Art and culture are an important part of anyone’s life, whether you notice it or not. They are also important in business. As a songwriter and creator, I wonder how much music, books, films and fine art influence me. As I explore finding the answer to this question, I thought it would be helpful to interview some of the favorite creators in my life. I hope you enjoy this interview with my fellow singer/songwriter and friend, Nicole Bonsol.
I met Nicole in 2013 when we were two singers enrolled in the same online course. We shared a love for music, a dream of making more art and we had a similar background in the nonprofit world. I instantly knew I liked this woman.
Today, in addition to her work in music, Nicole runs her own business as a copywriter and website designer for healers.
A Sunday in February (a dark cold evening for me in Sweden, a sunny morning for her in California), I talked to Nicole about art and the challenges of infusing creativity in business.
Lina: Nicole, since I know you’re a talented songwriter and you’re having a service business, I’m curious to know: What would you say is your creative work?
Nicole: All work feels creative to me. The work I do for my clients, when I’m writing, coming up with graphic designs for their sites and marketing my own business. Writing a newsletter is creative work, just as songwriting is creative.
For me, being creative is about problem solving and finding a way to express myself. That’s part of everything I do.
Lina: What kind of art and culture is part of your daily life?
I’m reading fiction every day now, something that’s become even more important to me since I’m in a book club. I want to keep up with the group, so reading has become a priority.
Because of friends, I get invited to things I wouldn’t otherwise go to, like the theater. There’s a lot of theater in the Bay Area, where we live. I have one friend working at a performing arts foundation and one friend studying theater at university. Movies are also a big part of my life because my partner is a big movie buff.
I feel like it was easier to get exposed to all different kinds of art and culture as a kid. I was exposed to more things through school. As an adult it’s become about what is easy to access instead, but I’m realizing now in talking to you is that I think it’s important to get out of my comfort zone with the art I consume.
Lina: I agree, that’s one of the things I’m really grateful for from my school days. I know that you, as me, like to travel. Does it inspire you in any certain way?
Nicole: I love travelling and yes, I feel inspired by it. While I travel I often visit art museums. Last year I went to Japan and everything inspired me. The art, culture and all of the houses were so pretty. When I’m away I notice styles and themes in the artitecture, something I don’t do at home.
Lina: What kind of art or cultural experiences has impact on your work? Both as a songwriter and when you work with your healers?
Nicole: Going to concerts is a sure way to make me feel inspired to write more songs. I go to live concerts about once a month. I’ve realized how important it is for me, because it inspires me to write more music myself and keep working on it.
There’s also ONE TV show, “Mozart in the Jungle” that makes me want to write more. In the series, which is all about love, sex and music. They’re so into their art. Which inspires me to be more into mine.
Another thing that’s helped, is that I’m in a songwriting circle. We’re 20 people who meet every other week, and in between those meetings we pair up to write new songs. We listen and discuss each other's work. It’s been challenging and very rewarding to work with a new co-writer every week.
For client work related to my business, the inspiration and motivation comes from the clients themselves. And contrary to many (what you might think), I don’t actually listen to music when I work. It’s too distracting. I prefer to work in silence or at a coffee shop.
Lina: I can see that, and I agree. I feel songwriting, that kind of creative writing, needs input from different sources. It’s different from service based work, when you have a client in front of you.
Ok- final question, what would you recommend a new business owner to do or experience to feel more creative in their business?
Nicole: I would advise them to do a little every day. It’s like exercising, it makes it easier.
I tried doing big batch-days for my work but it hasn’t worked so far.
I carved out time for one, I had planned to write 4 articles in one day. But then I stopped writing everyday because I saved all that work for the batch-day. It’s funny, I think that turned the full day for writing into a “full day to hate myself”.
Batching might work for some, but for me it’s important to do a little work every day, to keep it flowing.
Lina: I think that’s brilliant advice, because creativity is a muscle. And as we’re ending our chat, I want to say thank you so much Nicole.
If you want to learn more about Nicole and her work, you can find her on www.nicolebonsol.com.
My hope, for me and you, is that we’ll infuse our lives with more art. Art that makes us happy, energized and focused. Art that add sparkle to the world we live in.