I first encountered Gabriela when her book, DIY MFA (Do-it-yourself Master’s in Fine Arts) was released. As one who loves to read and write fiction, her ability to boil down the critical components of this coveted degree intrigued me.
When would I find the time to pursue this degree? Probably never; but now I no longer had to wonder what I was missing, nor did the many others who bought her book.
Her desire to reach those writers that would be shut out from formal MFA programs due to geography, financial and/or time constraints, or genre (these programs can have a narrow focus) didn’t end with her book.
From there, this dynamo rolled out an interactive program to go through the lessons in the book in greater detail and with the support of others. Then she unveiled a course to help writers build an audience and find a community for inspiration.
She accomplished this and managed to keep things fresh and exciting – while raising young children and managing bipolar disorder. The challenges and constraints of life, she maintains, serve as fuel for the creative process.
Along the way, she has helped others tap their creative side – and not just through the traditional channels (art, music, writing and performance) but in everyday problem-solving – from getting co-workers to cooperate to having a child do homework.
Her TedX presentation, Creativity is a Craft and It Belongs to Everyone, pushes limits of how we think of our own creativity. She also acknowledges that creativity can be fragile and is easily stomped out of a person.
In the world of personal finance, I see parallels. There are people who need guidance, who would otherwise be ignored and who need this knowledge. They are convinced that they’re just “not good at this,” so they check out and stop paying attention, barely save and cease looking for creative solutions to make life what it could be. These are the people I hope to reach.
Her insight into how to fire up the synapses in our brain to be our most interesting, fulfilled creative selves is inspiring. Gabriela challenges us to get unstuck, plug into our creative nature and express ourselves as only we can.
The solutions lie within.