In this episode we talk about the F word: failure. Bob Ross didn’t want you to be afraid to fail, and neither do we. So we discuss mistakes and how to frame those experiences to be productive instead of destructive. It’s not as woo-woo as it sounds, I promise.
In the past year I’ve had many occasions to think about the value of community and having a close-knit cadre of friends you can count on. It’s key to my mental health, my creativity, and everything that’s important to me. And that’s what this episode is about.
For about a year and a half I’ve been part of an artist’s collective with five other amazing woman who inspire me with their creativity and their compassion: Alethea Kontis, Monica Valentinelli, Stina Leicht, Shveta Thakrar, and Leanna Renee Hieber. I wanted them on the podcast to discuss the wonderful microcommunity we’d built and so I could talk with Aleen about how to take what we’ve done and apply it across time and space. Leanna, unfortunately, could not join us, but I got the other four together for a conversation and the whole thing turned out far better than I’d hoped.
This is one of the episodes of ORIGINALity I’m proudest of and I hope you’ll give it a listen.
It’s also a nice intro into a post going up later this week in which I expand on many of the ideas discussed here about community and trust. That one’s been brewing a while…
In this episode Aleen and I talk about the line between inspiration and appropriation. We get into the value of learning by copying and also what questions to ask yourself to ensure that your final product isn’t still a copy. We also dip into the nuances of drawing from different cultures, how to interrogate what really interests you about that culture, and what to do when you mess up.
In this episode we talk about habits and how and why they don’t work for everyone. We start with routines and how they often help prepare your brain can help you reach a more creative place (though not for everyone). Then we discuss how we use bite-sized goals and rewards to keep working, why “grit” is super annoying, and the importance of taking time to step back, look at the big picture, and be kind to yourself.
In this episode Aleen and I discuss bring creative while under the mental toll of life in America in 2019. There are many potential ways to deal with this, including gathering up friends, family, and community who sustain your creativity, using data to figure out what works for you, when you should or shouldn’t listen to “experts” about how to create better, and why it’s good to ask for help when you need it.
Get your shovels, because in this episode Aleen and I discuss the dreaded “shoulds” and how to bury them so you can focus instead on what you want to be doing. We also talk about the importance of saying “no” to things, the powerful motivation of avoiding a 9-to-5 job, and how to find a word count goal that works for you.
In this episode I talk about my research trip to Egypt but first I delve deep into my life story to explain how it is I came to be writing a novel set in ancient Egypt in the first place. I’ve been researching Egypt for various projects since college, and the roots go even deeper than that. I talk about it all, including how The Patriarchy shapes what we understand about the past and how I’m looking to change that.
For this episode I got to interview Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of the Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly comics, among many others. We talked a good deal about collaboration, especially in the world of comics, but my favorite bits are where she talks about the creative tools she learned while working in television and how she brought them over to her comics process. And, as the title indicates, we talked about how spite can be a good motivator for creating amazing art. Aleen and I had a great conversation around these and other aspects of the interview, and you should listen to the episode to hear it all :)
We’re back! In this episode Aleen and I talk about my interview with artist Grace P Fong, an awesome person I met on last year’s Writing Excuses cruise. Grace’s art is so good, and I got a chance to watch her draw many times while we toured around the Baltic Sea. That trip was just a small part of a larger tour throughout the world Grace was on at the time. If you think all my moving around is impressive, you should have seen her itinerary. Months and months, multiple continents, visiting friends and having new experiences. In our interview she talked about how this travel makes for better art, about mind palaces, and about what it takes to create something that isn’t real from studying what is.
Aleen talks to Marisa McClellan about audience-building in this one and then she and I and ponder the balance between how much an artist really has to engage with their audience in order to keep them interested and keeping yourself safe and sane in the face of the dark side of engagement.