Highlights from the Gathering of The Creatives Conference, Santa Fe, 2020.

The Gathering of The Creatives is an Artist and Writers Conference based in Santa Fe, USA, but due to this year's pandemic, the conference was held online.

The event organisers Jacob Nordby and Randy Davila brought together an amazing line up of authors and artist coaches for creative workshops but more than having a stellar lineup, the thing that really set this conference apart was how they were able to create the feeling of intimacy and connection with each attendee even though we were all in our own homes in many parts of the world.

The Whova app was an instrumental and amazing tool that really helped attendees to connect to each other and with the hosts via forums and message boards before, during, and after the event. It allowed people to make friends during the lead-up week. 

The workshops were so hard to choose from but all of them were recorded and, this year for the first time, attendees can attend the workshops after the fact by watching the recordings of the ones they missed.

Highlights From the Weekend

The Infinite Power of Your Creativity with SARK

Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy affectionately known as SARK, is a successful, creative artist, mentor, and woman.

Her unique approach to understanding creative blocks has helped thousands of people all around the world for 35 years and she has 17 bestselling books. She is most famous for her book Succulent Wild Woman.

Her workshop was a wonderful welcome to the conference and really engaged the attendees on zoom on a personal level, answering questions from the floor and engaging us to talk to our Inner Wise Selves.

Some Takeaways from this session were:

  • Use Intuition to help in every aspect of life
  • Feel all the feelings
  • Tools to shift inner dialogue from critical to supportive

Something you can try at home now is to write from your intuitive self. Allow your wise inner self to tell you what it thinks about you. What are you really good at that you may not have fully appreciated before?

Here was my love not from my Inner Wise Self

"You are wise, fun, creative, and inspirational. You are caring and considerate of everyone’s feelings. You have so much compassion trying to burst out of you. It’s been spilling out all your life despite how hard and the lid has been on, but even though you couldn’t see these things about yourself they’ve always been there. It’s time to trust in yourself, in your heart, and your desires. It is time to let go of your fears; and trust."

The Artist’s Way: Essential Tools with Julia Cameron

Julia Cameron is one of the most amazing creative mentors I have ever listened to. I have been a big fan of her book The Artist's Way and have been practicing her methods for a few years. I can absolutely recommend them to help heal creative blocks on the emotional and psychological levels.

She has been affectionately referred to as 'The High Priestess of Creativity'. If you haven’t read her book The Artist’s Way then I highly recommend it. It’s a must-read for any aspiring creative person still looking to find their purpose.

My favourite quote of hers from the evening:

'Your heart is a velvet cave where the birds sing.'

The two biggest takeaways for me were to restart doing the morning pages: Three sides of A4, handwritten stream of consciousness writing first thing in the morning; and restarting the Artist Date.

Both these activities help to unwind the mind, and the other allows the inner child to surface by creating fun, loving, and safety in creative self-expression.

Popcorn Poetry

Jacob Nordby hosted this event. He invited members to request a slot to share a 90-second poem. It was something new for this online conference and he had been uncertain how it would go down.

I can tell you now it was one of the most terrifying and cathartic experiences of my life. I must have been over a hundred people who took the camera and read their poems. 

Some had never written a poem before that evening, others had never read them in front of anyone. So many had experienced profound loss and trauma which they had expressed into poetic form and released into the shared space of this virtual stage.

It was profoundly moving to hear people’s hearts laid bare, the beauty of their words and passions and burdens that they had been carrying.

It was an experience I will always remember, treasure with gratitude.

The Intuitive Writing Method with Lauren Sapala

I have long been a fan of Lauren Sapala. She has written a fabulous book, The INFJ Writer which I mentioned in a previous post. INFJs are one of the 16 MBTI personality types and are the rarest and most misunderstood of the types. But you don’t have to be an INFJ to resonate with her writing methods, they hold true for all intuitive types.

Lauren asked us to write down our top three writing fears and what would happen if they actually happened. This was mine:

'I am afraid nobody will like my book and I’ll have wasted my whole life in its writing only to be rejected as unworthy and undeserving of love.'

This is a common thing, particularly for intuitive types who may not have had nurture and support from their friends and family in the past.

If you find yourself struggling to write because you’ve been told that you would never be a good enough writer, then listing your fears is a good way to start. Tell yourself why those fears unfounded, and show your inner critic the evidence to the contrary.

In response to my above statement I wrote:

'If I finish and publish my book, lack of sales doesn’t mean my book wasn’t any good, it just means that the marketing wasn’t right. Secondly, people do love my writing.'

I then named several people who have stated how much they like my writing including the other poetry readers of the Popcorn Poetry live event.

The Creative Cure with Jacob Nordby

Jacob Nordby was an inspiring and genuine speaker. He claimed to be introverted but he seemed to ooze charisma and passion as he spoke and you wouldn't have known it to see him.

He is the author of The Creative Cure, a book that is available for pre-order and due for release in February 2021. If you preorder you'll be invited to attend a free 90-minute workshop of the same name which will explore: '...how to restore the connection to your inner creative self - and why that matters in your everyday life.'

Takeaways from this workshop were learning about the three 'Enemies of Creativity':

  • Socialisation
  • Rejection
  • Traumatic Experiences

Jacob explained that as children we are often ‘socialised’ into a normalcy set out by adults intended to make us functioning and obedient human beings that can contribute to society. 

Things that do not fit with the social norm are rejected, and those parts of us that do not fit, we bury deep within us.

It is part of life that most of us human beings experience some form of trauma as children to varying degrees of severity. 

He explained that living a life of anxiety can lead to an inability to connect to our high vibrating creative self. That this ‘Green Zone’ of creative living is a state of mind that with practice, can be achieved as the normal state of being.

He encouraged us to explore why we weren’t as creative as we wished to be, and what we would do if we had no limits and could create anything.

Show and Tell with Randy Davila

In true American style, the conference ended in a Show and Tell which seemed a little awkward for me as a British person, but I really enjoyed seeing all the beautiful art that other people had painted on the various workshops and hearing what had really moved them over the weekend, things they were taking away and hopes they had for the future.

It was lovely to see so many inspired and uplifted spirits closing the conference on a real high.


There were too many great events to list them all and I have yet to watch the replays of the ones I missed. However, I am looking forward to Randy Davila's workshop on how to turn your novel idea into a finished book and publish it. 

It really was a fantastic event. It's hard to imagine it being any better had it been live and in person and yet, the idea of spending a weekend in Santa Fe next year is very tempting.

I would definitely recommend any of the books and coaches that spoke at this event, particularly if you are blocked and confused about how to express your creativity effectively.

Have you have read any of their books? Know of their work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Jessica Triana de Ford is Exeter Writers Blog Manager, and co-ordinates content as well as edits submissions. She loves being part of a supportive writing group and being in a position to help support other creatives find the courage to express their ideas. You can find out more and connect with Jessica on LinkedIn and Twitter.