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TGC Interviews Author and Naturalista, GG Renee

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She “writes for the crazy beautiful complex free creative weird love drunk woman”. Her words began to catch us months ago and we’ve been hooked ever since. GG Renee is the author of All The Many Layers blog and a true writing inspiration to many, including Goddess Isis. Check out what GG Renee had to say during her interview with Goddess Isis:

How long have you been pursuing your writing career? I never considered myself a writer or seriously considered writing as a career until 2010. I started blogging in 2009 as a creative outlet and it opened my eyes to a side of myself that I’d been suppressing for years.

At some point, I stopped thinking of myself as a creative person. I think that happens to a lot of us. Our imaginations are often beaten or scolded out of us. I developed this very limited idea of what it meant to be creative. I spent many years feeling disconnected and unsure of myself because I didn’t know how to process my ups and downs and growing pains. I was too consumed with trying to live up to expectations and be all the things that I thought everyone wanted me to be. Eventually, I learned how to channel my emotions into writing and my whole life changed.

Are you where you would like to be in your writing career? If not, what aspirations do you have for your career in the nearer future? When I first started thinking seriously about writing as a career, I had a limited knowledge of the possibilities. I thought my options were limited to technical writing, copyediting and freelancing. I was discouraged when I tried all of these and realized that none of these inspired me or brought my best writing out of me. At the time, I thought that becoming an author was a lofty aspiration, and I didn’t consider myself to be good enough to get an agent or a publisher to work with me. All the while, I just kept blogging and connecting with other creative people and writers, learning more about the landscape. It took a while but I learned that I could make a living writing my own content and that I didn’t need anyone to tell me that I was good enough.

The best part about where I am and where I want to be is that we live in a time where there are so many ways to do creative work and have it seen. In many cases, the gatekeepers and middle men are unnecessary and artists can create and distribute their own work without someone having to choose them or pluck them out of obscurity. We can find our own way.

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So early in 2013, as an experiment, I created a self-help workbook called The Purpose Session and made it available to my blog readers. The workbook was an extension of the advice and self-discovery concepts that I share on my blog. I was relieved and surprised that it was received well and I think that gave me the courage to continue pursuing this path.

I just published my first print book, The Beautiful Disruption and I am currently working on two e-books. In the near term, my goal is to release several e-books, another print book that will be a sequel to the first, as well as more workbooks. In the long term, I will be a successful indie author and blogger, able to sustain my livelihood solely from my books and projects dedicated to inspiring women.

We love that you wear your hair in its natural state. Does your enthusiasm for natural hair influence your writing? If so, how? Definitely! My first blog was about transitioning to natural hair and how the process paralleled my self-discovery transition. As I learned to love my natural hair, I began to reconsider other things that I never liked about myself like my shyness and my sensitive nature.

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Transitioning was truly a journey that occurred from the inside out and it taught me how to love my whole self and not just the parts that people praised me for. I try to channel that through my writing. I would get bored just writing about what makes me feel happy and pretty and strong. I prefer to embrace all the layers of being a woman. That includes the things that make me feel scared, awkward and unpretty. When we learn to embrace those things too, and see that they only add to our beauty, that’s when we really start to come into our own as women.

Who or what influences your writing the most? Life. Art. Music. Complexity. Joy. Pain. Love. All the extremes that we experience as spiritual human beings.

Tell the readers a little about AllTheManyLayers.com and what they can get out of it by visiting. (We love it by the way!)

Thank you! I explore all of the layers of being a complex woman and how we express ourselves through our hair, personal style, work, relationships, emotional outbursts, creative outlets – you name it.

I call it ‘A Daily Indulgence for Soulful Women’ because I want it to be a place where women can visit every day and read content that feels like a glass of wine or a cup of tea with a close friend. No gossip or drama, only positive women sharing their stories, their inner and outer beauty tips and the things that inspire them.

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What inspired you to create ‘All the Many Layers’? A lot of women are existing but not thriving because they lack meaning in their lives. I’m drawn to write for these women because I was one of them.

So busy doing what we think we are supposed to do, but inside feeling like something is missing. Sometimes we do this for so long that we become chronically sad and complacent, thinking that there is no other way to live. We hide what makes us unique because we think we will be judged or exposed, or we think that we aren’t special enough for anyone to notice. But these beautiful intricacies that we hide are our greatest gifts. As I was discovering this for myself and learning to share my own gifts, I became passionate about creating content to help other women on this journey.

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I learned that my typical readers are introspective, complex women who are always looking to find meaning in their lives and who crave inspiration. They are women like me, who want to be successful and fulfilled in their careers – not just bring home a paycheck. They want to be physically, spiritually and emotionally fit – not just look good on the outside. They want to share stories about overcoming obstacles, following their dreams and the ups and downs of being women. Ultimately, I was inspired to create All the Many Layers because it was the type of content that I would want to read. If it doesn’t exist and you believe in it, then you must create it.

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What challenges did you/do you face during your blogging journey? The biggest challenge I faced was finding the time to do it. I used to work full-time, often over 40 hours a week and I have three children under 11 years old. I would steal time at work and would stay up all night sometimes writing, reading and working on my blog. The second biggest challenge was patience. There are some blogs that seem to blow up overnight. That has not been my experience. It has taken me a long time to build my following, and that has taken patience and diligence. Like I said earlier, I had to find my voice. When I look back at some of my earliest writings and blogs, I feel so embarrassed because I was so green. But that is part of sharing your work as an artist. We have to evolve in public. We have to put out work knowing that we are still growing and that it will get better. My journey has taught me to be obsessively dedicated, to trust my instincts and to always be thankful for my readers whether there are 10 of them, 100 of them or thousands of them.

Do you have any words of encouragement for others pursuing a career in writing? Write every day. Even if it’s only for 30 minutes. Write every day and read every day. Over time you will begin to refine your voice, your style and discover what flows most naturally from you and resonates with others. Sometimes it takes a while to take the filter off and just let the real you come out.

You will find yourself drawn to certain authors more than others. Read the books of those authors and while you’re enjoying the book, study the style of the writing. Highlight and take notes.

When you can’t find the inspiration to write, use writing prompts to get your juices flowing. You can find them online by googling ‘writing prompts’ or you can buy books for creatives like Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way or Gail McMeekin’s 12 Habits of Highly Creative Women. Take your time to study the landscape and learn what kind of writer you want to be and how much creative control you want to have over your work. Nowadays, you don’t necessarily need an editor, an agent or a publisher to choose you and give you permission to write for them. You can create, publish and distribute your own work and have complete creative control. But if you choose that route, you have to develop a strong online presence and build your own brand and following.

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What’s your favorite piece you’ve written to date? My favorite piece to date would have to be the book that I recently self-published called The Beautiful Disruption. I wrote this book to put a poetic frame around my own experiences and to encourage my target audience – complex, creative, sensitive women – to embrace what they have been through and live their stories with their eyes and hearts wide open.

It is an inspirational story that explores the dynamics of family mental illness, self-prophecy and transformation through the lens of a heartbroken woman. It’s currently available on Amazon.

My favorite pieces from my blog are “I’m Not Crazy, I’m an Introvert” and I Was Missing My Life. Saving It for Later.

What does your current reading list look like? I’m always reading several books at a time! My mood determines which one I pick up when I settle down to read. I love to grab piles of books from thrift stores, so I always have a selection of books at home that I haven’t read yet. I also love to find indie authors on Amazon and Goodreads.

Here’s my current list:

Play It As It Lays – Joan Didion
Write. Publish. Repeat. – Sean Platt
I Wrote This for You – Author Unknown
A Virtuous Woman – Kaye Gibbons
Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
Changing My Mind – Zadie Smith

Do you have a favorite author? Why them specifically? I don’t have one favorite, but some of my favorites are Alice Walker, Anais Nin, Susanna Sonnenberg, Madeleine St. John, Zadie Smith, Jodi Piccoult, Ellen Hopkins and C. Joy Bell C. This list is always evolving as I discover new writers and new aspects of myself.

I’m drawn to writers who are extremely vivid in their description of emotion and the human condition. They observe the world obsessively and translate what they see and feel into words that are alive with complexity without being over indulgent. I live for those moments when they capture something I’ve felt or experienced or been confused about and they articulate it into words for me for the first time.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the TGC community? I just want to thank Isis for the opportunity to share and be a part of her awesome website.

Isn’t she inspirational? Astonishing, really. Be sure to follow GG on Instagram, Twitter and certainly on her phenomenal blog at allthemanylayers.com[To Miss GG]: Thank you so much for continuously inspiring writers around the world. Especially me. Words cannot begin to explain how much inspiration is found from your words for those of us who feel “crazy beautiful complex free creative weird and love drunk.” Thank you for creating. Thank you for inspiring.

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