Previous Writer to Writer Mentees
Fall 2014 Session
Kendra Atkins-Boyce is a lifelong writer who has recently started sharing her work with the world. A Virginia Tech alumna and fellow of the Blue Ridge Writing Project, in 2014, she stepped away from a decade-long career as a middle school English teacher in Blacksburg, Virginia to become a work-at-home mom and writer in Portland, Oregon. In addition to poetry, Kendra writes historical fiction based on her family's Appalachian heritage; she is currently polishing a multi-genre memoir about motherhood; and she blogs at kendrakarysma.wordpress.com.
Kendra worked with writer Chauna Craig.
What were your goals for the program?
My main goal was to figure out what my new life as a professional writer/mom would look like. I wanted to establish routines for writing productively and building a professional writing presence.
What advice do you have for people entering the program next?
I found my mentor's support, encouragement, and advice to be immensely helpful. My best advice is to ask for what you want to get from the program. I decided what I wanted and worked with my mentor to be sure I got what I needed.
What is something you learned from your mentor or this process?
My mentor encouraged me to choose one of my three major projects as the focus of our time together. Doing so helped me feel like I have been making progress instead of spreading myself too thin and feeling like I am not accomplishing anything.
What is something that happened that you did not expect?
At the beginning of the program, I had a hard time figuring out how I would know my memoir was finished. Now, I have a working manuscript that I will be able to share with editors, agents, and publishers.
Where do you go from here?
I have an opportunity to write about motherhood for a national mothering blog, and I am waiting to hear back about pieces I have submitted to journals and contests. While editing my memoir, I plan to start offering writing workshops, and I am exploring ways to use writing as a tool for healing.