I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– having a community is the only way to make it through this world with happiness, love, and success. I was thrilled to find such a strong blogging community through Blogcademy and am more and more in awe of my fellow Bloggets every day. Case in point: Marthe Hagen of The Freedom Experiment. Not only is she a wildly successful blogger, curating a loving community through her writing, but she just saw the eagerly anticipated launch of her first e-book (I reviewed it here and you can learn more here!) and is spending the rest of 2012 traveling the world.
What is Marthe all about? Self-love and taking those leaps necessary to achieve your dreams. Down with a world where we can’t talk about our dreams! Marthe wants you to boldly follow them wherever they take you.
Why did you start blogging? What motivated you to share your story?
Marthe: In the beginning, a little over four years ago, I started blogging to have a space to share everything that I found inspiring. I didn’t really create my own content at first, I just re-blogged images, video’s, quotes etc. However, I slowly re-discovered my love for writing and started writing original content for the blog. Over the course of about a year I eased into an article-based blog– while still keeping my original whimsical and romantic aesthetic vision.
It’s only during the last year that I have really been sharing my full story. I was originally motivated by personal reasons; I realized that I was living a double life that seemed so perfect on the surface, but underneath I was really depressed and unhappy. Opening up and sharing the story of my personal struggles has been the singlemost important thing I have ever done for myself. And coincidentally, I think it’s the most important thing I have done for my readers. I get lots of e-mails from people thanking me for being so open – it makes them feel hopeful, empowered and less alone.
I am motivated by helping others heal.
What is the biggest takeaway you want readers to get out of your e-book, Feeling Good When Life is Hard?
Marthe: The singlemost important thing I want people to walk away with is a sense that everything is possible. You CAN go through very challenging stuff and still thrive. I want people to feel empowered and inspired to make tiny changes that will have a huge impact on their happiness.
Take us behind-the-scenes: what was the writing process like for you? Why did you choose the e-book format versus a more traditional book publisher route?
Marthe: The writing process was very organic. I wrote the entire first draft from various coffee shops in East Village, NYC. I hired a wonderful graphic designer very early on, and spent a great deal of time e-mailing back and forth with her. She designed the book chapter by chapter as I sent her the finished manuscript in pieces.
However, ironically my life got a whole lot of different ways harder right after the first draft was finished. My boyfriend (of 8 years) left me, we had to sell our apartment, a lot of my friends disappeared and I found myself very lonely and insecure about living alone. And it was very hard! In retrospect, this is the best thing that could ever have happened to the book. I suddenly got a very real chance to test my own advice. Some of it fell though, and I discovered and learned other techniques and tools that made a great difference in my life.
My favorite bits of the book is your advice to write love lists– what are your top five things on your personal love list that you turn to the most for inspiration?
Marthe: Great question! I would say that the top 5 things on my list– that I find myself turning to almost daily– are tea, magazines, candles, writing and poetry.
The book is chock-full of amazing advice and tips for developing self-awareness and curating happiness and creativity; what piece of advice do you follow or need the most?
Marthe: Actually, I think writing a love list and implementing the small things into our busy and often challenging lifestyles is one of the most impactful pieces of advice from the book. It’s all about maximizing happiness with minimal effort.
Another very important concept from the book that I use a lot in my daily life is self-coaching. Basically, self-coaching is about becoming aware of the thoughts that create our emotions and actions. It’s so easy to think that a circumstance (like being in debt for example) is making us anxious and thus leading to mindless shopping. However, it’s the thought about the situation– what we make being in debt mean– that really creates the anxiousness. If you think “I’m so screwed, I won’t be able to pay my next installment” that will make you anxious, but if you replace the thought with “I’m in debt and that’s alright– I will pay it off little by little”– you are in a whole different position to take action. If you want to learn more about self-coaching, I explain it more in depth in the book. Brooke Castillo also has a great e-book on self-coaching.
It’s an average Tuesday: what is the day like for you?
Marthe: Well, as I write this– it’s Sunday– but that doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t really have average days– as I work for myself and travel a lot. At the time of writing, I am visiting friends in Los Angeles. I am jet-lagged so I woke up at 5 am. The first thing I do in the morning is to make coffee, then I very often sit down to either write, answer e-mails or work on a creative project. I work for about 3-4 hours before I get out and about to meet people or run errands etc. Since I am travelling at the moment, I have plans to go to a yoga and wine tasting event on a vineyard outside Los Angeles today. Loving my life!
What are three words to describe you?
Marthe: Soulful and soul-full– as I often wear my emotions on the outside. People read me like an open book.
Adventurous– I’ll try anything once!
Phoenix– I crash and burn and re-invent myself often.
What’s next for you? What’s next for The Freedom Experiment?
Marthe: I very recently made the decision to put my law studies on hold for another term, as I go about writing and life coaching. I’m in the middle of life coach training, and I will very soon take on my first practice clients (jump on my newsletter to get updates if you are interested in some low-cost coaching– http://eepurl.com/d93n9). I have just joined a co-working office for young entrepreneurs, so creative work is definitely the direction I am flowing in.
My immediate plans are very cool too– I am currently in Los Angeles for Christmas– and then I fly off to Thailand to spend the new-years with my family there. I am so blessed to be able to live my life like this– my biggest joy is that I can work from anywhere and meet a lot of wonderful new people from all over this beautiful earth.
It truly is a wonderful world.
We are so enamored with Marthe and the lifestyle she represents– her story and her e-book should be staples in every modern woman’s life! If you’re happy, normal, busy, depressed, tired, flustered, kicking butt, or just needing to refresh your crazy life, check out Feeling Good When Life is Hard and keep The Freedom Experiment on your blog reader. Follow Marthe on Twitter as well! Thank you Marthe for sharing your lovely outlook with us! All images via Marthe’s Instagram