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Marie: I’m continuing our Side Hustle alumni interview series. Today, we have the magical Luz Schreiber Writing With Light. So excited to have you introduce yourself, tell everyone who you are, what you do, what you’re about.

Luz: Hi everybody. My name is Luz Schreiber and I’m the founder of Writing With Light. So it’s my company that I just started right after I came of out the Side Hustle Intensive with Marie. And what I do is I’m an authorship coach and I’m a writing coach. So I help people really own and claim their voice and write their life story. So I love writing. Writing With Light is kind of like a different translation of my name, because Luz means light in Spanish and Schreiber actually means writer in German. So I just kind of came into my name and then made a company.

Marie: Talk to us a little bit more about your company though – because you’ve been writing for forever – but when you say, “Oh, you started this company recently”, talk to us a little bit more about that – that story. What’s the history there?

Luz: Yeah. Well I think with a lot of people that are creative, I feel like everyone is very creative and artistic and I think we have different ways of expressing that. And my main creative expression has always been writing, you know, it’s very accessible. That’s what I studied in college, creative writing. So I’ve always written – I write poetry,  I’ve also written plays, I’m actually working on – I was going to have a reading right when Corona hit and I got postponed. And so writing has always been not only a medium of expression, but a medium of self knowledge. So I see writing as kind of like a mirror of consciousness, because it’s one thing to think of things in your mind. And it’s very different to seeing them on paper – it becomes very real. And so for me, it’s like my interior mirror, so I found it a tremendously powerful tool in my life in general. Like if I’m confused about my day, about a relationship, about anything, I write it. I figured out that the editing process becomes a clarifying process for me.

So I’ve always worked with communications and writing in different kinds of jobs. And then I was actually working as a literacy manager in 2018 and had an accident and I lost my job. And one of the few things I was able to continue doing was writing. And a friend of mine approached me and asked me if I could tutor her, because she was working on this paper. And I said, of course I love writing, but I never thought of it as, “Oh, I could do this.” So it started with that. And so that’s actually when I started working with you around with my finances, like trying to get things in order. So it kind of became – there’s like parallel tracks – like taking my writing very, very seriously as my own writing and then taking my financial health very seriously.

And then I knew about your class and then it all came together. And then I really started believing, “Well, maybe I can make this my life, like my professional life. Like what would it be to do what I most love and really get paid for it and do it?” instead of thinking of it as like, “Oh, this is something I do on the side – something I do on my free time.” What would it mean to live a life without having to compromise this passion?  

Marie: Yeah. What would it mean to live a life where you didn’t have to compromise? I love that. And it’s so true. I mean, we talk about that. I call the program “From Side Hustle to Main Squeeze: Build a Business that Loves You Back.” I remember there was a moment in the class where you were all like, “Oh my God, the name of his class finally makes sense.” 

Luz: Yes. Yes. Because I mean, so many lessons, so many light bulb moments in that program of yours, because professionally, I’ve really moved in the nonprofit world, you know? So it’s like, we don’t talk about money, you know? Because there’s all kinds of like reasonings for that. I’ve been somebody very like critical of the capitalist system. So for me the Side Hustle Intensive was really a healing relationship with the concept of money. And also redefining and repositioning myself in the capitalist system, and understanding that this is the system that is, and so what’s going to be my relationships with it, and so no longer feeling like a victim of it or feeling like I have no power. Like just with language – I speak two colonial languages – and I’ve lost in the way, many ancestral languages. There was a point of my life where I felt like I wanted to learn like English. So that didn’t work, your brain doesn’t work that way. You know? And I think as people of color that have a history of  abuse, with capitalism where our cultures, our languages, our arts have been co-opted and exploited, so for a lot of us there is like a very valid wound when people talk about money. So I feel like in the class there was space to acknowledge all of that. You know  – this is my wound story – with money and business, and I need to make a living and I have a family and I need to source. So now what? right. So it’s like, “okay, let’s talk about that.”  And so if I just avoid these things, like doing my budget, it’s not going to be in my service. And so, yeah, so that’s what was really powerful, and something that continues – I continue to be thinking about – so many powerful conversations we had with the women that were part of that experience, and having that opportunity to talk about, “Well, what’s your relationship with money? And how are you doing your business and how are you making your passion work?” For me, that’s what the tagline is, “Building a Business that Loves You Back”. Right? So we create these things, we put all our heart into it. And then, as an artist, I always thought, “Well, if I get some money, well, then that’s nice,” but I never had that belief that this can actually sustain. So really understanding that. I think one of the breakthroughs was really understanding money as an energy and just understanding that, like, I – we – are mortals, you know, so we have a limited amount of time in this life, energy, and just the way we have to feed ourselves with material, spiritual things, it’s only fair that if I’m creating this, if I’m putting my energy and life into this, that I receive it back. And then business becomes a fair and loving relationship.

Marie: I love that. And I feel like so much of what you’re speaking to this idea of source and resource. Because even thinking about money as an energy, and we talk a lot in the class about our habits and our rituals and how we’re connecting with our energy, and are we putting our energy in the right things? And then how does that relate to how we’re valuing ourselves? But so much of it, I love that idea of, you know, money as energy and then being really mindful about how we’re sourcing and being resourced.

Luz: Yeah, absolutely. And I think everything is energy – everything in the universe is energy. And understanding that we are constantly using that energy, interpreting it, transforming it and creating with it. So like my company is Writing With Light, which means writing with energy. But also what I do is help people understand that they’re always already creating and writing their life. And that really writing is not just what you put on paper, but everything that you do is an imprint. So writing is an imprint on life, you know what I mean? So then we take care of writer’s block with that. Because a lot of people think, “Well, I can’t write or what should I write?” And I’m like, “Well, you’re already writing, you’re already writing – you do comments on Facebook, you answer texts…” And so we’re already writing. but we’re not worried about our writing, so that’s what I help people discover, when they come to my classes. What is writing to you? Like creating your own definition of writing,

Marie: Yeah. I love that. And it’s so interesting because I feel like for any woman who starts a business, it is so deeply personal. And so much of it is like you’re writing your life, you’re writing your story, through your business, through your actions, through all of the things, and so to have the space where people get to really articulate that. And I love how you said, when we write things they become so much more real. So how can you take all of these ideas, these creations you have in your mind and how do you bring them forth in the world? And even in the class, we talked so much about mothering, and birthing things, and we got a bunch of women together, and we said we’re going in! But I’m really curious for you – what have you seen that you’d like for us, in the month, even after the class – I mean, we just finished that class this past spring, right?

Luz: Yes. Oh my God. What a time to have a class in the world.

Marie: Some stuff changed. Yeah.

Luz: Everything changed, everything changed. And I think it was perfect, because I think that starting a business is really such a courageous act, and then to be in that class and think about – for me – as somebody who’s just starting their business – what does it mean to create in this time? So I felt so supported being in relation, in a space where other women are speaking of that, and women of color are speaking about that. One of the immediate things that happened after taking your class is that I got incorporated. I owned my idea of, “This is my business,” – I owned it and I hired a bookkeeper because bookkeeping is not my favorite thing to do, but now I’m learning about it.  And so as soon as I figured out that I could afford it, I outsourced it. And now I’m  also learning about it. And it was such a powerful shift, like taking myself seriously and I mean taking my work seriously. I created a separate PayPal account, a business account. I have a business bank account. I have a separate email where I conduct my business – so it was really understanding, “Oh, I’m creating this space for myself,” and so it was a huge change. So those were like very concrete things that happened. And then, filing to become a LLC – a limited liability company – I was like, it feels so good. I was like, “Oh, this is me!” 

And I didn’t think I was gonna do that before coming to your class, you know? And it felt so natural and necessary, like, “Oh yeah, I do want to protect this theme and I do want to claim this.” And I think something that also happened after class was really a shift in terms of how I even designed my classes, how I am thinking about business. I work a lot with different collaborators, so before the class, we wouldn’t talk about money or it would be kind of the last conversation to have, because there was just so much fear in the artistic community about  there’s no money. I think that’s an underlying story and it’s a story, you know what I mean?

Because we create things. And so what does it mean to put that front and center so that when I’m collaborating now, money is one of the first things we talk about. It’s like, “Okay, so you’re coming in, I’m going to honor you. And this is what I can offer,” and then, and having contracts, even if they’re very simple contracts. And understanding that it’s good to take care of these things at the front end – you don’t want something like that ruining a relationship, and it can. So moving from a place of fear of talking about money to a real place of courage and owning it, and I think it’s been great.

Marie: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. And I know I could spend all day talking about money, but I know it’s not your favorite. So I’m really curious – can you talk to me a little about it? The program is really designed for women of color to come together and we’re talking about culture and identity and how that’s showing up, how did that impact you and how you’re running your business now?

Luz: Yeah, well, I feel we live in a world dominated by white supremacy and it’s run by men – white men. And I think it’s the financial – the current economic system has a very concrete history of how, and our relationship to it, like there’s a reason why. And so I think in the class, we really acknowledge that, like what’s the history of money and how have we, as women interacted with capitalism and as women of color, and being able to name that, and being able to talk about it – like, “I had this experience and it was racist,” you know – because there’s so few spaces for that, and it’s something so real. 

And so I think, all those things matter. Like it’s not a coincidence that as women and as people of color, we’re not valuing our work. So then, talking about economics, learning about finances, talk about money becomes an issue of economic justice. So I think we talked about that – like, “What does it mean to say, my work is valuable?” and having that interaction with a client and saying, “This is what my service is, and this is what this costs” and  holding your ground on that, you know what I mean? And because white people, very easily – you go to a service, you know, and they don’t bite their tongue – they’re like, this is what it costs – this is what it is. And that comes from years, and a system that backs them. Your life is valuable. Your knowledge is valuable. Your time is valuable. You know what I mean? And so aside from like learning the ropes of what does it to have a business, we also have to undo all this systemic bullshit.

Marie: You get to charge what you’re worth!

Luz: You know, I’m being candid (I don’t know what this Facebook censors.) 

Marie: I think we’re good. But we can – we get to say those things.

Luz: Right. And not being afraid, you know, knowing that the women in this space have your back and understand. And they’re not going to question the legitimacy, or they’re not going to doubt – being seen, being understood – it has no value – it’s so precious. Because it is, you know? I think that’s one of the most, I would say even sacred moments of being in class – knowing that our experiences were validated as something very true. 

Marie: I feel that, I feel that. So talk to us a little bit about what you’re up to now, because I know you were like a rocket in the program, like you got going. And once we got through, I think the first thing you’re like, “I am offering a bunch of classes” – like you exploded. So tell us what’s going on in your business now? Where can we find Writing With Light? What are you up to?

Luz: Yes. Well, I have – every month I curate a class – the monthly classes are inspired by the Zodiac actually. So just this past Sunday we had – my word is Fire – so it was inspired by the energy of Leo and summer – you know, it was like a very heart centered space. And now people can register for my next class, which is inspired by the sign of Virgo. So there’s like an earth energy, and it’s called So Calligraphy, so we’re going to explore all about writing and different mediums. And so you can find me and information about my classes on my Instagram – the handle is writingwithluz or you can also email me at writingwithluz@gmail.com, where you can friend me, if you like. And I also respond on Messenger – whatever’s easier.

Marie: Yeah, absolutely. If you all have questions for Luz, either about her experience with writing, about the program, about these amazing classes that she’s doing, definitely comment – you heard her, you can friend her, she’s in the community and she definitely responds.

Luz: So those are the monthly classes. And I also work with people one on one, so we work together in that capacity, like develop very personalized writing curriculums. So I also do that and I love doing that work. Really working with everybody’s particular energy and light, and then figuring out what writing systems can support a person’s journey and their story.

Marie: And I just want to attest to that because when you ask Luz to help you with your writing, be prepared, because she’s going to go in and open you up – she will find stuff that you’ve said in passing, and she will create a custom curriculum that speaks to your soul, to the point where you’ll be meditating and you’re going to be reflecting on the exercises. She gives you really, really powerful work. And Luz, before we go, I have to do rapid fire with you. And so get some water, get ready, moisturize, hydrate. So real quick – first thing that comes to mind, okay.

Marie: Malcolm or Martin?

Luz: Malcolm.

Marie: No surprises. Okay. We’re getting warmed up. Who’s your favorite writer?

Luz: Oh, that’s so hard, but I think one of my favorite writers is Zadie Smith.

Marie: Oh, I love Zadie Smith. Oh my God. Okay. Awesome. The thing you love the most about yourself.

Luz: What do I love most about myself – that I’m really loud, even in inappropriate times. And it’s kind of like, my laugh is my hallmark, I feel. And so I’ve learned to own it. It’s one of these that’s really loud

Marie: – Really loud – they do take up space. I love it. Who’s the name of the last person that you kissed?

Luz: The last person that I kissed – I can’t say the name. So let’s say it was on the last date.

Marie: Okay. On a date. Okay. Very good. Let’s see. Biggest surprise that you’ve had so far this year?

Luz: Biggest surprise. I think everything that happens after Corona, like that the world would just close and that we would still figure out we’re just human. Human creativity, you know? I think that’s really, yeah, it hasn’t stopped surprising me.

Marie: Hm. I love that. Let’s see. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

Luz: I feel like I already have it. It’s writing. But let’s say I just entertain the question – I don’t know. That’s a dangerous question because I think one of the things I used to think was like reading minds, like being able to read, but then it’s like, then it would take away from my humanity and then we wouldn’t have the relationship. Right? Because then there would be no story writing because so much of the story happens in the unknown. I think I’m going to pass and just stay human.

Marie: Stay human, with you’re writing superpowers. Okay, let’s see. Youthful curiosity or ancestral wisdom?

Luz: I’m sorry. Could you repeat that again?

Marie: Oh, youthful curiosity or ancestral wisdom?

Luz: I’m like, why does it have to be one or the other? My ancestral wisdom is so curious. I’m gonna go with curiosity. If you’re going to have me pick a corner, I’m going to go with curiosity, because through curiosity, you can rediscover your ancestral wisdom.

Marie: Okay. Complete the sentence. The revolution is _______________

Luz: …is inside of us.

Marie: I felt like you were going to say that

Luz: It’s already happening inside of us.

Marie: It’s already happening. It’s always happening. What do you miss most about the world before COVID-19?

Luz: You know, just casual touch with strangers – just like going to, you know, “Excuse me, Hi, What’s your name?” I worried like, what does it mean? So much of what’s made us human has been touch – our ability to connect through touch. Like they have studies, right? You know, it’s proven that children that are not touched are deformed physically. And so I worry about us, as a species, as a human race, like what does it mean that we’ve lost that? We’re so afraid. Like I go to the street, and with people – there’s avoidance instead of that natural draw. So I think that’s what I miss most, almost like the natural gravitational force of coming close. And it makes me sad, but I’m betting on our creativity to figure it out. And I think we are figuring it out, but that is definitely, well, we took that for granted.

Marie: Right – to reach out and touch someone – very literally, yes. I love how you describe it though – like that magnetic gravity that we have towards each other.

Luz: You know, like you would meet somebody, and we’d say Hi. But now it’s like, “When were you tested for COVID?” And “here’s some sanitizer…” I’m like this is not natural. 

Marie: No, this is not natural. Okay. Last, last question. What is freedom?

Luz: I thought I knew you asked this in the other questions. Well, freedom is, as you asked it, is as a noun – and that’s not very useful unless it’s applied as a verb. And I think the real freedom is really seeing that we already are free and really confronting anybody or any system that denies us that truth, that we are free. So I think for example, with the Black Lives Matter movement, to me, it’s been a big awakening of people saying and realizing that we are free and that the racist system contradicting that truth is what has brought people out and saying, no, this is ridiculous. This is ridiculous. You know? And so, in another sense, freedom is the opposition of, nonmovement. Also, I think life itself is always that dance between, because our blood. If our blood had total freedom, we would die, so we need this containment – this skin, you know? So we can also talk about freedom as the ability of defining those parameters and defining those limits. Like I have the freedom to create my schedule, to decide who I talk to, decide how I talk to someone…  I can go on and on…

Marie: That’s such a writer’s response – as a noun, that means nothing, unless we use it as a verb. So good, so good. Luz, I love you so much. Thank you so much for doing this – it’s been magical.

Luz: Oh I love you too Marie, this has been so amazing and definitely anyone considering – you have the Side Hustle opening – when is the next cohort happening?

Marie: So yeah, so next class we’re starting the first week in September. So August 31st, that week we’re kicking off, so currently talking to applicants and talking about it.

Luz: Yes, so please – I mean everyone who’s watching this either live or afterwards – hit Marie up, get on her schedule – a one on one appointment so you can figure this out because you’re definitely going to get tools that are going to transform your life – forever – I promise you.

Marie: Thank you so much Luz, that was so powerful. And for those of you who know you need more of Luz in your life, just from the tidbits she shared, because I know I’m going to go back and re-listen to this interview. Make sure you DM her, reach out to her, follow her on Instagram, sign up for her next class. The woman is magical and continues to create magic in the world. So thank you!

Luz: Thank you Marie, keep shining on.