Marketing Your Art the Right Way

Selling Art, Not Selling Out

Cracking Creativity Episode 11: Ellen Bard on Leaving Corporate Culture, Opening Up to Creativity, and Juggling so Many Passions

Ellen Bard is a shining example of what people call a multi-potentialite. She juggles many things including consulting as a work psychologist, blogging about self-development and travel, and writing fiction. In this episode Ellen talks about what is was like to quit her high paying job as a consultant, moving from the UK to Thailand, opening herself up to creativity, and dealing with having so many passions.

  • was a full time management consultant with background in work psychology
  • moved to Thailand
  • started writing, which turned into self-development blog and fiction writing
  • also started a travel blog
  • took the “normal” career path in the beginning
  • worked her way up the ladder, but didn’t have a life outside of work
  • all of her energy went to work, and she began having health challenges
  • she went to Thailand because her friend was there
  • she wanted to get out of the UK and Thailand was a good hub
  • only meant to stay in Thailand for 3 months, then go back to UK to take a different consulting job, but she ended up staying there
  • while working as a consultant she felt something wasn’t quite right
  • she felt like she was making full use of all her talents

“There was more to me than just my work, and I wasn’t exploring that.”

“There was more to me than my job, which was really taking over my life.”

  • felt discomfort with her life, she didn’t feel like a whole person
  • Thailand gave her the opportunity to step back and think about life she had
  • when a promotion opportunity presented itself at her old job, she went away for a weekend to a cottage with nothing to do but think
  • she realized she didn’t want the job

“I realized that what I had been working towards wasn’t quite the be all end all I thought it was.”

“Is this what I want?”

  • she asked herself questions about her future, consequences, and areas of life
  • process helps structure thinking
  • uses mindmaps to see what branches lead to

“What would perfect life include?”

“How happy am I?”

“If I take the job, will it fulfill my needs?”

  • didn’t know what her prefect day would be, she felt like there was no driving passion
  • had a blank page which is exciting and terrifying
  • hypno-therapist introduced her to new way of using her brain
  • opened up her imagination and creativity through hypnosis
  • before moving to Thailand, she was thinking about switching her role
  • her weekend made her realize she was exhausted and giving too much of herself to the company
  • when she moved to Thailand, her friend that was living there had to leave Thailand
  • she had enough savings to live in Thailand for 3-4 months, after that time, she contacted her network for freelance opportunities
  • started travel blog of her personal journey, which started her writing practice

“Nothing is all or nothing. You can change your life in increments. You can make a decision and try that out and then you can see if it works. Then if it works you can do it a bit more and if it doesn’t work, you can change direction again.”

  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – 12 week self-guided course with writing prompts and activities
  • Artist’s Way helped her clarify who she wanted to be and what values she wanted to have
  • every step of the way led her to where she is now, from The Artist’s Way, to her consulting blog, to travel writing
  • her travels have influenced her writing, both fiction and non-fiction
  • her personal challenge is balance, and not forgetting why she moved to Thailand – to have a life
  • don’t believe everything we see and hear about other countries
  • China and Saudia Arabia have very different cultures from UK
  • British are known for being very polite, and China is a harsh culture from an English perspective
  • difference between strangers on the street and people who knew her, ideas around food and eating, groups vs. individuality
  • she found Saudia Arabia a tough place to be
  • she had to wear an abaya, she felt like less of a person/invisible, didn’t see many women, but still felt hospitality
  • being a psychologist and visiting different countries help with fiction writing

“Visiting lots of different cultures gives you almost a wider playground of behavior to play in.”

“There’s many tiny details that I know about different cultures that you can’t get from books.”

  • in writing, it helps to know what is consistent about the human experience (ex: a smile)
  • Ellen tells a story about the power of a smile

“It doesn’t matter what culture you’re from. If you put aside your own concerns and your own worries about what other people think of you just genuinely… love people and show them that you care, then that kind of connection is powerful and valid wherever you go.”

“The way you make your way through the world… has an affect on the people that you meet.”

  • travel gives you a great perspective on how lucky you are
  • The Artist’s Way changed her definition of creativity
  • two core things in the book: write 1,000 words every morning – gave her discipline of writing every day, artist date – do something to fill creative well (ex: go to art museum, coloring, playing with play doh)

“That helped to open me up, I think, and to see the world with more possibilities and start looking at everything creatively.”

“The more new activities that you try, the better your brain health and the more creative you are likely to be because of that.”

  • her work tends to revolve around consulting work because they require her to be somewhere physically
  • writes guest posts for Tiny Buddah and Think Simple Now
  • has to step back and keep herself from being overwhelmed
  • sets self-imposed goals
  • the point of her lifestyle is to make her own choices and have autonomy
  • uses Scrivener, to-do lists and accountability group
  • every week she makes a list of 4-5 things she’s going to do and shares with her accountability group
  • in Scrivener she group tasks so she can see them quickly and organize them

“I think there’s something about shifting your mentality to look at the whole world as opportunities for creativity.”

“I think that everybody can be creative.”

“I think that if people can shift their mentality to think of almost everything they do as creative, that mind shift opens up the world to you.”

  • make sure you are open to different things, do different things
  • vary the style and type of information your brain gets

“The more you have to draw on, the more you can be creative.”

“Everybody has the potential in them to be creative and in fact creativity would be about using what you have in you in the best possible way.”

“Being creative is about looking beyond the norm, looking beyond  the kind of narrow boundaries of your area, of what you already know and drawing on other influences, other information, other sources, and synthesizing that in a different way.”

“In terms of developing people’s own creativity, I think it’s just about getting out of your comfort zone a little bit.”

“Don’t ask people the standard questions all the time. Ask them something a bit different. Have a deeper conversation.”




Receive email updates for the latest podcast releases!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *