Sunday, October 4, 2009

Eleni-fest: Bootcamper buddies

This week the topic on Eleni-fest is the Romance Writers of Australia conference and the writing community. And what a way to start that topic than to come along to the other place I blog (but not as often) - here!

Signing up for the first Bootcamp (101) offered by RWAus in November 2007 is one of the best things I have done for my writing!

I'm not just saying this because I'm on the 101ers blog. This is heartfelt. While some of us sort of knew each other's names from the Romaus list (RWAus e-loop), most of us didn't know each other well. After two weekends and a week of work in between, this group clicked on a deeper level than I had been expecting. So when Bootcamp was over we continued on with our own e-loop with our Bootcamp mum,  Rachel Bailey & presenter Melissa James.

And nearly two years later, we are still going strong and I am very lucky to say I have made wonderful and lasting friendships on this group. See we don't judge each other - we are a support network and share ups and downs with each other. As time has gone on, with two years of friendship, we have strong bonds.

Initially I had never mentioned my CFS but when I realised this group wasn't temporary and I felt comfortable with everyone, I opened up - & unconditional support poured in. So it helped me to later 'own' my CFS with the broader world.

First thing is first - we do not need to be on the list constantly to know that we are there for each other. We take breaks from posting - we all need them for one reason or another - but the point is no-one is forgotten.

We know our goal is to 'Protect the Work' as our fabulous presenter Denise Rossetti taught us during Bootcamp. So we aim to help each other with this as well at the same time realising life, is well, life. And it can throw some doozies at us. Or throw us some really amazing news. Through it all, we are there. And I think the realism and the practicality of this mindset is what is keeping us going strong. We are different women and respect each other's opinions. Always crucial in a tight-knit group.

We have set up a blog and a website to showcase us and our work. Roseanne highlights our successes in her Mission Reports, including finalling or winning contests, getting the call, or getting a new book contract.  Fiona is now blogging on a more regular basis (so you don't just hear my voice go on and on and on).

We have fortnightly online chats organised by our Chat mum, Annie. We can't all always make it but even if there are just two people chatting, it's always a blast. I know I always get re-energised from the chats. Sometimes we have specific topics, other times it is just a catch up. And it works for us. In 2008, there was a Boot-i-Con, a weekend of Plotting in the Wild, and there will be future Boot-i-Cons.

Part of my conference and joy was meeting most of these wonderful women face-to-face for the first time. I knew them from online but putting names, faces and voices together was amazing. I was the only one of the Bootcampers who hadn't met a single soul face-to-face before August. Finally this was rectified and I had a ball hanging out, sharing ideas, drinks, meals, brainstorming sessions, attending workshops and cheering each other on for our pitches, and most of all having a good laugh.

When I was in the process of writing my application for the grant, everyone helped me - overwhelmingly so and for that I am forever thankful. It wasn't because my fellow Bootcampers 'had' to but because they wanted to. As Roseanne says, Bootcampers Rock!

Friendship, support, encouragement, feedback, brainstorming have resulted by being a part of this group. This is my Bootcamp community...actually make that family. So thanks to Rachel Bailey for coming up with the idea of Bootcamps and RWAus for supporting it. So now you know why doing Bootcamp 101 was the best $50 I have spent on my writing!

So as part of Eleni-fest, I have a giveaway of a Super Sized Writer's Pack (a Writer's Pack with Extras) for one lucky commentator:


Leave a comment on the following question -
What is the best thing you have done for your writing?
If you are not a writer, what is the best thing about reading?
Blog comments will be open until end Wednesday 7th October.


I will announce the winner on this blog as well as at Eleni's Taverna.

Thanks for popping here to our Bootcampers blog and for joining in. Please visit me in Eleni's Taverna for more Eleni-fest blogs (including with special guests - Rachel Bailey on the 28th, Nikki Logan on the 24th and my CP, Fiona Gregory on the 8th), as well as entering my website competitions.

Of course keep up to date on Bootcamper news here on our blog and visit our website.



Sandie Hudson said...

Eleni bootcamp 109 was the best thing I've done as well. Great post, best of luck with Eleni-fest

Eleni Konstantine said...

Thanks Sandie. Aren't the bootcamps such a wonderful idea (go Rachel!). And you 109ers hit it off as well. So much info and ideas from two weekends. It really made me look harder at my writing and grow as a writer.

Anonymous said...

It's all about community isn't it - because it can be such a lonely profession. But finding people who understand what you're going through is so wonderful.

The best thing I did for my writing was to leave Sydney. yes, Sydney was fascinating and vibrant and in my blood, but it was also so consuming, my jobs always used more time than I was paid for and I didn't make time to write much. Without leaving Sydney, I would never have met my fabulous writing buddies in Nambucca - which led to every other writing decision (including joining RWA) I have made.

Eleni Konstantine said...

So true Diane about the community.

So glad you were able to make the decision for what was best for you :) It's amazing how one decision is the catalyst for so much to happen. Such a brave decision. Go you!

Tracey O'Hara said...

Bootcampers 101 are my fav bunch of writers. They have had me on a special guest chat after I sold and asked lots of probing questions. You guys totally rock. I was so happy to celebrate when Nikki sold to HM&B and will cheer for the success of each and every one of you.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Oh that's lovely Tracey. We luv ya too. And that was a fantastic chat wasn't it. The questions flying thick and fast!! You were so generous with your time. And we are always happy to have you back! You even know the secret code ;))

Fiona G said...

Best thing I ever did for my writing - join RWA! It was the day I decided I was serious about my writing and prepared to put my writing goals to the fore. Second best thing was Bootcamp (waves to Sandie). There were quite a few lightbulb moments that have improved my writing and the companionship is priceless.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Nothing better than realising what you want to do and go for it - and joining RWA was it for you. Fantastic. I'm sure you would have lightbulb moments in your Bootcamp - I know I did - & the bonds made are indeed priceless.

RWA has gone some major changes since I joined in 1999 - wow 10 years!! And each step in the organisation has helped me on my path.

enisa hasic said...

Hi everyone,

Great blog as usual. Now, I'm usually a lurker but the question asking what was the best thing I did for my writing just had to be answered. So here goes:

The best thing I did for my writing was get together with 7 other like-minded ladies and FORM ROMANCE WRITERS OF AUSTRALIA!

Eleni Konstantine said...

Oh Enisa - that is such a marvelous achievement you and your 7 buddies did for writing. We (and I'm sure this is from all members) are grateful for people like you who had the courage to form the association. And to continue to make it grow. Thank you and thank you for coming out of lurk to comment :))

Anita Joy said...

Oh Eleni, how can I pick just one?

The drive to get serious with my writing had me research the 'how to/what to do' with e-Harlequin, which led to doing their write a book in a year online course - and they recommended joining an organisation, so I joined RWA, then lost my job and decided instead of getting another one for the moment while littlies at home, this was my chance to get serious with my writing, finally joined ROMAUS and heard about bootcamp, and then signed up for Bootcamp 109 (yes Bootcampers Rock!).

My instinctive pick would have to be Bootcamp (eternally grateful to Rach), but if it hadn't been for each of the events prior, I'd never have reached Bootcamp.

One thing I know for sure, each of those steps has had a profound impact on my writing career.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Anita, yes it is hard to pick just one. All roads lead to Rome (or should I say Romance ;)) ) I certainly understand that.

Good on you for turning a negative (losing your job) to a positive (staying at home with your little ones AND writing).

We really need to get 'Bootcampers Rock!' t-shirts (Rosie? what do you think?)

jenn j mcleod said...

Oh so many things. Yes I am a bootscootin' Bootcamp baby too. Best decision. The most important lesson came from Bootcamp. It was about being honest with myself - understanding my strengths and weaknesses and identifying what kind of writer (and person) I wanted to be.
While the book of your heart may never see the light of day, that's okay. Just knowing it's there (in your bottom drawer, in your head, or even just in your heart) can drive you to keep writing and learning. That's what I've learned.
Thx Eleni for this opportunity to say wow to the people responsible for establishing and maintaining RWA. Fantastic.

Eleni Konstantine said...

LOL - love the bootscootin' Bootcamp baby!

I agree with you Jenn. For me Bootcamp made me see I wasn't ready and was forcing my story because it had been with me for so long. It needed TLC. So being honest with myself.

And you're welcome re the opportunity ;))

Anonymous said...

Great blog, ladies, and congratulations on all your successes from Bootcamp.
Best thing I ever did for my writing was take Meredith Webber's advice at a Brisbane Writer's Festival, and join RWA. I'd been at home, recovering from illness, and contemplating my need to change direction in life. Meredith suggested I join RWA and use this opportunity to become a full time writer. Until I joined RWA, I'd never seriously contemplated doing that. Making the thing I loved doing best, the thing I could do all day long!
What an amazing moment! So,thanks to everyone from RWA who encouraged me along the way. You're all miracle workers,

Eleni Konstantine said...

Thanks Suz. Glad you like it & thanks for your congrats!

What wonderful advice from Meredith Webber! I've heard wonderful things about the stall at the Brisbane Writer's Festival. Glad she steered you tow RWA's direction.

Sharon Archer said...

Gorgeous site, Bootcampers!
There's a theme developing here but... the best thing I did for my writing was join RWA and become part of a group of wonderful, supportive and generous people. So a big thank you to Enisa and her merry band of romance writers - you've started the most fabulous organisation!

Eleni Konstantine said...

Thanks Sharon. We like it ;))

And you are right there IS a theme happening here. Lucky us that Enisa et al started RWA. I wonder what we would have been doing without it!

toula said...

as a reader the best part of reading is getting immersed in the characters and world that is not my own. love your work.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Hey Toula, good to see you here. And yes I have to agree that getting immersed in a story is my favourite part of reading. :)

Moonsanity said...

For me I think the best thing I've done is branch out. It's really comfortable to keep writing what I KNOW, which is nonfiction, but to try fiction is scary, yet exciting for me.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Moonsanity - well done for branching out into something new. I hope you do very well in your endevours.

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