Week 37/2022: Writing bootcamp week 1

Week of 12 September 2022

Writing bootcamp week 1 (aka how many times can I fit the word “week” into a title?)

Time to put my writing plan into action, which means I had to do a writing task every day from the Australian Writers Centre Creative Writing Bootcamp.

I managed six out of the seven days. Sunday got a bit, well, complicated. Though to be fair, I only had to write 500 words so I could have done that first thing and got it out of the way. Even so, I wrote on five days (the first day was a planning day) and I wrote over 2500 words for the week, using prompts from Patti Miller’s book Writing True Stories.

This program is designed for creative writing so I’m adapting it to fit the type of writing I’m doing and so far it’s working fine.

I’ve also been working through the exercises in Mark Tredinnick’s The Little Red Writing Book, which, as I mentioned last week, has been sitting on my bookshelf for years. My favourite exercise has been the one where you’re asked to translate a catchy actor bio from a Fantales wrapper into “the voiceless clichés of professional discourse”.

A copy of The Little Red Writing Book sitting on top of a notebok, next to two pens and a cuyp of caffee, in front of an iMac
Time for a writing exercise

I may have had a bit too much fun with this exercise and I think (I hope) that ever the most ardent over-writer would have a problem with this text.

Date of birth 21 July 1978. Upon the discovery of his pulchritudinous son’s desire to become a star of the silver screen, the aspiring actor’s father set about introducing him to classic motion pictures starring Jimmy Stewart, for the purpose of facilitating his offspring’s education with regard to the craft of acting. Having endeavoured to make his first break in the medium of television through six unsuccessful auditions for the program Dawson’s Creek, the juvenile performer finally achieved his first acting appearance in the short-lived series Cracker. As is the situation in respect of many young people with aspirations of becoming actors, his eventual movie debut occurred in a slasher film, Halloween H20 (1998). Subsequent to this career-launching role, his development into “one of the hottest young stars in Hollywood” was a demonstration of the fulfilment of his initial promise. The effective utilisation of his reserved charisma was effected by him throughout 2001, during the course of his appearances in the blockbuster smash hit movies Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down.

I confess I had to raid the thesaurus a couple of times. I mean, pulchritudinous? Really?

No one on my Instagram took me up on the challenge to have a go at putting this back to the way it was, so I’m repeating the offer here. Feel free to leave your response in the comments and if I get any takers, I’ll post the original text next week.

22 for 2022 summary

  • Things completed to date: 8 (8, 10, 11, 13, 18, 19, 20, 22)
  • Things completed this week: –
  • Things I worked on this week: 2: (17, 21)
  • Things in progress: 5 (1, 5, 12, 17, 21)
  • Things not started: 1 (14)
  • Things that are parked until the end of September: 6 (2, 3, 4, 6, 15, 16)
  • Things I’m not going to do: 2 (7, 9)

What do I want to do next week?

I want to make my writing a more consistent habit rather than trying to cram it in when I get a chance. I want it to be a priority, which means I have to make time for it, not hope I can find time for it. Hello, 6 am wakeup . . .

I’m going to continue the writing bootcamp and the Red Writing Book exercises. And that’s all. I’m not going to try and do too much because if I do, I won’t do it all and I’ll feel like I’ve failed. The writing exercises are already a big shift, so I need time for them to settle into place before I add anything else in.

Weekly summary

What was the best thing about this week?

Kramstable’s school had an arts festival this week that included a concert showcasing the school’s bands and the musical production he’ll be in at the end of the year. So many talented students!

I was also happy to have a couple of random photo opportunities during the week while I was waiting for things to start or buses to come . . . Or just on my way home . . .

A graffitied red brick building
Behind the fomer ABC studio/University Conservatorium of Music

And a couple of amazing dinners with family. It was a good week.

What did I learn this week?

I went to a webinar with Hugh van Cuylenburg from The Resilience Project. His message was mainly focused on the power of gratitude, which he defines as “the ability to pay attention to what you have, not to worry about what you don’t have”.

I had a gratitude practice of writing down something I was grateful for every day, but Hugh said when people do this they tend to write the same thing over and over again, which is my exact experience. He suggests that you write down three answers to the question “what went well for me today?” instead, which, he says, means you pay more attention to the small things that happen during the day.

So I’m going to throw that into my habit mix too.

Totally unrelated, I  learned that the “panting” birds do when they’re hot is actually called gular fluttering.

I also learned that if I’ve already ridden my bike into town twice on one battery charge, the battery won’t last a return trip from home to New Town.

What I’m reading this week

  • A Wedding at Sandy Cove by Bella Osborne
  • Summer of Serenity by Nicola Marsh
  • The Little Red Writing Book by Mark Tredinnick
  • Summer at the French Café by Sue Moorcroft

Habit tracker

  • Went for a walk (Goal = 7): 7
  • Writing Bootcamp (Goal = 7): 6
  • The Little Red Writing Book exercises (Goal = 5): 5
  • Listened to writing podcasts (Goal = 2): 1
  • Controlled breathing (Goal = 7): 7
  • All four physiotherapist exercises (Goal = 7): 4

Let me tell you a funny story about this. My physio told me once the exercises started to get easier, I could add a 500 gram weight into them to make them a bit harder. Last time I saw her, she said to increase that to a kilo when they start getting easy again. So I got the one kilo weights and, well, it turns out the 500 gram weights are actually 1.25 kg. Ooops.

A green pair and a purple pair of hand weights. The purple weights are labelled 1 kg
The green hand weights are clearly not 500 grams
  • Finish work by 5.30 (Goal = 5): 5
  • Shut my computer down before 9.30 (Goal = 6): 7
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