Thursday, September 20, 2012

Guest in Progress: Carollyne Hutter, on Finding Inspiration

Manifesting One’s Life: A Conversation for Writers

By Carollyne Hutter

Let’s be honest, a writer’s life can be full of adversities. The processes of writing, dealing with editors or clients, getting published, and getting noticed—can all be fraught with difficulties. Because of these challenges, I am always looking for people to inspire me.

Eliza King is one of the most inspiring people I know. Eliza has a major handicap (she’s severely vision impaired) and yet Eliza takes on challenges that full-vision people would find trying. What amazes me about Eliza is that she announces a change she wants in her life and then manifests it. I have seen Eliza do this with her writing career, her professional career, and home life.

I sat down with Eliza and asked a few questions about overcoming adversities and moving forward in one’s life.

1. You have a handicap that would limit many other people yet it doesn't stop you. How do you keep your handicap in check? How do you move forward?

Yes, I was born legally blind and an early unsuccessful operation on my left eye has altered its appearance from the way a regular eye looks.  Because I was born with my disability, it has become an intrinsic part of my worldview and shaped my identity. I couldn’t keep it in check if I tried because it’s so much a part of who I am.

I had tremendous support growing up from my parents, my family, teachers, and friends. What is more, I was always reading stories about people who were strong and overcame things.  I loved the character of Clara in the book Heidi who is in a wheelchair and unexpectedly learns to walk. 

I realized that in books, people were often beset with difficult situations and yet, they seemed to make their way in the world. One book I loved (love still) is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  I think even then I understood that the demons inside of you can be as powerful, or more so, than things you are confronted with on the outside. 

I knew those demons when I got discouraged about not being able to do things that others did easily. In soccer practice at six years old, I remember running away from the ball and being laughed at by my teammates. But by 8th grade, seven years later, I was one of the first girls picked to play for our class soccer tournaments in PE.

I also learned to go at my own pace and listen to what I need to do, instead of what people around me are doing.  When I went to college in London, many of my American classmates used London as their base camp for travels around Europe, while I was still getting lost in the streets near school.  At first I was   frustrated in hearing these amazing travel stories, but I came to savor exploring London slowly. I enjoyed getting to know the college’s staff, teachers and students from all over the world. I became the editor of the school paper, was a Residence Assistant in my dorm, and worked on our senior class yearbook.

2. Often you will announce you will do something, such as buy a house or start your business as a life coach. How do you take what is a dream and manifest it?

I usually mull over ideas before I talk about them to many people.I check out the situation and determine what support I need to get started.

When I decided to buy a house, for example, I didn’t see myself as being that different from anyone else. There will always be certain challenges for me visually but I know how to ask for support and have learned that asking for help can be a tremendous gift for the person who helps you.  People love to connect and make a difference in someone’s life. So my process is that I dream, and sit with the dream as it develops. I reach out to others for information and support, than I feel my way forward toward the steps needed to manifest that dream.

3. What advice do you have for others trying to manifest their dreams?

Find an example for yourself of how you have accomplished something in the past. Notice what worked well and what didn’t. Then brainstorm with someone you trust about your dream: how you might move forward, what support you need, whether it’s something you really want to manifest, and then what steps might take you there. I’ve found that for me, it needs to come from the inside out, not the outside in. Otherwise I do all the outer work but my heart isn’t in the result and it isn’t as fulfilling.

4. Writers often deal with so many different adversities. What advice do you have for dealing with adversity?

I think people work with adversity in different ways that are unique to each of us. That said, the perspective we come from makes all the difference.  When I was younger, I thought of my vision as a curse because it scared people and often brought out their darker qualities in interacting with me.  Later, I began to view my sight as a blessing because it inspires people to explore opportunities they might have otherwise hold back from trying. People have said to me, “If you can do that even with your limited vision, I can try this!”

I’ve found that the way my eyes look creates a connection with each person I meet, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. The tough facade that most people walk around with melts for that moment of visceral vulnerability when they come face to face (literally) with their own fear or inspiration. That moment is an opportunity for us to connect in a deeper way and impact each other’s lives.  This is a rare gift and I, over time, have become grateful for it.

About:  Carollyne Hutter is a freelance writer, editor, and communications manager, specializing in environmental, scientific, and international development topics. She also enjoys writing fiction and creative nonfiction for adults and children (early readers, picture books, and young-adult novels). Please visit her website——to learn more. You can contact Carollyne at

About:  Eliza King is a poet, yoga instructor, and life coach. As a life coach, she loves working with people who are in transition or want to make a change in their lives. Her gift is in seeing people for who they truly are, and helping them be courageous in seeing themselves and living that vision.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.