Jeffe Kennedy
Fantasy. Power. Passion

Jeffe's Workshops

A Taoist’s Guide to Staying Sane in the Writing Business

Feel like one more workshop on promo might send you over the edge?

Anne Lamott famously noted that while writing, as difficult as the process may be, delivers gifts publication makes people crazy. Many writers get into the business first out of love, however, love doesn’t pay the bills and it can take a while for writing to pay a living wage. The writer who has no other financial support often has no choice but to work one or more “day jobs” to keep the money coming in. The dream, of course, is quitting that day job to make a living entirely as a writer. What can happen, however, is that intense focus on bringing in money from writing – from scrutinizing the marketplace, to constantly checking Amazon rankings, to jealous obsession with other writers’ sales figures – can suck all the joy out of what was once a dream, and even reduce the art of writing into an algorithm. The Taoists believe that focusing on monetary gain instead of on their concept of virtue “maddens the mind.” Jeffe Kennedy, a comparative religious studies major who did her honors thesis on the Tao Te Ching, and a practicing Taoist for most of her life, will discuss these concepts and encourage round table discussion of people’s experiences. It’s not that money is the root of all evil, but that the love of money is. There’s nothing wrong with plying our art to gain wealth, but there are ways to refocus our attention on the core values that truly matter, such as telling a memorable story while navigating the tumultuous publishing world.

Lessons from the Spreadsheet Queen

Fondly known as “The Spreadsheet Queen,” Jeffe Kennedy has long discussed in various venues her extensive Excel spreadsheets for tracking writing progress. She tracks word count by day, week, month, and year, along with writing goals and Gantt charts for planning workload and release schedules. While she freely shares a blank template of her “Progress Count” workbooks, multiple people have requested a tutorial in using them. In this workshop, Jeffe will walk people through her worksheets, where to find the embedded formulae and conditional formatting to highlight goals reached. She’ll explain how to adapt the spreadsheets for personal use and give suggestions for building in additional features. Every attendee will receive a blank template workbook to adapt, along with an annotated reference guide to Jeffe’s version, complete with examples. The discussion will also include how to set personal writing goals, what to take into consideration and how to train the writing muscle for greater endurance, much like training the body for a marathon. In addition, the general Three-Act story structure will be introduced, as the spreadsheets calculate progress toward climaxes, which allows even far-end pantsers like Jeffe to predict beats and overall novel length.

Defying Gravity – Writing Cross-Genre and Succeeding Anyway

Genre definitions have a profound influence on writers’ careers. From the first queries where we must specify the book’s genre to long-term decisions about pursuing or giving up on a “dead” genre, dealing with what feels like a false construct is a necessary skill. However, following our hearts and inspiration often means tossing aside these considerations.

Or chopping them to pieces in a murderous rage.

But shedding conventions can be what sets a book apart—and can take a writer’s career from midlist to break-out.

So… how do you know? More—how do we find the courage to embrace a bold move?

Jeffe Kennedy will discuss how she went from being a “Crack Ho” – being told that her work fell in the cracks between genres – to receiving a nomination for Book of the Year and an RT Seal of Excellence for the one title each month that stands out from all the rest by an innovative twist on a familiar story or pushing genre boundaries. She’ll discuss genres and sub-genres, where they overlap, how romantic storylines can tip the balance one way or the other — and coloring inside the lines and stepping across them.

Identifying and Breaking Bad Writing Habits

Learn to identify your bad habits as a writer to improve the quantity and quality of your work. Jeffe will share some of her approaches, such as Own Your Process, Kick Excuses to the Curb, Listen to Your Editors – and Learn, Study Successful Authors and Keep a List of Recurring Tics. She’ll also help participants discover their own process and what might be getting in the way of more and better writing.

Virtual Appearances

 

Can’t make it to one of Jeffe’s In Person Appearances? Jeffe loves to Skype or Facetime with book groups to discuss her books, so feel free to contact her.

 

Workshops:

Here is a list of the workshops I’ll be giving. More information will be added when available. 

A description of the workshops can be found here

 

 Defying Gravity – Writing Cross-Genre and Succeeding Anyway

April 2017 – OIRW

September 2017 – FTHRW

Sex and * Those * Words

July 2017 – OIRW

Choreography vs. Sensuality

August 2017 – OIRW

A Taoist’s Guide to Staying Sane in the Writing Business

October 2017 – OIRW

 

Want to book a workshop for your organisation? Fill in the contact form for more information