How did you come to writing for wellbeing?
I have been writing and journaling all my life. Early on, I realised the power in putting things into words, and writing helped me to heal when my mother committed suicide. When I left my second staff journalism job to go freelance in 2001, I used journaling, along with studying lyric writing and acting, to unblock myself creatively. Later, I trained in life coaching and teaching and set up a successful English tutoring practice. Through this, I discovered that I had a talent for helping people to overcome the fears, blocks and shame that can stop them from fully-expressing themselves in writing.
I then started a business in 2012, creating and delivering writing workshops for corporate organisations. But by 2016, I needed a break from constantly pitching, developing and creating workshops and I needed to get back in touch with myself. Especially as I’d created the business while pregnant and ran it while looking after a new baby.
I cleared my schedule with the aim of doing nothing. And that’s when the yearnings, inklings and frantic writing began. After years of writing to order, I finally wrote what I wanted to write. At first it was like clearing the phlegm from my writing throat. But soon, the channel was open, and the essence of a book all about writing for creative self-expression flowed. As did a workshop on the same topic, which sold out within hours. I knew I was onto something.
I continued to run writing for creative self-expression workshops, and now have a seven-week online course, and host retreats and events where people can use writing to discover and recover who they are. My latest book Heart, Sass & Soul: Journal Your Way to Inspiration and Happiness https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Sass-Soul-Inspiration-Happiness/dp/1633539741/ has just been published. Teaching and coaching people in writing for wellbeing is my heart work, and effectively combines all my skills and passions, including my degree in Psychology.
What is the value in journalling?
Carving out time so that you can journal gives you access the liminal space. That’s the space between here and now, and the future. In that space, lies the magic of potential and possibility. Through creativity, you can remove yourself from the reality you currently find yourself in. For many people, this is a damaging rinse-and-repeat cycle of busyness and exhaustion. Finding your creativity through journaling enables you to unplug from the busyness of life and choose another path. One that allows you to tackle loss and grief, and the darkness that can numb you out, if suppressed or ignored.
Why is writing so powerful do you think?
Through writing, you can express things that you wouldn’t dare say out loud. It also enables you to write things into existence, things that were never there before, except for wishes or dreams in your head. When we speak, we often filter our words, but if you can get into the right creative state, your can express your soul through writing, and that is incredibly powerful.
What is unique about your approach to journalling?
My approach is unique as I focus on the overcoming the blocks, fears and shame that stop people from fully expressing themselves. I’ve created a tool called The Communication Pyramid, which enables you to visualise the layers of self-expression that you can access. At the top you have the mind, which is all about grammar, sentence structure, writing hacks and rules and regulations. And this is where most people get stuck. If you write from this place, then all the journaling in the world will be ineffective. I have a whole host of tools, techniques, exercises and inspiration to get people to go down the layers, into the body, heart, soul and voice in order to truly write freely.
So, my approach is far deeper than traditional journaling. And it’s about far more than putting your thoughts and feelings on the page. It’s a holistic approach to writing that includes moving, breathing and doing other activities to put you ‘in the body’. This transformative practice guides you into action. It can create ripples that bring new people, situations and opportunities your way.
Who needs your book?
Heart, Sass & Soul is for people who want to be more creative and live a more creative, inspired and happy life. You are likely to be sensitive, creative, introverted and spiritually-minded. You have big dreams and a big heart and want to make a difference in the world. But you feel swayed by society and pressures to fit in, conform and ‘be normal’. You feel that you’re not fulfilling your potential, even though your life is ‘good on paper’.
My book is a warm, witty and honest guide to writing your way to a life that not only looks good – but feels good. It shows you how to overcome self-doubt and develop a new creative identity; transform dark times into something beautiful; find moments for healing yourself without judgement and become empowered with uninhibited self-expression.
Greta Solomon is a journalist turned writing coach and the author of Just Write It! (McGraw-Hill, 2013) and Heart, Sass & Soul: Journal Your Way to Inspiration and Happiness (Mango, 2019 and out now). https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Sass-Soul-Inspiration-Happiness/dp/1633539741/ In 2006, she discovered a talent for helping people overcome the blocks, fears and shame that stops them from fully expressing themselves. Her work has been featured in Forbes.com, Writers Digest, Kindred Spirit and The Numinous. She is a published poet and songwriter, a psychology graduate, certified life coach, trained lifelong learning teacher and holds a specialist certificate in lyric writing from Berklee College of Music. Visit www.gretasolomon.com to find out more.