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Here’s where the pathetic, soft-bellied princess is whipped into shape by a ruthless drill sergeant with a bad attitude. And really, I could use someone to march me up to elliptical trainer on the third floor or make me take 25 sit-ups, but no. I’m so wimpy I need boot camp to start writing again.

To the rescue (maybe) is writing coach Lisa Romeo, who apparently could use a drill sergeant herself. But I like this (quoting Lisa):

Self, I say, you simply don’t have enough time to write that. Pathetic little self, you don’t yet have the credibility you need to get that project sold. Little nobody self, what makes you think you can get access to those interview subjects? Insignificant little writer self, how do you plan to execute such a vast project, the likes of which you’ve never even tried?

Well at least she knows how to talk to me.

Lisa seemed a little perplexed at first that I, Debbie Galant, “queen of hyperlocal bloggers” and author of three published novels, would sign up for her boot camp. But the last time I put together a subject and predicate in service of fiction was December 2008. No, that’s not true. That’s when I turned in “Cars from a Marriage.” I did write about 50 pages toward a new novel in October 2009, the last time I was at VCCA. But I lost faith, or interest, in it as soon as I got home.

Truth be told, I’m tired of writing about upper-middle class suburbia. I’m bored of it, bored of New Jersey, bored of myself. I admired Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom” but it was way too familiar. I want writing to take me to strange, exotic places, with the smell of unfamiliar spices and frightening sprites. I want to be from India. But northern Virginia during the Cuban Missile Crisis might just have to do.