When difficulty arises, what is your first instinct? Most likely, you seek out ways to overcome or solve the problem. You make a plan, take action, and leave it behind you. While this approach alleviates the problem on the surface, sometimes there are deeper emotional repercussions that remain. For poet Eva Crespin and writer Carolyn Flynn, writing about personal experience can be the way to access and heal those deeper issues.
In this episode, I speak with Eva Crespin and Carolyn Flynn. Eva Crespin is an Albuquerque-based poet and slam poet. Eva has been writing and performing poetry since age twelve and has traveled around the US performing her slam poems. She has won numerous awards, and is admired for having created poems around emotionally heavy topics at such a young age. Carolyn Flynn is a writer and editor who has worked for such publications and institutes as SAGE Magazine, The Albuquerque Journal, and The University of New Mexico. Carolyn is a seven-time published author, TEDxWomen speaker and winner of the 2014 Rick Bass/Montana Prize for Fiction, and the owner of SoulFire Studios LLC, which nurtures authors, business-minded artisans and creative entrepreneurs. Today I talk with Eva and Carolyn about how they came to use writing as an emotional tool, how writing has advanced and shaped both of their lives and careers, and how beginners can start using writing as a tool to better know themselves.
What You’ll Discover in This Episode
- How writing can help you figure out your true goals
- Why women tend to play it safe or hold back, and what you can do to overcome that habit
- How writing can be used to heal, and how you can start to use it for growth today
More About Eva and Carolyn
Eva Crespin came to writing at a young age. She used writing and performing as a way to process the world around her and work through difficulties she had faced. For example, after her father passed away, writing slam poems about her relationship with him allowed her to “to forgive him without him physically being here.” “Writing the poem is helpful,” she explains, but “there’s something about sharing that’s even more helpful to forgive and heal.” For Eva, sharing her work creates a deeper sense of healing and connectivity, because in accessing and sharing her emotions, she is able to help others who have had similar experiences to process theirs.
According to Carolyn Flynn, once a person learns how to write to heal it becomes a very intuitive, natural process. She suggests that “too often we stay on the surface of life” and you “may wake up one day to realize you’ve chased after something that you don’t actually really want.” Mindful writing is a way to overcome this cycle, discover your deep, authentic desires, and begin to develop a relationship with them. Carolyn suggests that writing for healing is particularly important for women. She says that “women have so much more voice and power than at any other time in history,” however, “we’re still not the dominant culture.” We are sometimes silenced or tossed aside, and for that reason “it’s even more important for women to have that self knowledge.” For both Eva and Carolyn, writing is the best and easiest way to access that self knowledge.
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Many of us yearn for a creative outlet, but we just don’t know where to start. Perhaps we’ve tried drawing classes or attempted to journal but it just won’t stick. Or we will have an idea for a creative project and won’t get around to doing it. You’re not alone. Even world-renowned artist and bestselling author Julia Cameron experiencing this distress, and today she shares some of her secrets to accessing creativity and coming into your authentic self!
Julia is author of bestsellers The Artist’s Way, Finding Water, The Vein of Gold, Walking in this World and The Right to Write, which are taught in universities, churches, human potential centers and even in tiny clusters deep in the jungles of Panama. Julia also has extensive film and theater credits, which include such diverse work as Miami Vice and the prize-winning romantic comedy God’s Will, which she both wrote and directed. She is recognized as the founder of a new human potential movement that has enabled millions to realize their creative dreams. Today I speak with Julia about her creative process, listening to your inner voice, and achieving what you want through perseverance, discipline and authenticity.
What You’ll Discover in This Episode
- Three actions you can take every day to start accessing your inner creative self
- How to schedule creative time into your day, even with children
- Tips to help you overcome a creative ‘hump’ and begin using creative thought, in your daily life, hobbies or business
More About Julia
Julia’s passion for creative expression began at a young age. When she attended college at Georgetown University, she felt called to write poetry and sought to be an English Major. In the 1960’s a literary career was not a traditional path for women, and Julia was met with barriers and discouragement again and again. When she wasn’t allowed to study English at the College of Arts and Sciences she started a women’s lib chapter at Georgetown. This movement ultimately led to Julia, along with seven other women, to be the first female graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1970.
This perseverance has been both a conscious and unconscious theme throughout Julia’s life and career. There have been many obstacles Julia has had to overcome throughout her career as a woman writer and artist, but she admits that the discipline is something innate within her; she can’t help it. She also can’t help from writing; she finds that she is irritable and on edge when she is not in the midst of a creative project.
I caught Julia at one of those ‘difficult places’ when she isn’t quite sure what the next project will be. While it is not a comfortable state, it is a crucial time in Julia’s creative process. When she has no projects on the forefront she dedicates herself to ‘prayer through writing.’ She writes to her muse seeking out help, in the form of her ritual morning journal writing, or morning pages, and listens to see what that response is. Julia finds that she is often resistant to whatever it is that comes up. She will allow herself procrastinate on acting, dwelling in anxiety for a few more days before doing what she knows she must and listening to her inner voice, an experience I think we can all relate to.
Julia’s most recent projects include a play and the completion of her newest book, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Creativity at Midlife and Beyond, co-written with Emma Lively. This book introduces a fourth creative ritual into those described in previous books (morning pages, artist’s date, and weekly walk), that of memoir writing. While aimed at an audience in the retirement stage of life, the tools Julia describes can be used at any age.
What super power did you discover you had only to realize it was there all the time?
What advice would you give to your 25 or 30 year old self?
Start writing morning pages.
Check Out The Links Mentioned in This Episode!