By: Shilo Urban
No matter the level of experience or chosen genre, writing is not easy, says Fort Worth Writer’s Boot Camp founder Rachel Pilcher.
“It can be lonely,” she says.
The Fort Worth native and longtime English teacher currently works as a librarian at Trimble Technical High School. Pilcher launched the Writer’s Boot Camp in the La Mancha Business Center on West Berry Street on May 10, 2014.
“I began thinking about starting some kind of writing workshop about two years ago,” Pilcher says. “The idea was that someday I would be able to help writers develop their craft. I need help getting motivated to write. I love writing, and when I’m actually doing it, I feel like I’m accomplishing something, but it’s hard to get going. Many writers have the same problem.”
The Boot Camp’s first classes began in July with a small but steady group of students. Writing courses included poetry, fiction, nonfiction, academic writing, blogging, screenwriting and publishing, overcoming writer’s block and navigating library systems. Pilcher called on fellow writer friends to serve as instructors. Fort Worth filmmaker Tom Huckabee taught screenwriting. Longtime journalists Todd Camp and Michael H. Price demonstrated collaboration on graphic novels. Tarrant County College beginning creative writing instructor, Logen Cure, taught poetry.
“Writing is a complicated experience because the act of writing is solitary for most people, but obviously the goal is communication with an audience,” Cure says. “Successful writing is a process, and outside feedback is part of that process. Writers simply cannot excel in a vacuum. Community is absolutely necessary.”
The Writer’s Boot Camp provides that community.
“Participants in workshops can take on new challenges and gain insight from experts,” Cure continues. “It is difficult to find educational opportunities like this outside of academia, and in reality, writers are everywhere.”
“Rachel has done an outstanding job gathering instructors, and I am personally grateful to have the increased access to experts outside of my own field.”
The most common issue writers have is the fear of doing it wrong, Pilcher says. “One of the things I hope to offer is the creative writing classes you might be able to get if you were to go to college,” she says. “That helps to take away the fear.”
Mark A. Nobles, founder of Wildcatter Exchange, is also a filmmaker and an instructor at the Writer’s Boot Camp. “It’s another way to help me make a living as a writer and filmmaker,” he says. “There are classes there that I really want to take. Rachel is doing a great job.”
“For me, this is like sharing the wealth,” Pilcher says. “I want our students to be prepared to be successful. We are here to teach people to write but also provide a place to talk through things with other writers. Whenever anyone takes classes with us, we hope that whatever aspect we’ve taught them will help them grow.”
To learn more about Fort Worth Writer’s Boot Camp and see upcoming class schedules, visit fortworthwritersbootcamp.com.
By: Shilo Urban