Join writer Erica Reid on this episode of the Founded in FoCo podcast to discover a new way to break out of your creative rut and end writer’s block.
You can also check out Erica’s panel live at Founded in FoCo here: https://foundedinfoco2023.sched.com/event/1GKlu/guided-meditation-for-writers-forest-vespers?iframe=no
For more on Erica Reid, visit EricaReidPoet.com
The Founded in FoCo Podcast is hosted by Nick Armstrong, Lead Organizer of Founded in FoCo and Geek-in-Chief of WTF Marketing. Hear more great interviews with founders in and around Fort Collins at: https://foundedinfoco.com
*automated with minimal editing, may contain errors or typos
Erica Reid 0:00
I think that it is important both as a creative and just as a business minded person to always be expanding our toolbox of the things that work for us the things that get us thinking of the things that inspire us, of the things that keep that element of surprise in our life. And in our mind, and this is just one of those many things.
Nick Armstrong 0:25
Hey, I’m Nick Armstrong, and this is the Founded in FoCo podcast. We dive in deep with local business owners and creatives on topics of interest to them and to you, and hopefully helped make you a better business professional. Today, I’m here with Eric Reid, who is a writer. Erica, tell us about your business.
Erica Reid 0:43
Hi, Nick, thank you so much for having me. I work professionally in marketing, mostly for arts organizations. My biggest client is with the Colorado Music Festival, which is a classical musical festival, classic music festival in Boulder. And they’re also a music school as well. I do marketing for them in all kinds of writing. And actually interviews like these, we interview the faculty for the music school that we operate. But on the side, I’m also a freelance writer, I have written a lot of brochure content and things like that, for mostly orchestras, but also theatres opera, sort of the entire arts world. At at the conference, I’m actually teaching a class, it’s more along the creative side of things. Because I’m also a creative writer, I’m a poet, I just finished my MFA degree this summer, actually. And I’ve been looking for ways to use my creative passion to connect to the local community. And so I thought that founded in photo conference was a really great opportunity to do that. You have all of these people who, even though we’re thinking in like a logical business sort of oriented way, all these businesses start off with creativity with an idea. And so the session that I’m bringing to the conference is a, I call it a guided meditation, which I know can sound kind of woowoo. But it’s really just a way to surprise your mind to come up with new ideas that that are already in there, and maybe you don’t recognize. So for instance, if I said to you, you know, think of the color of a flower, you would come up with a color right away in your mind. And it probably be different than the color that other people sitting next to you might have. And so I’m leading people through prompts, to help sort of surprised their minds in that way, so that they can come up with creative ideas. And it doesn’t have to be for a poem or a story, although that’s, you know, that’s what I use these sessions for. But just in general, if you’re wanting to shake off, you know, shake off the cobwebs a little bit and have fun creativity creatively. That’s sort of what I’m after.
Nick Armstrong 3:04
And this is part of your personal creative process that you use in your own work. And you find that it helps you to get right in the zone, because writer’s block is a real thing. It’s a tricky thing. We all of us have stared at the blank Word page, or the blank WordPress screen, and thinking about what we’re going to write about next. And this sort of gets around that, right?
Erica Reid 3:24
Yes, we say, we say no surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader, meaning the most interesting creative work that you will create also surprises yourself. And it’s incredibly hard to get into that space, where you’re writing something you didn’t even know you thought, or you know, come up with an idea that you didn’t even know you had. And so leading through these sorts of prompts, where you don’t know where I’m taking you there, just something to react to, I think really helps you come up with things you would never have come up with on your own. If you just sat down in front of the blank page. And you were like, Alright, I’m going to write something. Now. That’s an incredibly difficult place to be in for any for any creative. And this is just one of many ways to get something interesting on the page that you didn’t expect an hour ago you would ever write.
Nick Armstrong 4:15
You’re writing for symphonies, how do you generate surprise, in a pamphlet that’s going to be seen for like five minutes, maybe as they walk in as their program or something else like that? How do you generate and cultivate surprise?
Erica Reid 4:28
Oh, isn’t that the question? You know, a lot of people ask me, so both my my undergrad, my bachelor’s degree and my master’s are both in poetry. And people asked me a lot if I ever use my degree and my job. And I say, what could be more like poetry than trying to write about music? In a few words? It really it’s a poem because music doesn’t want to be written about it wants to be heard. That’s the way that you know it wants to convey its emotion and its meaning and its purpose. It doesn’t want to be summed up in a sentence or two. And so I really do try to take all of my craft as a poet, and bring it into marketing, because we’re trying to elicit a feeling an emotion, like how not what is the music about? that’s rarely the interesting thing. But how is it going to make me feel? How is it going to move me? And so the work of describing that, like you said, in a brochure you’re gonna flip through is, is difficult, and really of the fun challenge of my professional life.
Nick Armstrong 5:45
And when it’s done, well, you take that brochure home, because that concert was so impactful to you, and it lines up with your expectations. And it sort of sets the scene for the folks coming into the, to the moment of the orchestra allows them to succeed.
Erica Reid 6:00
Yeah, I mean, you should, you should hear these conversations I have with like our music director, when I’m writing this copy, and we’re talking about, you know, because I say a classic music festival, but our festival does a lot of contemporary music, it’s really important to champion new voices and, and make sure that we are commissioning composers to write about what’s happening today, and, and bring that to life through music. And so trying to write these things, but often I’m describing a piece of music that hasn’t been finished yet. It’s not written yet. And I’m talking to our music director about not, you know, again, not just what it’s about not the story that it’s telling, but okay, how is this music going to make me feel or as far as you know, what is the composer telling you about? The the mood, the tone? Is it upbeat? Is it you know, melancholic, like, how does this piece feel? It can be really challenging, and to be doing that, not just about Beethoven’s works that have been analyzed for hundreds of yours, but something that is being written as, as we speak. It’s it’s really interesting space to play as, as a writer and marketer.
Nick Armstrong 7:15
Do you find yourself going back to a particular type of like guided meditation for different types of work, like there, you know, or even like soundscapes, or other things like that, that help you get in the right zone?
Erica Reid 7:29
Oh, my gosh, Nick. So here’s, here’s the thing I find about about writing creatively is that nothing works twice. You can’t, you can’t find the same way into a new poem this twice, I mean, it lightning doesn’t strike that same way. And so I find that I need to have a wide cadre of, of tools of exercises of prompts. A lot of times, the only thing that will work for me is walking outside that sort of embodied poetics. If you’ve ever heard that, I really believe that, you know, that is a really good way to sort of get the creative engines running is just walking, you know, in one of our gorgeous open spaces here, just walk, and something will come unless you expect it to, you know, so one of the reasons I wanted to offer this during founded in foco, is just to give people one more tool for the toolbox. And this guided meditation that I have this one is called forest Vespers. Because it’s all sort of the imagery is all sort of rooted and like Imagine you’re walking through a forest and then you see this, what is it and write it down that kind of thing. But I have written several of these guided meditations because that one’s not going to work again. It’s no longer surprising, throw it out, we need something new all the time. And so you know, if I would say if you attend my guided workshop, and it really works for you get in touch with me because I have other ones because the this listen is only going to work once. But I think that it is important both as a creative and just as a business minded person to always be expanding our toolbox of the things that work for us the things that get us thinking of the things that inspire us of the things that keep that element of surprise in our life and in our mind and this is just one of those many things.
Nick Armstrong 9:38
What you’re saying is make a playlist with plenty of binaural frequencies but throw in some Pitbull and some Shakira as well.
Erica Reid 9:45
Exactly. I really think I really think it all comes down to that surprise because as soon as we get comfortable. As soon as we get comfortable, it all sort of flattens out and we We need that we need that next hit of something new.
Nick Armstrong 10:05
What is the piece that you are most proud of?
Erica Reid 10:08
How, you know, how do you choose? So I just finished my MFA, as I mentioned, and you graduate with a thesis, which is a publishable manuscript that may become your first book, or it may become the skeleton of your first book. And I’m incredibly proud of that, which is cheating, because it’s, all of my best poems are collected. The other answer that comes to mind is that I have been working on poetry reviews, lately, that’s a new craft for me. And I, I was intimidated by it at first, because I thought you had to know everything about poetry before you could begin to write a review of someone’s book. But the way I was taught, and the way I’m really enjoying is that it’s not about you know, picking apart and really critically analyzing this book, it’s about celebrating it, it’s about telling someone who’s just going to read a short thing about it, telling someone why they should read it, what’s incredible about it, why it’s different from every poetry book. And if you know, as you may hear from the career that I have, the professional career that I have, I just love lifting up the arts. And so this has become a new way for me to lift up. Other poets, poets don’t, you know, they don’t have budgets to promote their books, it’s always sort of a fledgling thing. And these reviews can really help get the word out about your new book. And so it’s become a really interesting way for me to connect to new writers and support the work that they’re doing. And it makes me incredibly proud to be doing that work.
Nick Armstrong 11:58
Do you feel like outside of the realm of music, that poetry and a small business are our partners that would merge well?
Erica Reid 12:10
Poetry belongs in every space, sort of, like I was saying about writing that brochure earlier, and how you sort of have to take a poetic lens to how do I condense this large hour long Symphony down to like a sentence or two to describe it, I find that an act of poetry. But poetry is all about listening, and empathy, gratitude awareness of the world writing craft. And I mean, show me the small business that those things don’t have a place in, I just, I refuse to believe it. The the care with which we treat customers, the act of listening to improve our products, the craft of writing that we use in all of our materials to make sure that that headline, or that social media post or whatever is in the right tone, and saying the thing that we want it to say all of these are elements of poetry, and I think that they feed on each other. Just as I feel like I bring my poetic practice into my professional job. I also feel like all the things I learned in my professional job I bring into my poetry. So I find it very symbiotic. And I, I would struggle to think of the small business that would not benefit from a little bit more creativity, a little bit more intuition, a little bit more gratitude.
Nick Armstrong 13:38
Are there any great resources that you would recommend to a small business owner who is looking to to get into more creative writing or more creative copy creation or other things like that?
Erica Reid 13:51
Yeah, there’s this poet called Erica Reid. Cool team who will lead you through an imaginary forest. I actually, I mean, I think that Fort Collins has a really robust network of writers and creative writing like workshop leaders. And so if it’s not me leading you through, I would look for those other writers and Wolverine Farm is a really great place for that. They bring a lot of not only local musicians, but a lot of local writers to lead mostly free workshops, on all kinds of writing practices. I would also say, though, these usually aren’t free. The Gardens on Spring Creek has has a series on like, forest bathing, which is literally going into the woods with a writing prompt and wandering around and just drinking it in and using that as like a creative guide. And I think in the library does a lot of things to that. So you can pop in on but Wolverine Farm has been a real you know a real mecca for me a real place to go to I always run into writers there, they always are offering ways to engage. They do a lot of like community projects. They also choose our, the Fort Collins, poet in residence I’m sorry, the poet laureate of Fort Collins, which is Allie Eden right now, who leads a lot of interactive programming, and Wolverine farm shares, my sort of vision about this is for everyone, there’s no gatekeeping here, everyone is allowed to join everything. Because, you know, we’re all each other students, we’re all each other’s teachers, and writing should be a thing that is, you know, universally on offer.
Nick Armstrong 15:51
Well, if folks do want to start with you, which they probably should, where can we find out more information about you and your business?
Erica Reid 15:58
Sure, just go to EricaReidPoet.com. I always keep that updated. With what I’m doing next, and how to find me on all my social channels. I’m very findable.
Nick Armstrong 16:10
Excellent. Any last tidbits of advice for the listener?
Erica Reid 16:14
No, I just I just want to end by saying thank you for including something so creative, and almost sort of out there. I’ve read through the lineup of things that you’re offering and founded in foco. And they all sound really fascinating. And mine stands apart as like an an odd thing. I think. So I want to thank you for making space for that. And I hope that anybody who thinks, I don’t know that sounds interesting, but I’m intimidated. I just hope you’ll give it a chance. I’m not going to make you stand up on the desk and read your things out loud. It’s a very, very safe space. And it’s a great place to try your hand at some creative work with like low stakes. So I think it’d be really fun for anybody who’s curious about it, but even maybe a little intimidated.
Nick Armstrong 17:10
Yeah. Well, Erica, thank you so much for submitting your talk. We were excited to see it come through.
Erica Reid 17:15
It’s right at the end. So if you’ve had three days of just, you know, mind blowing ideas, this is a good like decompression opportunity, I think.
Nick Armstrong 17:24
That was exactly our thought.
Erica Reid 17:28
Oh good, good. We’re in tandem, then.
Nick Armstrong 17:29
Oh yes. So, if you want to find out more about Erica’s business, you can visit her at EricaReidPoet.com. And if you want to learn more about our local business scene and the resources available to you and even get some educational tidbits and creative tidbits – Visit FoundedInFoCo.com.
And we have our event coming up March 1st through 3rd at Front Range Community College. We hope to see you there. Thanks so much, Erica, for joining us today.
Erica Reid 17:56
Thank you, Nick.
Nick Armstrong 17:57
Hey, thanks for listening. I’m Nick Armstrong and this is a Founded In FoCo podcast. For more great interviews like this one, join us at FoundedInFoCo.com
Transcribed by https://otter.ai