Like everyone on planet earth, I am a creative soul. I think the difference between someone who activates their creativity and someone who doesn’t, is they don’t have any hang-ups about expressing it. And that’s the thing I teach about creativity; not to be self-conscious, not only to express yourself, but to be kind with yourself about what you put out there.
I am an author, artist, corporate trainer and documentary maker. I have written 30 non-fiction books. I have had four major art exhibitions, which doesn’t include the one under my house in Annerley when I was seven. But all this didn’t happen overnight.
I fell upon writing in 1982. My first visit to the United States found me at a conference in San Francisco, in a whirlwhind of professional speakers where positive mental attitude was the currency of the day.
Surrounded by the likes of Zig Zigler, Tom Roberts, Og Mandino and Jim Rohn, the questions most asked were; “So you’re from Austria?” and, “Have you got a book?” “A book? No, do I need a book?” “Sure, you do, you gotta have a product.”
On the thirty-six hour flight home, I put ten of my speeches together and voila: Programme to Succeed was born. This was self-published and sold over ten thousand copies, mainly at big conferences in Asia and America. Happily, my captive audiences bought this book voraciously.
From that platform I found a literary agent and my next two books were shaped, I’ve Found the Keys, Now Where’s the Car? And Making Dreams Come True, a children’s book.
After a grilling and lengthy editorial process, where my writing improved dramatically, I asked my editor, “How did you know that I could actually write well?” “I didn’t,” was her sanguine reply, “we just loved the title!”
I’m still learning to write. It’s now in my blood, compulsive and compelling, my personal therapy. I wish I had paid more attention to touch typing classes.
Because I believe that one creative project begets another and one project enhances another. For instance I was writing a children’s book based on a family story: Two Pennies. On my life journey I often talk to people about what I am doing and one such conversation led to discussions about a documentary. This in turn led to a documentary company filming me talking about the Two Pennies in France, which led me to become the writer of the scripts of the other segments of the documentary: Never Forget Australia. I’ve never had so much fun!
This then led me to a wonderful story about a French orphan who was smuggled into Australia after WW1, which led me to the Australian decendents of this orphan, which led me to writing the children’s version of The Little Stowaway, published by Scholastic Australia. Click here to watch the trailer.
So… it’s the connections and the moving forward which enables me to be more creative. Noticing them and pursuing them and taking the time every day to practise my creative endeavours… whatever they are.
In 2015, my grandson Oliver Orth began talking to me about his inner life as a spy. We had so much fun with these stories, we decided to write Oliver’s First Big Spy Adventure. We created a story about a boy who wanted to be a spy.
It begins on an ordinary afternoon after school. Oliver overhears two suspicious-sounding men talking about bacteria, AK47s, vicious dogs and a mysterious island. He is kidnapped, tied up, chased across a field by guard dogs, catches a train, hires a taxi, rides a horse, is shot at, drives a boat and is hopelessly lost at sea. He is brave and resourceful, but can he escape? This book is written for 9 – 12 year olds.
It has been a decade since I have written a book for my self-development readers. During this time, I have been compiling everything that’s been of value to me about living a hopeful life. Much has happened to me during my life’s journey, many disappointments, happiness’s, frustrations, surprises, and obstacles have come my way, The Book of Hope emerged from these experiences. I know that without the challenges of life, I would not be the writer or the person I am today.
My vision is to be a valuable catalyst for change and growth. I do that by speaking openly and honestly with others, I go past the point of discomfort to solve problems, I take responsibility for the experiences I create and I am ever alert for opportunities… and I keep my heart open.
Come on this journey with me, I will help you recognise the connections and ignite the creative spirit in you.
Oh, and here is a picture of my muses. Hamish and Lotte.