Thursday, 22 June 2017

Writers’ Boot-camp

By Linsey Painter

This past month, I’ve been doing a 30-Day Creative Writing Boot-camp.

The idea is that you get into the habit of writing whether you feel like it or not. Like an exercise boot-camp for your body, it’s only with consistency that you can achieve your fitness goals, build up those muscles, walk further, cycle faster and lift those weights.

Only writing when you feel inspired doesn’t produce much of an outcome. Writing consistently means that you build up your ability to type out more words everyday, get better at saying what you want to say and see the vision for your book down on the page.

A big motto for the boot-camp is, 

‘You can’t edit a blank page’.

I look forward to my daily email telling me how many words I’m supposed to write or where I’m supposed to write or what I’m supposed to brainstorm for the day. 

Even my kids have been getting excited about how many words I’m going to have to clock up. They like to play a guessing game, although the guesses usually range from 1 to 10,000 million words (Yikes! Don’t think my writing muscles will ever be that strong).

I’ve been surprised at the results of this daily word count. At the end of 30 days the goal is over 10,000 words. I’ve just crossed the halfway mark in my days and I have already surpassed the end word count goal.

Writing begets writing and it seems the more you get words down on the page the more the words flow.

One of the things that I’ve gotten out of this daily habit of writing is that my writing goal doesn’t always have to be a stunning word count. The word count each day is different. On some days the challenge is to get 250 words down and then just stop and walk away.

That was a good lesson for me to learn. 

Part of my problem is thinking that whenever I sit down to write, if I don’t get at least 500 words, then it’s been a waste of time.

There are also different challenges; writing late in the evening, writing in a different place to where you usually write, writing 500 words in 30 minutes or taking a day to plan out your story.

At the end of every email is thought for the day from different writers like Stephen King or Margaret Atwood, to give you an extra boost.

I think the variety has been key for me. Having easier days helps balance out those high-word count goals.
I’m hoping that after this boot-camp I’ll have built up my writing habit and writing muscles to continue with consistent writing and thwacking out words on the computer or in my notebook.

I have been doing my boot-camp through The Australian Writer’s Centre, but there is nothing stopping you from creating your own challenges for each day.

Well, that is my 500 words for the day.

Linsey Painter loves to write stories for children and young adults. Her stories focus on growing young hearts, challenging assumptions and exploring courage in the face of life’s difficulties. You can find her at


  1. Loved your post Linsey. A 30 day Creative Writing Boot camp does sound fun. I was glad too that on some days the word count was much less than usual. That makes sense too. Discipline is needed in any sphere of our lives and our writing is much richer for it. Great to hear your children too were excited by your daily writing and word count. Thanks for an inspiring post!

    1. Thanks Anusha, it was really great fun. I got another e-mail from the AWC saying that I could just re-boot and they'd send me the daily e-mails all over again! Which, I will definitely do because it was such a great starting off point. I was amazed at how much writing I got done with that extra bit of encouragement.

  2. Good for you Linsey! Some days it just pours out while others you just struggle. I'm up to 37,000 in my novel with 40,000 to go. Keeping at it whatever your daily count is so important.

    1. Yes, absolutely. I was suprised that I struggled so much on some of the 250 word count days, where as when I had to write 1000, all of a sudden it was just there on the page in no time at all.

  3. Sounds fascinating! Starting writing can be hard, but stopping can be equally difficult. I don't know how I'd cope with having to stop after exactly 250 words ...

    1. LOL, yeah that was a bit of a challenge. For the most part they give you a word count and say if you're in the zone keep going. But there were a couple of times when they said just stop and walk away. I have to admit I was a bit naughty a couple of times and just kept going :)

  4. That sounds a good way to flex the writing muscles, Linsey. I signed up for NaNoWriMo once but November is my least writerly month and slunk away from it with NIL results. Does one have to sign up with AWC to do this? I did a quick Google of their site but didn't see the boot-camp.

    1. Hi Ruth, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Yes, you do have to sign up for the bootcamp. If you go to the ACW website and then do a search for the 30 Day Creative Writing Bootcamp you should come up with the information. It does seem quite pricey but you don't have to just do it once and finish there. You can save all the e-mails and redo it yourself and also they give you the option to re-boot and get sent the e-mails again once you've finished your 30 Days. Hope that helps :)