Gabriela Pereira
“Creativity is a Craft and it Belongs to Everyone”
2nd Annual TEDxWilmingtonWomen
Thursday November 2nd 2017
The Mill Auditorium  MORE INFO

To say that speaking on a TEDx stage was an overwhelming and emotional experience would be an understatement. The forty-eight hours that preceded giving my talk at  TEDxWilmingtonWomen were among the most exhilarating, exhausting, heartbreaking, and inspiring of my life.

Sharing the stage with the women (and three brave men!) speaking in this conference was intimidating, to say the least, and I’m not someone who gets intimidated easily. And I will admit, there was a point on the eve of the conference where my pesky inner critic started buzzing in my ear.

Who do you think you are? You don’t belong on this stage. All these other speakers, they have real stories to tell. Your story is too small.

I got myself into quite a mental spiral that night. I couldn’t sleep or think or focus because my inner gremlins were so loud. Then, sometime in the wee hours of morning one coherent thought entered my brain: “Stop thinking so much. Just get up on that stage and talk.”

And that’s what I did.

It’s funny how the audience for our own advice is often ourselves first, then everybody else. Yet, we don’t usually notice that our advice is relevant to us until after the fact. My talk was all about setting aside lofty creative aspirations in favor of daily practice and craft. This was the same Idea Worth Spreading that I needed to hear before I stepped up on that stage.

I was so worried that I (or my story) wouldn’t be big enough for that stage that I forgot to listen to my own words: “Shut up, sit down, and do the stinking work.” In this case it was more like “step up and speak up” instead of “shut up and sit down” but in the end it was still about doing the work.

I am so grateful for this chance to share my words with the TEDxWilmington audience and this is a memory I will cherish.


Gabriela Pereira is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur who wants to challenge the status quo of higher education. As the founder and instigator of DIYMFA.com, her mission is to empower writers, artists and other creatives to take an entrepreneurial approach to their professional growth. Gabriela earned her MFA in creative writing from The New School and teaches at national conferences, regional workshops, and online. She is also the host of DIY MFA Radio, a popular podcast where she interviews bestselling authors and she is the author of the book DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, Build your Community (Writer’s Digest Books, 2016). READ MORE FROM GABRIELA