I met Veronika Bond through, yet again, Jen Lee's Indie Kindred Community. If you can't tell by now, this is a very vibrant, creative community! Since meeting Veronika, I've found that she writes for Rebelle Society, a favourite online magazine of mine! Her latest post is "7 joys of living your truth". I hope you'll check it out!
On her website, Veronika says that she spent the first 40 years of her life searching for a home in various cultures and countries and eventually found what she was looking for within herself. The last 17 years of her life have been spent mainly writing about the creative process, but she doesn't write about the process in the way of ideas; rather, the ways we constantly create our own lives and the universal principles of the process of creation. She is working on a series of books that will be four volumes in all when finished (plus workbooks) - The Solo System - that speaks of human consciousness and the creative process happening naturally within us. She says it can be used as a companion for the heroic journey.
What does Creativity mean to you?
Creativity is like a vital force that runs my life. It is literally the air that I breathe, the daily source of inspiration, the self-expression I need to feel alive.
Were you creative as a child? If so, how have you evolved through the years? Did anyone encourage you, especially?
I was very fortunate to grow up in a creative environment. For the first 7 years I had private teachers who were all very creative themselves and supported our creative expression in various mediums. My father was an excellent cartoonist. As kids we were also encouraged to play a lot of music.
What inspires you most?
I feel inspired by people who are living creatively, artists, musicians, writers etc. who are masters of their craft or art. Another important source of inspiration is nature. I have lived in beautiful places most of my life. The inspiration for The Solo System came while I was living near St. Ives, a picturesque fishing village and artist’s colony in the southwest of England. The Atlantic Ocean has been a great source of inspiration.
What turns you on creatively?
My own work. If I don’t do my creative work I feel as if something missing after a couple of days. I always draw creative energy from the creative process itself.
Do you have any gratefulness practices?
I feel very grateful for my life, my beautiful relationship with my husband, my kids, family and friends. I am deeply grateful for the gifts and talents I have received. I practice gratitude for my body every day during my yoga session.
How does a relationship and/or children affect your creativity?
My husband and my kids have been close and important companions on my creative journey. We often say that ‘we are holding the space for each other.’ I also value their criticism very highly. They understand my work at a deep level, and their perspective helps me improve the quality of my work.
How do you balance life and art effectively? Or, do you?
My life has gradually become my art. I am living in the creative process. My life is my canvas so to speak. Usually I don’t perceive interruptions to my work as a distraction but as a welcome contribution.
How do you deal with creative dry spells? Do you make space for them, or push through?
I don’t really have any dry spells because I understand the creative process very well and move through the rhythms quite naturally. My writing is essentially about the creative process and how to apply it to everyday life. I also use specific proven techniques for the ‘low tides’. One of them is to balance my writing with reading or drawing, or with knitting, weaving, cooking, exercise and household chores.
How do you deal with change, especially when it comes to creative mediums and passion?
I love it. I have experimented with different creative mediums, but now writing is my main form of expression. The creative process itself thrives on change. When you are creative you are literally bringing something new into the world. Unsolicited change from the outside can often be used to inform and nurture the creative process.
How does criticism affect you?
I welcome criticism. I see it as an important part of the creative process. It always improves the quality of my work. The more it makes me cringe the more I know there is something I need to look at. I know this sounds strange but as part of my work I have developed very effective tools to transform negative emotional responses into fuel.
Has your work ever been copied? If so, how did you deal with it?
I can’t quite imagine how that is possible… That’ll be an interesting new challenge…
How important is self compassion to your creative process?
Very important. The journey from self-rejection to self-acceptance has been a long, sometimes steep and windy learning curve.
Do you have any other mediums you use to express yourself creatively?
Yes, when I develop new ideas I usually explore them through drawing or painting at some point because it gives me a different perspective. I always learn something important when I ‘illustrate’ my writing in the form of a mandala or intuitive painting.
Do you enjoy collaborating, or prefer to work alone?
I need solitude to do my writing. For editing, design work etc. I need collaboration. Both are important for different aspects of the work.
Do you work in a studio/space designed specifically for your creativity, or on the spur of the moment/anywhere inspiration strikes?
I’ve got my work space, and I end up writing in the living room most of the time. Sometimes I work in the garden or in a café. Writing is a very portable skill.
Do you utilize social media? If so, how?
I have started to use Facebook because I was told it’s important, and I have met some inspiring people this way, such as yourself. I am not very familiar with any others social media yet.
What is your typical day like?
I spend the first few hours of most days writing by hand. I write everything by hand in spiral bound books. The connection with the pencil and the paper seems to draw the ideas out of me. After that I check email and Facebook. In the afternoon I usually type up my handwritten articles or manuscript chapters or do some editing.
Do you have any rituals that help to set your creative time and/or space?
Yes, I use rituals in creative ways as part of my work, but they might not look like rituals to others. I call them ‘personal rituals’ because they can be anything from drinking a cup of tea to drawing a mandala or cleaning the windows.
Does spirituality and/or culture play a role in your creativity?
Both are essential influences. I grew up in a missionary and multicultural environment and left ‘organised religion’ behind at the age of 14. I am not following any spiritual direction explicitly, but I am definitely a spiritual seeker.
Do you believe art can change the world? If so, how?
Absolutely. Through art we have the potential to create and regenerate our experience of life in many ways. I believe that creative expression is essential to help us connect with our own innermost nature and activate our gifts and talents. It changes the inner world of the artist, which naturally spills over into the outer world.
Do you believe that connecting with your creativity, or helping others to do so, can positively affect the world? If so, how?
I don’t believe that I can change anybody’s life or world directly with my creative work. I don’t believe that the primary role of art is to try to change anything directly, apart from my own inner world. However, I do believe that my creative work can inspire others to connect with their own creativity. It is like sowing seeds of encouragement and empowerment. They start to sprout in someone else’s inner soil and help them find their connection with their own creative source. We can change the world, one creative individual at a time, by fulfilling our own creative purpose.
Are you active in your local art community? If so, how do you help and support each other?
I make time to attend exhibition openings, read the work of other writers, attend fundraising events, celebrate together. I always try to support others in their creative pursuits.
What effect do you want your art to have on the world?
I want my work to be an inspiration and encouragement for anyone who is ready to create their own life and activate their creative potential. I am writing a series of books, which are effectively a companion for the creative life. I’m excited to see how the seeds of my work grow into beautiful gardens.
Do you have any advice for aspiring creatives?
Find a creative medium and practice regularly every day. Don’t wait for inspiration; create the environment, in which inspiration is welcome. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it holds your interest enough. The medium might change, let it guide you along your path. Trust your own inner voice even if it turns out to be wrong. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. It’s the only way to learn.
Do you have any favourite books?
Do you have any upcoming projects/collections to share?
I am currently working on the first series of workbooks of The Solo System. Each month a new book will be available on Amazon.
Do you have a favourite quote?
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, …Do not now seek the answers, … Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke