58: Alana Schramm (Unlocking Creativity and Motivation for Writers)

Danielle Krage interviews Alana Schramm. Alana is a coach who works with the subconscious, the nervous system and emotions, in a way that is really practical, playful, and relevant to creativity. This conversation is a frank and fun dive into what blocks us and what motivates us effectively.

Chapters

00:00 Introduction to Alana Schramm and her work

01:27 Negative emotions and creativity

06:20 Embracing imperfection in writing

10:57 Changing the relationship with yourself for creative flow

13:38 Transitioning from high-energy activities to writing

26:23 The Importance of Making Space and Tending to Our Capacity

27:35 Embracing the Present and Enjoying Life

30:08 Exploring the Power of the Subconscious Mind

32:16 Using Emotions as a Portal to the Subconscious

38:07 The Role of Self-Compassion in the Creative Process

43:24 Celebrating Ourselves: The Key to Motivation and Growth

47:00 Conclusion and Where to Find More Information

You can find Alana here:

https://www.alanaschramm.com

https://www.instagram.com/alana.schramm

CLICK HERE FOR TRANSCRIPT

Danielle (00:00.978)

Hey everybody. Today I have with me the super fabulous Alana Schramm, who is a coach. Look at her. You have to go to YouTube and have a look if you’re listening on audio. She is absolutely fabulous. She is a coach who works with the subconscious and the nervous system and emotions in this really lovely, playful, practical way that I find really inspiring. And it’s so relevant to creativity.

So I’m excited to dig into creativity with Alana, what blocks it, what helps it flow, all the things. But before we dive in, Alana, is there anything else you’d love people to know about you and your work?

Alana

Yeah, just one thing that I absolutely love negative emotions. I feel like it’s one of the keys to unlocking creativity as we’re talking about. And if you’re not absolutely obsessed with your negative emotions, then this is the call, or this is the conversation to listen to.

Danielle (00:59.89)

Yeah, you see, this is why I had to have Alana on. And I’ve been really drawn to Alana’s work because when I heard Alana say that for the first time, I was like, what? Because that’s so far from my own experience of thinking about negative emotions and creativity. And I am like one of those really practical people that’s just like, get it away, shut it out. I don’t want it. It’s in my way. It’s slowing me down. I’ve got writing to do. I don’t want to feel like this, just let me get on with it. So hearing someone speak about negative emotions in a positive way, I found completely alluring and we’re gonna dive into kind of what that actually means.

So to start with a negative emotion, like there’s so many that came up for me when I started writing more strongly than I would have imagined and more so I felt like then in other areas of my life, things like overwhelm, things like pressure, things like uncertainty. For a writer that’s sat down kind of on a Tuesday morning or a Wednesday evening, looking at their blank page about to embark on a scene or a chapter, and they’re feeling all this, like, where do we even start to think of it as anything other than unhelpful and frustrating?

Alana

Yeah, well, I think the first thing is when we have a negative emotion, often times the first thing we’ll do is we’ll like try and defend against it. So we’re already starting out, you know, maybe having energy because we’re feeling this negative emotion. But then on top of that, we’re like fighting against it, which is using even more energy. Let’s say you have 10 units of energy, you’re using two for the negative emotion, then you’re using two to fight it. Now you have six units left instead of the eight that you could be having. So the first thing is kind of just understanding that the combativeness is not necessarily helpful.

And then past that point, there’s like what I believe and what I’ve seen throughout my work is that every single emotion, the positive ones, but also the negative ones, every single emotion carries a benevolent and helpful message. And when we can connect with them, we can understand what that message is. So what was the emotions that you brought up in your example?

Danielle

Yeah. So the first ones that come to mind and I say them because they’re probably the most common for me. One is overwhelm. One is pressure, particularly if I’m like trying to fit it in amongst other things. And the third one’s uncertainty because like there’s so many decisions to be made and is the chapter even going in the right direction? And am I even going to be able to find the solution and like feeling for the words? And so yeah, those three are quite big for me.

Alana Schramm (03:57.938)

Right, right. Okay. So like, let’s take, let’s take overwhelm for a second. Oftentimes with overwhelm, it’s being, it’s present because there’s this perfectionism underlying. So the experience of overwhelm is like, Oh my gosh, there’s too much to do. There’s too much to do and I can’t handle it. So the question is like, why is there, why is there this experience of too much to do if sometimes when we just look at our calendar or whatever, it’s not like, it doesn’t match our experience, which then often compounds like, why am I feeling overwhelmed? There’s even nothing to be overwhelmed about. Um, but there’s, there’s this like perfectionism behind it where it’s like, in order for this work to exist, like in order for this creative work to exist, it needs to be perfect. And so now creating all these oftentimes unachievable standards.

So then we have to work really hard to create those standards. And then we’re getting overwhelmed from that experience. And so why overwhelm is so powerful is because that way of doing things, where you’re creating these unachievable standards is not sustainable in the long run. It’s also not really fun. So you might’ve had the experience of like, okay, I’m gonna, it’s going to be perfect. And I’m going to work really hard and grind, grind, grind and get it done.

And even if you manage to do it, it’s like such a slog. And when your body sort of like pushes back against your forcing yourself to do so much and to do it too perfectly, that’s your body’s way of saying, Hey, what if like there’s a better way that doesn’t have to be like this? So you can imagine if you didn’t have any overwhelm and you were just like continuing on with the perfectionism and the working super hard and the like, pressure and all the things, you just, I mean, you would, right? You would just continue that way forever and just get really tired, but you’d like keep finding a way to keep doing that. With overwhelm, it’s like the part of you that’s saying, no, there’s something different that’s available. There’s something more easeful and more fun and more delightful. So it’s such an amazing experience to have because you might not let yourself stop, but your body is working with you to be like, hey, let’s, yeah, let’s change up how we’re doing things.

Danielle (06:36.37)

Yeah, so where would you even start with like changing that experience? So like if say, so like this week we’re recording this on Thursday, tomorrow I’ve got a writing session in my diary. I think it’s like about four o ‘clock tomorrow and I will like show up at my laptop and I’ll have the  Scrivener app that’s like the writing software.

And almost like no matter how I organise it, I think my brain will still like look at it and be like, there’s so much to do, even if I’m like, no, it’s fine. It’s just this one thing, but it’ll be like, oh gosh, like there’s this or you’re really behind with it or you need to go faster or so…. again, it’s like probably mixing things up. But yeah, what’s what would be like a first step for anyone that finds themselves in that position? Like I have a whole book to write. And then you’re like, no, it’s just a…

Alana Schramm (07:19.73)

Mm. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, no, I love that. I love that example. So there’s two things that comes up for me when I hear you speaking. The first one is…When you’re having this experience of like, there’s too much to do, but there isn’t actually too much, like in a neutral way, when you’re looking at it, it’s like, oh, just sit down and write whatever number of words. When you’re having that experience, again, it’s like, there’s this perfectionism of it has to be perfect, right? So if you’re thinking of like, it has to be perfect, it has to be perfect when you’re writing it, that’s like gonna like contract you, right? Cause you’re like…I don’t know. It’s like, if you go on a, if you go out on a date with somebody and then it’s like, you have to be perfect. You have to say all the perfect things and you have to look perfect and you have to act perfect. You’re just like, Oh, you can’t be in the date, right? You can’t be in that experience because you’re in your mind and not in your body.

So creativity is like a, it’s a partnership between your minds, you know, the brilliance of your mind, but also the inspiration and the intuition and the you know, that like that magic from your body, they were, they’re working together to come out. But if you’re, if you’re super contracted and in perfectionism, you’re only in your mind. And so you’re really again, like slogging to try to, get the words out. So the first sort of, I guess, a more practical, like a practical way of how to deal with that would be to just let it be bad. Just let it be just let it be bad. Let it be easy So sort of one of the the mantras that I have for myself is it doesn’t have to be good It just has to exist.

Like there’s this there’s this myth with perfectionism that we can create something perfect. But that’s that’s not actually what happens. When we’re trying to create something perfect, we often just create a perfect nothing. Whereas the realistic thing that we can create is just something, you know, something good enough. So allowing yourself to experience like, what if I just like wrote garbage? Like, what if I just sat down and it doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be, it just has to be garbage. That’s on my screen or on my paper or whatever it is. And allow that, allow that to exist. The truth is that what you consider garbage is actually not garbage. Somebody who’s like a perfectionist when they create something, it’s actually really good, but it just doesn’t feel perfect. So, but it’s the quality is still really good. o that’s the one piece. And then the second piece is as to what you’re talking about is sort of the way that we motivate ourselves. And generally in society, the way we motivate ourselves is with a punishment paradigm, with this punishment paradigm. And punishment paradigm is a way of managing behaviour, with a threat of punishment. So we have examples of that in society, right? Like you have your parents, like grounding you, you have, you know, like school putting you in detention, you have like prison putting you in like society, putting you in prison. And punishment, is actually a really effective way of preventing behaviors we don’t want, at least in the beginning. It doesn’t actually work long term, but that’s another story. But it doesn’t necessarily encourage the behaviours we do want, right? It actually doesn’t create safety, which is one of the pieces that we need in order to allow creativity to flow. But because punishment is so prevalent in society, it makes sense that that’s also how we motivate ourselves.

But the problem with it is that it uses pressure and shame as fuel. And in order for expression, right, for creativity to flow up, we need vulnerability, which definitely shame does not allow. And we also…you know, needs desire, like right, the desire, the willingness, the wanting to express and pressure counteracts that. So it’s a perfect storm to like, just totally block any kind of creativity. And so taking a look at the relationship that we have with ourselves and shifting away from like punishing ourselves for doing something that’s not desirable and instead, you know, like almost like yourself, you, you the writer you, and then there’s you the, you know, like punisher or, you know, something else. How are these two parts of you interacting? Right.

So oftentimes it’s like the writer you is not doing it correctly and then the observer you who’s observing that writer you is like, you’re bad and you should, you’re lazy and why aren’t you working harder and you should be better and you know, blah, blah, blah. Obviously if you’re receiving that it’s like, oh my God, I’m horrible and you’re not safe and I have to run away from this. And I’m… so it makes sense that we’re gonna respond by like running away or by getting so overwhelmed or like just like, I don’t even wanna write anymore. Or like fighting back. Or just totally freezing. Like, oh, I don’t know what to write. It’s like everything just gets blocked. So yeah, the second piece, like too long to read version is, changing the relationship with yourself where you’re like, oh, hey, writer self. I can see you’re struggling. Like you’re having a hard time. What’s going on with you? Why is this difficult for you? What do you need right now?

And allowing that part of you to be like, you know, actually, like, you’re kind of scaring me with your….you’re kind of scaring me with your criticism. Like, oh, right. Okay. Yeah. I have been criticizing you. That makes sense that you’d be scared. Like what, what, what do you need? It’s like, okay, well, maybe we can create some time to do some writing, but like not the seven hours you’ve been forcing on. Maybe just 20 minutes. And it’s, it’s really amazing when you learn how to communicate with yourself.

And again, like negative emotions is an amazing vehicle for this. You get to actually see what it is you need and how to support yourself. And that’s what allows it to be so much more useful.

Danielle (14:39.602)

Yeah, yeah, no, do it. Because I’ve got so many questions. So the first one I wanted to ask, kind of in follow up to that was, because when you were saying about punishment, I was like, Oh, I wonder, like… part of me thinks I can assume what that would mean. Because obviously in school, like you get like a bad grade or I don’t know, detention. And I was like, I wonder what that looks like as an adult. And then I made a guess that it would be….you saying like critical things to yourself. But I wouldn’t have thought of putting pressure in there as kind of punishment. And I was like, oh, that’s interesting. Because in my sort of unexamined way, pressure just feels like a thing. Like it’s just a thing because you have the things and you’re trying to get the writing done amidst it. I think often it relates to time for me. So it’s just like, I wouldn’t have thought of it as being a punishment. It’s just like, oh, of course there’s pressure because now… I think it’s things like needing to make the most of the time or I’ve only got this much time. So I wondered if you wouldn’t mind speaking a bit to that. I don’t know if I expressed it very clearly, but I’m just super intrigued by what you said.

Alana

Yeah, no, that’s perfect. Yeah, it’s so interesting because there’s like, it’s so hard to use words because as you know, right, as a writer, words have so many nuances and meanings.

Yeah, so like, when you use the word pressure, like there’s so many different nuances and connotations. And so yeah, it’s interesting to like not have specific words for the specific things. But there’s, there’s two kinds of experiences that we put in the same umbrella of pressure, right? So there’s pressure, like what I was talking about, which is like, come on…like you with a whip, like micromanaging yourself and sort of like task mastering yourself, that kind of pressure. And then there’s like, I guess maybe a closer word would be like a kind of loving accountability where there’s like, okay, here are the facts, right? We have like this deadline that’s on this or this time, and this is today and there’s this many, you know, units of time. There’s like this many hours or days or whatever.

And okay, how are we going to support ourselves to get it done in the time that we have left? That’s a totally different way of relating to oneself where it’s like, okay, these are the facts and how can we show up together? Like you have your fear about not being good enough and not, you know, like self doubting and all the things. And then I have my like wanting to help to support you and help you and get to get the things done. How do we work together to make that happen versus the first one I was talking about where it’s like, I don’t care about what’s going on with you. You’re just inherently lazy and problematic and you never get things done and your ideas are bad. I mean, it’s really an energy of domination, right? Where one person is like I know the correct thing and you don’t know the correct thing and I’m going to tell you what to do and you better, like I’m going to beat you into submission versus like we are co -creating together.

And it’s even like the fact you’re slowing me down quote unquote is helpful, right? Because like, maybe it’s not about like squeezing everything out of me as fast as possible. And it’s about like enjoying the process and I can’t enjoy the process when I’m like… so both sides have something to contribute. I wonder if it’s like that a little bit.

Danielle

Yeah, for sure. And so many things I want to ask about that, but because like you mentioned the body and I think like for a long time, and this may be true for quite a few writers, not all, but certainly I know other friends too, like there’s so much that goes on in the head and the imagination. And that can be like a visceral thing too, but certainly also like sitting with a book and reading, you actually don’t really need to move apart from turning the page, or sitting writing. And then when you come to write, you’re sat still and it can be like…so I think there’s just so many different factors. One, the body is literally not moving and two, there’s so much activity in the brain that like definitely there’ve been periods where I’ve had to be like…because it’s so easy to almost like forget you have a body. It’s like, what would…when you come back to be connected, it can be quite hard.

And so this is a very long way of trying to set a bit of context but then also ask about a specific situation which is….because it sounds like you’re just so much more in touch with your body than I am. What can someone like me do who’s sitting down and has some awareness of their body and for example has like a jangly sensation because they might have been on the go all day so it might be…me having like, I run a business, I’m doing lots of things and then I might need to sit down and write. And in a different situation, I can use that like, adrenalized, excited, like lots of jangly energy. I can move about and it’s fine. But when you sit down to write and you need to like slow down and I definitely need to like work at a slower pace to be able to go into a scene and visualize it. Like any helpful tips. And for someone else, it might be that they’ve been managing their family and their kids, or they’ve come off the phone with people. That transition time into writing can be quite tricky, I think. So I just wondered what you’d have to say about that.

Alana

Yeah, okay, so first of all, I love the term jangly energy. Like that’s, that’s such a vibe.

Danielle

Yeah, it’s very scientific.

Alana

Yeah. Okay, I love that. So the first thing I’ll say is like, I would change your saying that you’re not in touch with your body, or I guess you said you’re not as in touch with your body. But like, your recognition of like your sort of transitions or ways of thinking about that, the sort of patterns is so, is right, because you’re kind of recognizing, okay, so there’s like the jangly energy. There’s like the jangly energy that’s like maybe helpful and helping me get through like different, you know, other parts of my business. And then when it comes to writing, it’s not as helpful. So,  even in knowing that pattern, it’s like super helpful because now you get to, now you get to sort of plan for the reality of how your body works, right? So, you know that like, okay, so I’m gonna go out into the world with this sort of energy and then it’s gonna take me a second to like sort of come down or to like become present to this new activity. So I think like, for example, some people who may not be aware of that would just like transition from one to the other and just like expect like a go, go, go, let’s just start writing, let’s just start doing the thing. Versus if you know that work, you can kind of insert into your sort of scheduling some time to reorient to your new  task that you’re doing.

I think part of the way that the world works is where we’re like, we’re just going around doing things like at speed, like I’m moving from one thing to the next and not really allowing ourselves to settle into new environments. So like, I don’t know if you’ve ever had a pet and you know, you bring them into like a new house or something, a new environment, they’re like, they’re kind of like sniffing around and they’re, you know, it takes them a second to be like, oh, okay, we’re here now and we’re doing this now. So it could be like, what, what would it look like to give yourself time to transition from, you know, jangly energy activities to the slower pace. So inserting or allowing yourself, giving yourself permission to take some time to do that as a first step.

And then like practically, yeah, there’s lots of things. There’s lots of things from like the somatic accessing world. One of the most amazing tools that I love that’s so simple is just like physically orienting. So like really taking you know, even like 30 seconds or 10 seconds even to just like look, let your eyes slowly roll over your room and just start noticing things that are pleasant to look at. And that’s, you know, in your mind, you’re like, well, I know what’s in my room and I know what I like, but it’s, it’s actually in your animal body, to have that experience because it’s, its separate, right? It’s a separate being than your mind, your animal body can be like, oh, okay, we’re here now and okay, there’s that plant over there and like there’s that photo over there. And naturally it will start to be recognize that it’s a new environment and it’s safe now and it gets to… so that’s just one of the things.

Danielle (24:11.602)

Yeah, no, I love that. And it’s interesting because I think, oh, I don’t know, I wish I’d had this, some of this vocabulary…. Well, you hear it when you need to hear it, don’t you?…. But definitely like a couple of years ago, there were just certain things I would do that just didn’t make sense to me, that from what you’re saying makes such sense in terms of like that feeling of like, well, why would you think this is unsafe? It’s just this. Like, why would you…certainly like the urge to check things that seemed to almost make no sense in terms of almost like environmental checking of even checking that the pen’s got the cap on or checking that…but in this way that feels like really, like when you say it like an animal, it’s like, yeah, exactly. So I’ve had both a cat and a dog and the way that they would come in and it like feels like that. But I would always think it was just like nonsense. And do you know what I mean? And ridiculous and annoying to have those kind of things. But then it’s like…but I’ve done them, I’m sure lots of people have too, since I was a little kid, checking the books are lined up a certain way or checking the, you know, like there is something in that. So I think it’s really helpful to sort of hear and certainly now I think it’s far from nonsense. Yeah. So super interesting. But you’ve got such brilliant ways of explaining things. I both know and don’t know that we do have an animal body. So when you say it like with the animal coming into the environment, I’m like, yeah, that’s so true. But then sometimes I’m like, no, you should be better than this.

Alana

Yes like, it’s such a…I mean, we all do that. It’s like, that’s how we’ve been conditioned and, you know, sort of like trained in society is to be like mind over matter. And, you know, it’s like rationality above all else. And we’re not really, you know, we’re trained to be as productive as possible to whatever, right… like all the toxic capitalism and stuff. And to see obstacles to productivity or to performance as like something bad. I mean, that’s even, I mean, we could really extend that out into like, that’s the problem with the environment, right? It’s like, we’re just trying to create, create, create without taking any of like…. how that’s impacting other things beyond the product. Um, and yeah, we’re not, we’re not meant to be constantly moving and doing.

There’s making space for the capacity that we have. And we all have different amounts of capacity and, actually tending to our capacity and understanding like, okay, this is what my body needs in this moment is to take a second to transition that actually creates so much more energy and motivation. So that even if you took like, you know, you invested a few, whatever seconds or minutes taking care of your body. The return you get on that is so huge. So we’re so reluctant to slow down, but sometimes slow actually like really lets you speed up. And even if you don’t speed up and you just end up, you know, the same speed or even slower hypothetically – often you do speed up – But even if you didn’t, it’s just so much more enjoyable, right? Like what are we, we’re like rushing, rushing, rushing, and then we’re going to die. So, you know, like let’s like enjoy, right? The parts, the parts that are like all parts of our life. Sorry to be so morbid.

Danielle (28:15.058)

Noo, no. You’re, you’re in the right place for that. I’m obsessed with death. And it’s why II write comedy is so I can think about death without feeling so bad. You can like, yeah, so it’s all good. Yeah. That’s one of the reasons why I love it. You can look at all this…. Well everyone has their own kind of comedy, but I like it because I can be my weird little existential self, but in a way that I can deal with. So I can think about all the things… like at the minute I’m writing, a book that’s… because I think romcoms are amazing, but I don’t see so many books, particularly for young adults about breakups. And I’m super interested in that. But for me, it wouldn’t be right for me. I wouldn’t enjoy it… to write a book about a breakup that’s just a drama. Whereas if you actually then turn it into a comedy with all the things that kind of happened with that.

And interesting, like you, you, you talk about like the relationship with self and in my book I’ve got, she does a Ouija board hoping….Well, there’s all kinds of things I won’t go into for the story… but that the dead grandfather is going to come through, but actually the ghost of her seven -year -old self comes through, which was not something that I intended to have. So you’ve got like the main character who’s 17 with her seven -year -old ghost and it’s the relationship between them. And so…which leads onto the subconscious I wanted to ask you about, because I didn’t ask my subconscious to give me that, but clearly I am quite obsessed by trying to think about myself at different stages because I do find it quite uncomfortable to think about and kind of janky to think about. So I do it through comedy, but I also know that you’re really good about like that relationship with self in other ways. So there’s two different things I want to ask you about and we’ll see if we’ve got time that stem from that. But one is the subconscious because I think about the subconscious in relation to story and some writers and my, and for example, like I…I think Ray Bradbury, he’s not alive anymore, but he’s an author and he really talks about mining the subconscious in a really fun way for all the kind of treasures that it gives you. But I know that in your work, you use the subconscious in your work and you probably have quite a different meaning. We talked about how words have these different meanings, you probably have a different meaning because it’s not a story lens, but I’m super curious to know how you think about the subconscious. I know that’s just like a 30 second answer. It’s just like a huge question I’ve just lobbed on you. What do you think about the subconscious, Alana?

Alana Schramm (29:55.89)

Yeah. Yeah, what’s the meaning of life? First of all, that book sounds awesome. That sounds, yeah, I feel like there’s such a gap. There isn’t that, what you’re creating, so that’s super exciting. Okay, what is the, how do I see the subconscious?

Danielle

Yeah. In your work, like it’s one of the things that’s listed on your website as things that you work with, like why do you think you’re drawn to the subconscious or interested in the subconscious?

Alana Schramm (30:26.674)

Yeah, so our conscious mind makes up such a small part of our mind, you know, our willpower, our intention, sort of like the awareness that we have, like day to day, that makes up such a small percentage of our reality. Actually, our subconscious is what holds, you know…and there’s different percentages, right? Like 10 % or 5 % or whatever, there’s like different… But basically, our subconscious houses the majority of the way we see the world of our beliefs of our behaviour, like for the reasoning behind behaviours. So it’s really like, why we do the things that we do, or why we don’t do the things that we want to do, or why we, you know, self sabotage, which is not something I believe in. It’s not…not a thing, but anyways, what poeple see as self -sabotage. It’s all housed and living in the subconscious. So yeah, I think everybody should be like super obsessed and interested in their subconscious because that’s like, you know, why they are the way that they are.

And yeah, and again, like, emotions why I’m so obsessed with emotions is emotions are a  portal into our subconscious because our conscious minds are you know, it’s the world of thought and rationality and then that…. it doesn’t translate into our… you can’t like think your way You can’t think your way to like so, okay. Let’s use an example. Let’s say you don’t believe that you’re Good enough. Like you had an experience at a certain age where like somebody said that your work was not good or whatever. And then it’s like…Oh, I’m not good enough. The work I do is not good enough. Actually even I’m not good enough. And that’s like a deep-seated belief. So then you’re going to what comes out into your conscious world is like everything I do, there’s like this desire to prove myself or, or to like, try to earn my worthiness or earn love from people or earn like accolades because like deep down, I don’t believe that I’m worthy.

And if we’re just staying in the, you know, rational mind and conscious mind and we’re like changing our thoughts, like I know I am good enough. No, you know, like just do the thing. And we’re never actually getting to the, you know, the place where it’s like, Oh, there’s a part of me that’s like holding this belief that’s actually feeling really like alone and isolated and insecure and super vulnerable. We’re just like out here in the conscious world trying to like, you know, feel better about ourselves. But when we have a negative emotion, like, you know, whatever our boss says, like, oh…typo or whatever. And then we have this like reaction when we can go into the emotion safely. It allows us, it creates like a direct path to that part of ourselves that, you know, sustained this wound and we get to like talk to her and, you know, give her what she needed at that time that she wasn’t able to get at that time.

 And yeah, again, it’s like the negative emotion, the emotion that comes through, that’s like the portal that like connects the conscious and the subconscious together. So yeah, it’s such an incredible source of healing and of power. Oh, and the other thing that I didn’t mention is that like, if the part of you that’s in your subconscious, that’s like, let’s say hurt or wounded… Because she’s hurt and wounded, she’s contracting and, you know, like hiding or, you know, whatever. That when she gets to be seen and like tended to and cared for and like, oh, actually, it’s okay. I’m fine. Like, I’m not terrible. I’m not a terrible person. Then she gets to be the version of herself that she would like to be…who she really is when she’s not like hiding with her wound, right? So, so in that healing, it’s like that releases so much, I mean, stuff that you couldn’t even create in your conscious mind, right? Like it could be like, Oh, I’m actually really creative or like, Oh, I’m actually like… the part of me that like wants to have loads of fun, or you know a powerful planner or whatever. There’s like all sorts of gifts that are like, that are sort of being held by the wound because it’s like, I can’t, it’s not safe for me to show up….that when that part feels safety, it’s like, oh…there’s so many, so it’s kind of like we can go into our subconscious and like find all these parts and like release all these gems and all these like treasures and gifts that we, yeah, that are just like stored and waiting for us to come and find them.

Danielle (36:15.058)

Oh, I just love how you speak about it. It makes it sound exciting as opposed to kind of terrifying, which I love. So working with Alana is a treat, to be able to do that. And just a couple of things to say. What’s so interesting is that I think I like have been, oh, you might correct me for saying this…but how it would fall out of my mouth is quite slow to realize this in my real life. But it’s so interesting that comedy is actually kind of based on this. Iin the sense of like…. you talk a lot more in story and certainly in comedy about the character’s wounds that are making them act a certain way, or other sort of story systems will be talking about the character’s ghosts…. like things that have happened to them that kind of need reconciling. And there’s all this stuff that’s woven into story forms that acknowledges different things that have happened and how we do or don’t reconcile them.

But then as a person, you can still think, oh yeah, I’m just gonna….It shows up in the stories, but in your real life, you’re still like, oh, but actually you need to just get a diary and a planner and it’s all very logical and all very rational and this is how we do it and it doesn’t apply. So it’s so interesting to have that sort of like different worlds. Fascinating. I want to ask you just one more question before we wrap up, I could ask you 50 more, which is that, so you talked a bit about the punishment and what that can look like in terms of how we talk to ourselves, the environments….and I don’t…this might be a really hard question, but it’s like, what’s the flip side? Because I feel like in the writing community, and I understand why, in an effort to not do that, there’s quite a lot of talk about reward and being things like cake or getting to go to a coffee shop and not to diss that at all, I think, whatever makes the experience more enjoyable, that’s not a bad thing.

But in society, like in the same way, I think like when we think about how we like celebrate things, still the first things that will come to my head is like going out for pizza or for some people that would be having a drink. I don’t drink, so it’s not that for me, but still those other things. But if we were like trying to expand that out. What else, when you’re thinking about motivation, do you think is actually effective in terms of it being a reward without being like, now this is a session and now you get your cake? Does that make sense?

Alana

Yeah, that totally makes sense. That’s such a great question. I think it’s, I think things are not as complicated as we make them. So I think like when it’s outside of ourselves, we can really like… it’s very small, but then when it’s with ourselves, it starts getting a bit like to use your word janky, which I love.

Let’s say you, I don’t know, take a, like a partnership, right? Like a romantic partnership. And let’s say there’s the creative you that’s like, let’s say we’ll just use an example of like a heterosexual couple, like that’s the woman in the relationship. And then there’s like the guy in the relationship that’s, you know, the, like the one who’s observing the writer self. So like, let’s say, he is like really not very nice to the woman like constantly like… kind of hey you’re not good enough and you should be… you should dress up better and you should… whatever like not being very nice and then um once in a while he’ll be like… oh now i’m gonna give you some cake for the thing that you did correctly. Like oh well i mean okay that’s cool but that doesn’t… It’s like, it’s context dependent, right? Like a cake in that environment, it’s probably not gonna do very much.

Really, it’s like, think about the kind of relationship that you’d wanna have with your friends or with your partner or whatever with your family. Like, how do you wanna be treated? It’s like, you want there to be, I mean, I’ll speak for myself, like support, right? Like support, trust, like I believe in you, you can do this, right? And then also there’s like support like… and oh you’re going through a hard time, like what what do you need and then like how do you want to be celebrated right like… oh just see me recognize me. We don’t necessarily need like you know external reward. I mean that is also great for sure right but it’s like the external reward ideally it’s like coming from this like internal relationship.

So like…Oh, Hey, wow. You, this was a really hard thing for us. You did it. Like you did this for us. You sat down, you wrote it out. You’re confident. It wasn’t like perfect, but you still like sat down and you wrote it and they see you and they so appreciate you and you’re amazing. Like, thank you so much for doing that. And then, you know, from that place, maybe it’s like, okay, maybe let’s go, you know, get some cake or go to a movie or, you know, buy a thing. Whatever it may be, that’s just like icing on the cake.

But the real rewards, like the way that we’re receiving ourselves, like it feels so good to celebrate ourselves, right? To like, I mean it can be as simple what am I celebrating myself for today? Like, what are the good things that I did today? Or like the things that, and not just like successes, right? Like I accomplished something, but also in terms of like effort, right? Like you did your best. Like you sat down for 20 minutes and you wrote for 20 minutes. Okay, we had an hour block, but you wrote for 20 minutes. Like that’s, like I’m seeing you. That starts building this relationship of trust where it’s like, oh, it’s like, it’s safe for me to take risks and show up and do work because I’m…Not only are you not going to yell at me, but you’re going to celebrate efforts. That makes me want to do more for you. That makes me want to show up more right.

Because any kind of creativity is inherently a little bit like, it’s a little bit risky. It’s a little bit vulnerable because you’re showing who you really are. And sometimes showing who you are doesn’t feel safe, right? And the first person who meets you is yourself. And if you show yourself and you meet yourself like you’re garbage, you’re not, it’s not good enough. The natural, so normal, right? The response is to like shy away and like avoid and not, you know…or just do something, you know, like whatever, I don’t even care. Like there’s so many protective mechanisms we have because the way we meet ourselves is just so unsafe. So yeah, it just comes back to like, how can we create this like really safe, supportive, relationship with ourselves that allows us to like show up as our, you know, as our full selves.

Danielle

Yeah, oh, thank you. You have the best ways of describing things that make so much sense to me. Because even as you were talking about like that example with the guy, I just could feel myself being like, no, that’s unacceptable. Like, whereas, oh, well, I’m sure lots of people too have that, have so many experiences and still do. Like in some ways, I feel like it would be easier to identify if I was really, really mean to myself, but normally it’s more just kind of. Just like, mm, yeah, mm. But first, I would never do that to somebody else. It’s just kind of like, yeah, yeah, it’s okay, yeah, okay, not too bad.

Alana

Yeah. And I do talk a lot about this, like more aggressive, like… you shouldn’t be. It doesn’t always look like that, right? It’s like kind of relationship dynamics. So there’s like more like, you know, like aggressive, but there’s also the, the opposite which is like more neglectful, like….Oh, whatever, like… there you go again watching Netflix when you’re supposed to be working, like whatever, like yeah, just do whatever you want, I don’t care. Like there’s this like… or you know, it’s like, I just think, sometimes I think of myself as like a little kid and I am like… look at this thing that I did. And then, you know, like being met with… that’s good, okay, whatever. Just like come back when you have something more like amazing to show me. And then like the heartbreak of like, oh, oh. Okay, well, I won’t show you my drawings anymore because you don’t, you’re not very nice. I’m going to…. just won’t do drawings anymore.

Yeah. So there’s like neglect, neglect is all like a way that we can, we can show up for ourselves. And I think even like with, when we think sometimes even getting this relationship of trusting ourselves where it’s like…okay, I’m not going to like create all these like strict rules for you to follow through. Um, that’s can seem really scary because sometimes we’re afraid that if we don’t have all of these like micromanaging…or pressure that we’re just going to do nothing. And so we associate trusting ourselves with just like leaving ourselves to the wolves. And that’s not trust, right? That’s like neglect. Trust is, is not just like abandoning oneself. It’s, it’s creating a container of like, okay. This is too much and this is not enough and like what do you need to feel  capable of moving forward? And how can I support you with that? Right like not creating too much pressure but also not like leaving you and not you know not creating any sense of like accountability or presence.

Danielle

Yeah, that’s so helpful. And thank you so much for all you’ve generously shared today, Alana. I love learning from you. I’ve taken one of Alana’s courses and it really helped me and I’m excited to work with her in the future. And thank you so much for coming and sharing with listeners some of these ways of thinking about creativity that might be new to you. And there’s so much more to learn. It’s very exciting. So thank you, Alana.

Alana Schramm (46:06.962)

Thank you so much!

Danielle

And where can people go to find out more about you and your work.

Alana Schramm (46:11.954)

Yeah, so I think it’s in the show notes. My name is a little bit hard to spell, but it’s alanaschramm .com is my website. You can sign up for my email list. I send out emails sort of sporadically, but yeah, the main place that I hang out is on Instagram. So I’m at alanaschramm on Instagram and the spelling and stuff will be, I guess, in the show notes.

Danielle (47:19.922)

It will be. Yeah. They will definitely be in the show notes. And Ihighly recommend following Alana because Alana has just such brilliant ways of explaining things in an area that I find quite difficult to engage with sometimes. So I’m like, I don’t have time for that. Alana has always got this way of explaining it where it just like, oh, I actually want to try that. I actually want to do that. Like that sounds fun, not scary. So awesome. Thank you so much.

Alana Schramm (47:04.274)

Yes, I love that. Thank you so much for having me. This was so fun. It was so nice to hang out with you.