Good Thursday morning!
I hope this week has been good to you :) Today I have another super inspiring creative to share- wonderfully talented writer, Gina!
I linked up with Gina on instagram after someone I follow, posted her work and I’ve been hooked ever since! GG has such a warm and genuine spirit that truly transcends the realm of social media. Her writings made me feel like I knew her, so much that when we did finally meet in person, it was like chatting with an old friend :)
Her awesome hair can’t go without mention either, because it’s probably no secret that I love hair! Just not on my own head of course lol. GG and I had a great time together and her interview is one of my new faves!
So, without further ado, meet Gina!
What is your name?
I go by GG Renee online but most people call me Gina or GG.
Where are you located:
What do you do?
I’m an independent author and coach. I help women explore their complexity and layers through writing. I never would have guessed that my career would take such a drastic turn. I worked in financial services for 12 years before I quit in 2013 to work for myself. I’d started blogging in 2009 and that was where this journey started.
How long have you been a writer?
I started freelancing professionally in 2012. My first paid gig was blogging for Carol’s Daughter’s natural hair blog. I think that was when I started seriously considering what life would be like as a full-time writer. But I struggled with believing in myself. I compared myself to “real writers” and I didn’t think I was worthy of the title, even after I was getting paid to do it. Eventually, I realized that I was letting fear and self-doubt stop me from doing what made me happy. There was a shift in my mindset and since then - even when I was still working the 9 to 5 - I started identifying as a writer and when people asked me what I did, that is what I said. I had to own it. Claim who I was and who I wanted to be.
How did you become interested in writing and when did you know you wanted to make a career out of your passion?
I’ve always loved to write but I never took it seriously as a potential profession. When I was younger, I wrote stories and plays. Long love notes, letters and poems. I kept affirmations, quotes and scriptures posted up all around me everywhere all the time. This was just what I did, and I didn’t think of it as a passion or calling. My mother pushed me towards business and science and even though those things didn’t inspire me, I never considered that I could do anything else until my late twenties. As an adult, I lost touch with my imagination and I told myself that I wasn’t a creative person. I reached a scary low point in my life and I went to see a therapist who encouraged me to start writing again. Writing helped me find purpose in my struggles and I discovered a passion for leveraging my own problems to help others. Soon after, I started blogging and I found my sweet spot in helping women wake up from unsatisfying lives, fall in love with themselves again and live more creatively.
Who are some of your influences/inspirations?
My big sister inspires me as a woman, an entrepreneur and a constant source of support and love. My writing career has been strongly influenced by other writers who I have seen leverage blogging and social media to create their own path and build their dream careers. Seeing others do this gave me courage to carve out my own space and create my own dream job too. Creatively, I am inspired by so many. I love the radical self-expression work of Akilah Richards. The consciousness and desire work of Danielle Laporte. The concise expansiveness of Nayyirah Waheed. There are too many to name. All in all, I feel most connected to creative non-fiction writers who delve deep into the hearts and minds of women.
What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on so far?
My first print book, The Beautiful Disruption. It’s my favorite because it was my first and because it’s so raw and personal. It’s written in free verse, like a stream of consciousness. The book takes an intimate look at what is going on in the main character’s mind as she’s trying to make sense of a difficult situation and expand from it. It’s part of my story and part of every woman’s story who has struggled with their past, with self-worth and speaking up for themselves. It’s about that epic heartbreak, disappointment or rock bottom that triggers us to wake up. Ultimately, I see myself with a platform of artful, introspective books that capture nuances of the feminine emotional experience.
What other types of creative work do you do?
I create workbooks, e-books, guided journals, and online courses. I coach women one on one. I make t-shirts. I’ve recently started cultivating a line of essential oil blends to help women naturally enhance their emotional health and well-being. This year, I will also be focusing on becoming a dance and fitness instructor. Dance is another passion of mine that I neglected for many years and I want to incorporate into my livelihood.
What inspires you?
My children. Being around creative, self-possessed women. Seeing people follow their dreams. The old me, because she shows me how far I’ve come. People who are not afraid to fully express themselves and be passionate. My Aunt Mi-Mi because she is 79 years old and she’s an active mixed media artist and a healer and she doesn’t live with any limitations.
What keeps you motivated?
My children. Mortality. Wanting to suck as much life in and pour as much of myself out while I can. The desire to wake women up who were like me, unhappy and unsatisfied and scared to figure out why. My mom. She has schizophrenia and went undiagnosed for years. Warning signs were swept under the rug. People didn’t talk about their emotional issues. I want to be a part of changing that and encouraging women to value their mental, emotional, spiritual and creative health as much as their physical health. I believe that what’s good for your mind and spirit is good for your body and vice versa.
Any advice to fellow creatives (in your industry or otherwise)?
For other writers and/or bloggers who are struggling to find their niche in the landscape: Keep writing. Write everyday. Challenge yourself. Share your work. Believe in it even when no one else does. You have to read and write consistently to get better and you have to share your work consistently to develop a thicker skin and become more confident. Don’t compare yourself. Start each day fresh, no matter how wonderful or horrible the day before was. Don’t be too affected by praise or criticism. Strive for authenticity and personal growth, not perfection.
Any other fun tidbits we should know about you?
My most important role is being a mama. I live under the influence of three kids - 12, 9 and 4. One boy, two girls. Their father and I are long-time partners, college sweethearts. I love music and I’m always dancing and wiggling. I love big hair and natural beauty products and I could talk about both all day. I live in t-shirts and jeans. I’m an introvert and becoming more and more so, the older I get. I’m social, but I need lots of alone time or I get cranky. My favorite places are libraries and book stores, thrift shops, dance studios, beaches, cozy boutiques with handmade products, my friends’ living rooms and anywhere my kids can let loose and be free without breaking anything. I love women’s circles, breaking bread with people, inspiring conversation, exchanging energy with vibrant souls. I am endlessly curious about the complexity of women. How strong we are. How deep our love is. How we hold the world together. I write to help women remember how powerful they are.