The Practice of Creativity

Following the Divine Breadcrumbs Toward Creativity: Interview with Author Wendy Fedan

Posted on: March 2, 2014

Last December, my creativity buddy, Susan Guild, asked me to participate in her phenomenal monthly ‘Wake Up Your Magic’ tele-share live call. During the tele-share, Susan brings together various folk to talk about creativity and staying inspired during the pursuit of one’s dreams. Susan also invited Wendy Fedan, an artist and newly minted author. When the three of us got on the phone, it felt like a homecoming. I listened with interest as Wendy talked about how to follow the “nudges” we get from the Universe to move toward our creative dreams (what she calls “following Divine breadcrumbs”), and the importance of persistence in pursuing long term writing projects. I also fell in love with the title of her new memoir, Wearing My Weird: In The Great White North and knew I wanted to invite her here.

Wendy  is a freelance designer and illustrator. She has been a professional caricature artist since 1992. Wendy is also a creativity coach and leads ‘Create-A-Way’ workshops that explore the relationship between creativity and spirituality.

Wearing My Weird follows the adventures of a twelve year old Wendy as she navigates a painful transition with humor and compassion. It is about self-acceptance and renewal. It is the first in a three book series.

I’m so happy to welcome Wendy Fedan to The Practice of Creativity.

wendyfedan

Tell us about your first book, Wearing My Weird. Why did you want to write this book?

My first motivation, when I was twelve, was to write about the most important thing that ever happened to me – moving from one country to another. But as the years passed, it became more about capturing this moment in history – this snapshot from a period in my life when I was a child battling between feelings of hope and insecurity. It’s an important period of my life, I realize, as I look back – more important than I realized. I’m thankful that I wrote as much I did about it as a child going through it. Thanks to my writings back then, I was able to recapture the voice of my 13-year-old self and bring her back to life in this series, giving her the spotlight she always wanted.

How did you get bitten by the ‘writing bug’? Did you always wish to become an author?

Yes, I always wanted to be an author – even before I knew how to read. I remember looking through books, wondering what all those marks meant. Not just the words, but the punctuation and even paragraph structure (Why were some paragraphs big and some only a few words long?). I remember watching my father reading and understanding how powerful books were – again, before even knowing how to read. And when I finally learned how to write in the first grade, I immediately raced out of my gate and wrote as much as I could. I tested my bravery by even reading my stories aloud in class in the second grade. That was when I knew writing was my favorite thing in the world. I loved the act of sharing my ideas and stories with others, entertaining them with my words, and making them understand me in my own quiet way.

wearingmyweird

Can you talk about the role of persistence and the support you received from your writer’s group that helped to make WMW a reality?

Persistence is essential to writing. You always hope the book will magically write itself while you go on with your life, but it doesn’t. You have to make the effort to sit down and take a bit of time out to record your thoughts. Then you have to be willing to go back to what you’ve written with an open mind and learn to edit yourself. And edit again. And edit again. Sometimes the act of writing feels like I’m creating an endless work in progress. And thanks to the magical technology of self-publishing, even after publication you can continue to edit your work.

I’m thankful to my writing group. With the help of my peers and teachers, I’ve learned how to edit my own work. And the group has also given me a sense of accountability. We as writers need some kind of group around us to help give us accountability and encouragement. Otherwise you’re just a lone writer, with nobody around to lend support or encouragement. It’s hard to find motivation in a secluded lifestyle. We need writing peeps.

You manage to pack a lot into your day! You are a consistent blogger, freelance designer, illustrator and creativity coach. How do these activities feed into each other and you?

Blogging has become my new form of journaling (I always wanted my journals read anyway), so it’s been a wonderful outlet for me. When I discovered blogging, I felt a light from heaven open up, and I thought, WOW! THIS IS FOR ME!

Freelance design and commercial art in general (as well as caricature work) has helped pay the bills for me. Art has become my meat and potatoes job. That makes me very happy. When I made the choice to go to art school, I knew I was deciding what my meat and potatoes focus was going to be. I didn’t want my writing to be my meat and potatoes focus. Writing was too precious to me. Writing is too spiritual to me to become my day job. I like my job focus to be the way it is now, and I’m happy things have worked out that way for me!

As for becoming a creativity coach, this is something I have just begun budding into. I’ve begun leading workshops and retreats to help others get in touch with their creative and spiritual selves because I know how important that is. If more people were in touch with their intuition and creativity, we would be much happier people. I feel like doing this kind of inspirational work is my own way to give back what God has blessed me with. I have to share what I’ve been given, in hope that others will find their own special connection to God and creativity. I’ve begun speaking to schools to promote my book and to inspire kids to write. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences ever for me.

You advocate a DIY approach to publishing and encourage other writers to explore self-publishing. What have been some of the benefits and challenges of this approach?

The benefits of self-publishing are enormous:

⁃  You don’t have to rely on an publishing editor behind a desk to tell you whether your story is good or interesting enough for the world to read.
⁃  You can make your dream happen. NOW.
⁃  You don’t have to adjust your story to death to satisfy a publisher (there’s a point where it stops being your own book).
⁃  You receive a much higher royalty.

The challenges of self publishing:

⁃  You’re on your own… for everything. You’re responsible for your own book’s editing, cover creation, and marketing.
⁃  You can’t just be a writer anymore. You need to learn how to network and promote your work effectively. That means you have to get out of your shell and actually talk to people. If you are a writer who likes to speak, you’re in good shape! If not, you have a challenge to face – and I recommend Toastmasters, BIG TIME, to help you overcome that challenge!

What is the best writing tip you’d like to share?

The best tip I can give regarding writing is not to give up. People ask, “What is the cure for writer’s block?” The answer is “TO WRITE.” Write anything. Write gibberish. It doesn’t matter. Edit yourself LATER. Just get it out on the page.

Your story will never write itself. YOU have to write it.

So please… just write it down.

As a Cleveland author, Les Roberts, says, “Nobody else can tell your story.”

 

To find out more about Wendy and to check out her three book series of Wearing My Weird, visit her site

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6 Responses to "Following the Divine Breadcrumbs Toward Creativity: Interview with Author Wendy Fedan"

Very interesting and inspiring interview. I like what she said about writing being an “endless work in progress.” Someone else once said that a piece of writing is never finished until the deadline comes due.

Thanks Deborah! As I am facing some deadlines, the quote you mention is a timely one. Sometimes deadlines just allow us to stop on a project.

Even when you traditionally publish, you can’t just be a writer any more. You have to market yourself and your books. It’s tough to balance it all.

Hi Kelly,
This is what I keep hearing from all the traditionally published writers I know. A lot of self-care is needed, too, I think, in order to keep up with the pace.

Persistence really is essential in all kinds of creative work. I self-publish, too, and the pressure in making it the best book you possibly can (in writing, design, illustrations) is overwhelming sometimes. Yet, the satisfaction of completing this journey can also be the sweetest.

Hi Claudine,
Thanks for this comment. Self-published authors are the new pioneers.

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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