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#48: Suzanne Kingsbury felt an insatiable pull towards the arts, left her desk job and...

Suzanne's story will inspire you to "live in a cathedral of creativity" as she puts it. She tells us her story of feeling pulled towards writing and how she wrote 2 amazing books without ever taking a writing class in college. Suzanne went back to school to study writing but uncovered a fascinating correlation between brain science and creativity. She realized criticism shuts down parts of our brain associated with creating new material, but accessing the relaxation (parasympathetic) centers in the brain does the opposite.

Suzanne created Gateless Writing, a nationwide organization based on creative brain science and ancient Zen that supports writers to the point of publication and beyond. Through salon-style retreats and workshops, one-on-one intensives and career training programs, she has helped countless writers on their path to signing with top agents, getting book deals, hitting bestseller lists and winning prestigious literary awards. Her secret sauce is her intuitive "channeling" which divines, through a process of sacred writing, what the work needs and the highest vision of where the writer can go.

  1. Pay attention when you feel restlessness or hunger for something other than what you're doing. Suzanne had a hunger for the arts, especially writing, which she couldn't ignore.

  2. There's often fear associated with being visible and doing things differently than the status quo. You might lose friends who just don't get it.

  3. Physical injuries or illnesses can be portals leading to a new you

  4. Pay attention to what you keep coming back to over and over like the boy next door. For Suzanne, this was writing.

  5. Stuckness can come as a big shock in our lives. It can make you question whether you're on the right path.

  6. An atmosphere of criticism and shoulds and must-haves will steal your joy and can literally shut down parts of your brain. Suzanne realized this when she enrolled in a writing degree program. She described how the body goes into fight or flight, causing areas of the brain associated with creativity to clamp down and become unavailable

  7. Even difficult circumstances like when Suzanne felt stuck and creatively shut down can lead to new interests and opportunities like the connection between brain science and creativity.

  8. Live in a cathedral of creativity. This requires a safe feeling, where your strengths and genius are recognized and praised instead of having your work criticized.

  9. When people keep asking for your advice or help with something, pay attention, this might be your zone of genius. For Suzanne, this was her talent of mapping out and seeing patterns in people's books. She also realized she was like a writing shaman for those who felt blocked or stuck.

  10. Cortisol or stress can shut down our motivation and creativity. Reprogram your body and activate those theta waves with calming practices like meditation or massage. This teaches your brain to associate creativity as safe and good.

  11. Suzanne describes our creative blocks as being like the guard at the door. The guard is there for a reason, so ask her what she needs, then listen to her. It might even help to write out a dialogue on the page.

  12. Survival has to come first: find a job, but then make sure there's enough energy leftover to allow curiosity and wonder to have some space in your life

  13. Keep looking for that open and excited and motivated feeling, you'll find your tribe. you might have to try and quit a lot of things. Give yourself permission.

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