Our monthly series gives readers a glimpse into the creativity processes of coaches, artists, authors and photographers, among others. They share everything from how they cultivate creativity to what inspires them to how they overcome potentially crushing hurdles.
This month I’m pleased to present my interview with Mara Glatzel, MSW, a life coach and the creator of the powerful Body Loving Homework E-Course. I’ve been a huge fan of Glatzel’s work for several years now. (We’ve even collaborated on this project.)
She has an empowering message and a beautiful way with words. (Just check out her blog.) Glatzel works with women to help them cultivate healthy, respectful relationships with themselves and lead meaningful, more fulfilling lives.
Coaching, writing and developing e-courses require a person to connect to their creativity on a daily basis. It requires expanding your imagination, solving problems, discovering and distilling your own philosophies and finding interesting, valuable ways to help others. Below Glatzel shares how she does it, along with her tips on accessing our own creativity.
1. Do you incorporate creativity-boosting activities into your daily routine? If so, what activities do you do?
Being able to incorporate creativity into everyday life has been fairly recent for me. I’ve always been a writer and occasionally dabbler in multi-media art, but for much of my life it’s been sort of all or nothing.
Lately, I’ve been working on making time (and mental space) for including small and frequent acts of creativity – taking beautiful photos, making small sculptures in nature, or writing lines of poetry in my head while I wash the dishes.
I’ve been practicing giving myself permission to notice the beauty throughout my day, and allowing that beauty to inspire me to create something of my own.
2. What are your inspirations for your work?
I am inspired by what makes people do the things that they do. I like to create between the lines of human emotion, examining the undercurrent that inspires daily action. I am inspired by my clients, my sisters, and people that I overhear in public.
I like art that makes me feel the full breadth of my emotional range – laughing and crying and then laughing through my tears. Generally speaking, I am a sucker for bright colors, short sentences, and a complicated story line.
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?
There is a voice I hear often telling me: no one is going to care what you have to say. That voice used to pull me to a full stop in the middle of feeling inspired. It was a voice that kept me small for many years.
In a world where we are able to instantaneously share the things that we create, we open ourselves up to the splendor of immediate feedback. I’ve found that there are times when this community ramps up my creativity, fostering it, and there are times when I have become singularly obsessed with the feedback. Wondering what other people are going to think or who will “like” it on Facebook absolutely stands in the way of my creativity.
4. How do you overcome these obstacles?
I have worked hard to counter these thoughts over the years by learning to do things simply because they light me up. I work daily to give myself full and frequent permission to keep my creations all to myself if I want to. I give myself permission to make things that feel good to make. Often, just giving myself that permission frees up a lot of the stuckage, and reminds me that we can make things simply for our own pleasure or use. I love creating from that perspective – making things that are secretly beautiful or fueled by my own intrigue or adoration.
5. What are some of your favorite resources on creativity?
I love books and programs that foster everyday creativity, the kind of creativity that is regular and found in ordinary moments. Books that I’ve reread often are: The Artist’s Way, Bird by Bird, and Writing Down the Bones. Right now, I’m totally drawn to the self-loving self-portraiture classes that Vivienne McMaster is running. I’ve recently fallen in love with Instagram, even though I know I’m late to the party.
6. What is your favorite way to get your creative juices flowing?
I am completely lit up by blank spaces in my calendar, days wide open with possibility. I found that one of the things that inhibited me before was that I forced myself to create on a timeline. Now, as often as possible, I clear out space so that I can create often and have plenty of time to get it wrong. When I don’t know where to begin, I pick a word out of a book, or go outside and do something fun.
If all else fails, I dance around in my house, which seems to help me get outside of myself and primed to do something unexpected.
7. What’s your advice for readers on cultivating creativity?
Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Don’t write your last line first. You might not know how your creative endeavor will turn out, but that’s part of the beauty of it, isn’t it? I found that when I was firmly holding onto how I wanted my stories or art to end, I neither enjoyed the process nor created something that felt really good. Begin with what inspires you, but then let your inspiration be the guide. You do not have to know where you are going, just go with yourself.
8. Anything else you’d like readers to know about creativity?
Creativity will save your life. For many, it is the way that our inner wisdom, our inner spark expresses itself. It is an excellent teacher. For those of us who struggle to stay in the present moment or who lose ourselves easily and often, creativity can be the path back to ourselves. Finding moments of beauty throughout our day has the power to completely alter the trajectory of our lives, ushering in new energy and a profound gratitude for the world around us.
Mara Glatzel works with brave women looking to chase what lights them up, and cultivate deeply satisfying lives. In creating this sacred space for women to thrive, she’s bringing a masters in clinical social work, her spot-on intuition, and the lessons picked up along the way as she built a relationship with herself grounded in self-trust. Catch up with her on facebook, twitter, or join her body-loving mailing list for secret swapping and insider news.