Post-Bootcamp: Musings

The last post was about Manuscript Bootcamp, a weekend-long workshop where we got to hunker down and work on our manuscripts with several industry professionals and literary figures. As part of the Bootcamp, we had a “Presentation of Works”, where we got to talk about our work and how it has changed after the bootcamp. With that having ended on the 23rd, Bootcamp 2019 has thus officially come to an end – and here are some thoughts to close this chapter of my life.

Last post, I wrote the following:

“… as writers, we need to be conscious of who we are on and off the page – who are we writing? Why are we writing? Who are we in our craft, and who are we without it?”

I suppose I got the answer during Bootcamp. The shortlisters gathered early to do a short free-writing exercise – and mine was full of anxiety. It was only 15 minutes before the presentation, and it looked like no-one was going to come. None of the longlisters came, all of them having pulled out one way or another – my immediate thought was that I was writing for nobody. Nobody cares about the work, nobody cares about the Bootcamp etc.

Then, halfway through the exercise, people started strolling in. Old friends I’ve known for years, newer friends from university – all familiar faces. While I must admit that I would have loved there to be a room of strangers, reading my work to friends was a warm, cathartic experience. In that sense, I wrote for my loved ones – my friends, my family – all of whom I wouldn’t have been able to write without.

Lastly, this was what confirmed my suspicion from Bootcamp – at the end of the day, writers have to write for themselves – but what this means is something they too must comprehend and decipher for themselves. To write for yourself takes many dimensions – and that’s how it should be.

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