Her name is Kate Swoboda and she’s pretty freaking amazing. I know her as “katecourageous“, as that is her Twitter name. With a name like “katecourageous”, I’m convinced she’s a superhero. I suppose she is a superhero, of sorts. Her superpower: inspiring courage, creativity, and kick-ass-ity. (I made that word up, but I think I’m adding it to my vocabulary.)
Kate is the brain/heart behind Your Courageous Life. She spends her days encouraging people to live courageously, fully, creatively, and joyfully. I’ve been following Kate’s journey for quite a while and really connected with her when she started working for herself very shortly after I started working for myself. It was nice to read her blog posts as she settled into this new life and to know that someone else out there was experiencing very similar things.
When she approached me several months ago to be interviewed for her upcoming e-book, Across Mediums, I was so flattered. She created this e-book to help light a creative spark under people and wanted to interview artists about their creative process, how they get inspired, and stay motivated. She must have known I had some opinions on such matters!
Here is a snippet of the interview Kate did with me. If you’d like to hear the rest of the interview, you’ll have to purchase the e-book (which is chock full of other interviews, by the way, as well as videos, and “sassy-yet-simple exercises to get you inspired, break you out of a creative rut, and get your hands moving across several different artistic mediums.”) It sounds delicious, doesn’t it? I can attest that it is, indeed, delicious.
After Kate interviewed me, I asked her if she would let me interview her, and thankfully, she agreed! I wanted to find out what inspires her, what makes her tick, and how SHE stays motivated. I absolutely love her answers to my questions. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement as you read.
What inspired you to create your new e-book, Across Mediums?
A few years ago, I was wandering around my favorite museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. They had this great exhibit on mixed-media artist Joseph Cornell. These glass display cases were part of the exhibit, in which they showed all of the pre-planning he did–there were accordion file folders spilling open with things he’d torn from magazines, sketches, type, things he collected, notes he made. I’d always been somewhat of a shadow artist, always thinking that “real artists” knew what they were doing and just sat down to create it, perhaps after one or two practice sketches. But Cornell showed me that there was all of this pre-planning that could go into it. Another belief I carried at the time was that tired old cliche, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” I had a strong inner critic that said I should stop trying to experiment in photography, writing, painting, sketching, clay, etc., and “just settle on one thing.” But some synapses connected that night and I realized that I could create a system for myself of creating that went, literally, “across mediums.” So I created the course for myself originally, and it also evolved into focusing on PROCESS, not a final PRODUCT. Now, all these years later, I turned it into a course that I share with others–first, as an e-course, and now as a downloadable course module complete with an e-book, exercises, videos, and–I’m so happy to say–interviews with lovely artists like you!
What do you think makes someone an artist?
I smile as I type this, noticing that in some ways, this can be a loaded question! So I’ll share that I don’t think my answer is “the” answer and that my hope is that people reading this will decide their own answer to this question if my answer doesn’t resonate with them. In essence, I tend to mentally separate these into two categories. I think of “creatives” as people who create, in any medium (skill level, training, etc., does not matter). I tend to think of “artists” as people who have decided to create and make it a profession in some way, even if it’s not full-time (and no, skill level, training, etc., does not matter here, either). I believe that all of us are creative, and all of us have a unique way of presenting work to the world. I *don’t* believe that it’s “all been done,” before. And I also believe that there’s enormous value in simply putting pen to page or brush to canvas or the delicious moment of clicking a shutter button. Making money off of art isn’t necessarily better–I’ve done that, and found that it wasn’t a match for me to do all of the things that went into shows and selling my artwork. What’s important is creating. I love the quote by Rita Mae Brown: “Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.”
What is your favorite thing to create?
Love. And after that: writing that cuts to the heart of a matter in such a way that something really honest and true resonates.
How do you feel when you are creating, playing, and exploring?
I notice that when I’m really in a groove, time just slides right on by. That sense of present moment focus is the most amazing, fulfilling thing I know. My favorite place to write is the local free library, and sometimes after a great writing session I’ll look up and feel a little nuts, because I’m sitting there with this energetic rush that barely has me in my seat–I want to walk up to someone like a total goober and gush, “Isn’t life amazing? Isn’t it amazing that we exist?” because I feel so jazzed–and of course I’m aware that if I did that, I’d seem, you know…nuts. So I don’t. But it’s still a really amazing feeling. Also, one of my favorite headache remedies is to go out with my camera. When I have a stubborn headache, time with my camera seems to solve it.
How do you make time for creating, playing, and exploring in your own life?
Well, here’s where I out myself and share that for the first several months of working for myself, I didn’t make that time. And it was not good: When I’m not making time for self-care, I lose all sense of perspective. The lie that’s so easy to believe is that the to-do list needs to trump the self-care, because the to-do list is “so important.” I just finished a monthlong hiatus from working, and I went into that space knowing that I needed to get quiet and evaluate what was off, and this message about self-care came to me, really loud and clear. I feel I’ve had my genuine “A-ha” moment with it. So the shifts I’m experimenting with in the foreseeable future (I’m always learning; deciding what works and what doesn’t) is to get back into my meditation practice, and to schedule time with myself to read each day. To me, these two self-care practices are the ones that create a mental/emotional environment where I’ll even go there and THINK of creating–painting, writing fiction, etc. Other than that, I don’t have a set schedule for things like sketching, painting, writing. I take them as they come.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
Just a thank you for participating and sharing YOU with an Across Mediums interview! I’m really excited and thankful that you took the time. You inspire me.
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Kate Swoboda is a life coach, teacher, and writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She supports women from around the world in making powerful choices and rocking out their lives (side note: this involves a lot of courageous laughter, love, acceptance, and not taking ourselves too seriously). When she’s not writing, leading retreats in Italy, or connecting with other courageous women, she can be found sipping chai in libraries, buffing up on her Italian, taking photographs, or getting all bendy-stretchy on the yoga mat. Learn more at http://www.yourcourageouslife.com.
About Across Mediums
Across Mediums is a downloadable e-book course with a lesson-by-lesson format designed to get you to bring out those hoarded art supplies, meet the resistance head-on, let go of the inner critic, and create for the sake of creating. Dive in with just twenty minutes a day to break the old “Story” that you have to quit your day job in order to be an artist. The purpose of the course is not to complete a finished piece–it’s to dive in, get messy, get inspired, break out of a creative rut, try something completely and totally new, and totally detach from the artistic process as a process that can be overwhelmingly perfectionistic. Learn more and order your copy here.
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Throughout the month of July, I am giving $5 of every photo I sell to Gulf Coast relief.
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