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Writing Boot Camp

Posted on Saturday, October 20th, 2012

I've been struggling with this blog lately.  I'm burned out.  But Writing Boot Camp is saving the day today in a couple different ways!  First,  I'm actually writing a post for the first time in quite some time, and although it isn't my best effort and it isn't on the topic of service-learning, I'm getting words on the page, so to speak.  And second, it's providing me with a topic about which to write.  This is a timely topic, writing boot camp is, because I'm sitting in it as a I type these words.  Writing boot camp is co-sponsored by the Writing Across the Curriculum program and the Center for Teaching & Learning at Wright State.  It is affectionally known as AIC (for “A#$ in chair”, as in:  “Get your butt in the chair and write. Do it now!  And at the break, let’s do 20 pushups!)  The pushups are usually optional, according to everyone but my friend Noeleen.   I should also state for the record that we have delicious snacks at the break.  The two cancel each other out, one would hope. Boot camp is amazing.  I’m sitting in a room with a bunch of faculty friends who are working harder than me, probably.  When I’m stuck or I’m tempted to check email rather than write another word on the page, I can look up and see Noeleen or Sarah plugging away diligently, and I think twice (or maybe three times) about breaking the rules to check email.  I hope that I’ve offered them the same motivation at some point when they have gotten writer’s block or hit the wall.  It’s all about accountability, and it works for me.  So, even if you don’t have a writing boot camp equivalent at your institution, try making a writing date with a colleague or friend.  It’s like having a gym buddy who will keep you honest and make you work out even though you don’t want to. Our typical schedule for the day goes something like this...[taken from our AIC Facebook page].... Work begins promptly at 9 a.m. each day which means you need to arrive early enough before then to give yourself time to set up your work station and get whatever beverage or snack you need in order to be in your chair ready to work 9 a.m. If you arrive after the 9 a.m. work session has already begun, please work in another classroom and then join the rest of us during the first break. Daily Schedule: 8:30 - 9:00: Arrive, get coffee, etc., set up laptop, etc., chat 9:00 - 10:15: In chairs working. Seriously. We lock the door at 9. 10:15 - 10:45: Break 10:45 - noon: In chairs working Noon - 1:30: Lunch 1:30 - 2:45: In chairs working 2:45 - 3:00: Break 3:00 - 4:00: In chairs working*** 4:00 - 4:30: Room clean-up. Pack up and leave. ***The schedule shifts slightly on the last day of boot camp when the last session will end at 3:45 in order to give us time for our graduation ceremony. The graduation happy hour begins on Friday immediately following graduation. There are week-long boot camps during academic breaks, and there are "baby boot camps" periodically that are two days (Friday and Saturday). If Writing Boot Camp is too structured or strict for you, I know of another faculty member on our campus that has created a wiki for those interested in social support for writing.   You can post to the group "Hey, I'm going to be at Panera tomorrow from 9-12 writing, please join me if you can!" If you've been thinking to yourself, "You know, I really need to make time to write [insert project here]," consider finding a buddy.  It really works! Signing off from baby boot camp, Maureen