Live Your Best Life: Greta Solomon
I'm delighted to bring you the next in my Live Your Best Life interview series where we focus on what living the life you want, contributing to the world in a way that works for you and being the best version of yourself each day, means for each of us. There's no one size fits all and the inspiring women I talk to here don't have perfect lives, they're simply doing what they can to live the best life they can.
This time I'm happy to share that I have author and creative writing coach Greta Solomon sharing what living your best life means for her…
Welcome, Greta! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today?
Hi, as well as an author and creative writing coach I'm also a speaker, lecturer, and business writing teacher. It’s my mission to prove that with the right tools, techniques and training, everyone can learn to write – and write well. Because it wasn’t always this way for me.
After graduating in Psychology in 1999, I worked as a journalist for women’s magazines. But although I was ‘good’ at writing, I couldn’t freely express myself when writing and felt creatively blocked and stifled.
I went freelance and decided to explore my creativity and see where it led. I enrolled at a London drama school, I became a travel writer, I did voice and improvisation classes and I wrote lots of songs and poems and got some of them published. All of these experiences really helped with my self-expression. But things really shifted for me when I began studying lyric writing at Berklee College of Music.
I was finally able to write freely and expressively. This way of writing crossed over into my journalism work and all the other writing work I did after that.
I realised that I wanted to train as a life coach and teacher and teach people to write. I initially started off tutoring students before moving on to train and coach business people, creatives and bloggers. I found what I was supposed to do and realised that I loved helping people to better express themselves in writing. And that’s what I have been doing ever since.
What particular quotes or words hold meaning for you?
My favourite quote of all time is: “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star,” which is by Nietzsche. Society teaches us that we should have everything figured out, but creativity and creative self-expression is power – and it can (and ought to be) raw and messy.
I also love a quote I read by the actress, Helen Mirren. When asked by an interviewer what regrets she had, she said that, “she wished she’d told more people to f*ck off!” When I read that, I thought, “Me too!” As women, we’re so conditioned to play the ‘good girl’ but there is power and strength in knowing your boundaries and not being afraid to enforce them. When you throw away the good girl energy, then life really opens up.
Yes! So how do you recognise when life’s getting on top of you?
When I start drinking more coffee, sleeping less and ordering more takeaways rather than cooking from scratch – then I know I’m off-kilter. If I don’t take steps to rest and restore, then I’ll start feeling tearful and/or oversensitive. Often, I end up catching a cold or a bug at this point, which I interpret as my body’s way of telling me to slow down.
And then what do you do to get back to how you want to feel?
Recently, during a really busy time in my schedule, my body was crying out for rest. So, my five-year-old daughter had a day out with my husband and I took myself off for a solo day out in central London. I went to a dance class where we did a routine to Aretha Franklin’s Respect, had a delicious vegan lunch at a cafe and spent way too much time browsing in the Waterstones in Piccadilly. I felt completely revitalised when I got home. Talking with my husband and best friends really helps too, as do long solo walks, window shopping, watching amazing films, and just giving myself time and space to potter around. As a highly sensitive person I need alone time to mooch, think, plan and just enjoy my own company.
What plans, hopes and dreams do you have for the future?
More of the same! I feel that I am very much on the right path. I want to travel more, run more writing retreats, keep writing books, keep speaking on stages and continue to guide people to better express themselves in writing.
And my last question, Greta, that I ask everyone – what does living your best life mean to you?
Being creatively self-expressed, being true to myself and nurturing all my relationships. By carving out time to be creative, I’m able to access the liminal space. And in that space, lies the magic of potential and possibility. It’s about continuing to use creativity to unplug from the busyness of life and choose another path – one that allows me to continue to grow and develop as a person. And this is the kind of creative life I encourage others to live too.
Greta Solomon runs writing workshops for everyone from multi-billion-pound companies to kitchen table bloggers. This includes her flagship online programme Writing for Creative Self-Expression, which enables people to experience creative flow in both writing and life. Greta also runs a year-round free, five-day creative writing challenge called Journey Beyond Journaling. Her second book, Heart, Soul & Sass: Write Your Way to a Fully-Expressed Life, will be published by Mango in 2019. She also speaks at leading industry events, such as online business conference Blogtacular. You can find Greta's course, challenge and more on her website gretasolomon.com, and you can find her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.