Interview With Author Jason Freeman

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

Hi! I’m Jason Freeman. I’m originally from South Dakota, and if these words sounded like my actual voice, you would discern that what you’re hearing is not a midwestern accent but a pronounced speech impediment. In addition to being a yoga-class-lover, a casual-but-consistent-meditator, a San-Diego-California-Liver, I am a professional speaker, author, and perseverance coach.

Early in life, my father, a brilliant poet and essayist, instilled in me a love of writing. In junior high, I wrote a few poems. In high school, I wrote countless more. I majored in English in college and have a master of fine arts in poetry. I have authored a book of poetry entitled “Quiet In Bailey Ravine,” as well as my memoir, “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best,” an interactive book that poses questions for the reader to consider at the end of each chapter. My hope in this design is that it enables the reader to use my story as a tool and prompt to examine their own story and contemplate how they want to write the next chapters of their lives. I love signing copies of “Awkwardly Awesome” after my speaking engagements as it brings me joy to meet the members of my audience and get to know a bit about their stories.

Speaking of speaking, I give presentations to groups of all shapes and sizes, from an intimate mastermind in North County San Diego to an assembly of 1,500 high school students in Austin, Minnesota. Whatever sized group, I remain absolutely, 100% committed to bringing my speech impediment with me.

For much of my life, I felt my disability was a heavy burden but now I use it as a profound gift to remind people that, instead of being stopped by their obstacles, they can learn to use them as assets in the pursuit of their goals and dreams.

What inspires your creativity?

My creativity is consistently inspired by the daily process of living my best life, as well as, the many mistakes I make along the way. I call this approach to life “doing my imperfect best”.

In the past, I have stifled my creativity on countless occasions, often forcing myself to focus ONLY the pieces of writing (be they a poem, an essay or a book manuscript) that I felt most certain would turn out flawless. I wanted my writings to be perfect so that my readers would deem them as perfect and thus deem me as perfect. If you are thinking this approach to writing was hyper-egotistical-with-a-side-of-steroids, you’re completely right. It was!

I paid dearly for this three decade ego trip. In fact, I have a very heavy green plastic tub in my closet full of creative inspiration that I deemed unworthy of a share with the world. I now use this box as I stepping stool when I put my socks away on the top shelf.

I’m proud to announce that I’m a creative perfectionist in recovery. These days, I share my writings with readers all the time. Sometimes I share them in my blog, other times in posts on social media. This discipline of sharing gave me the freedom to write and publish my first two books and I’m confident it will give me the momentum to publish many more.

How do you deal with creative block?

Finding effective ways to deal with creative blocks has been essential to me because as a creative person I found it extremely painful to feel like I was unable to create. In my experience, writer’s block has almost always come when I tried to make my writing perfect. The more I tried to get every word perfect, the more “imperfect” every word seemed, and pretty soon my writing would become sterile and overly cautious. For me, free writing is a tried and true antidote to writer’s block. Two books helped me a great deal in learning, not only, to free write but to free write on a consistent basis are “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg and “The Artist Way” by Julia Cameron. If you ever experience writer’s block, I strongly recommend them.

How has your creation process improved over time?

I’ve become a much more consistent writer than I used to be. I used to wait for weeks or even months for “the inspiration to come.” Now I have a practice of writing for at least ten minutes a day, five days a week. I find this consistency helps my writing to flow much easier. Lately, I’ve often found that my writings come out more formed and coherent than they used to, which is very welcome surprise.

I also go through more drafts these days. I used to try so hard to get whatever draft I was working on in the shape it needed to be for the final draft. Now I find that it’s much more enjoyable and effective for me to edit more drafts with less concern about whether or not a particular draft is final. This approach takes so much pressure off, allowing me the freedom to concentrate and enjoy the process.

Additionally, I’ve learned the value of editors. Writing for me almost always starts as a solo endeavor, but now, even for blog posts, I always have an editor take a pass. I used to hate the idea of needing an editor, as I felt humiliated when they pointed out which parts of my writing could use improvement or be said another way. I chose to take their feedback personally and it made me feel like I was doing it “wrong” and that I wasn’t smart enough to do it “right.” Whereas, now I get excited when I receive feedback from an editor and focus on it as a collaborative gift that can improve the piece of writing we are working on.

Finally, I’ve learned the value of completing a piece of writing. After I toil through some drafts and my editor takes a pass or two, there comes a certain point that we declare it ready and share it with the world at large. Declaring a piece of writing finished and worthy of sharing accomplishes two things: 1) It gets the writing in front of the eyes of a reader; 2) It gives me the space and freedom to let it go and move onto my next writing project.

The more I write, the more I find joy in the process.