[0:00] Do you have someone in your life that has seen you from the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey? Today’s guest Amy Isaman is that person for me. She’s seen me from the very beginning. And in this episode, you’ll learn how we met and how we’ve stayed connected and reconnected years later.
[1:40] How Yong and Amy first connected
[2:43] Amy’s pivot from High School and College English Teacher to Entrepreneur
[5:49] How to tap into your creativity
[8:16] Taking action, pivoting, and the fear Amy felt when she published her first blog post
[10:21] The importance of claiming the identity of someone who does the thing you want to do
[11:06] “Follow your joy. Take a baby step. Follow your joy again. Take another baby step and become and do the thing.” – Amy Isaman
[12:11] Where society gets creativity wrong and Amy’s view of it
“Creativity is really just looking at different pieces, looking at life, and creating something new out of what you’ve already got.” – Amy Isaman
“Our thoughts are creative. You’re thinking new thoughts every moment of every day.” – Amy Isaman
[15:49] Ideas you can use to tap back into creativity daily
[17:51] “Practice is huge! If you were to practice something every day for, 15-25-30 days, I can guarantee you, by the end of that time, you will be better at it.” – Amy Isaman
[18:47] “You have to do the thing to be the thing.” – Amy Isaman
[19:28] The significance of journaling for Amy. Finding your own version of “journaling” to quiet your mind and access your inner wisdom
[22:36] How Amy helped Yong reframe her own journaling practice
[23:41] “Find the practice that works for you and then practice your practice.”
[26:10] Letting go of outcomes and being open to playing and doing what feels really good to us
[27:46] How schools get the writing “process” wrong and how to unlearn it
[32:29] Amy’s favorite “pre-writing” exercise that can help overcome writer’s block
[34:08] How to form your own creative thinking partnerships. An episode from Amy’s podcast to help out
Connect with Amy
Podcast: Dear Creativity
[40:09] If you need some help with writing your creativity or ideation and really figuring out which direction to go, reach out to Amy.
Be sure to connect Amy inside the Arena of Awesome. Ask questions and view the video version of this interview.
Live Podcast Recording: Wednesday, May 12 @ [9:30] AM PST
Where traditional content repurposing gets is wrong and why it’s costing you money
Tool Talk [new series] Tuesday, May 11 @2:22 pm PST
The A.I. copyrighting tool that’s going to blow your mind and change the way you create written content
Yong Pratt 0:00
Do you have someone in your life that has seen you from the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey? They know where you started and they know where you are today. Today's guest Amy Iseman is that person for me, she's seen me from the very beginning. And in this episode, you'll learn how we met and how we've stayed connected and reconnected years later. I'm excited to introduce you to Amy because she is literally one of the most creative souls that I know. And hearing her words of wisdom and how she has pivoted in her life and in her business, to do things that she absolutely loves is such an amazing story. I look forward to hearing your feedback about this episode. When you're done listening, come on over to the Arena of Awesome. Share your biggest takeaways and a-has because I know you're gonna have tons after listening to my interview with Amy Isaman. I'll catch you on the other side. Enjoy!
Yong Pratt 0:55
Have you ever felt like there was something missing in your business? Something holding you back from the success you're seeking? If so, you are not alone. For nearly 20 years, that's exactly how I felt as a business owner. It wasn't until I discovered Human Design, that it all became clear. And it turns out that I was the missing piece in my own business. Join me on this journey of discovering the real me and hear stories from other business owners building businesses around all of their awesomeness. I'm Yong Pratt, and it's time my friend to Amplify Your Awesome™.
Yong Pratt 1:40
Hey, everyone, and welcome back to the Amplify Your Awesome™ Podcast. I am really thrilled to introduce you to today's guests because she is someone I've known since pretty much the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. Her daughter took classes at my dance school way back in the beginning, and we re-connected recently - about two years ago now - and we've had all these fun conversations. And so many ideas have been spurred from just reconnecting, so I'm so happy that to have Amy Isaman here on the show today, Amy, welcome.
Amy Isaman 2:12
Thank you so much for having me on. I'm excited to be here.
Yong Pratt 2:16
Yeah, we have so much to talk about because you're someone who spent most of your career as a high school and college English teacher and now you've pivoted into an entrepreneur. So I would love to go back to that day or that time in your life when you were teaching school and you thought you know what? I want to go do something else. I want to go write books, I want to go do something different. Take us back to that moment.
Amy Isaman 2:43
I don't know that it was necessarily a moment it was a slide into recognizing that I was not happy that what I was doing was not fulfilling for me. As a kid I'd always wanted to write. I knew I wanted to write. I always loved to read. I was always the kid carting around big giant, you know, Stephen King, and Danielle steel and Tom Clancy. You know, the the popular Robert Ludlum books from the 80s. And I always had a book and I wanted to be a writer. And when I went to college, I majored in English. And I did take some writing classes, and they terrified me, because being a good student had always been sort of my way that I got my you know, pats on the back. And I felt worthy. And I felt smart. And I took some creative writing classes and got feedback that was probably really valid, good quality feedback. But I didn't have the confidence really to hear it. And so I just decided, oh, I'm not supposed to be a writer, I can't do this. I'm not good enough. So I went to education and started teaching writing instead. And it took, like, 20 years it took till my 40s. And, you know, my kids were teens. For me to say, Hey, wait a minute. That's, you know, to kind of remember that dream, I guess, and to start writing and to really acknowledge it and step into it. And I started a blog, just a free little wordpress.com blog. And on my very first post, I claimed I am a writer. This is who I am. And I started my blog there for once or twice a week for several years, just really sharing my writing, getting confidence in my writing, sharing my voice, learning how to express myself in a non academic way. And also diving into writing fiction and playing with fiction and starting a novel.
Yong Pratt 4:29
Well, I love so many things that you've shared about this journey, because so many listeners can relate to this issue of thinking or having these dreams when you're little about thinking that you're going to do something in life. And then life has a habit of really shifting us in different directions. We're easily swayed, because we're not sure what to do. And it's sometimes easier just to go on the path of least resistance than it is to follow the path we really want to be on. So I had a parallel journey. And so I really can resonate with that and I know so many people listening, have either gone through that or going through that now where they're finally saying, whoa, am I? Am I happy? Am I fulfilled? Is there something I've always wanted to do? And how do I get back to that? And that's kind of the next question. Well, how when you discover that you want to get back to doing something like you loved to writing, but it hasn't been part of your life? How do you recommend people start to tap into that, that place that where they were as a little child or earlier in their lives, because it's so easy to lose that sense of creativity and feel like we're not creative? Because the world says, you know, it's not really okay to be creative past a certain age, or you can't have fun at a certain age. So how can you help us to tap back into that, because I know this is one of your superpowers.
Amy Isaman 5:49
I think there's, there's two things to begin to tap back into that really figure out what as you said. What lights you up? What brings you joy? And do that thing. And those steps will take you down the right path to get to wherever you want to go. So for me, like I said, I started my, my blog. I just, I got up early, before work every day. And I wrote, and one of the things that I've learned through this journey, is that if you want to be the thing, you have to do the thing. So if I want to be a writer, I must write, I can dream about it, I can read books about how to be a better writer, I can teach it, but unless I write, I'm not a writer. And so it's really committing to that practice of doing the thing, then that lights you up and not just talking about it and reading about it and dreaming about it and and learning more about it, but actually doing it. And that can be really scary. And there's lots of excuses. You know, I don't have time, I don't have, you know, there's too much else going on in my life. But I really think that that's the most important thing, even if it's you know, just starting out writing in a journal every morning, or, or every night or, but doing taking some steps. And it doesn't I mean, whether or not you're writing or not, but if you want to be a painter or a dancer, or you know, whatever it is that you want to explore, do the thing. Take the class. Start doing it. Find a group of people to do it with find your tribe start playing with it. And the more and more you play with it, and have fun with it and dive into it, then you just you end up doing it more and more.
Yong Pratt 7:35
Yeah, I think. So for all of you listening out there, did you hear that? The key here to getting back to that place, is to take action, and it's probably going to feel really uncomfortable, and really scary. But if you want to plant your flag and say you're a writer or whatever it is a content creator, a video creator podcast, or whatever it is, if there's that dream, you actually have to take the steps, even if they're messy, uncomfortable steps, just to take that build those new habits to get to where you want to go. Because it's really those small steps that lead to the big success down the road, even though it never feels like there's much success happening when you're taking baby steps.
Amy Isaman 8:16
But the baby steps are crucial. When I look back at my whole, you know where I was 10 years ago, which is when I started my blog and said okay, I'm going to be a writer. So when did I start writing my book? Probably right around that point to when I started writing my first novel. Yeah, it was it was just baby steps. But it was like, Okay, I'm doing this and it was terrifying. I remember my very first blog post, I'm a wordpress.com. blog, crying in fear before I posted the post that said I am a writer, I was terrified just to even call myself that like, you know, who am I to do this? But then really, who am I not? Right? Who am I not? And who is to tell me that? I'm not? Nobody. I've gotten nothing but really positive feedback. So.
Yong Pratt 9:01
And that's such a good distinction, too, about who are who am I not saying this? But who am I to do this thing, right? We have this duality inside of all of us where we almost write the story before the thing happens. And we get so stuck in the story we create for ourself about not being the thing, even though we want to be the thing. So I really liked the distinction you made there that you have to just claim it. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, because probably in the beginning, no one's gonna see the thing you're doing anyway. So you might as well just put it out there and and start and it's almost better in the beginning when there's no one there because there's not that added pressure of what are they going to think? Can I can I really say that in a public forum? Can I write about that? And what about that, you know, there's all those questions that come up. So I love that the action, declare the thing and just make it happen. Because if we don't take the action, there's no one to do it for us. We're just going to keep dreaming of the thing. So as you're listening right I want you to tap into the sense of, is there something that you feel like you gave up when you were younger, because you needed to get a career? You need to be pragmatic about what you want to do. Think about that. And then take any steps of declaring what you want to do, and just taking those baby steps, because that's gonna help you get there much faster.
Amy Isaman 10:21
Well, it helps you identify as a writer or creator, or an artist or a videographer or photographer. And once you identify as it, then it's easier to be it.
Yong Pratt 10:34
Amy Isaman 10:35
I'm not sure if that makes sense. But
Yong Pratt 10:38
That totally makes sense. And you said earlier that when you went back to writing, you didn't have the confidence. And I think the idea of confidence and identity are so tied together, that as you're building your identity, the confidence grows. And when the confidence grows, your identity as a thing gets more solidified. And I think for all of us, we are, we're aiming and we're striving to do just that to be the thing always wanted to be no matter what happens on the world outside of us.
Amy Isaman 11:06
100% Yeah, just take the baby steps. Follow your joy. Take a baby step, follow your joy can take a baby step and become and do the thing, do whatever it is,
Yong Pratt 11:16
Do the thing. And that leads me to my next question about creativity. We talked a little bit about before about how when we are kids, you know, we're always really creative. And I know, there's some stat and I'm gonna totally mess it up. about, you know, kids were interviewed and asked if they felt like they were creative at different levels of their education. And you know, when they're little, they all thought they were like, the most creative beings, you get somewhere to middle school, and it kinda was like a 50/50 thing, and you get to the high school age about graduation. And very few kids at that point, think they are creative at all. And I still, to this day, run into adults who tell me they're not creative. But yet, when I look at what they're doing in their business, or their life, I see them as being ultimately creative. So how do we claim as ideal a claim this identity as a creative being, when we don't feel like we're creative? Yet?
Amy Isaman 12:11
I think you just have to broaden your definition of creativity. So we tend to think that Oh, a creative person is somebody who can paint or draw, or write, or dance or do something visual, something in the arts. And that's not in fact, the case. If you think of somebody like, you know, tech people, Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs, right, incredibly creative people. So creativity is really just looking at different pieces, looking at life and creating something new out of what you've already got. So it can be making dinner, you know, tweaking a recipe is highly creative, do you know creating something in the kitchen, or even how you maybe parent your children or decorate your house, you know, but it doesn't even have to be visual like that how you gardening. There are so many different ways to create, and then also just the your life how you think, you know, we create our own lives just in, in how we live our lives. So I think just really broadening the definition and empowering ourselves to create whatever it is that we want to create, whether I mean, I think entrepreneurs are some of the most highly creative people I know, because we're constantly thinking about how I approach this, what's this and problem solving and coming up with different solutions and testing things and seeing what happened there. Well, how did that work? Okay, well, what if I did it this way, then what if I did it that way that you and I've had some massive ideation sessions coming up with all kinds of different ideas, of where to brainstorm sessions of where we could go and what we could do, and you know, content, and it's not just painting, or, you know, writing a novel, there are so many different ways to be creative. And I think that's the first step again, is to just kind of own that, and look at your life, and maybe make a list of all the different way ways that you are creative, that you create things in your life. They don't have to be art, they don't have to be, you know, photography, or whatever. They can be anything. Because we all create things all day long. Our thoughts are creative. You're thinking new thoughts every moment of every day.
Yong Pratt 14:32
Yeah, and this idea of creativity is really about solving a problem. It doesn't matter what realm it's in, or what medium it's in. It's really about taking the resources you have and figuring out a new way to do something. And like you said, all of our thoughts every day, our creative thoughts. We just have learned to not think of them as being creative. They're just why just do it this way. And I just do it this way. And I'm in awe when I see people out there who who claiming to be not creative, right? And I just think, wow. And then we have a similar discussion about, well, you're creative. And this way you're solving this problem. And, and when you think about creativity from that perspective, gosh, that opens up so many opportunities for us to really be creative in so many aspects of our life, like you said, not just in business, but your home. I mean, if you're able to open the refrigerator and see that you have five things in there, you know, what can you make from that? That's the ultimate test of creativity. So, and you as a quilter, I know that you're always using your creativity to, to take a vision and put things together in new and interesting ways. So I just really appreciate the way that you view creativity, and really allowing us to understand that creativity is more than just a piece of artwork.
Amy Isaman 15:49
Yeah, yes. Well, thank you. Yeah, for sure it is. And there's a lot of different, you know, things you can do like, and I was teaching a workshop last fall, and there's an exercise, I can't remember what book it's in. But, um, we're like, open a book and pick out a word. And then, you know, flip a bunch of pages and pick out the next word like to, you know, nouns and then separate them and come up with three words in between that you can somehow relate those two words. And we did this as just kind of a warm up exercise. And it was fascinating to see, I can, you know, I don't recall what the words are, but how this group of women each came up and connected these words, but you can play a little games like that with yourself, sort of throughout the day, if you're feeling like, Well, I'm not creative. I don't have new ideas. But how can you How can you connect things in different ways? How can you connect ideas in different ways, and kind of push yourself and make your brain begin to practice those kinds of things? Like, like you said, Okay, I'm gonna cook dinner with just what I have in the fridge, what can I cook, you know, and, and see what you come up with, in practice, because our brains also need the practice they need, we can't just, you know, sit and stare at TV all day, and then be like, Oh, I'm gonna come up with some really great idea. Like, so you've got to practice and you've got it. And you know, there's different things you can do. You can go on a walk without any input. You can, you know, learn new things, read new things. You've got to get some input. And then but you've also got to practice thinking in different ways, too, can be helpful.
Yong Pratt 17:19
Yeah, and the idea of practicing is such a good one, too, because we just forget to do that. We're taking action all the time. And we think after one time, we should know how to do all these things. I know, it's really easy to beat ourselves up about, well, I already made this blog post, or I did this podcast, so I should know how to do it the next time. Well, if you don't practice it, like anything else in life, those skill sets tend to fade away pretty darn quickly, kind of like, you know, the riding a bike, I guess you can do it, it might just take you a while to do it. Well, again, if you haven't done it for a while.
Amy Isaman 17:51
No practice is huge. I mean, if you want to do a thing, well, then, I mean, if you were to practice something every day for, I don't know, 15-25-30 days, I can guarantee you, by the end of that time, you will be better at it.
Yong Pratt 18:07
Right when that goes to the idea that athletes or artists are born, but it really isn't that if you take a look at their history, they're great, because they practice the thing every single day. They didn't let anything else get in the way. They just knew they wanted to do the thing. And so they practice it, they may have been born with some natural talent. But it was really up to them to take the reins and say, I want to do it. So, you know, how do I get better at it. And it's through practice. So the idea again, of taking action, practicing, identifying, because again, the more you practice, the more you identify as the whatever it is you want to be.
Amy Isaman 18:47
Yeah. And back to the very beginning, you have to do the thing to be the thing.
Yong Pratt 18:50
Yeah, I love to do the thing to be the thing. I need to print it out.
Amy Isaman 18:55
There's my profound statement.
Yong Pratt 18:55
I love that. So I want to jump into talking about writing. I know, the other day, I saw a post on your Instagram feed about journaling. And I responded back saying I've tried journaling in the past, I've done it different ways. And you came back and said, Well, maybe you just need to do a different medium. So when it comes to things like journaling, is it for everyone? Can everyone do it? Are there steps to get better at it?
Amy Isaman 19:28
I think it depends on your intention with your journaling practice. There are so many different ways to think about journaling. You know, Julia Cameron teaches morning pages. She wrote The Artists Way. Where you know, every morning you get up and you write three pages to kind of clear your brain. It's almost like a brain dump kind of thing. A lot of people teach, you know, asking questions and answering questions and using prompts. I don't particularly care for that. How I teach journaling or journal myself is more kind of a match between morning pages free writing and getting things out, it is the pages of my journal where I get most of my ideas. If I'm, you know, stuck on something in a story or book, I'll write about it, or I won't even write about it. And just the answers will come to me as I'm writing about some other random thing. So I think, for me, it is an active, it's a form of active meditation. So it gets me into a quiet space, where part of my brain is kind of busy with my hand, and you know, writing the act of writing. And the quieter part of my brain is not so quiet, but sort of busily working and I come up with ideas. It's almost like yeah, like I said, like an act of meditation. And that's what I suggested to you, you know, you post on Instagram, lots of pictures of your walks, and how inspired you feel after movement, and you're a dancer. So again, for you, that's almost an act of meditation, right, a walking meditation. And I think, for me journaling is that connecting that that quiet time to connect with my inner wisdom. And if you do that through movement, as opposed to on the page, then do that through movement. Do that with a walking meditation, or go dance with, you know, an active meditation, the the intention to me for journaling, or to write in my journal, it's to connect with that inner wisdom, that sort of that sense of where I find answers where ideas come from that that source within myself, that doesn't always appear when I'm super busy and super active. And, you know, I have to quiet down. But often meditation, just sitting in meditation can be challenging for me, I actually went on a meditation retreat with my sister, and we sat for, like, five days. Wow, it was hard. It was. But it took days for me to get to a space where I could feel like I could really drop into just a sitting meditation on my journal, I can do much more quickly, as I'm writing, because it's a natural thing for me. I don't know that, you know, people, oh, you ever been to a journal? I don't know. I don't think so. I think you need to find what works for you. How do you access that inner wisdom within you, whether that's walking, or movement, or writing or sitting in silent meditation, or guided meditation, do what works for you.
Yong Pratt 22:36
And when you shared that with me that just do what works for you, and you suggest just, you know, doing what I'm already doing. And I've always just overlooked that, because I have always heard, you know, journaling is so great, really is so, the best way to do this. And, and so I was always feeling deflated when it came to journaling. So when you said I failed there something else there's, there's proof that I'm just not good at this thing. And, you know, I didn't want to ever claim that. But yet, I kept seeing this pattern every time I would start journaling. So when you say that I just felt like this weight off my shoulders, because it's like, oh, that's true. You know, and I talk about this in different ways in my business, too. But I just didn't think about this particular problem as you having a different result that I thought I needed to get. So that was that was he was enlightening for me. So I want to thank you for that. Because it just, it just opened up so much space to to breathe and say, Oh, that's right, we get to choose our own journey and what works for one person may not work for another. So he was just evidence that's always been there. But you put it into words. So thank you.
Yong Pratt 23:41
Oh, boy, you're very, you're very welcome. I think we get so caught up. And there's so many things out there. Like, you have to have a morning routine. And, you know, if you your morning routine has to look like this. And and Well, you know what? No, it doesn't. And you can have a really phenomenal day without a morning routine. Like maybe you have, you know, your quiet time. I think it's important. Yes, to connect with yourself at some point during the day. But that might be on a walk every afternoon at three and coming home and having a cup of tea or you know, whatever it is. I think that there's you know, when we have so much access to so much information, and then people kind of glom on to these ideas that there is the one way to do the thing. And that's, that's not in fact, true. And that one way might work for millions of people. That is awesome. But it also might not work for another million people who are like, Well wait, now I feel like a loser because you know, journaling doesn't work for me or, you know, meditation doesn't work for me. I you know, whatever it is and certainly on everything I would say give it a go practice it. Because you don't I mean, nobody can sit down and play the piano perfectly on the first try. like nobody can sit down and meditate perfectly on the first try. It's a practice, right? So but find the practice that works for you and then practice your practice. Does that make sense?
Yong Pratt 25:08
Practice your practice? Yes, yes,
Amy Isaman 25:10
Find a practice that works for you. And then practice.
Yong Pratt 25:13
Yeah, and the idea that what works for one person isn't going to necessarily work for you, it could you could take parts of things. And that really is the whole idea about this season of the podcast. It's really about knowing and hearing stories from fellow entrepreneurs, who are doing things in their own way that work for them. And you know, that the process of discovery, those things that actually work and, and going on that journey, because really, at the end of the day, building a business is just this great journey that we get to have in life. And there's so many ways to do it. So even something so simple as having a morning routine, or not having a morning routine, finding those things that work for you, and then move on. I think that's something really important we forget, in the minutiae of everyday because we're so busy doing the thing, and it's so easy to be down on ourselves. But when we let go of that outcome, whatever it is, that's where the true freedom comes in being an entrepreneur, especially.
Amy Isaman 26:10
I agree, I agree, when we let go the outcome. When we're open to playing and trying things our way and doing what feels really good to us. And certainly there are, you know, it's business like you can do business this way, there are certain foundational practices, but, but really, when it comes to like marketing yourself, and putting yourself out there, and all those kinds of scary things, there are so many ways to do it, that feel really good to you. Even though there's about a bazillion people out there saying you have to do this thing this way. You know.
Yong Pratt 26:38
It's so easy with things like social media to go look at those things and feel inept, because we're not doing it like that we're not having the kind of success. So, you know, I feel like social media, to some extent, is a double-edged sword, because it's great for building connections and getting to know people and seeing a different side of them. It's not just all business. But at the same time, it's so easy for us to get swayed to thinking things have to be so rigid in our lives.
Amy Isaman 27:06
Yeah, and it can be intimidating. And then then that even the social media like oh, I'm not creative. I can't think of what to put out there. I can't think you know,
Yong Pratt 27:13
Yeah, yeah. It's a whole downward spiral. We start going in thinking those thoughts for sure. So speaking of writing, I want to ask you, if you could share your writing process, because I know everyone, when it comes to creating content, you're a writer, you, you create beautiful books, you do a lot of creative things, when it comes to creating a book, is there a particular process that you like to go through to get your mind and your body ready to, to be a channel or a vessel for all those creative thoughts to get to the paper.
Amy Isaman 27:46
And the writing process, I've always struggled with that idea of the writing process. As an English teacher, you know, we had to have a poster in our classrooms are required by the school district or the state to have the writing process, post it, the one and the one, the one writing process. And the I think it's really different for everyone. And for me, how I write is different actually, kind of depending on the genre, of what I'm writing what I'm doing a lot of times for like social media posts, or blog posts or podcasts, I will just get hit with an idea and scribble it down in my journal. Or if I'm at my computer, script, something out really quick or an outline on, you know, Google Doc, or whatever, and it's good. Or if I'm on a walk, I'll use otter.ai and just talk about most of those things. I just kind of go with the ideas as they come sort of more short-form writing, like a blog post, podcast, social media post. When it comes to books, I generally have an idea I start with plot, which is kind of backwards. Actually the interview that came out on my podcast today, she's totally character driven. And it was kind of interesting to talk to her. And I think a lot of writers are they come up with the character first and really develop these characters, and then are like, oh, what's it? No, no, what happens to this person? Whereas I tend to come up with an idea like, what if, what if, and then the characters kind of come to me. I do tend to plan out and plot the major points of my novels. I know the beginning, I know, some of the big midpoint parts and I roughly know the ending so I know where I'm writing. And then as I write, I do a much more detailed outline. Kind of a few chapters ahead of myself, like all like, like outline out very closely like four or five chapters or scenes and then kind of write those and then Okay, well what happens where do those go, because as I'm writing, things will happen or characters will say things or a character will do something or Something that I wasn't expecting at all. I'm like, oh God, Where'd that come from? And you learn to sort of trust that and just kind of go with it that this character is. This sounds weird, but I think writers, fiction writers know what I'm talking about that that characters sort of become their own people, and they do their own thing. Like, you know, you're you're a parent of teenagers, teenagers, all of a sudden, they do a thing. And you're like, What the heck? Where did that come? Who are you? And that's why characters do the same thing. And I've literally had to even you know, as I'm, if I'm working on a on a book or a story, a character's will start, like, I can interview him kind of in my I've had to pull over and start like almost taking dictation, they just start sort of talking. And telling me Well, that's not what I would do in this situation, this is what I'm gonna do in this situation. And that, is that, okay, really well, why why is that? Well, that's because this happened when I was little, and it's weird, but they be kind of become real, a little bit. And then you just sort of write the story that they that they are in. So I don't know how to like, really sure that that's a process. And that's kind of the problem with the writing process. People are like, okay, the right, I have to do my pre-writing, and I have to outline everything. And then I have to sit down and have to start at the beginning. And then we're going to go through, and it's it's much more fluid, and freeing, then how writing is taught in the traditional educational setting, which is kind of a trap. It doesn't work.
Amy Isaman 31:38
Yeah. And that's really what I wanted to get to the heart of. The thing that I love hearing how people create content and create things like books, because everyone has a different process, you know, the plot versus the character versus all these things. So again, just going back and thinking about, there's so many different ways to do it. So hearing how other people do it, I find so much inspiration in that, because it makes me think about things in a new way to about Oh, is there? Is there a story? Is there something I can share with that. So really just diving into everyone's process is just so fascinating for me to hear all the nuances. And like you said, it's much more fluid than most of us were taught. So I think we spend a lot of time really remembering the lessons we learned in school, trying to do it like that, and we get stuck, because that's not the process that works for us.
Amy Isaman 32:29
100% 100%. When I was teaching, I would never like I would ask the kids like, Okay, how many of you guys, if I assigned like a pre writing assignment, like you have to outline it? How many of you guys will do that? After that you're done with writing your essay? And well over half the kids would raise their hands. Yeah. Like, you know, I'm not gonna sign that just so you can like, check. And then have you do this thing to check the box that you did the thing, even though it was totally not helpful for you. So, you know, a lot of prewriting actually, some of my favorite sort of prewriting prep writing is talking with my writing partner, my critique partner, and we kept brainstorm sessions, and just sit there with our notebooks open and throw ideas out there. And oh, well, this guy. Okay, well, what about that? So no, that's not gonna work? I think her job is this. No, no, we've had three characters be librarians lately. You can't do that. Or you know, whatever it is. But talking it out. And you know, people say, Oh, I get writer's block. But talkers block. I've never heard of talkers block, right.
Yong Pratt 33:30
Yeah, that's so interesting. So it brings up a good point about having someone in our lives that we can bounce ideas off of, for certain projects, like having having somebody you who's a fellow author, and you talk things out together. That's hugely beneficial. And I think as women, we sometimes don't like to ask for that help or ask someone to step into a role like that. So if people are out there listening, and they're thinking, Okay, I can really use somebody to bounce ideas off of work, or talk to somebody about things. Can you give us some tips on finding the right people to help us move forward with projects?
Amy Isaman 34:08
Yeah, absolutely.I think I have several different creative thinking partnerships is what I would call them. And I have my writing partner, my critique partner, and obviously, we work on our fiction together. I also have some other groups that I have entrepreneur partnerships. And you know, you and I have gotten together and brainstormed and talked about that. But I do have one friend that we talk weekly, about different ideas and bouncing ideas off of. And then I have another local group of women that I get together with to pretty much monthly and we kind of talk about big, bigger ideas, longer range goals. And I think it's crucial. And I think how you start is there's a couple different ways to approach it. Think about who you might want to work with, whether it's another entrepreneur or I think sometimes it can be very beneficial to have thinking partners who are outside of your actual area, because they have different perspectives that they can offer. And if they come at things from a different way or a different angle, they can offer some different ways for you to think about different things. So but think about somebody who or people who, yeah, not necessarily in the same field, but who would want to meet with you regularly. And then ask my one group here, I, you know, this woman called me, she said, Amy, I, I've always liked you. I met her in a book club years ago, kind of like you like, you know, this was sort of in and out of my life. And she said, I want to have a thinking thinking group, just a group of women that I can get together and talk kind of big ideas with, are you interested? Absolutely. So you can just start it, you know, reach out to people and say, Hey, you know, I'm putting this together, I want to create something in partnerships. And let's try it for a couple months, whether you talk weekly, or every other week or monthly, set up some guidelines, everybody gets to talk for 15 minutes, ask questions. You know, I like a meeting like an official meeting in all of my thinking and partnerships. We have almost an agenda, like, this is how this works. So everybody gets their time and their questions and their they get to be heard. And they also get to sharing, we get to help each other sort of problem solve and brainstorm. And they're incredibly helpful. But I think the first thing is to be intentional about them. Actually, I taught a workshop about on this with my one friend who were in a thinking partnership with and she called a couple weeks ago, and she said, I just wanted to let you know, we taught this workshop last January pre pandemic. And she had talked to several of the women in this that were, I think there are 16 to 17 people in this live workshop. And they had set up thinking creative and creative thinking groups and partnerships, and they were still going and loving loving it. So it is really, really helpful. And it provides connection and it provides. It's it's creative thinking it it deepens your own creativity. So I think be intentional. Think about who you want to maybe work with, and then invite them.
Yong Pratt 37:14
Yes, invite them. The action part, right yet you got to be the thing. We're back to that whole idea again. So Amy, I want to make sure that when people are listening, and they're thinking I need to learn more from Amy, I want to learn more about thinking partnerships or be a better writer or journaling. Where can they find you? And what will they find when they get there?
Amy Isaman 37:35
Where can they find me? They can find me at my website, www.amyisaman.com. It's AmyIsAMan.com and I also have my podcast, Dear Creativity: Let's Play. And I do have an episode and I don't know the episode it's in the 20s I think somewhere on creative thinking partnerships and the value of collaborations in your creative thinking and pushing your thinking and how to set those up and have some more details on that. And so Dear Creativity: Let's Play is in any of the you know podcast directories and online I www. amyisaman.com and mostly over on Instagram lately @amyisamancreative, Facebook
Yong Pratt 38:15
So good! And I think you have some some new books coming out this year right?
Amy Isaman 38:19
I do. I actually well I have a brand new one and a coming out in February called Cold Hard Cache and it is a second in a series but I ended up pulling the first one of that series because I didn't. I wrote the first one without really planning on writing the second one and then I wrote the second one and realized that the first one like I had needed some editing to match. So that was a live and learn experience when you're self publishing you know oops. So they're both coming out read get the first one will be getting re-released with a new cover and a new title called, In the Cards and at the end of this month and then the second one cold hard cash will be coming out the beginning of February and they are it's like Nancy Drew grew up. Trisha Seaver is the main character and she's, it's it's just like mystery kind of fun. Mystery women's fiction. Nothing.
Yong Pratt 39:16
Amy Isaman 39:16
Am I? Yeah, so more, not more novels are coming out. And then I'll be writing a sequel to my first novel after that.
Yong Pratt 39:24
So, so much good stuff coming out. Holy smokes! So yeah, definitely come over to today's show notes just at www.YongPratt.com. Search up Amy's name. All the links she shared with us today will be there. I know I saw the cover of your of the newly released or the re-edited book and I was surprised it was gonna be a new title because I read I think all of your your fiction books so I have to go back and now reread to reread the edited book and then of course we the sequl and the sequel to your other book as well. So Oh my goodness..
Amy Isaman 39:59
So thank you. Yes. It's It's fun. It's a it's fun. And it's fun to work with writers too, and get their stories out. And I've been having a really good time with that. Amazing.
Yong Pratt 40:09
So yeah, if you're listening and you need some help with writing your creativity or ideation and really figuring out, you know which direction to go, Amy is your girl for sure. She helped me so many times figure out some, some some things that I was stuck on and was so great to have somebody on the other side say, Well, what about this? And what about this and ask those really important questions because we sometimes aren't hard enough on ourselves to ask the right questions. So having someone like me, who can lead you through her process of asking questions, to get to where you want to go, is hugely valuable. So Amy, I want to thank you so much for saying yes to this interview. I'm so glad our paths reconnected a couple years ago, and we've been able to do fun things like punk podcasting together. Thank you for being here and sharing today.
Yong Pratt 40:54
Well, thank you so much for having me on. This has been really fun.
Yong Pratt 40:57
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