How I Create: Q&A with Photographer, Writer Susannah Conway
I’m thrilled to announce a new series we’ll be doing here on Psych Central. It’s all about creativity. Each month we’ll interview one person about their creative process and inspirations along with their tips for cultivating creativity.
To kick-start the series, we spoke with one of my all-time fave bloggers and e-course creators. (Seriously, I’ve taken two of her courses already and will be starting a third in January.)
In addition to creating thoughtful courses, Susannah Conway also is a photographer — and self-professed Polaroid addict — and author. Her first book, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart (Globe Pequot Press), launches in June 2012. She’s also co-authored another book, Instant Love: How to Make Magic and Memories with Polaroids (Chronicle Books), coming out in spring 2012.
1. Do you incorporate creativity-boosting activities into your daily routine? If so, what activities do you do?
I’d like to tell you that I go for a run every day to boost my circulation and clear my head, but alas, I don’t—I just aspire to doing that. Instead, I do a lot of reading and writing. It could be journaling, reading blogs, writing in my diary or just general brainstorming. I read a lot of books—both paper and electronic—and am always feeding my brain with some sort of artsy ephemera.
2. What are your inspirations for your work?
Honestly? My experience of life as a 39-year-old woman and all the preoccupations, obsessions and distractions that entails.
3. There are many culprits that can crush creativity, such as distractions, self-doubt and fear of failure. What tends to stand in the way of your creativity?
Oh yes, fear of failure is always a familiar space for me. And the fear that I truly have nothing of any value to say, that I am wasting my time and boring people to death
4. How do you overcome these obstacles?
I close my eyes and do it anyway. This was something I had to do a lot while writing my book—the gremlins were constantly telling me how crap my writing was and that no one gave a damn about what I thought. I had to push on through past the doubts and just make it to my deadline. Deadlines are helpful for getting you past the obstacles.
5. What are some of your favorite resources on creativity?
I draw inspiration from all over the place. Films, books, blogs, music. Some current favorite blogs & sites:
6. What is your favorite way to get your creative juices flowing?
Option 1. Make myself a large pot of coffee, burn incense or scented candles, apply perfume oil (smell is very important to me) and sink into my laptop or journal.
Option 2. Take my journal, colored pens and iPad to a cafe for brainstorming session. I like to use the MindNode app on my iPad for mind mapping.
7. What’s your advice for readers on cultivating creativity?
Creativity is like a muscle in that the more you use it the stronger it gets. It’s not limited to painting, photography or knitting—we can cultivate creativity in all areas of our lives. A mundane trip to the supermarket can be turned into a creative adventure with the right frame of mind. Maybe it’s just the way my brain works, but I try to be creative in all areas of my life—cooking, decorating my home, buying presents, travelling…
8. Anything else you’d like readers to know about creativity?
Human beings are innately creative—it’s how we’ve evolved as far as we have. Rather than sitting and waiting for the muse to strike, we have to practice showing up with our creative tools of choice in our hands. We have to be willing to try.
Thanks so much to Susannah for speaking with us!
Tartakovsky, M. (2012). How I Create: Q&A with Photographer, Writer Susannah Conway. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 27, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/01/13/how-i-create-qa-with-photographer-writer-susannah-conway/