Name: Barbara Schiffman
The Akashic Muse: Collaborating With Your Soul and the Akashic Records for Writing and Other Creative Endeavors
Your book’s Amazon purchase link:
What is your book about?
The Akashic Muse is my “creativity workshop in a book.” In it I share insights from 40 years as a creativity/writing coach and Hollywood script consultant, plus 10 years as a hypnotherapist and Life&Soul Coach. The book is an easy read with fun exercises and guided meditations for exploring your own personal creative process. Creativity is a unique experience for each person, especially if you’re a writer. It’s also essential for business brainstorming and content creation as well as project development and collaboration.
I titled the book The Akashic Muse because I include a guided meditation for connecting with inner archetypes (or your own past life experiences if you’re open to that) that have support and insights for your particular creative needs. We each have innate talents and skills, but we often need to request their assistance actively to be able to express them more easily. I created a whole “team” of Muses for myself—one of the most useful is a past life of mine that helps me focus so I can start writing and not get too distracted! Tuning into my Muse Team helps me “download” my writing, which seems to flow through my right-brain Higher Self (or Soul-level). I’ve always done this as a writer, I think, but doing so more consciously now makes it easier and faster, which is great when I’m on deadline!
Since 2004, I’ve contributed chapters to nine anthologies (including one on screenwriting) and I’ve solo-authored three personal development books so far. I also edit and co-publish a unique anthology series of coloring journals (titled Recipes for Living—kind of like Chicken Soup books but with coloring and journaling). They include journaling prompts, coloring pages, and articles by a wide range of body-mind-spirit wellness experts. All are available at Amazon.com.
What inspired you to write your book?
Requests for The Akashic Muse from my writer-clients and Akashic Records practitioner students were my first clues this might be a good thing to write. Some attendees at my creativity enhancement workshops wanted a guidebook to take home, and many writers or artists who didn’t attend wanted a self-paced workbook. So in 2014 I wrote the print and e-book editions in a month, expanding and updating the material from in my half-day workshop. One example of this is the Akashic Muse meditation for connecting with an inner archetype or one of your own past lives whose energy can serve as your writing or creative project “collaborator.” This evolved from past-life and Jungian archetype processes I’ve worked with as a hypnotherapist, creativity coach, and Akashic Records teacher. I also created MP3 versions of the meditations.
Can you describe your writing process?
First, I clean my kitchen and organize my office! Then I pay bills, check emails, and do anything else on my to-do list that’s quick and relatively easy to complete. This can take hours or days—but when I fall into this type of “completion” mode, I know I’m preparing to write.
While I’m creating order in my environment, a first line or quote to jumpstart my next article or chapter usually percolates in the back of my mind. When I finally sit at my computer to write, I tune in to my Akashic Muse Team, asking for guidance to share whatever can be helpful for my readers or audiences. A first line or paragraph often springs to mind instantly, so I type it and then just keep going. If it doesn’t come easily, I read Linda Howe’s Pathway Prayer© (which was developed by my Akashic Records mentor Linda Howe, author of How to Read the Akashic Records and other books). This ritual helps me focus and relax into my “writing zone.” Then I just listen and type whatever flows through my fingers, reminding myself not to censor or judge. When the word-flow pauses, I read what I’ve typed so far from the beginning, and often edit or improve it as I read. Then I continue writing, reading, and editing until the article, book chapter, or project outline feels complete, or my writing time runs out.
If I’m writing on deadline—usually an article or a chapter someone is waiting to review—I check the clock to keep on track. If there’s a word limit, I run my word count regularly to help me edit on the fly. If I’ve opened my Records with the Pathway Prayer to get started, I finish my writing session by reading the brief Closing Prayer, which grounds me and shifts my focus from alpha/right-brain mode back into a left-brain/beta state so I can return to my daily activities.
How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
I have always been a writer. As a kid and teen growing up in Chicago, I wrote poems, short stories, and plays. In my early 20s, I worked for indie Chicago filmmaker Mike Gray, who wrote the original script The China Syndrome about a fictionalized nuclear power plant crisis, which was later nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar. It was the first screenplay I ever typed and years later, it became a hot Hollywood film starring Michael Douglas, Jane Fonda, and Jack Lemmon. When Mike moved to L.A. to sell the script, I “went west” too, finding work from a variety of film producers such as doing research and reading scripts. I also began writing scripts myself and, in 1979, started Hollywood’s first computerized script service. For several years, I typed and revised scripts for other writers on my $12,000 Wang word processor. In the 1980s and 1990s, I started optioning and developing other people’s scripts, books, and true stories for film and TV as an independent creative producer. I also became a career breakthrough coach for film industry pros, including writers.
But when my aging parents got ill in 1999, I started seeking life and spiritual coaching support as I wasn’t prepared to become their “parent,” even though I essentially was until they died. This led me to get certified as a coach myself. Most of my clients have been creatives or entrepreneurs. In 2009, I learned to access the Akashic Records via Linda Howe’s book and training programs, and discovered my inner collaborators, which helped me start writing again.
While I feel “semi-retired” as a Life&Soul Synergy Coach and teacher, author, and speaker, I still seem to work 24/7. In addition to writing books and e-courses based on my coaching programs, I edit articles, anthology chapters, and full books for other writers. I also coach nonfiction authors and novelists on adapting their books to film. In my spare time, I edit an inspiring series of wellness anthologies and coloring journals (via Coloring Journals for Healthy Living) with my co-publisher and co-editor Deborah Louise Brown, a terrific artist and book designer. Helping people explore their lives and express their souls through writing, other creative projects, and most importantly, their own lives and relationships, is great fun and fulfills my own life purpose.
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
I actually like it most when my life is “boring”—meaning peaceful and drama-free. Each day is different, of course, and my to-do list keeps growing. I don’t write every day, but when I’m working on an article or book of my own, or editing for a client, I must block out time to focus only on that project. Since I work at home, it’s easy to get isolated and reclusive even though I’m married—to another writer! So I make time for attending a few Meetups or networking groups for writers or holistic practitioners each month to make sure I get out of the house and connect with like-minded people. When I’m home for dinner, I cook something healthy (and easy) for myself and my husband, who’s a prolific and talented novelist. We usually wind down by watching our favorite TV shows—I like Scandal and Elementary, and we both love Billions and PBS’ The Young Victoria. I have more time now for enjoying what’s on TV than when I was reading scripts full-time since I don’t have daily coverage deadlines (and there’s better writing on TV than ever before). To help me fall asleep easily, I usually read a few pages in one of the many books on my bedside table, which are mostly inspiring nonfiction.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I love helping other writers to express their own unique messages and wisdom in print and through teaching or speaking. As I get older, I enjoy working with others more than writing by myself. But I’m deeply touched when people tell me how helpful my book, article, or workshop was for them, which makes the effort to create and share my own work worthwhile. I am glad to be getting older and “having a life” instead of working as hard as I did in my earlier decades.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
One of my favorite inspirations is my friend and collaborator Deborah Louise Brown—she encouraged me to write my first e-book Living in Balance for Boomers so she could publish it in her Boomer Book series! I’ve also been inspired and supported by my mentors and teachers, especially those who are also authors like Sarah Ban Breathnach (Simple Abundance), Linda Howe (How to Read the Akashic Records), and James Wanless (Voyager Tarot: Way of the Great Oracle). My daughter Risa constantly inspires me—a risk-taker since she was born, she’s an emergency room nurse and world traveler, and now the mother of twin toddlers!
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
I learned to stretch my own comfort zone by fire-walking with Tony Robbins, and also by training for and completing a half-marathon walk in Hawaii (which took five hours) as a memorial to my parents. Also, my husband Glenn and I met in 1977 when I interviewed to be the secretary for a rock-and-roll manager. He was a roadie and road manager for famous rock bands at the time, but I fell in love with him after reading the novel he was writing. We’ve been together 40 years and I’ve learned a lot about relationships along the way—I think I’ll keep him!
What’s next for you?
I’m learning to create videos, webinars, and e-courses through some of the new online platforms. I already have e-courses published on DailyOM.com, on the Art and Science of Taking Leaps of Faith and on Creating Life Balance with Nature’s Four Elements. I like to blend metaphysical and archetypal processes with practical coaching tools and fun exercises, and am finding new avenues for doing this in person and also online.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
After spending decades reading scripts, novels, biographies, memoirs, nonfiction books, and articles as a Hollywood script consultant, I’m awestruck by how most people are courageous, compassionate, and eager to contribute to the world. I consider each person to be a “true story in progress” and believe we’re writing our lives through living them, whether or not we also write words on computers or paper. We’re all in this world together and each of our life stories is an essential chapter in humanity’s ever-evolving “anthology.” So I look forward to being of support to other writers with inspiring stories to share in print, on film, or just by creating their own lives.