CSW 184: Listener Spotlight: Jumping All In with Anne MarieSince she was a child, Anne Marie Rowley was fascinated with music, photography and art, but never thought it was good enough to “put it out there.” However, after going through some major life changes, Anne Marie has been starting to put her work out in public spaces and use it as a conversation starter to think about the next phase of her life.

When she heard my interview on The Type A Creative podcast, something cracked open for Anne Marie. It was the first time she heard someone give her permission to be a passion pluralite and discuss the problem of perfectionist paralysis, as well as the importance of being curious.

So she started bingeing on my podcast!

She began using art to make sense of all the changes in her life, and to answer some life questions. Then she heard me speak about “putting it out there,” and she has jumped in!

She says, “Since listening to you and Jenni [Heffernan Brown] a few months ago I tried painting and even wrote poetry that I read at an open mic… not good poetry but poetry.”

(Here’s her YouTube channel, if you want to hear some “open mic evolution.”)

*Fistbump*, Anne Marie! That takes some courage!

I first encountered Anne Marie when she tagged me on Instagram, where she was sharing her doodles. The messages in her art spoke to me so profoundly, and knew I had to invite her to do a Listener Spotlight on the podcast!  

It’s so important for us to hear each other’s stories and see how powerfully we impact one another.  

Have a listen, and let me know which parts of Anne Marie’s story resonate with you the most.

More from Anne Marie:

I was the leader of song at my church from the age of ten and was in choirs at school. I did masses, weddings and funerals. One day some neighbors heard me sing and asked me to audition for their 18-piece big band. Well, I was scared, but I auditioned (deep end of the pool) and got the gig. I did it for 15 years. (Listen to tracks here.)

Anyway, in 2008 the gigs dried up and we disbanded. I joined a rock band again, purely spur of the moment. When they broke up I turned 50 and I was sick and tired of going to jams and having all the “guy” guitarists not knowing any girl songs (humph), so I figured I’d better learn guitar myself. So I started taking lessons and going to open mics and jams, which I have been doing now for about 3 years. At college, I tried to play guitar, but a guitar player I was dating told me I sucked, so I stopped. So at 50 I finally said screw him! LOL.

So that is my musical story.

Since I hit the half century I have jumped all in.

How will you take inspiration from Anne Marie’s story? Where will you “jump all in” in your life?

In this episode we talked about:

  • How Anne Marie & I “met” over Instagram
  • The way that creatives inspire and fertilize other creatives
  • How getting older impacts our view of ourselves & lightens you up
  • Why we have to unlearn the things that keep us from being our full creative selves
  • Anne Marie’s journey to recognizing that her voice was worth hearing
  • The gremlins we all face and how they affect your creativity
  • How social media is a wonderful way to share our work in a whole new way but can also be a dangerous platform when we focus on the outcome
  • Whether you can monetize creative works that you create simply for yourself and the boundaries that should be put in place to protect your “creative sandbox” time
  • Anne Marie’s experience with putting down her camera from the ages of 23-40 and how she has found her way back to photography
  • Improving problem-solving skills through creativity
  • Anne Marie’s permission slip to herself
  • Her musical background & how she found her way back to music
  • Why it’s important to always view yourself as a student
  • The vulnerability Anne Marie experiences when singing her own songs
  • Our something cools

Mentioned In This Episode

The Type A Creative Podcast

Anne Marie’s Permission Slip Instagram Post

Creative Habits Podcast

Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life by Max Lugavere (aff link; or click here for a non-aff link)

“Never Enough” by Anne Marie Rowley

Melissa’s Something Cool: Chickpea hummus as “mayonnaise” for tuna salad

Anne Marie’s Something Cool: Peekskill Riverfront

Connect with Anne Marie

Instagram | Flickr


“I just needed to be accountable for a moment to another creative person.” – Anne Marie Rowley

“The more you create, the more you create.” – Melissa Dinwiddie

“Growing up, you’re taught, you gotta color in the lines, and it was mind-blowing to think I don’t even have to have lines there.” – Anne Marie Rowley

“If you ask any four-year-old, ‘Are you an artist? Who is an artist? Who draws?’ they all raise their hand and jump up and down because put a crayon in your hand and you draw.” – Melissa Dinwiddie

“If you want the skill of drawing more ‘realistically,’ people can be taught that skill, it’s a skill, it’s not either you know it or you don’t know it.” – Melissa Dinwiddie

“I don’t have to be in a box anymore.” – Anne Marie Rowley

“I have a voice and it’s worth hearing.” – Anne Marie Rowley

“My biggest value is simply bringing my full self to the table.” – Melissa Dinwiddie


Listeners Wanted!

Has the Creative Sandbox Way™ podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I love sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way — big or small — I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at creativesandboxway.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at creativesandboxway.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way™!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa’s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it’s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why “I’m not creative” is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice—and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way™ is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon


Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The Creative Sandbox Way™ on iTunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

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Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

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