I’m at home, I need it quiet, so writing early in the morning or really late at night works best for me. However, I also really love coffee shops, and I have no problem hunkering down at a table with my computer and a soy chai tea latte while going to town on my work. The noise and bustle doesn’t bother me since I thrive in that atmosphere. I’ll basically use home during the week and coffee shops on the weekends.

I prefer writing by computer unless I’m journaling, which is so personal that it requires my favorite notebook and a pen that I love. I’m a little bit of a nerd, too, because I love to hear keys click on my computer.

As far as planning out my writing, I’ve never planned my fiction writing although I know that I really need to. I don’t work well without a plan and struggle to finish pieces I begin because I go into them without an idea of how to finish or move a piece forward.

I’m excited to be starting this. This is forcing me to think about what I need to be successful in writing. Giving myself time and permission to say no to some other things feels pretty good. What things are you finally saying no to?

Until tomorrow!


30-Day Writer's Boot Camp, Writing

Day 3: Writer’s Boot Camp

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To Be Honest

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do for day 3 of boot camp. Yesterday at school we had a lock out and had to evacuate the building. I won’t go into more detail than that. However, we were not able to return to the building and I left my writer’s boot camp book at school. That’s definitely something I could add to one of pieces! I’m sure I’ll add to this post at some point later today, but here is what I did accomplish yesterday.

  • I wrote for 2 hours out of pleasure. (We got out of school a little early, so I had extra time.)
  • I started several pieces that were just sitting in my head.
  • I was able to post my goals to this blog.
  • I realized that my old problem still rings true that I struggle writing without a plan.

Today, I woke up at 4:30 to write this and add to one of those pieces I started yesterday. I’d say that’s a pretty good start since two years ago I was already off track at this point.

Scheduling Time to Write

Now that I’m at school, I can see that I need to find time this week to write, and I need to keep track of that time. I must say, I’ve been really excited about this project. More so than last time. It’s been a long time since I’ve given myself permission to do something like this, and it will be a good experience for my students to see me go through the process with them.

In the section, Rachel writes about getting up an hour earlier each morning. Usually, I can do that, but neither this week nor the beginning of next as I have to be to work at 5 on some of those days. So here is the schedule from now until Day 6.

Wednesday Day 3: 4:30 am

Thursday Day 4: 5-6 pm (I’m hoping for 5-7, though)

Friday Day 5: 4:30 am

Saturday Day 6: 12-2

Still Looking for the WIP

I’m still struggling with the Work in Progress. I really don’t know what I want to do. So far I have three pieces that I’ve started working on. Nothing major and definitely very little written on them so far. They were just ideas floating around that needed to be placed on paper before I could tell if they were worthwhile projects. I find myself having an easier time with non-fiction than fiction these days. Several years ago, it was the other way around. But I am still having fun going back to my roots.

Stay tuned in for Day 4!


30-Day Writer's Boot Camp

Writer’s Boot Camp: Day 1… Again

Day 1: Writer’s Boot Camp

It’s been two years since I tried my first Writer’s Boot Camp. I originally worked on it for a Genius Hour Project with my students. I didn’t make it all the way through. It was the end of the school year. I can use that as the excuse, but the truth is that I just didn’t make it a priority like I should have since I told myself, and my students, that I was beginning a 30-day boot camp for writing. 

Genius Hour Project

I’m going to do it this time. Again, as my Genius Hour Project with my students. They are a month into their projects, and I’m just now starting mine. I wasn’t going to do a project this year, but I should do what I ask my students to do. The point of Genius Hour is the provide curriculum that they enjoy. To give them a chance to plan out a long-term project of their choosing, be the teacher, and learn all about procrastination along the way. While doing it, they sometimes find out that what they thought they would absolutely love is something they really hate. I’ve dealt with this myself. I love the idea of being a runner. The wind in my hair, the huffing of my breath as I battle that steep climb, the exhilaration and sense of accomplishment when I complete a long run. But the simple fact is that I only love the idea of being a runner. Running itself? I despise it. Hey. You never know until you know, right?

I’m using Rachel Federman’s first Writer’s Boot Camp book. She has since published a second one (which I own), but I decided it would be best for me to complete the first book for my Genius Hour Project this semester and move into the second book shortly after. If all goes according to plan, I’ll actually be in the second book after 30 days. I’m also using Complete the Story, A Writer’s Book of DaysThe Nighttime Novelist, and The Artist’s Way. Last time I got off track by day 3, but I did get back on track shortly thereafter. I’ve decided that will be my goal. While I will work on the 30 days, I’m not going to beat myself up if I get off a day. I’ll just get back on track and continue on. But I WILL complete my 30 days-no matter what. 

Day 1: My Dream Writing Life

This will sound similar to my last stint with this because my wishes haven’t changed much. 

I’ve always wanted to work from anywhere I wanted. This probably stems from the fact that I’m a teacher, and I have summers and holidays off. I know what it’s like to have a chunk of time spent at home, and I absolutely love it. What I don’t love is the lack of schedule. If I had a job to work on during the summer… like writing a novel for a publishing company… I might have a different view. 

Getting back to my Dream Writing Life…. My dream writing life is to work from anywhere. When I picture this, I’m always at a cafe of some kind. Starbucks is my go-to right now. (I do live an hour north of Seattle, the birthplace of Starbucks, so I’m a little biased.) I’m outside enjoying the sweet air and the warm summer sun while contemplating my next words carefully. Contemplating because I want my writing to sound just right, not because I have a lack of ideas. This is a big thing. Currently, I always have the desire to write, but when I begin, I find that I stuggle with the ability to get my ideas out in detail. 

computer desk with light background

In my dream writing life, I have two successful blogs which bring in money. I have authored two best-selling young adult literature books with a third on the way to complete the trilogy. My self-help book for women was also a New York Times Best Seller. I’m not bogged down with writer’s block all the time nor do I fear what others might think about my writing. 

So, there you have it! Day 1 of the Writer’s Boot Camp is in the books! Err… on the blog? 

Thanks for reading!

30-Day Writer's Boot Camp, Writing

Writer’s Check-In

Hey, Fellow Writers!

I’m just checking in because I haven’t posted in a while. I should be getting some posts on here soon, but I really haven’t had much that I can actually publish to this website. If you’re new to the site, you know that I am using it as part of a Genius Hour Project for my English students. That also means that there are things that I’ve written that I will not be able to publish here.

So what have I been up to?

Sorry I haven’t posted lately, Rachel. I have been writing. I’ve been working on Julia Cameron’s morning pages, which have been really hard to do. She states that I should start every morning with three pages of free writing to get all of my writer-blocking thoughts out of my head in order to free up thoughts for writing. It has been darn hard to get three pages without feeling as if I’m repeating myself repeatedly (haha!). Maybe when school starts up again in a couple weeks it will be a different story. For now, they are darn hard. I’ve also been working on writing a piece. It is not, however, my WIP. This one has been much more personal, and I’m unable to publish it because… well… it’s personal. And I’m not into publishing my memoirs for the world (and my students) to see.

30-Day Writer's Boot Camp, Writing

Punching In, Punching Out

Day 6 of Writer’s Boot Camp

Today is about keeping track of my day. Rachel Federman has some really good advice on keeping track of my time usage in the day in order to not only see if my time is being used effectively, but also to make a plan later so that I can be more productive. She goes on to discuss that many of the people who only write when they’re inspired (me) are probably not going to be very productive in their writing lives. I have lived way this for years, so I closed my eyes in shame when I read this part. It’s like she can see inside my soul. Dang her!

I will do this, but I already know that I do not use my time effectively or I wouldn’t have grading to finish the last week of school and weight to lose this summer. Going to bed on time would be a regular occurrence, and I wouldn’t give my Sleep Alarm app a frowning face every morning when it asks me how I feel. Federman addresses the business of being busy in her book:

We all love to be busy. We love to say how busy we are. We’re addicted to what Tim Krieder brilliantly called “busy trap” and what Heather Sellers calls the “busy drug.” (41)


I can say that I do NOT suffer from this. And I actually call it BBS – Busy Bee Syndrome. I used to suffer from this. I bought my fill of planners and showed people how important my time was. When I first moved to Washington, that all stopped. I wasn’t teaching full-time anymore, and that was the first summer I realized how damaging BBS really was to me. Granted, I could keep busy during the first three weeks or so of summer vacation, but when the dust cleared and the boxes were empty from moving, there was nothing to do. And my brain couldn’t shut off. I’d spent years always having too much to do for school, and I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that something (grading, planning, emailing) had to be done now. It took me over two years to stop having that feeling.

I do fill my time, but I’m ashamed to admit that my planner is not share-with-everyone noteworthy. Truthfully, it’s not worth sharing, even embarrassing. If just thinking about how I use my time is embarrassing now, writing it all down is just going to solidify shame. However, it will be done. That is the task of the day. Once this is take care of, then I can move on to figure out how to use my time effectively in order to plan out my writing. After all, I stated in my goal setting post that I wanted to make sure that I wrote for at least 20 minutes a day (which I still struggle with), and I needed a plan for writing. Here, I’ll be able to figure out the best times to write and focus on doing something specific, as Rachel suggests in her book.

30-Day Writer's Boot Camp

Getting My Bearings

Day 4: Getting Your Bearings

Today is about figuring out what type of writer I am in terms of making writing a daily ritual. Even though this is only day 4, it has been a really fun process so far. Making my students are part of this has also made it quite entertaining. I’m gaining confidence in sharing my work. Naturally, they compliment me. They’re sweet, and I’m not sure they would tell me if I suck anyway. However, just the act of reading a fictional piece to them and putting myself out there has been freeing. Each time I read it, I get a little less fearful.

I have yet to get up early and write as I’m supposed to which leads me to believe that I may be one of those people who just needs to find/make time to write each day. One thing that has been new and exciting is that I look forward to finding time to write, and I was disappointed and upset on the two days that I didn’t. It has been a long time since I’ve felt such a strong desire to sit down and work on something. This blog helps quite a bit.

What Type of Writer Am I?

Such a good question. And such a hard one. Here’s what I know:

  1. There are two places that I absolutely love to go when I want to work on writing: Starbucks and my deck. Sometimes I’ll even do both in the same day. Noise is not a distraction. That’s probably the teacher in me because there are so many things that have to be tuned out in the classroom on any given work day.
  2. There doesn’t seem to be any particular time of day right now that I’m motivated to write more than other times; however, in a little over a week, I’ll be on summer vacation. During the summer, I typically start my mornings writing about or researching my interests. It’s the busy school year that makes scheduling really tough.
  3. I really like to write by hand, but I have wrist issues that keep me from being able to do this for long periods which makes typing the logical answer. I also have a newer Mac that I absolutely love, so that makes it easier to accept my physical flaws and their inability to withstand a lot of writing. (Stupid wrists!)
  4. I think I look for the ideal writing time too much and need to figure out how to push that nonsense out of my head.
  5. I don’t know if I’ll be an everyday writer or not. Even though I struggled for two days to find twenty minutes to write, I also had no problem sitting down at 10 PM after Cam’s baseball game to write for an hour and a half. Even as I write this post, I’ve already spent a good thirty minutes or more on it. When I do sit down and write, it’s for a good chunk of time.

I may not know for sure what type of writer I am, but I know some of what works and doesn’t work. I’m hoping to learn a lot more over the next 26 days as I continue this 30-Day Writer’s Boot Camp.

30-Day Writer's Boot Camp, Uncategorized

Writer’s Boot Camp: Day 1

For those of you who haven’t read the previous post, I’m beginning a 30-day writer’s boot camp. Each day for the next 30 days will have some form of writing from me regarding this boot camp. I’m a little nervous, but I’m putting myself out there anyway.

Girl writes in a notebook on a wooden desk with a cup of coffee and laptop

Day 1: My Dream Writing Life

The directions for this day say that a supposed to describe my dream writing life.

My dream writing life is being able to work anywhere, but I picture myself at a Starbucks with a notebook and computer in front of me. I’m sipping on an iced chai tea latte and pondering how best to write the next sentence. The writing flows smoothly, there’s no hesitation, and I have many breakthroughs.

I have two successful blogs, one for health and the other for education, both of which I’m able to make money from. I have two young adult novels another my belt. The third is a trilogy based on vampires. No Twilight, I promise.