Post by Cam M. Sato, Vermont, USA
The last time we were able to gather for a SCBWI Japan event was back in February for KidLit Create Day 2020 in Yokohama. I was looking forward to attending my last Creative Exchange in Tokyo, scheduled to be held in March, before I moved back to the United States. Unfortunately, Covid 19 changed that. For the health and well-being of everyone, the exchange was cancelled. And the virus thrived.
Now we must all stay at home and practice social distancing.
The common perception is that we creative types are introverts who like being alone, so this would be the ideal circumstance to get a lot of work done. The truth is, this is a stressful time. Museums and shops are closed. We don’t feel comfortable going out. And we don’t know how long we will be in this situation where our routines have been turned on their heads. So it’s important to stay connected to our family, friends, and creative cohorts. How to achieve this is the challenge.
When I moved to Japan back in 2016, I continued to meet with my critique partners in Vermont through weekly Skype sessions. This kept us all connected and on track with our projects as well as being able to cheer each other on in our private lives. Even though I’m now back in Vermont, my partners and I can’t meet in person because of the social distancing directives. But there is still Skype. And luckily for me, my partners are great at urging me to get back to work after I took a break during my transition back Stateside.
If you don’t have a writing group or someone to encourage you, you could take advantage of SCBWI’s free Digital Workshops to keep you connected, inspired and creating. I listened to the first one by writer Kate Messner on revising MG and YA novel manuscripts, and it got my creative juices flowing.
According to Kate, the two most important questions we should ask ourselves when revising are: What is my story about? and Underneath that, what is my story really about? For me, I realized my story is about a girl who tries to thwart a doomsday prophecy. Underneath that, the story is really about a girl who learns to listen to and trust her inner voice in order to become who she’s meant to be. This new understanding will inform all of my revisions, and, for the first time in a while, I’m psyched to get back to revising my novels.
I urge you to go to https://www.scbwi.org/scbwi-digital-workshops and check out these webinars. They are a great gift in this difficult time. And if you can’t make a live workshop because of the time difference, all the digital workshops are recorded and available to peruse at your leisure. But don’t wait too long, as they will only be available for 30 days!
Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay connected. Keep creating.
Cam M. Sato is a poet, writer, illustrator, and editor. You can learn more about her at camsato.com.
You can learn more about Izumi Iwasaki at izumi-picturebooks.jimdo.com.