“The more life challenges me, the more I seek minimalism. Less show, more be.” @ggreneewrites
1. Before we delve into your thoughts on minimalism, tell us more about your life as a writer and the magic behind, All The Many Layers.
About eight years ago, I was a working mom of two in a long-term relationship with my college sweetheart. My life consisted of trying to keep up with others, trying to look like I had it all together and trying to be what everyone needed me to be. Of course this mission left me feeling insecure and unfulfilled so I hid those feelings with a happy face that I’d cultivated over many years of shame and self-denial. It was complicated. I felt so blessed and so burdened at the same time and I didn’t understand why. I just knew that something was missing. Ultimately, I went to therapy which opened my eyes to a lot of unresolved pain from my past and thankfully, it brought me back to writing.
I started my first blog in 2009 and I’ve been blogging ever since. At first it was a coping mechanism, then it was a hobby and from there it evolved from a side hustle to a full-time career. When I started All the Many Layers in 2012, I knew that I wanted to leave my job and write full-time. I didn’t know how that it would work, but something inside of me knew that I had to take the chance and that it was time for me to put my own words to the test. I was always writing about aligning your inner world with your outer world, but I didn’t feel that I’d fully embraced that for myself until I quit my job in 2013.
I built the blog to be a safe place for women to come and see someone with insecurities just like theirs being vulnerable, sensitive and creative — embracing all the many layers of being a fully expressed, purposeful woman. Over time, the blog has become a platform for my products and services. My books and courses drive home that mission of discovery and expression. Up next, I have a book slated for release later this year. Underneath is a collection of essays that explore inner conflict, self-discovery and the beauty of revealing your truth.
2. Minimalism looks different for everyone. What does minimalism mean to you?
I smiled when I read this question because sometimes I look around and wonder how I even call myself a minimalist. Ha! With three kids and a partner who hates throwing things away, it’s been challenging at times to get the rest of the family on the bandwagon. But for me, minimalism is a journey of simplifying and removing the unnecessary. That includes physical things, limiting thoughts and ideas, people, activities, commitments and more. If it’s not a source of inspiration, meaning or purpose, then it can go.
Minimalism is also about being creative and resourceful with what I already have. When I quit my job and started bringing home just a portion of my prior salary, I learned quickly that I could save money by changing my ways. I’d been pretty wasteful and extra before, thinking that having more stuff would make me feel better about myself.
Lastly, being a mom of three led me naturally to minimalism because trying to do too much and be everything to everyone was not only driving me crazy, it was not allowing me to deeply experience and be grateful for all my blessings. This is incredibly important to me. Having dealt with anxiety and constant overwhelm for as long as I can remember, minimalism has been one of the best treatments. Plus, I’m a slow poke. I like to take my time. Make less decisions. Have peace and quiet and space. The world we live in is noisy and chaotic and if we’re not diligent about what we allow to enter our space, we can become consumed by it all.
3. I have found the creative mind often needs a bit of minimalism to thrive. How does it help your creative process?
I totally agree. I’m easily distracted by stuff. Too much conversation? Distracting. Too much clutter? Consuming. Too many people? Crankiness. I work best in a cozy, quiet environment and my creative process thrives when I have plenty of space and time to myself. I guess in that way, minimalism sort of ties into me being an introvert. The more selective I am about my time and space, the more energy and clarity I have to create.
4. What advice do you have for those just starting their journey towards a minimalist lifestyle? And any special advice for writers?
First, do not compare your journey. Do it for what you learn about yourself in the process, not for some end result that’s supposed to fix your whole life. Next. Read up on it. There are plenty of blogs on minimalism (like this one!) and I have followed Zen Habits for years for tips on simplicity and mindfulness. I would also stress the importance of making the journey about minimizing both physical and mental clutter. For writers? Learning how to do what it takes to keep your ideas clear and organized will boost your productivity. A challenge for many writers is the emotional drain that comes from having so many ideas and not being clear on how to get them out and bring them to life. When your space and mind are not full of unfiltered clutter, your creative capacity can expand and flourish.
GG Renee Hill is an author, speaker and advocate for self-discovery through writing. A candid voice for mental health and self-care, GG writes about the joys and challenges of living an authentic life and being a fully expressed woman. Her books, courses and workshops empower women to embrace all their layers, creatively and shamelessly. She brings her experience as a blogger, memoirist, ghostwriter, and coach to the products and services she offers on her website, All The Many Layers. GG is passionate about going beyond the surface to create meaningful content and safe spaces for women to tell their stories. Her philosophy is, “Self-discovery and creativity go hand in hand. Explore yourself. Express what you find.”