When is the last time you started a writer’s workshop by taking a deep, relaxing breath instead of holding one in?
If you attended last week’s Digital Workshop 3.4 with Simon & Schuster editor director Kendra Levin, you did. And for the first time in all of quarantine, you most likely felt relaxed about your creative pursuits, as well. When Kendra Levin takes her editorial director hat off, she has quite a few others to put on — life coach and author too. It is because of her many jobs that she has acquired the tools to help writers with the creative process.
“The hero’s journey is a metaphor for the creative process,” she says, comparing the feeling of embarking on a journey/ the hero’s call to adventure to a writer starting their project. The writer — or in this case, the hero — ends with a boone, a precious project, and the feeling of accomplishment. "Seeing yourself as a hero on a journey is helpful as a powerful tool of self-actualization," says Kendra Levin. She relays the experience to the 3 key elements of a happy life: meaning, hope, and purpose.
Kendra also provided tools for fighting writing anxiety — something we all know too well right now, especially under the state of our current world. "If you are feeling anxiety, turn down the volume on everything else, listen to the voice, and think: Is this an internalized voice from childhood? Is this a voice you developed as a protective measure?" Identifying where these voices are coming from (just like we would in a manuscript!) helps relieve anxiety, and places it somewhere other than ourselves.
Remember: you can relive Kendra Levin's workshop for the next month on our website here. When the voices kick in, telling you: "you're writing a book?!? Are you KIDDING me?" — listen to Kendra's words, and believe you are the only one on this earth capable of telling your story. Some of us go to therapy, others write books. Maybe you do both. After all, as Kendra Levin says: "therapy is the story we tell about our lives."
Until next time for Digital Workshop #5 on "Revising Plot" with Brandy Colbert and Elana K. Arnold...
SCBWI Admin Assistant