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Jill Allison Bryan Interview : Page 2 of 2

Singer and Songwriter Jill Allison Bryan

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Jill Allison BryanQ: How so? What did creativity coaching do for you? What kind of an impact has it had on your life?

A. Once our daughter was born, I spent less time writing and making music than ever. When she began elementary school, I knew I had the time to bring that creative satisfaction back into my life. After taking an Artist's Way course, I was inspired, but still didn't have the tools I needed to actually follow through with my creative pursuits. A friend sent me a link to Jill Badonsky's The Muse Is In website and I contacted her. Within a few minutes of talking with her, I knew she could help me. During our one-on-one coaching sessions she used Kaizen-Muse creativity coaching techniques and they worked beautifully. Within a few short weeks I was focused on my music again. Within a couple of months I was playing gigs and writing new material as well. It was tremendously fulfilling.

When Jill suggested that I go through her training process and become a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach myself, I was intrigued. I'm so thankful that I did, because it has truly changed my life. I've finally found out what I want to be when I grow up! I absolutely love creative life coaching, and helping people make the time and space in their busy day-to-day lives for creative fulfillment. I still use the techniques myself to keep moving ahead with my writing and music projects. I consider the time I spend with these creative pursuits a personal oasis in my life and I truly believe that using these coaching techniques anyone can create an oasis of their own and experience personal creative satisfaction. That's why I named my coaching practice Creative Oasis Coaching™ and my blog Mid-Life Oasis™.

Jill Allison Bryan performing.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about your first solo CD?

A: Recording my solo CD has been a dream come true. The entire process has been a very collaborative creative effort. I wrote or co-wrote all but two of the songs, which were written by my husband, Doug, who is co-producing the CD. It's so fun to brainstorm and experiment with different musical ideas with the other musicians and producers on the project. Creating this CD is wonderful example of how allowing the creative process to be non-linear facilitates a better creative outcome. For instance, we may begin a session thinking we're simply going to add a bass guitar part to a song, but then someone says, "Hey — would sleigh bells sound cool here?" And we try that, and that leads to other percussion ideas, which lead to a background vocal and on and on. It's been an extremely organic experience, and pure joy for me! I am truly in my "creative oasis" in the recording studio. A six-hour session flies by in no time.

Q. What an exciting project! Give us all the juicy details on your upcoming CD release!

A. I am so excited about this, because it's transforming from a typical CD release party into something much more. As I brainstormed creative alternatives, I came up with a CD release celebration that will combine music, art and philanthropy with the theme of The Infinite Possibility of Women Helping Women.

I happen to have an amazing amount of artistically gifted female friends. I've asked thirteen of these talented women to each create a work of art inspired by a song that I chose for her from my CD. This artwork will be put up for silent auction the night of the celebration and the proceeds will benefit Women for Women International. (By the way, Jill Badonsky is one of the wonderful artists who agreed to donate a piece of artwork to this cause. The first song that I wrote after I began working with Jill is "Infinite Possibility" — so everything has come full circle!) Although the CD itself is very close to being complete, the event is in the beginning planning stages. I'm hoping to create a good deal of cross promotion and publicity for the Women for Women International, the artists and the CD leading up to the event, which will be held in Dallas, Texas, hopefully in February or March of 2010.

Q: What were some of the obstacles or challenges you faced in beginning your own creativity coaching practice? How did you persevere and overcome them?

A: Coaching brings me such joy. Nothing feels better than hanging up the phone after a great session with a client who has is making progress successfully integrating creative fulfillment in his or her life! I'd have to say that the biggest challenge for me is the marketing aspect of owning my own business. It's a challenge to balance that left-brained world with my right-brain leanings. Last summer I worked with a great business coach, Jennifer Moore, through her business Pink-Heels™ and that was very helpful. We worked together to create a mission statement for Creative Oasis Coaching, I learned about the benefits of social networking, and I began my blog, Mid-Life Oasis™.

Q: Tell us more about the springtime retreats you offer!

A: I host springtime creative weekend retreats here in Texas at the magical Double J Hacienda & Art Ranch. This is an amazing rustic hacienda that looks out over the Brazos River. During these retreats I share creativity coaching techniques in a group setting. I always offer a group creative projects, and provide ample time for individual creative play. We share yoga and transformational breathing, and a massage therapist is available as well. The food is healthy and delicious and everyone leaves feeling inspired and rejuvenated! Visit the "Retreats" link on the Creative Oasis Web site to see photos and articles about the last two retreats and you'll get a really good sense of the wonderful, relaxed creative vibe of the weekend!

I've offered group presentations, tele-classes and held two successful weekend retreats in addition to coaching my one-on-one clients. I will work with more coaching groups and offer more corporate and group presentations in 2010. There are lots of exciting things in the planning stages. I do know that no matter what, I will always keep enough time and space open in my schedule to work with at least five or six one-on-one clients. I just love providing that structured support and seeing the progress and satisfaction increase week by week with my clients!

Q: Any advice for those who are considering taking a big creative leap? Words of inspiration and encouragement for our readers are always welcome!

A: My number one piece of advice would be to make any big leap, begin with a small step. Confucius knew his stuff! "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." It sounds obvious, but in our haste to make things happen right now and our desire for instant gratification, we often blow right past this simple truth, and that can lead to feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and ultimately to giving up. With Creative Oasis Coaching, even daydreaming counts as an excellent first step. By allowing yourself to imagine and play the "what if" game, you open the door to the possibility of making your creative dreams come true. Secondly, seek support. Whether you take a class, join a group or work one-on-one with a creativity coach, having a support system provides the accountability and inspiration that can help you stick with your creative dreams and turn them into reality! •

Connect with Jill Allison Bryan

Jill Allison BryanYou can connect with Jill Allison Bryan via email at: For further inspiration and information, or to sign up for her free e-newsletter, please visit her website at: Check out her blog at

Jill is currently offering fabulous tele-classes, as well as a free half-hour creativity coaching session — see her coaching packages for more details. I took advantage of the free coaching session, and audited one of her tele-classes, and I found the experience to be helpful, inspiring, encouraging, and interesting.

One of the things I struggle with is staying focused when I'm working on a creative project in my studio at home. There are so many distractions — sometimes I find myself doing laundry or walking the dog when I should be writing! I found that this is a common problem among creative souls who work from home. I knew I needed some help in focusing my energies to use my creative time more effectively, and I have a lot of friends in the same fix, so I asked an expert for advice.

Jill explained the interesting concept of parallel time. It's a useful tool if you find yourself getting distracted while working at home. Try this — set up a time with a partner to share some parallel creative time. The idea is to work independently, but hold one another accountable for goals set at the beginning of the session. It is an amazing way to stoke the fires of inspiration and focus your creative energies. Call your partner at the beginning of your parallel time, and set a goal for the time allotted. Then, touch base with her at the end for a check in, to see how the time was actually spent and what progress you made towards your goals. This is a time to hold one another accountable for procrastination and goofing off, and to celebrate your mutual efforts towards creative magnificence! The shame of having to admit to your partner that you spent an hour surfing the Web instead of working on a new painting is often incentive enough to make sure you use the time more wisely in the future.

Jill and I also discussed the power of the quick list, intuitive ways to prioritize creative projects, and many other fascinating things related to creativity. I made a deck of project cards, and learned to take small steps instead of feeling overwhelmed by a huge project.

Now, I spend a little time each day on top priority projects, and I'm transforming the way I work and getting a lot done! Jill specializes in gentle and interesting questions, intuitive leaps, and guided imagery. I left the call feeling strong, confident, and bursting with creative juices! Thanks, Jill — it was amazing to visit your oasis…and to start the process of creating my own oasis, where creative dreams come true and my cup overflows. I am never thirsty, for the well of inspiration is bottomless.

"With Creative Oasis Coaching™
you can create your own Mid-Life Oasis™
because it doesn't have to be a crisis!"

© 2009 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »