How do you build creative freedom into your working day? You’ll find out one possible way from my guest Sara Nisha Adams, along with the story of how her dream of becoming an author at 16 eventually came true and how, when and why she switched to being a full time author. You can listen to the podcast here or via the player at the bottom of this page.

Welcome to the Creative Switch.

Thank you so much for having me, Nikki. I’m really excited to be here.

I’m sure we’re going to have a really interesting conversation. Could we start, please, with you telling the listeners a little bit about who you are and what you do?

So I’m Sara Nisha Adams and I’m an author. I’ve written two novels now. The Twilight Garden is my latest, and my first one was the Reading List. And I have also been an editor for many years in the publishing industry and I’ve basically gone freelance since last September. So it’s been about six months now, actually, maybe more. So I’m now a full time writer. So, yeah, that’s me, basically.

So where did that all start? Did you know a long time ago that you wanted to use your creativity to write fiction or where did it come from?

Yeah, I’ve always wanted to write fiction. I have always loved books and reading and it’s been my first joy. I guess in many ways I was always writing stories when I was little. At any opportunity, I would have some scrap paper, and I was always writing things down if my mum or dad had to do some shopping and I just was at a bit of a loose end. So it’s always been my way to settle into myself. And books have been something that keeps me company, I think, and I find solace in books and they’ve always been a huge part of my life. So it felt quite natural that I’d get into publishing when I discovered that was a career. But I always wanted to write, so I did get into publishing because I wanted to know what it might be like to be a writer. My mum had said to me, there’s no way you can be a full time writer. That’s not really a job. So I wanted to find out if there was a way to make books a full time job, and publishing was the way I did it.

So at what point did you discover that publishing route? Often when we go to school, particularly if we’re quite academic or good all rounders, it’s not really something that necessarily gets talked about. I mean, everyone knows about doctors and lawyers and the proper jobs, as they call them. So where did that come from? Who gave you that information?

Yeah, so when I was about 16, I wrote my first book and it was really bad, but I wanted to do something with it. So at the time I sent it off to a few publishers. I didn’t know that you couldn’t really just send books off to publishers then. But I also sent it to a few agents because my dad’s second cousin was a book scout and I had no idea what that was, but she recommended a couple of agents who look at children’s fiction, which is what I’d written at the time, and I sent it off there.

I got some lovely replies. I was so young, so people, I think, took the time to respond to me and encourage me. And that’s when I knew that there was a whole industry and there was so much more to it than I first thought. But I did forget about it for a little while and probably I was a bit burnt by not becoming an international best selling author at the age of 16. But I eventually picked myself up and when I was at university, I think I knew I wanted to write, but for me, doing an English degree, it seemed like the only two paths that I could look at were journalism or teaching. Didn’t think I really wanted to do either of those.

And then that’s when publishing came back to me and I basically went to London Book Fair as a student and just had a look around and I mean, it was baffling but it also again, it reinforced that this is a whole industry. There is so much going on here, there are so many different paths in. And I managed to get some work experience for the next summer. So I did a week at Hodder and Stoughton and I loved it. I was just like checking covers and reading from the slush pile at the time and it was probably the best week ever.

So I then just spent time emailing everyone I could possibly find emails for in publishing asking if I could have some more working experience the following summer. And actually, the agency which had called in my full manuscript when I was 16, offered me an internship and that was RCW. So I went there and I think had four weeks of an internship there and it was so great. And the office is in Notting hill and like a rabbit warren, and it’s full of incredible agents who have such amazing clients, many of whom were my favorite authors, like Zadie Smith. And I just couldn’t believe that I was there.

And they asked me to stay on to help with their royalty run. And my mum was so pleased because she thought maybe she’ll get into accounting because my mum is a maths person. So that ticked both boxes for me working in a literary agency, but also my mum working in an accounts place. So I really enjoyed that. It showed me the business side of the industry as well. And after that, I got into editorial in a publishing house. But that was my way in, in a way.

And as soon as I started working with writers, I loved it. I was just proofreading things at first and collating manuscript changes and things like that, but I got to have meetings with authors from ever since I was an editorial assistant. And I loved meeting people who were creative and were creating whole worlds and books that I admired. And seeing a book from that beginning of its journey as a manuscript to the finished copy in your hands the day it comes back from the printers was amazing. I forgot about writing in that time, but yeah, I loved working in publishing and it was such a privilege to do something that I loved for my job.

Wow. Obviously you were learning how to work, how to be in a workplace, and it was a stimulating environment for you and it is difficult sometimes to do that as well as something else. So when did it round back to you thinking, no, I’ve got an idea, I want to write this book. The first one that you published?

Yeah. So I’d been writing on and off for ages. I think I had a very serious novel that I was writing ever since I graduated and I just had got a bit stuck with it. I was a bit lost with it, and it was so much easier to just focus on other people’s work. And working in publishing, especially in editorial, you have to read all the time. I Really wanted to do well in my career, so I was trying to read all the books that were published out there. That was our company’s competition. I wanted to read all the submissions that were there. I wanted to help on as many edits as I could. So I was reading pretty much all the time, even outside of work hours.

And, yeah, writing was the first thing to go. In many ways, it was the thing I forgot to do or thought I’ll do that when I feel I really need to. Then it got to a time when the idea for the book came to me really clearly. There were some other books that I was reading at the time that were uplifting and joyful, and for ages I was thinking I would like to write something like this. Because I predominantly worked on the crime list and I love crime fiction and always have, but it was very different to reading these really joyful, uplifting, wholesome books. And it was the first time I thought maybe I could write something like this. It isn’t a big, serious literary novel, which I think is what I’d been striving to write beforehand. And I just knew that I really wanted to write a story about a library. I really pictured the setting in my head, which was Wembley, which is where my mum’s family all lived, and I knew the characters immediately. I knew how the book was going to end. And then it was a case of just fleshing it out and getting it there.

And I remember calling my dad during my lunchtime when I had the idea. I told him it and he said yeah, it sounds great. Do it. So I think I wrote the first chapter or something, and it wasn’t until I got a kitten and I took a week off work and I thought I’m going to get so much done because I’ve got a kitten, and she’ll just sleep on my lap while I type. And I was very naive. It’s really not how it worked at all. But I did get quite a lot done that week. And then I had to have a deadline for it because I knew I would probably lose my way with it. And I prepared for submission for the Lucy Cavendish Prize, and I think they needed about 20,000 words of manuscript and a full synopsis, and it was really helpful to have that deadline and to have a full synopsis. That’s the first time I wrote a synopsis for anything, and it just gave me a way to get through the book. And it meant that every day I was just thinking about what I would write next and I had that outline and it was all there for me. I didn’t get selected for the Lucy Cavendish Prize, but by then it didn’t matter because I had that outline and I really wanted to continue with this book.

And then I think I had moved into another job and it felt like a big jump for me. I thought, I need to be writing this book. It was maybe three months later, and I think it was my boyfriend who said to me you keep saying that you’re a writer, but you’re not making any time for it. And even though I had this idea and I had everything I needed to get going, so what I did was I just woke up an hour early, I looked out of the window for 15 minutes and I used that time to think about the scenes I was going to write. And then I spent an hour before work writing. Then I got up, left for work, and that was it. Done for the day. But doing something for myself first thing in the morning it really changed my view on writing. And it felt so satisfying to have done that before I’ve even started my working day.

Yeah, it must have had a positive impact on the working day as well, because you’ve got a set. It’s a bit like going for a run in the morning. You’ve set yourself up with all those lovely endorphins of feeling like you’ve done something and achieved something.

Yeah, absolutely. And I felt like I could really focus on my job again and really be present there as well, rather than constantly thinking, oh, I really want to be a writer. Because it’s a bit awkward when you’re working in publishing, working with loads of writers, and you’re thinking, I really want to be a writer, but I have no time to do it. Yeah, I felt like it was possible, or at least I was writing a book that I think I could be proud of.

Did you talk to any of your colleagues about it or was it very much a private project for a while until you got it finished?

Yeah, it was quite private for a while. And then at the point when I really wanted to find an agent, I asked some advice from people because it felt quite weird sending something out, being someone in the industry, obviously you’ve got the upper hand because you know the agents and you know the process. But there’s also that awkwardness that if you send to an agent and then they don’t like your work, does that reflect negatively on you as an editor and how might that be perceived? And at that point, I knew that I still really wanted to progress in my career as an editor. And also it felt awkward because I was obviously working with loads of amazing authors and I didn’t want them to think that suddenly I was doing what they were doing. And also, I’d never thought that I would be anywhere near as good as any of them, but I wanted to give myself a chance.

So I was talking to my colleagues then, and they were so lovely and just so supportive. And I think it was quite helpful that what I was working on and the place I was working, they didn’t really do a lot of the fiction that I was writing, so there was a bit of distance there, so it didn’t feel like what I would be writing was directly in competition with anything that I was working on. So that was quite nice too. But, yeah, they were really supportive and lovely and you just discover that there are loads of people in publishing who are writing books as well. So I think it’s just a love of reading and writing. They quite often blend into one, of course.

So is there anything that you think would have stopped you? I mean, obviously you had quite an early passion and an idea that you wanted to do this as a job, but I guess you chose a path that at least might have led you to the right place by studying English. So was there any point at which you thought, oh, maybe I’m not going to do this?

In terms of the writing? I mean, I think quite often working in publishing, I felt you do see every side of being a writer. You see the super successful authors and you see those who have put their heart and soul into a book where it doesn’t get picked up, as everyone on the team hopes it would. And that did feel quite disheartening quite a lot of the time. And I think, especially as an editor, you work so closely with authors and you’re their port of call in the publishing house and you’re with them throughout the whole journey, so you feel it as you feel the highs and you feel the lows along with your author. And I think I felt that a lot, and I did feel like my book could not work at all, and I’d have put all this energy and time into it, and if it got published, so many more people would be putting their energy and time into it, and still it’s so unknown.

So I was aware of all of that and I think that definitely could have stopped me. I think it definitely would have been a thing where I thought, do I really, really want to do this? And put an awful lot of creative energy into something that might end up just disappointing me. Because I think there’s always that feeling that when you get a book deal or when you write a book, you want it to be a bestseller, you want it to be, of course, reviewed in all these places, even if realistically, and even as an editor realistically, I knew that that doesn’t happen for every book. But still, there’s a part of you that’s always hoping that maybe this book will be the one. So I think that definitely could have stopped me. But I think that my love for the idea just kept me going and I just really wanted to write that book, and I knew I wanted to finish a book for the first time in like ten years or something.

Yeah,there’s almost more than one strand of drive. So you’ve got the drive of the love of books and the love of writing, and then you’ve got the drive of this particular story and these characters. And oftentimes, you’ll know this better than me, because I’m an author, but I’m not on the other side of the industry. But lots of people say that it wasn’t their first or second or even third book that got an agent for them or a deal for them, and it wasn’t even their first or second or third book that was the bestseller. But some people, it comes to the process later. So often everyone looks on and says, oh, gosh, that’s an overnight success. But of course it isn’t. It’s years and years and years of work, some of which will never actually be read by many other people. But that’s the foundational work that you’re doing to get that one book that everyone hopes is going to be the bestseller to happen.

Yeah, absolutely. And I think those stories are quite often the most inspiring because there’s a lot of focus in the industry on debuts, and it often feels if your debut doesn’t achieve quite what you wanted it to, it can feel really disheartening because I think it’s not easy. There’s nothing easy in publishing, but I think it can feel easier to present a debut from an exciting new voice. And that feels like something that pulls reviewers in and pulls people’s interest in.

And it can be really hard when you’re on the second book, and maybe the first one hasn’t worked quite as you wanted it to, to keep that drive going. But I do think when you hear about so many of the authors that I love, it wasn’t their first book or their second or their third book that hit the big time, it was sometimes their 8th book. And that does show the publisher has to show commitment to that author and has to show that they see the potential in that author still book on book on book. And that’s, I think, a very special thing too. But it does show that, yeah, you can find that idea at any time.

And I think publishing is so much a case of a lot of hard work on all sides, but also luck and timing and that stuff that’s quite out of our control. You never know if you’ve written a book that’s suddenly going to land with readers when it’s out, because it’s such a long process, like a year, if not more, to write the book, then another year or whatever, to publish it. Then by the time it’s out with readers, has the moment gone? Or are you just coming up to the moment? So it’s hard to judge. And there are so many little bits of luck and so many bits of luck in terms of what publicity you might get and what might catch fire. I try to tell myself that the only thing I can really focus on is writing a book that I’m proud of. The rest is a little bit out of your hands and you can do your best publicity marketing, but yeah, you have to just write the books that you really want to write.

Yeah. And do you have this sense when you’re writing for your stuff that’s coming out of you, it’s part of you, but do you have a sense of what you want to happen? Do you have a goal with it? Do you think, okay, well, to me, it’s not about actually bestseller stuff. What that means, being a bestseller is more people see it. Is it about making sure that that idea, that concept, those characters reach as many people as possible. Is that the aim or is it something else?

To me, I just wanted the book to resonate with people. I really just wanted, if the book could keep one or two people company at a time when they really needed it, that meant more to me than anything else. And I knew that that’s what I wanted. That even though in my head I was thinking, oh, Sunday Times bestseller would be amazing, wouldn’t it? But I knew that at the core of it, I just wanted to write a book that people enjoyed spending time with, because for me, that’s my greatest joy as a reader.

And yeah, I got so many messages from people saying that it had become their favorite book. And what I love about the Reading List is it was quite quiet in terms of sales and things early on, and I kept trying to not feel disheartened by it, but it just kept going and people kept recommending it to people and giving it to people and choosing it for their book clubs. And for me, it meant that it did reach many more people. But it was just so lovely to know that that’s how people were finding it, through word of mouth, because they loved it and they were passing it on rather than having big splashy things right from the get go. For a book about books, and a book that’s about sharing books and connection, it felt like the perfect way for it to reach readers.

So is there anything you would give people advice about in terms of the creative process? So we’re talking about the bit where you have the idea and then you turn it into something not so much the mechanics of being an author, but the actual connecting with your creativity. What do you do to bring the ideas out and to bring it to life?

Yeah, I think everyone has different approaches and I think definitely everyone should play around with what works best for them. But for me, it’s interesting because when people would ask me this after the Reading List, I had a really clear answer. And then now that I’ve written my second book, it was a very different process. I was almost relearning every time. And now I’m writing my third book and I feel like I’m relearning how to do it again.

I do think procrastination is a really good creative thing. I think if you’ve got the idea sometimes it just takes me a long time to percolate on that idea and live with the characters in my head. So for The Twilight Garden, I think I’d thought of the idea in 2019, at the beginning of 2019 maybe, and I didn’t start writing it till the end of that year. And I wrote the first 20,000 words about three times, and every time it didn’t work for me, but I started again and actually not that much changed in the actual text on the page. It was just the way that I was feeling about the characters changed, and it just allowed me rewriting it and rewriting and rewriting. It allowed me time to settle into them and really work out who they were.

I’m also a classic overwriter with my first draft, and I think that can be quite helpful because I think you tell yourself the story, first of all, and I put in all the details that no reader ever needs to know, and it’s so baggy and full of stuff that no one’s going to want to read. But I find that really helpful to just get it out on the page. So I have a really clear idea. I can’t remember who recommended it, but I found it a really useful tip also to just spend time listening to music that your characters might listen to and things like that, really immerse yourself in their world.

I quite often write led by my characters, and they come to me first and they lead the story. And I can really feel in my draft where they’re doing stuff that doesn’t feel right for them and I won’t see it necessarily until I come to edit it. But by that time I’ve spent so much time with them that I’m think, ‘you wouldn’t do this. This doesn’t feel right.’ So I think just allowing yourself the time to explore your characters.

I do find it helpful, personally, to have a bit of a deadline and also to write a little bit every day. I didn’t do that for The Twilight Garden and I actually found it really hard to get into the book I did with the Reading List because I was just constantly thinking about them. Even when I was just going about my day, my mind would drift back to them and I think just helped them become bigger than the story and that was really helpful. So every time I got back to the book, I knew what I wanted to write about and I knew them better. Whereas with The Twilight Garden, I was writing in holidays from work and it would be maybe sporadically. Every two, three months, I’d write big chunks and it felt a little bit disjointed until I went back over everything because I wasn’t quite as settled into it until the last few drafts. I knew exactly what I wanted the book to be, but I hadn’t got there yet because I hadn’t been fully immersed in that world.

Yeah, okay. And when you’re not writing, do you have any other ways to express your creativity? Is there anything else you do that you would consider to be creative? And what does it do for you? How does it help you?

Yeah, so I knit and I don’t know if that’s technically creative because I always follow a pattern from someone else, but yeah, I really love that as a way to switch my brain off a little bit and connect probably a little bit more physically, but your mind is still working. But it’s quite repetitive and I find that really, really helpful. I found it really helpful for my anxiety, but it’s also just been a really helpful reset for me in lots of ways. So I really enjoy that. I love taking photos, photography, that’s always been something that I’ve loved. So I’ve recently tried to get back into film photography. I just really enjoy that because it makes me observe the world a little bit more and slow down a bit more. And I’ve really appreciated that in the last few months because I think it’s just I notice things around me and actually that probably feeds into the writing too. Of course. Yeah, I really enjoy those two things.

Brilliant. That makes me think of the type of comedy that is, the observational type of comedy. One of my favorite things to do is to not just people watch, but ‘people listen.’ So I sit in a space where I’m on my own, maybe in a coffee shop or something, and I just pick up other people’s conversations and think, oh, that’s interesting. I might put that in one of my books.

Yes that’s the best thing, isn’t it?

Yeah, I think observing how people really are I mean, obviously people write books where they’ve made up the whole world and all the beings in it. They’re not humans. I don’t think that’s where my creativity takes me. Like you, I want, my readers to find it relatable. And so almost the more ordinary the people are, the more interesting I find it. But I think then to make it dramatic, you have to create a story or a plot or something going on that isn’t ordinary, that’s a bit extraordinary, so that it stands out. But in terms of the actual characters, I love writing people, that people would go, oh, God, I know someone like that, or that’s me. That’s the other thing you want, the response that you want, isn’t it?

Yeah, absolutely. And I always feel that if I get a bit stuck with writing, I think writing in the pandemic was interesting because I did definitely feel stuck at points because I hadn’t done that people watching, and I hadn’t been out into the world, and I felt like, oh, I don’t know how people, I don’t know how to be anymore. But how are people in real life? So as soon as I could start going out on walks again, I always tell myself, oh, I don’t need to go for a walk, but actually, as soon as I do and I just observe the world around me. Yeah, those creative juices flow a little bit again.

Do you use those times also, either with the knitting or the walking, to let your brain solve plot holes or problems where you can’t maybe get the character to go where you need them to go because they’re not behaving?

Definitely, yeah, walking, definitely. I remember I think pretty much every plot hole has been solved on a walk where my brain can just wander a bit and I can work through things. Knitting, not so much, because I think that’s where I literally switch my brain off, but definitely with walking and also just talking to people and trying to chat things through. Quite often I will just talk to my husband and just rabbit on at him about my book. And he doesn’t need to say anything, he just needs to be listening and I talk my way through it. But sometimes he does come up with great ideas and great solutions, too. But I do think talking and walking are great ways to solve plot problems.

Fantastic. So you’re working on the third book. So is the second book coming out this year, is that or is it already out?

It’s out on the 8 June. So by the time this goes out, it’s out.

How exciting. And so book three is underway. Would you say there is an obvious link? Not in terms of the actual stories, because I know they’re not in a series, but could people start to now see what it is that you are about? And if they were to say, oh, yeah, that’s definitely one of your books, can you tell what that is? Have you got a sense of what that is?

Yeah, I think the first two in particular. They’re very uplifting and hopefully joyful books, but they don’t shy away from the realities of life. I think that’s what I like to write about. I do like to write hopeful stories, but I also want to write about the world as it is, so I don’t always sugarcoat everything, but I also want hope to shine through in every moment. So both of those books are very much in that vein and actually the third one will be too, with maybe some more like complex relationships in there. So yeah, I think hopeful stories and uplifting stories. I hope that’s what people will come to my books for, but also not stories that just feel very cozy. I love cozy stories, but I don’t always want my books to be cozy. I want them to confront things head on as well in my books.

Excellent. I ask all of my guests if they can think about and identify what I would call their switching moment, which is when they connected with their creativity for the first time. It’s probably harder for you because you started with your writing quite a long time ago.


But can you recall a moment where you thought, oh, this is what I want to do, or is it too vague because it was when you were a child?

It’s hard. I think I can definitely recall the moment where I decided that I wanted to focus more on writing than being in publishing. And for me that was quite a big switch moment because for ages I just wanted to do the best in both of those. And the switch moment was basically a moment where I just felt like I had run out of steam entirely and I felt that I wasn’t looking after myself, I wasn’t putting everything into my writing. I knew that that was the moment where I really want to focus more on my books.

And interestingly, since I’ve been freelance and had the luxury of creating my schedule around my writing, I felt much more connected creatively because I feel freer, a little bit freer to do that and just own it a little bit more. Whereas before just writing away at the side and trying to pretend that I’m not really a writer because I had a job in publishing and I was an editor. And then suddenly just feeling like, oh, I am a writer, that’s what I want to be and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I felt a bit freer to tell my stories because I wasn’t always thinking about readers and the audience, which is what I always had to think. So it’s so nice. I actually felt much more connected to my creative side the moment I said, I don’t need to do that anymore. I’m writing a book that I really want to write, which is advice I’ve given out to everyone always, but I’ve never always followed it. I’m always thinking, oh gosh, what if someone really doesn’t like this book? And that can just turn your creativity right off.

Definitely. So how important do you think it is having had that realization? How important do you think it is to leading a fulfilled life, to tap into whichever area of creativity somebody has? Is it part of being human and is essential? Or why do we do it? Why do we need it?

I think we all express ourselves through our creativity. And I think even people in very logistical jobs find their creativity either through things outside of their work, but also potentially through their jobs themselves. Because I think we do find moments of creativity throughout our whole lives. And I do think it is really important for us just to express ourselves and try to be a little bit freer, because I think society can put us all into boxes. I think feeling able to be creative either in the clothes that we wear or the words that we write, or the way that we express ourselves to the world, or through the photographs we take, or through things we put on social media as well, because we’re all curating it in a creative way. And I think that can be really important for us to just feel that we can be ourselves. It can be hard if you’re always trying to curb your creativity because sometimes maybe it feels that you’re not expressing yourself in the most honest way to you.

And I think a lot of people feel that it’s not as valuable for some reason, although there seems to be more awareness at the moment in a similar way to how science confirmed that being in nature is good for us. I think the same thing is happening with creativity at the moment and people are saying, yeah, just for the sake of it is okay, doing something for the sake of it, for yourself to feel that fulfillment and the mindfulness that comes with it. Interestingly.

Just to pick up on one last thing before we close. You mentioned knitting. I love knitting too, and sewing. And I’m very much a follow a pattern person because I’ve never learnt not to do that. But do you think there’s a difference between making and creating because you’re still producing something that didn’t exist with your own hands? But do you think there’s something else about creativity that’s a different definition?

I don’t know. I mean, I think just because I so rigidly follow patterns and I’m aware that I’m creating something that someone has literally thought up in their brain, it always feels to me that I think it is creative because you are creating something and you choose the color of wool that you use and things like that. So I think they’re all creative things in there. But for me, knitting for me is I’m making it and I’m not the artist who’s created the thing in the first place, if that makes sense. But you’re still using the muscles of creativity. I think I want to learn how to sew. So that’s my task for this year, is to learn how to sew. And I would love to just get to know some because I’ve free knitted things before. But again, I just feel like I’m just using something that’s quite straightforward and basic and I’m not very good at creating beautiful intricate patterns. So yeah, I don’t know, but I don’t think I would say that if I met someone else who maybe was a carpenter and follows a certain style every time because I think that is a really creative thing. So maybe it’s just the way I do knitting and the way I think of myself as a knitter. I’m not thinking of myself as a creator in that moment.

Yeah, there’s a difference between the technical ability to do something and then the freeness of almost breaking the rules. And I guess that’s about the amount of time you spend doing something. So initially, you need to learn the craft of writing to be able to produce a book. But you don’t have to have a certain number of chapters or definitely have a prologue, an epilogue, or there’s so many different things that the story will need, but you won’t have the confidence to decide that until you’ve done it a lot.

And I think probably with knitting there is quite a lot of technical stuff. So there’s basic stuff. There’s one level, yes, you can make a garment and then I guess it’s more to do with perhaps if you were interested in doing this, and you might not want to because you’re using knitting as a way of switching off. So why would you want to stress yourself out and make something complicated? But anyway, if you decided you wanted to explore that more, I guess what you do is you choose harder and harder patterns and then you start to learn what those are and then you then have the ability to maybe put different bits of different things together. I guess that’s how you would do it.

This is what we were saying earlier on, there’s no reason that everything you make or do has to have an end game of being something that you share with the world. And for everybody who’s listening, you might have this burning desire to be a best selling author or to be a fashion designer,or whatever, that people do know about. But equally there’s benefit to just tapping into that creativity and seeing where it takes you and not having too much structure, having a bit of a loose goal that doesn’t necessarily lead you anywhere, just to see what happens. That’s the exciting bit, isn’t it?

Definitely, and I think it’s that freedom that can encourage you to start being creative in the first place and feel that you can express yourself. Because I think sometimes if we always have a goal at the end, that can become a bit of a stumbling block. Sometimes it feels like we’re not progressing. Because I think with creativity, progress isn’t linear. So I think if you have a goal at the end and you feel like you’re moving further away from it at some points, sometimes that can stop you in your track. So I think being as free creatively is a really important thing.

Definitely. One of my coachees, one of the people I’m working with at the moment, we were talking about this. She said in her life, she’s very, very structured and ordered and that’s how she’s always worked, very neat and organized. And she said one of the things that she was struggling with was understanding that as a writer, she’s totally not. She’s actually quite messy and the process is messy and it only started coming together towards the end and then she suddenly thought, well, but everything’s here, I’ve done it already, and then it all coalesced. And she recognized that actually it was the groundwork beforehand that felt awkward and felt distant. But actually, then all those building blocks come together and make the final draft.

So, yeah, allowing yourself to be free, which is quite hard in today’s society, because, as you say, everyone’s expecting things of you to do things a certain way and to fit in a certain way. And actually to be an individual, I think you have to feel an individual, to express yourself creatively. So it’s quite hard to do that. You have to push against those of the forces.

Yeah, absolutely.

What a wonderful conversation. I’m sure we could go on for hours, particularly talking about books, because it’s a passion that we both share. Can you tell everybody where do you mostly hang out? Where can they find your work?

So I’m mostly on Instagram @SaraNishaAdamsBooks. And I’ve also got a Linktree, SNA books. So you can find all my links to the books there. I’ve also got a newsletter, which I send out every four weeks or so. Again, I don’t have a strict schedule, but it’s just an update from me on life and writing. And, yeah, my books should be available from your favorite bookshop.

Thank you so much and good luck with the launch of the book.

Thank you so much, Nikki, and thank you for having me.

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of The Creative Switch. If you enjoyed it, please leave a review over on And if you’ve got any questions, please let me know on Twitter @nikki_vallance. You can also head to to join the Creative Switch community. 

Now, can everybody sing? I do hope you join me and Emma Baylin, founder of Shared Harmonies, to find out the truth about singing and its many benefits.  And remember, Why Survive When You Can Thrive?