On curiosity, building a personal brand & trusting your creative instincts.
Emma Gannon is an award-winning blogger, speaker, podcaster and author of Ctrl, Alt; Delete: How I Grew Up Online out now! The ultimate multi-hyphenate, basically. Emma’s vision and drive has long been an inspiration of mine. Her content is *amazing*, she’s constantly working on exciting projects, and, as if that wasn’t enough, she’s a wonderful human, too. And the best part? She’s just getting started. I interviewed her about personal branding, her brilliant new book and why there’s no perfect formula for achieving your goals.
You recently wrote a book! What did you learn about yourself during that process? I learned to trust my instincts and to believe in myself – to put any self-judgement or self-editing on pause until I’ve actually written something concrete down. I learned that I have more than one writing style and that I can write consistently and quickly about things that truly, truly excite me.
If you could be mentored by one person, dead or alive, who would it be? Iris Apfel. What a legend.
What drives you? My own curiosity, nosiness and other creatives (whether that’s friends, people on Twitter or my favourite books/films).
You’re amazing at personal branding. What would you say to those who understand the importance of having a personal brand, but don’t know quite where to start? To do the work first and worry about the “brand” later. It happens through trial and error, you will get there. You will look back on all the stuff you’ve created and it will start to “click”.
What’s a piece of work-related advice that changed your mindset for the better? There’s no fork in the road. There’s lots of paths for everyone. You can choose something and then change your mind and turn back if you want to. Nothing is set in stone. It’s OK to zig-zag your way towards your goal.
Can you think of a mistake you made at work and how you overcame it? In a few of my earlier jobs I realised I was too emotional at work. Not in the sense of crying all the time (crying is fine!), but taking things too personally which can be damaging. I learned to separate the “work feedback” with “a critique of my personality”.
A book, blog and podcast recommendation? I loved reading “YOU” by Caroline Kepnes on holiday recently – I couldn’t put it down. Heather Sundell’s blog “Terrible Twenties” is great. Desert Island Discs is always my podcast recommendation. The most recent episode with Tom Hanks is so good.
Who is someone who inspires you outside of your field? My incredibly talented friend Sam Pilling who directs music videos for the likes of Major Lazer and The Weeknd. He’s so good at his job.
What’s your ultimate motivation song? “Ride Like The Wind” by Christopher Cross. Spoiler alert: I basically only listen to 80s music.
Lastly, do you think anyone can be creative? 100%. I hate any sort of snobbery around creativity.
Follow Emma @girllostincity, and order her debut novel here!