Back in 2008 my writing group got together and decided we needed a week of ass-kicking to get going on some projects, and from there, bootcamp was born.
A few times a year we get together on campus at Wright State and lock ourselves in a room from 9:00-4:00 for a week. There are many, many rules. No web stuff (except for research), no email, no talking or crying (except on breaks), lots of snacking. Everyone must commit to sixteen of the twenty sessions, and if you arrive late, you’re banned from the room for that session. We’ve found the more hardcore, the better.
Each day follows a set schedule:
8:30-9:00 – set up
9:00-10:15 – session 1
10:15-10:45 – break
10:45-12:00 – session 2
12:00-1:30 – lunch
1:30-2:45 – session 3
2:45-3:00 – break
3:00-4:00 – session 4
It started with just five of us but has grown to as many as twenty-five people at a shot and is open to all faculty and staff at the university. And I think all of us who have done it would agree it’s one of the best things to happen to us as writers. I get more done in this week than I do in six weeks of the semester.
As for logistics, we each pitch in seven dollars a day for lunches (anything leftover goes to the Friday happy hour). We divide into teams for each day and that team is in charge or ordering the lunches and getting us all prizes for surviving the day. Yes, prizes! We’re all from different disciplines–English, history, social work, economics, etc–so it’s not about feedback, it’s about carving out time to work and getting our butts in the chair.
This week I gear up for another five days of bootcamp. And right now, since it’s not happening yet, I’m super excited about it.