The cold evening wrapped itself around me as I got off the bus. Not sure of the right direction to go in, I pulled out my phone to turn on the trusty Google Maps app. I noticed a lady next to me, doing the same thing. We looked up at each other and asked at the same time, "Are you going to the creative mind thing?" We both smiled and got to know each other as we walked together to the event called "Inside the Creative Mind", organised by Basel Creatives, a community of Basel-based small business owners, freelancers, artists and entrepreneurs. It was a heart-warming start to a great evening of wonderful chit-chat with like-minded individuals and an inspiring live interview, given by one of our own SCBWI members, Simona Ceccarelli.
The interview was mainly about Simona's interesting career path; how she went from being a scientist to being a children's book illustrator. While Simona's story may not be uncommon in terms of making a career change, I found what she said to be very thought-provoking and insightful. Here's just a few points which captured my heart and mind (note: these are not direct quotes, I have paraphrased):
One of the first things she said was that there is no such thing as a non-creative person. Simona believes that as humans, we all make things happen and that is the act of creating. This is so true!
She quoted Neil Gaiman who spoke about goals as mountains where we can not see the route and have no map, we just need to take one step after another in the direction of the mountain. I liked this image so much that I searched the Internet to find the exact quote from Neil Gaiman. I think I found it in a keynote speech Neil Gaiman gave to the University of the Arts graduating class in 2012. You can read that speech here.
Another thing Simona talked about which hit home was that we are all conditioned for tribal behaviour. Our tribe is where we get our validations and when we switch careers, it means leaving our current tribe and finding a new one. That is exactly what SCBWI is to me, my tribe of fellow creatives who are involved in the creation of children's books and spur me on.
Simona made a brilliant reference to the book, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, when she spoke about inspiration and how her processes are very structured. She talked about the importance of trusting the process, of just showing up, taking the steps daily but not planning on landing on that mountain. I felt very encouraged as a creative person by this, because it confirms that it's not just about waiting for inspiration to hit you, you can make inspiration come to you by turning up and putting in the hours.
She finished with this marvelous quote from Adam Grant (author of Originals: How non-conformists move the world): "Originals are afraid of failing, just like the rest of us. But they are even more afraid of failing to try." Now that is a quote and a half, isn't it?
I am glad I went to this event. My tank is full. I am now wanting to go create, to keep trying, to keep showing up and doing the work, to share with my tribe in my journey up my mountain, to be an original. What about you? Will you join us in this creative journey?
Note: Simona's new book, This Book is Upside Down, will be coming out in April 2020. Do look out for it!
Willkommen! Bienvenue! Benvenuto! Bainvegnì! Welcome!