Greta Solomon, author of Heart, Sass & Soul was recently interviewed by fellow Mango author Nita Sweeney, author of You Should Be Writing. Read the interview here!
In this Bum Glue series, I interview other authors. The techniques shared in Greta Solomon‘s Heart, Sass & Soul: Journal Your Way to Inspiration and Happiness are powerful. So, I wanted to learn more about her. I bet she’ll inspire you too.
Nita Sweeney (NS): When and how did your writing journey begin?
Greta Solomon (GS): It began in 1988. I would listen to Madonna songs on repeat on my tinny cassette player and write down all the lyrics. Then I would pick them apart to figure out the structure, and why this rhymed with that, and so on, and write my own lyrics. But magazines were my true love, and I was so excited to have reader letters published in my favorite ones, between the ages of nine and 12. I knew I wanted to be a journalist, and in 2000 around six months after graduating in Psychology, I got my first journalism job at a businesswomen’s magazine in London.
NS: Plotter or pantser?
GS: As a non-fiction gal, both! I tend to channel and free-write and feel my way into my books and articles. Then, I work like a sculptor to create an overall vision. Then, I create a clear outline to write from.
NS: What’s your biggest writing struggle and how do you handle it?
GS: Not having consistent time to write. I’m a mum to a seven-year-old, which is a full-time job in itself – especially as I have had to homeschool for the past six months due to the Rona. But even though she is back at school, I am still writing in all the spaces between and grabbing time, here and there. I handle this by making sure that I periodically have days and sometimes entire weekends when I can just focus on my writing and creativity.
NS: What is one thing about writing you wish you’d learned earlier?
GS: That you need to find ways to keep your creative channel open. For my first six or seven years of being a journalist, I couldn’t freely express myself in writing. I was “good” at writing but often creatively blocked, and my writing personality was governed by fear. It was only when I studied lyric writing at Berklee College of Music in 2007 that I learned a technique called object writing, which completely opened me up, and enabled me to write freely and easily. This creative freedom is so vital to a writing career, that I started teaching my unblocking techniques to others. This became the foundation for the work I do now as a writing teacher and Journal Healer.
NS: What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever heard?
GS: That writing can’t be taught – it can! Anyone can write well, given the right tools and techniques and the ability to tap into their creative current.
NS: Do you write by hand or on a computer?
GS: Both – I journal by hand, which often turns into part of articles and book passages, which I then type up. I plot and plan by hand too.
NS: What are you currently reading?
GS: I have so many books on the go, but I am really enjoying Motherwell: A Girlhood, which is a memoir by the late Deborah Orr.
NS: Is there a book you couldn’t finish? Why?
GS: Lots, too many to mention. Usually it is nothing to do with the book, but that I got what I needed from it, before the end.
NS: What book couldn’t you put down?
GS: I loved Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
NS: What advice would you give writers starting out?
GS: Get a side hustle sooner rather than later. Expecting your writing to fully pay for your bills, and your life, piles up a lot of pressure. That pressure can weigh down on your writing, making you less agile and adaptable and throw you out of your creative flow.
NS: Has your writing life turned out differently than you expected? If so, how?
GS: I’m not sure, as I have never had a long-term plan for my writing, I just knew that I felt called to write. I didn’t expect to leave full-time journalism so soon (after three years), but I followed my intuition, which told me to go freelance and explore my creativity. For four years, before becoming a writing teacher and author, I enrolled in a London drama school and starred in adverts and short films. I became a travel writer and explored health and wellness. And I became a published poet and songwriting. All of this was the perfect pathway for what I do now.
NS: What’s next for you writing wise?
GS: I’m re-launching my online course in Writing for Creative Self-Expression, which is a seven-module self-study programme in finding and expressing your inner voice. You can find more details on my website, www.gretasolomon.com
NS: Mermaids or Goddesses?
GS: Ooh – tough call, but I think mermaids.
NS: Toast or bagels?
NS: Ocean, mountains, or forest?
GS: Ocean – but just for the magnificence, not for swimming!
NS: Leggings or jeans?
GS: Leggings, but with flowy dresses on top.
NS: Dogs, cats, fish, guinea pigs, or horses?
GS: Horses – I love the freedom you get from horse riding.
Journal Your Way to Inspiration and Happiness
Discover the Life-Changing Power of Freewriting and Journaling
Discover who you are: Writing for yourself is an incredible way to heal your heart, find happiness, and reconnect with the things that matter most. Journaling and freewriting can bring you a deeper level of self-awareness, allowing you to truly know who you are. Heart, Sass & Soul will show you how to develop a writing practice that nurtures inner strength and promotes a rich, fulfilled life.
A Journal of Inspiration & Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving
Writing Inspiration from Incredible Authors. Gathered by Brenda Knight and writing coach Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates a Moving Target, You Should Be Writing provides you with writing wisdom from a variety of accomplished authors.
Writing Practice on Every Page. This journal is a must-have for writers everywhere. With quotes from a diverse group of historical and modern authors to use as creative prompts on every page, you’ll be able to bring your writing inspiration with you wherever you go. You’ll find plenty of great advice, such as Toni Morrison’s encouragement, “As a writer, a failure is just information. It’s something that I’ve done wrong in writing, or is inaccurate or unclear. I recognize failure—which is important; some people don’t—and fix it.”