Anna Lovind learned to read and write when she was very young, and used writing as a survival mechanism for a while, helping her through, although not understand, things that were happening to her in her young life. It was much later that she realized that writing could be an enjoyable form of expression and a way to explore her voice. Because of past traumas she had to rebuild her life before she could get to that point.
She became a very successful editor and had a busy urban lifestyle, but city life and imposed working structures didn’t suit her – she has since discovered she is autistic, which helped her understand why that lifestyle didn’t sit well with her – and returned to a Swedish country life similar to the one she had grown up in.
Anna's book and course, The Creative Doer, is a practical and profound journey towards making your creative dreams happen.
Clubhouse: @clairewaitebrown and Creativity Found Connect club
Artworks: Emily Portnoi emilyportnoi.co.ukSupport the show
Before we get started, I just want to let you know that my guest on this episode speaks about child sexual abuse and attempted suicide, and give you the option to skip to another episode, if you're not in the right place to listen to this one right now. My guest for this episode is Anna Lovind, who grew up in rural Sweden and from an early age found solace in reading and writing. It wasn't until much later that Anna realised that writing could be an enjoyable aspect of life, and that she could help others on the complicated path to understanding and utilising their own creativity. Hi, Anna, how are you?Unknown:
Hi, I'm good. I'm happy to be here talkingClaire Waite Brown:
to you have a course community and book all called the creative doer. And writing is perhaps your expression of choice. Although obviously we know that's not necessarily the only creative outlet that a person would have. But when you were young writing was more of a necessity than a pleasure. Can you tell me about that time?Unknown:
Yeah, sure. So yeah, so I learned to write really early, read and write and you quickly became my most important means of, I don't know, I think expressing myself for sure. But even more just processing things, letting off steam, you know, dealing with life. I was I am autistic. And speech never came easy for me, especially known as a kid. So writing became this refuge. And since we, like, our family situation back then was pretty dysfunctional in so many ways. And I was abused sexually by someone in I was in my family then. And like, I had no words for that. You usually don't when you're really small. I had no words for that. But writing I started writing poetry really early. And I think I did express that, like the anguish in the sense of despair and vulnerability that I felt it's all there and those poems if you even know what to look for, but no one did of course back then. So they just thought me like a curious like, what's what's that expression when you're sort of old but you're still a kid? Yeah, yeah. How would you feel your Yes, yes, exactly. So that was how it was viewed. so to speak, but for me, it was, I think a way to survive honestly, both the fact that writing provided a channel for me to express some of what was going on inside all that chaos and the trauma and all that, but also the reading, being able to escape into other worlds, where things were more beautiful and made more sense and, and also reading about others who were struggling, so that I felt less alone, you know, back then I didn't have an idea of writing as like a creative expression, or it being something that I might do for a living or anything like that, that didn't really exist in my mind. But it was my release while and my escape, I think.Claire Waite Brown:
And you said you were reading and writing early, what ages are we talking about?Unknown:
I started at around four. And then by the time I started school, I was already like, fluent and wrote poetry, while the others were learning the alphabet. So I was very gifted child in that regard, like language, and that kind of expression always came easy for me.Claire Waite Brown:
So talking about the expression, did your and you mentioned a dysfunctional family where your family recognising recognising this talent or that this expression or anything that was behind the scenes for it?Unknown:
Not like, I grew up in a working class family, no one in my family had ever gone to university or anything like that everyone had very simple jobs, like cleaning and, you know, blue collar jobs. And like, we were lots of kids I have, we're all in all eight siblings. And I was a bit of a, you know, a curiosity almost like, they call me the philosopher. And there was, there was some kind of pride I think, in this gifted child, like, look at the poetry and look at what she's doing. But it was almost like as if you're from a bit of a distance, you know, as if they couldn't quite grasp the kind of person that I was because I was so strange in that setting. And I felt that too, I felt very out of place. And not that I necessarily was unloved but that I wasn't understood or seen. Grew up in a small town, tiny rural area, or you know, I didn't fit in. I really didn't. And these days, that's, that's fine. Like, I'm able to create my own world and have fun. I found so many kindred spirits along the way. And I don't feel strange as in wrong. More like strangers in something beautiful and interesting. Yeah, but back then it was definitely part of something that made me not belong and not. Yeah, I don't know. To be outside, somehow, it was a big theme.Claire Waite Brown:
So now you feel that that is right. But are you saying then that it was wrong? You felt wrong?Unknown:
I did. You know, it's, this is something that I now look back on with feminist glasses on. But I was like, very intelligent in that. It was so easy for me school so easy for me learning and remembering and expressing and all of it. It was so easy. I was really intelligent. I was also kind of keel you know, pretty girl. I was considered to be that in my small town, and also a bit strange. And all of that, it's too much. You know, for a girl. It's too much it makes people uncomfortable. You're not supposed to stand out like that. You're not supposed to be too intelligent or too and if you are, you're certainly not allowed to be aware of it, so to speak. And with the autism and everything I struggled a bit with social interactions, I wasn't able to be likeable. So I was this really intelligent, bright, strange, too much. Too serious too, too. Too much everything you know, and it wasn't always looked up. On with kind of ice, so to say, so to speak. I mean, it's, again, this is something that I can handle now, but then I couldn't as a kid, you just want to belong really?Claire Waite Brown:
Yeah. And on top of that, or rather, in the background to that there's this history of sexual abuse as well, were you able to tell anybody about that?Unknown:
No, it took a long time before we even realised what what that was, until I had a language for it and understood that, oh, actually, this is, this is abuse, this is rape, this is violence. It becomes normal when it starts, when you're so young, like even almost before I had a language at all, so took a long while. And it was until I was a teen, that I even understand myself what had happened. And it wasn't until my grandfather was the first perpetrator died when I was 16, that I was able to talk about it, and actually tell my parents and what had happened. And that really became like, Oh, my goodness, it was like opening the floodgates, and all these stories about how this abuse had gone on, like generations before me. And this culture of silence that we had been all the women in my lineage, oh, my God, these strong, wounded women who had to carry all this alone, without support, and I sort of felt the weight of all that on my shoulders. And it wasn't a conscious decision, then that I would break this pattern, or that I would start some kind of multigenerational healing process. But it was what I did, I did break that pattern when I actually spoke out. And it allowed other people around me to also come forward and share their experiences. And it did start a process of healing that then went on for many years, many years to come. But at first it got worse, as it usually does, you know, when you first open the doors, and something that has been thoroughly repressed for a long time, then first, there is even more pain, even more chaos. And so it took a long while before that healing felt felt like healing looked like healing. At first, it looked like just chaos and destruction really, just because you sort of opened the doors to these stories. And like, even though you're not accused of lying, or anything, because I wasn't, and I'm so grateful for that. It doesn't mean that in like the people around you're able to handle it or know how to handle it. When when the pattern for so long has been to keep quiet. And to just carry on, and to just ignore. And, you know, I think this is true for many families who have to deal with stories like this, that we don't have the tools. And we don't have the resources available to do that. So it's quite a burden for the child, or the young person or even the adult who takes on that responsibility of starting this process. Because it's not easy, and it's not always welcome necessarily. Yeah, yeah. Intense.Claire Waite Brown:
Yeah. The the extra burden, as you say, the realisation that there are other people in the family that had experienced what Yeah, and they were silent as well. And they had been experiencing it and keeping quiet. I can just think that's a whole heavy load on everybody. And a release that probably like as you say, is not it's not easy to handle, you don't know how to handle it. Did your writing help at any point with this and is there a point at which writing for you becomes for pleasure, rather than for need? Can Can you recognise that point? Maybe?Unknown:
Yes, I can make it. There was this specific turning point. When I look back when I was 18. Like it was two years after I shared about this and I found myself locked up in a psychiatric ward because I was considered danger to myself, I was in such bad shape, which was true, I was like I was attempting suicide and so on. But that was sort of rock bottom. When I look back, for a while around that time, I just lost writing all together, I feel like I lost my voice. There was like, there were no words to express what was going on at that point to even even to escape or there wasn't any escape available, basically. But after that, after I was slowly starting to rebuild my life, and I had supportive, a therapist, and I moved away from where I grew up and started. Or I started back with school, really, because I dropped out. And I found all of those pieces of me that had been considered too much and strange and weird, like in higher education, they were so welcomed, and they were celebrated even. And so that first became a safe space for me to use these talents. And I mean, the academic writing is not exactly are not necessarily creative. But there was something in it that allowed me to open the doors to those gifts and start take pride in them even and eventually, I got really interested in that creative process. You know, when you bring something from an idea into, into for more into words, into stories, and so on, and where my education took me and I eventually found myself as an editor at a publishing house, and and I started to really explore what is this thing? Why, why are we even feeling this drive to express ourselves how this this creative process work. And at that point, I began to be able to write, you know, not just as you know, the journaling, the dumping emotions onto paper, and so on, but rather, like exploring my voice, intentionally, like trying to, while honing my skill, for sure, but even more, so to just go deeper into who I am the eye that is wanting to express herself. And as like I was healing from the trauma and abuse and all of that, I was also able to access more of my body to be more present in my body, which had before basically felt like a war zone. And now I was able to be more present with myself. And that is truly the key, I think, to like this deeper writing this deeper level of expression is not just writing really, but any expression when you can stay grounded, and stand grounded in your self and look at the world from the inside out. So to speak. As you can like, you can string together elegant sentences and be accomplished right to just striking like, intellectually from your head. But if you want to create something that really, that people feel that people feel in their bodies, you know, that makes the the hairs on the arm stand up and you know, make your heartbeat faster, and so on. And that has to come from your body. It has to come from that embodied place. As I became more, felt more safe in myself, I was able to explore that level of expression more and more and to deepen my own relationship to my voice and my writing. And that happens sort of in parallel to the way my career was, did you use that word, because it doesn't look like a career. It's just a mess, a messy progression that has led me here. But you know, looking back, I can see that this is reflected in my work as well. I started out you know, in the business of producing books, basically. And now I'm very much invested in my own business, exploring ways to for women particularly to own and wield their creative power in that authentic and true and wild way that I know is available for us if we dare to dive into.Claire Waite Brown:
It sounds like you've gone from the poor little girl who and I don't mean then that derogatory. I mean the little girl You didn't understand herself didn't understand why she didn't fit in polet everything else that was going on around to growing into being able to understand yourself and know that it's okay to be who you are. And you bring that out and all the all of this journey in exploring it. And writing has really not helped you go through it but been a big part of becoming grown up Anna Anna, who is an A for herself, as herself. So do tell me then about the mess of career. So you went to university, you went later than often people do because of everything that had happened. Tell me about your experiences and how that led to this career and how, how that working life was for you.Unknown:
Yeah. In university I, I didn't know for a long while what it was that I was going to study, I had no plan or anything. But I was always, of course drawn to literature and language. And so eventually I majored in that. And I was encouraged to stay within the academic world and continue and go on to do research and so on. But I did feel a pool like at that point, towards the end of my education, I understood that actually, you can work with rice. And I've made make books. That's that's a whole line of work and profession. So I sort of decided I want to try that and see what happens. I started out freelancing as an editor and all of that. But I was headhunted quite quickly to big publishing house and worked as an editor and eventually as an acquiring editor. And it was great. And there was this really like, my boss made it very clear that this is there's a career path ahead of you here, you have all the possibilities. And I was good at it. I was really, I felt very, like confident in my role as an editor. And as a coach to these writers and their whole world, I felt safe and at home, they're in so many ways. But this was a huge publishing house. It was like this big open landscape, very modern layout, it was like expected to be in certain hours, it was a commute I was I had to live in the big city, because that's where the publishing industry is. And all of this, like, that didn't really work. For me, I didn't know why, at that time, now I do is because I'm autistic. And I'm super sensitive to so many of those parts of the working, the way the work, life is structured. And that whole social interaction thing that comes with being in a big workplace, I like that it was just so exhausting. I didn't have the words for that, then. But I felt it, I felt very strongly. And I also had this really strong longing to go back to a quieter place to live, to go back to a place where I was more in touch with nature, on a daily basis, and you know, all of that. So all of those things, pull together, and I will so I got coming home at that point. And I wanted that for my kids as well. So eventually, that led to me quitting this promising career and, and heading off back to a rural area living by the forest. And the only way for me to support myself there was to go back to running my own business really, because you know, the opportunities for jobs here are limited. So that was the next step. And at that point, I'd become really interested in online business and the opportunities that comes with that and reaching more like minded people and not just working with writers, but creatives in general. And eventually I realised I wanted to support women specifically in this process. And that's 10 years ago now more actually. And it really has taken so long. It looks like if you tell that story really quick. I gave up the beautiful career move to the countryside, build this online business. It sounds so beautiful and successful and all of that but oh my goodness, it was so hard. And there's been so much work that has gone into it. And it has taken so many years. And I've had another baby in the process and you know, all sorts of health challenges. And, you know, life just goes on as well alongside all these big, beautiful plans. And now I'm at a place with my work where I feel like I'm like, I really know what I'm doing. I've done this for more than a decade now. And I'm really grounded in it. And I feel like my messaging and my teaching is maturing and deepening also, with with me ageing, like I'm 44 now, and I'm stepping into a new phase of being a woman. The fact that women's voices in women in general seem to disappear almost from, from the public arena that time because either we exists as young and beautiful, or as like grandmothers are, but there's this whole area in between, that I'm entering right now. And where I really feel like that's where my god like, that's where we have access to some quite extraordinary power and space in our lives and the experience and capacity to actually do something with it. So I'm very passionate about that aspect of it to encouraging women supporting women in remaining visible and claiming the space that we don't really have in our society right now, but that we should have definitely should have.Claire Waite Brown:
Can I ask at what stage did you realise that you were autistic?Unknown:
Well, that came rather late, I realised that as so many adult women do, because my daughter showed those same symptoms and had the same problems that I did. Growing up only now there's so much more awareness about this. And I learned as much as I could about it, I made sure that she got like an evaluation process and the, you know, the, the school is working with us to support her and so on. And in that process, I realised like this is, this is me, this is exactly what I did, and still to some extent struggle with. And after we sort of finished her evaluation process, I, my doctor suggested that we start one for me as well. And it was fairly quick and fairly straightforward. And I, like I'm artistic, and I also have ADHD, actually, and very uneven, which is a challenge in this world. I'm not well rounded in any way, shape, or form. He person perhaps but but it's incredibly helpful to understand this is I'm still in the process of really grasping what this means, in a practical sense in my life, and in my work and all of that. But it's it's incredibly helpful. It has removed so much shame for me, so much self blame, no, like, why can I be or do this or that? And it's just well, actually, I can't because, you know, there's an explanation. That is so very helpful. And I can also see how many of my gifts also come from their, their challenges that comes with these kinds of neurodivergent brains, but they're also gifts and I'm really looking forward to understanding this more, I'm exploring what it means.Claire Waite Brown:
Your outlook is very positive, but everything throughout your whole story is being related back to things that maybe you didn't understand, and now you do. Creativity found.co.uk is the place to go to find workshops, courses, supplies, kits and books to help you get creative. So if you're looking for your own creativity found experience, go have a browse to see what's on offer so far. And if you can help adults to find their new creative passion, please get in touch on social media, or through the contact details on the website. Do tell me more about your calling practice. I know I've mentioned that the term the creative doer. Do tell me more about the whole process of when you moved from that career and what started then in comparison to what is now.Unknown:
Well, first, I was really focused on Helping people through this, the practical steps of the creative process that I saw repeated over and over again, in the people I work with. Like, how can we create supportive Creative Habits? How can we plan in a better way? How can we deal with procrastination and blocks? And all of that that happens along the way? And how can we make sure that we actually finish what we started, and so on. And those are still things that I teach central things because like, we do need to know how to plan our work. And we do need to form and cultivate supportive habits and so on. But these days, I am more focused on what comes before that. And what comes after that. So to begin, what comes before that is understanding what are the resources available to me, if I'm going to do a planning for this project that I want to execute? I need to know how much time energy space support do I have available for it otherwise, that planning is basically just going to be dreaming. It's just going to be wishful thinking. Most of us don't get real about this first, because it's it can be challenging, and especially for women in midlife, with caretaking responsibilities, as sometimes both for ageing parents and for young children and who carry most of the emotional and cognitive labour at home, being like sort of the spider spider in the women, and all of that, as well as on work actually. Because that is expected of women, we need to be very real about where our energies going, where a time is going, is it possible to relocate some of it what is non negotiable was just something that we do out of habit, and so on. And look at, okay, given all of this, what do I have available, and then create a planning based on that. And we don't want to do that, because it might turn out that we just have one hour a week for this work. Right now, that might change, you know, but if we don't do that, whatever we plan is not going to be doable and sustainable for us. And that that is what happens for most people, they make this really optimistic plan and two weeks later, the, they have no way of following up with it. Because it wasn't grounded in their reality. And also, like, the creative process that I teach is really a co creative process is really so much about listening to inner guidance to explore what happens when we allow, like the creative forest to get to work through us. Because that's when it gets really juicy. You know, that's when these really strange and extraordinary things happen. And it's also when we feel more supported in the creative process, because it's not just us and our limited powers are held by that partner in the creative works, and that whole part of it is the before work, you establish that relationship, and then you look at your reality and get real about what resources you have available, then you move on to the planning and the habits and all of that. And then to be able to do this work long term. How do you sustain it? Because we can make a rush for a deadline, if needed, but we're not going to be able to sustain that work. And what do we do afterwards when we sort of collapse in burnout? Because we drained ourselves of all the available resources. And again, it's something that most of us don't reflect upon. Really, how do we fuel our work? How do we fuel our soul so that we create from a place of fullness and overflow even so that we don't deplete our own resources? Every time we get to work, we don't end up drained and burnt out, which is also what is true for so many of us. We go into it and we just pour everything we have into it but we forget to pour into ourselves along that journey and if it like we all know where that's going to end up if you just keep pouring around do you end up in empty and and so what I want is for us to look for that pace, and that way of doing the work that we can sustain over time that we can keep doing it and that will eventually actually feed into us rather than drain us. Because when we do our creative work from a place of fullness, we're aligned in that way. Our creative work does give to us as much as we give to it.Claire Waite Brown:
How does that come about? Actually, practically, logistically,Unknown:
all you're absolutely welcome to join the creative doer, because that's where I teach all of this, it's really the process that has emerged from these teachings over all these years in the creative door is also available as a book, which might be a first step for for some, and then it's available as a chorus and as a community. Because one really important aspect of this work is that we need support, that we're not really meant to do it alone, we never were. And we live in a very, like in a society in a culture that focuses a lot on individualism, on us achieving things alone without help for some reason that it seemed to be more of an achievement. But that is one of the things that I really, that we need to unlearn. support is essential for this work support, like from like minded people from people who are on the same path as you, from teachers who are relevant for what you do. And if you're lucky, you have it from family as well, not everyone does. So we do need to seek it out. And in that wave, if that's what you're looking for, then the community like creative doer is incredibly helpful and nourishing. But then again, I mean, so many of us are, our lifes are full, you know, it's, there's so much going on. And we don't always have the resources, like time or money to invest in that kind of thing. And so just just recently, just a few weeks ago really started this new thing that is, is called Ignite, and it's a membership of sorts, but it's the most simple pared down basic thing that you can imagine is just three calls or meetings a month. And that's it, no homework, no workbooks, nothing. And the purpose of it is really just to connect, to reconnect and to remember who we are and why we do this work. And to get that dose of inspiration and fuel the most of us don't have access to to the extent that we would need. So those are the ways that you can work with me. Just having these basic concepts in mind, like getting real about what your situation is right now. Stepping into a relationship with your work, and then creating your planning and then evaluating seeing what happens was it doable, wasn't it and then keep trying and creating that's that's really what it's all about. And no one gets it right the first time. And also, we all get lost constantly, constantly, really in us getting losses not really a problem. As long as we keep returning to it, as long as we allow ourselves to try again, and support ourselves to try again and to fail as many times as we need to.Claire Waite Brown:
We talk about that a lot, failing, doing it wrong, and not mattering and not worrying about trying it to try it. And it doesn't matter what the outcome is. How can people connect with you, let's get back to a practical level again, connects with you.Unknown:
Wrong, they can find me on my website, which is simply on a lobbying.com my name.com Same name on Instagram, and my book you can find in most online stores wherever you usually buy your books can find the ebook on my website as well. So those are some places to start.Claire Waite Brown:
Fabulous. Thank you so much, Anna. It's been an amazing talk today. Thank you.Unknown:
We really enjoyed talking to you.Claire Waite Brown:
Thanks so much for listening to creativity found. If your podcast app has the facility please leave a rating and review to help other people find us on Instagram and Facebook follow at creativity found podcast and on Pinterest look for at creativity found. And finally, don't forget to check out creativity found.co.uk The website connecting adults who wants to find a creative outlet with the artists and crafters who can help them tap into their creativity.