Check Mate(ys)!

YAB Bootcamp



It’s week whatever check-in for the YAB Spring Writing Bootcamp…and I can’t say I’ve been doing much writing at all. Here we are, almost finished this amazing three-month program, and I thought maybe I’d be closing with a half-written book. Okay, who am I fooling…I thought I’d be closing with a book I’ve actually started.



But I’ve come to realize in these past couple of weeks, that I’m in a state of flux.  I’ve plotted, revised, worked on new ideas, researched old ideas, started reading again, and made time to write…all of the things I should be doing. And yet, nothing has solidified for me on the page.



Then I realized, each book I write is about me learning something. I need a challenge each time.



Book 1:  The entire challenge here was to actually write a book from start to finish. UI_212


Book 2: I decided to try my hand at multiple POVs. Wasn’t completely successful, but…UI_212


Book 3: Voice, voice and more voice! (I found it!) UI_212


Book 4: Humour. Life isn’t all dark and messy, right? UI_212


Book 5:  ????????



My husband has been feeding me all sorts of really challenging scenarios, something to ramp up my writing (sports, cars, scientific sciency things…and, did I mention, sports?). And while I haven’t written any of the ideas off just yet, nothing is clicking.



The thing I’m most aware of at this stage in my writing is that whatever I do, whatever I’m lucky enough to publish first, will set up a following and a style readers will probably expect to see in a follow up (assuming I’m lucky enough to get a follow up to my imaginary first up). It’s all about branding, about making my mark in a recognizable way, and continuing on like I’m not just throwing a whole bunch of ideas up in the air and hoping something works.



Of course, I know I’m free to experiment, to write outside my genre (and the box) if the mood so takes me. But I’m more aware of branding now than ever. Whatever I want my writing career to look like is entirely up to me, and so I must focus.



I know deep in my soul I can’t write sports books all my life (dear God, don’t make me even think about it), and that quirky YA western I was contemplating, well…probably not. So my goals for the end of May are these:



  1. Figure out my branding.
  2. Move on in that direction.


I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.



In other news, Team Denali has rallied. We’ve got people writing, we’ve got people finishing up projects, and we’ve got people making serious headway! I’m so proud of everyone on my team and all they’ve done in these 2+ months. How lucky was I to get matched up with these people??? I only hope we can stay in touch after the Bootcamp is over.



Good luck this week with all of your projects, my wonderful, lovely, writerly friends. Take care of the words, for they are yours to set free.







Posted in creativity, Spring Writing Bootcamp, Writing Tagged

5 Responses to Check Mate(ys)!

  1. This is a tough place to be in when you’re figuring it out. I am just figuring out that maybe half of my ideas don’t really work. So when they start to distract me, I make a bunch of notes in a file (online or notebook), write some sample lines, whatever I need to get it out of my head, and then move on for a bit. It’s so hard to know what will stick though. I hate outlining but the more pre-work I can do the more I can tell whether the story can be sustained.

    I don’t know that I’ve found my brand either. The closest I can think of is I know the type of stories that I gravitate toward and what get me most excited. Even though I read widely, there are some themes and types of books that I will read over and over. I think that’s what I’m going to focus on.

    • Heidi Sinnett says:

      I agree. I’m not an outliner either, but I’ve come to realize that making notes or getting those ideas down when you have them helps later on. And if you have good notes while you’re hit with the creativity, then you’re more likely to be able to flesh out the idea later.

      Brand, brand. It’s swirling around in my head. Yes, the whole point is to write what you love and make your brand work around it, not the other way around. I think it’s a great idea, focusing on what you keeping coming back to. It says a lot, doesn’t it?

  2. So much to think about! I love that you’ve pinpointed that you want to think about brand. I *highly* recommend checking out Marie Forleo’s YouTube videos. Her tagline is, “Create a business and life you love.” and she offers fantastic advice on things relating to finding your voice/brand/etc. Plus, she’s fun. 🙂 Link to her YouTube channel:

    Plus, here’s an interview she did with Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map (another fantastic resource/person to check out) on goal setting: It’s an interesting way to think about all goals – life, writing, all that good stuff. 🙂

    I hope that helps! Best of luck, Heidi! 🙂

    • Heidi Sinnett says:

      Bridgid, she’s adorable!! I’ve been sitting here watching video after video. Great tips and lots to think about. I’m a subscriber now!

  3. You CAN do it!! There was a session at the New England SCBWI conference about creating your brand when you writing different genres – I didn’t go but Kathryn did and told me about it. Apparently even if you write different types of books, if you can come up with a common thread (like family, relationships, romance, etc.) you can use it as your brand. So even if one book is contemporary and another is sci-fi, you can use that common thread to tie them together. I hope that makes sense, and helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *