My First Boot Camp

What is “boot camp” This is a question asked hundreds of times – at least twice by me.  The answers have varied depending on the background of the person answering my question.  Therefore, the focus of this post will be on the boot camp I’m preparing for: the 20th Annual AWAI Boot Camp.  From what I can find doing internet research, this is the ultimate boot camp for copywriters.

Preparing for Boot Camp

Since I’ve never attended one before, I had a load of confusion.  First of all, I joined the Facebook Group, read everything I could find about previous years, and went over all the info about this year’s meeting.  Because of what I read there, I called the hotel in Del Ray Beach.  The reservations rep I talked with had been there quite a few years.  In her words, “This event fills up fast!” I made my reservations that day.  Then the airlines rewards account gave me tickets to West Palm Beach, one of two nearby commercial airports. Yet I still have miles left!

Now the real fun starts.  I logged into my AWAI account over the weekend and downloaded some spec assignments.  This is an important part for me.  Spec assignments will help fill up my almost empty portfolio.  As much as anything I’ve done in my life, this pushes my envelope.  Even when I finished my novel, only my editor saw it before it showed up on Amazon. Writing for others to see and critique is difficult for me outside of my day job.  Perhaps that’s because in my day job its actually part of the position description.  Not to mention the fact that I know almost everyone who reads what I write there.

Change of Mind Set

So now I have to change my mind set, push the seam out of my envelope and do as many spec assignments as I can find in the niche I’ve picked.  The first thing I have to do is figure out why I can write newsletters, white papers, case studies, policy and procedure documents for my day job, but have a very difficult time writing a spec assignment to turn in to my instructor.  Okay, so I consider myself a writer.  I’ll write a list of things that make it easy at work and difficult in a learning situation.  However, that’s only a first step.

While looking through the guided meditations on Dr. Patrick Porter’s Brain Tap site, I realized there are several that might be just what I need. Dr Porter has developed this meditation that uses light to enhance the experience.  I used it extensively when I had a major surgery a while back to help control pain, reducing the amount of pain medication needed after surgery.  It worked so well for me, I’ve started using it to help with my weight loss and at the times I have issues getting to sleep.  Now, the meditations I choose are related to confidence, personal growth, and self-confidence.   I recommend anyone with an issue like mine investigate Dr. Porter’s system.  Then I was happy to find it’s already in my library.

Another thing involved for me is getting out of the cocoon I built around myself when my illness began.  The “nothing can stop me now” attitude that was a big part of me in past years seems to be hiding somewhere.  It’s hard work to find something you’ve lost and really want to find again.

Getting Started

A niche:  Something I’m passionate about has to do with almost ten years of being a full-time caregiver for again parents and another relative.  When you’re new to care giving, the whole idea, the process, can definitely be daunting.  It’s not hype to say care giving can be a full-time job in itself.  The niche I’m aiming for is companies who serve the people who care give – no matter who they care for.  I’ll be looking for these folks at boot camp.

So find your niche.  Still hesitating?  Do you know about lots of things?  Do you enjoy or have really strong feelings about several things?  Start with the answers to those three questions.  That’s how the decision was made for me.  I took one “first step” – I started a blog in my niche –

Now it’s on to the Spec Assignments.  This is the big one for me – turning in writing for someone to evaluate.  This is the most important step for me.  Please wish me luck!


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