Ensuring Bootcamp Success …
After You Get Home

“The 3 most important days in my copywriting career!”

Every year, I’ve heard numerous variations on these words at the dessert receptions that end AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair.

But I have to disagree.

As important … as information-packed … as inspiring as Bootcamp can be, these three days are not the most important days in your copywriting career. The most important days are the days after you arrive home and decide what to do with what you’ve learned.

You see, Bootcamp fires you up to succeed. And it gives you vital information to secure your success. You’ll be on an exhilarating “Bootcamp high” for several days. But trust me, when you get home, you’ll be tired. Whether you’ve traveled 3,000 miles or just 30 blocks. You’ll be tired. And a bit overwhelmed.

So the temptation is to take all the materials you’ve gotten and put them in a corner “to be looked at later.” Later stretches out … and eventually — if you’re not careful — the “Bootcamp high” has worn off and the pile of materials is collecting dust.

In a minute, I’ll tell you what I think is the best way to get the most of what you’ve come home with. But for now, let’s look at a suggestion for getting the most from the three days you’re there.

Come Well Prepared …
by the Bootcamp Experts

If this is your first time at Bootcamp, then you’re probably filled with lots of questions about what to bring … how to dress … what to expect.

The best people to help you out? The experts on Bootcamp: The AWAI staff. They’ve prepared exactly what you need. And it’s right on the AWAI website.

If you haven’t already done it and you’re registered to come, go to your Bootcamp myAWAI page and download Your Bootcamp Primer: Everything You Need to Know to Make this ‘Bootcamp Experience’ The Highlight of Your Year … And the Stepping-Stone to Your Next Level of Copywriting Success!

When I was planning on writing a Golden Thread article about getting the most out of Bootcamp, I looked at this Primer and realized AWAI had already done it for me. I particularly recommend you read Susie Henderson’s chapter, “9 Tips to Maximize Your Bootcamp Experience.”

As a Bootcamp attendee, she gives you great perspective on how to get (in her words) “more worth for your while.”

Touching Base after Touching Down

So you’ve had a great experience at Bootcamp. (Everyone does.) And you’ve just walked in the door at home. What now?

If you’re like most other Bootcamp attendees, you’ll want to dive right into everything having to do with Bootcamp. Everything. And that’s just not practicable.

First: Take care of any pressing family or home issues.

The very first thing you should do after unpacking your Bootcamp materials is put them someplace you’ll be able to see them daily. A nudge. A reminder.

Then, take a short break from Bootcamp matters. Do what needs to get done immediately in your life. Do the laundry. Or some gardening. Take care of things that you may have put off while away. Doing this rather than attacking Bootcamp matters right away gives your brain a chance to organize your experience in the background.

This brings an added benefit. If you try to attack your Bootcamp experience while you have immediately pressing matters in your life, they’ll compete for your attention. This makes it harder to do well on your Bootcamp matters.

How long is a short break? A day. Maybe a tad more.

Second: Organize materials.

After you’ve given your brain that short break, it’s time to tackle your Bootcamp materials. If you have any handouts, triage them. Separate them into three piles. The first are those things that require your attention soon. Job Fair certainly belongs in this pile.

The second pile would be any handouts relating to the programs you’re working on right now. Into your third pile, put things to look at a little later with a specific date for doing so.

After putting things into these piles, I recommend then organizing one step further from highest priority down. Once you have the piles organized this way, put them into LABELLED binders for quick and easy access.

Then triage any electronic files you’ve received. Organize them into suitably named folders. Start folder names with numerals so they’ll self-organize by priority.

Now, don’t get too picky about the organization. It shouldn’t take more than an hour or so. Once it’s all done, it’s …

Time to tackle your top priority items.

If I can impart just one message in this article it is this: Your top priority item from Bootcamp must be a Job Fair Spec.

So, you think you’re not ready to submit yet? Do it any way. Job Fair presenters understand what you’re doing. You’re getting practice — and showing gumption while doing it. Gumption that marks you as a potentially great copywriter.

Don’t have time? Make time! This is your opportunity to get your foot in the door with some of the top prospects. If not now, then when?

Afraid you’re not as good as the other copywriters who’ll submit? Here’s a Job Fair secret, I’ll tell you if you promise not to tell anyone else. In past years, many Job Fair attendees did not submit a spec. Take a chance. You have absolutely nothing to lose. And a great career to gain.

I’ll be telling you some other Job Fair secrets in a couple of weeks. But for now, I want you to promise me that you’ll submit a spec. And that you’ll not let your Bootcamp materials gather dust in a dark corner.

And that after giving your brain a short rest, you’ll put the secrets, strategies, and success secrets you’ve learned at AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair to work for you.

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Published: September 24, 2012

1 Response to “Ensuring Bootcamp Success … After You Get Home”

  1. Thank you for writing this article. I would like you to know that I really enjoyed reading it and appreciate your point of view.

    Your suggestions are useful, but I feel that your ideas are too prescriptive.

    Instead, the individual needs to find out what works best for him or her as per life circumstances and situations.

    A one size fits all is a recipe for disaster, so you have to find a solution that is tailor-made and custom-designed for you.

    And you are an individual: unique and different and eccentric too.

    So, find out what works for you and then, of course, go for the gold.

    Archan Mehta

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