All right, this post will be my last love letter to Orson Scott Card and his Boot Camp, I promise.Â At least for a while.
I’ve been thinking about the lessons I would take away from Boot Camp.Â And I think they come down to three big ideas I am walking away with:
A book is not a precious thing
One thing I learned last week is that I can come up with five good story ideas like that. *snaps fingers*Â And I can write a story like that.Â Which probably means I can write a book like… well, I guess probably like thaaaat.Â But you know, pretty quick.
I do not have to treat my book, or any other I write, as a precious artifact to be husbanded, honored, and shielded from all mistreatment.Â If I screw it up somehow in my efforts to get it published?Â Sucks, but I can write a new one.Â If I never get it on the shelf?Â Same deal.Â I will treat my work with respect, but I will understand that there is always more where it came from.
I have a career
I have been treating myself like a person who hopes to join a profession.Â But the fact is, I have joined it.Â Getting published and making sales are obviously huge parts of my job, parts I have not mastered yet.Â But they are not the things that make me a writer.
I will no longer be ashamed to call myself a writer or to answer questions about it.Â I will no longer apologize, with my attitude or with little self-deprecating jokes, for not yet being published.
I am a writer.Â I write.Â That’s what I do.
I am not going back
I have returned to my home, of course, but I am not going back to the life I lived before Boot Camp.Â A life where I fear my work, worry about it, and put it off.Â I am going to do everything I must to stay in the Boot Camp mentality, where I work very hard and am exhausted and happy.
One idea I have is to designate the first and second of each month as “Story Days,” during which I’ll do a repeat of the Boot Camp assignments to construct five story seeds and write one story.Â But I think the biggest thing that will keep me in this mentality is just the knowledge that I can exist there, and the memory of what it can give me.
So, maybe this is three ways of saying essentially the same thing.Â Whatever.Â Suffice it to say that I feel I have returned to Atlanta a changed woman..