Allow me to introduce my client Terri, whose work is imaginative, thought-provoking, and revealing of her rich inner world.
The varied and fascinating range of Terri's interests is revealed in her work, and in any conversation you're lucky enough to have with her.
What are some of your most enjoyable creative outlets?
Writing, writing, writing and then podcasting. Saying it out loud, then listening to my voice helps me refine what my ideas. I'm becoming more self-aware, partially because of getting older and partially because of all the stuff I've been though recently. I'm willing to take a deeper look at, okay, who am I actually? If I start restart my podcast, it'll be me with some amazing guests in many episodes, and reading my own writing in others. And the whole point is to put my mark on the world. I'm also trying now to take video seriously, which I haven't because my face on camera has not my favorite thing.
Where do you find creative joy in your everyday life? The work of certain people and artists are joy-bringers for me. Patti Smith, Mos Def (now Yassin Bey) are just two that come to mind. Anything Neil Gaiman says, I'm all ears. Art is inextricable from the person for me. Generally, If a person is wretched, it's a no for me. Like, if Elon Musk has an amazing painting series, I'm never gonna know. How did creativity coaching sessions affect your relationship to your creativity? They made me pay attention. They made me quit ignoring things. Coaching persuaded me that it's worth it to write things down or record them, in part because I don't always know or remember everything. I know that may come as a shock to you because it certainly came as a huge surprise to me! But I don't always know what's going on in my own head; I'm floating from stimulus to stimulus. Your coaching reminded me that there are other ways to mine the stuff in my head and get it out into the world. And that it’s worth doing! What’s a project you’re currently interested in? I'm working on a newsletter called tokyoterri’s rebellion, which is a gentle rebellion against my own rebellious nature. I have the first 10 episodes of a newsletter written, and I'm going to make a drawing for each one. I completed seven drawings; when they’re done, I'll publish them.
What nurtures your creativity? What shuts it down? What nurtures my creativity is productive solitude. Like, I have a lot of unproductive solitude, and that's fine! But when I have productive solitude, it just means I'm reading, or I'm writing or I'm thinking or I'm drawing, or I'm doing something that advances my creativity in some way. Also: judicious structure is necessary for me to be creative. Structure that's not strict, but is still an effective guideline. What shuts my creativity down is my own rebel nature. I rebel against the promises I make to myself. I get distracted, the time comes and I don't do it, that sort of thing. I know I'm doing something I shouldn't do but do it anyway. I'm human and it happens! Rather than fighting myself, which just leads to creative paralysis, I'm very focused now on trying to be aware of my tendency but sidestep it. In our coaching sessions, we call my resistance Marvin. Acknowledging my resistance, giving Marvin some love, and moving to the next step anyway has worked really well for me lately. What types of creative events do you like to attend? Writer's workshops! Find Your Voice classes and workshops. I'm not a huge fan of conventions. They're big, there's lots of people and they can be fun, but I find myself interested in smaller, more intimate chances to actually get to know other people. If there’s a chance to go to something big, I won’t turn it down! But I'm not as enthused as I used to be. Who do you think creativity coaching might benefit? Everyone! Every single human being, and I'll tell you why: we are so much more our best human selves when we create.
I think Neil Gaiman has used his blog as a kind of workshop and it wasn't coaching, but his fans shared their view of what he shared. And he's a mature and self-aware enough artist to turn that into what he needed. I suspect that he and his c-creators have coaching-like conversations as well. Asking each other questions and supporting each others’ creative impulse must've happened, because look at the result! One of my favorite books to read and reread is Good Omens, which and the late Terry Pratchett wrote together. That kind of creative work, if you have someone who's asking questions and helping suggest the questions that need to be asked, you're not going there for answers but you're going there for the more effective questions. I think that's a lot of what you did in our sessions. And then once you're asking those effective questions of yourself, a lot of things can move from that. You find yourself looking at things in a different way. Suddenly you're unblocked and you're feeling like, "Yeah I can handle this. I can deal with this!" What inspires you lately? So many things! I have been inspired by self-awareness. Seeing it in myself and other people is really inspiring to me, because I think it's a very lowly-valued commodity. People don't always realize how little they have and how powerful it can be. Self-awareness is the shit! It's magical, and it sometimes hurts because sometimes people are awful (to ourselves and each other). It's not a joyride. But there's a reason why "Know Thyself" is an important thing for humans to do. Because we're not lucky like animals, who already know themselves. Self-awareness helps us to make good next steps. What's something we did together in our coaching sessions that has impacted you most? Identifying Marvin, which is the name of my inner Resistance to creativity and consistency. And finding ways to embody him so he seems more like my friend. That was gold.
I don't think about Marvin every day, but when I'm resisting, I'm more aware of his influence and so I'm kinder to myself. The perfectionism doesn't kick in the way it used to, and that was a big part of my issues before. Many were based on the perfectionism impulse.
Working with Terri and witnessing her flourishing is a genuine joy. If you'd like to learn more about coaching with me, head over here.