Ever since Lynn Forney was a child, she loved to dance and perform. At just three years old, she wasn’t shy cheerleading in front of the crowd. She began taking formal dance classes at age eight, and being on stage for the first time proved to be exhilarating. Years later, she would attend a performing arts high school, and go on to receive a BFA with highest honors from the University of Florida.
Since then, she has performed and choreographed for various dance companies around the Southern United States. While dancing, she wanted to expand into new territories and began taking acting classes. That led to having an agent and appearing in various movies and TV shows. She has also written, produced, directed, and starred in two short films so far. The latest has just entered the festival circuit and has already been nominated for some awards. She still pursues all of these interests and looks forward to combing these skills with her passion for healing through the arts. Meet Lynn…
You are an author, but is it your day job? Being an author is not my day job. I’ve never had a traditional “9-5” job, but pursued multiple types of work to support my creative endeavors. I was a Pilates instructor for many years and nannied. I’ve been a dancer and choreographer for a few different dance companies, I’m a working actor with an agency, and livestream products for a retail company. I’m currently promoting a short film I wrote, directed, and starred in. The next project I have in mind is a dance on film based on one of the poems in my book.
Did you always want to be an author? I was always intrigued with authors and writers, but I didn’t aspire to be an author when I was young. I enjoyed writing, but my focus has been in the performing arts for most of my life.
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? My book is called Choosing Survival: How I Endured a Brutal Attack and a Lifetime of Trauma through the Power of Action, Choice, and Self Expression. In the past, I would find myself saying, “I should just write a book,” when I started to tell people about my attack (that happened in 1998) and all the details surrounding it. That idea was always somewhere in my consciousness, but honestly, I wasn’t sure I would ever actually write it. But, in the last few years, I somehow knew it was time to share my story.
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? My hope is that I can help others feel less alone, as well as encourage them to tell their own stories. Vulnerability is uncomfortable and creates fear and separation. The more we share with each other, the more compassion we can find, not only for others but for ourselves.
What are you most excited about with this book? I challenged myself to write certain chapters from the first person, present tense. I thought that might be a unique perspective when telling my story, allowing the reader to have a more visceral experience. I also wrote each chapter individually. In other words, I didn’t set out to present all of the information in chronological order. It was stressful at times, but I kept trusting that I would find a way to bring it all together that was true to me and my voice.
How do you handle setbacks and criticism? Not always well! But, in all honesty, I usually need a few days to sulk, feel discouraged, want to quit, etc. At some point, my defiant streak will kick in and I use it to become more determined. Whether that’s to fight harder, look for another solution, or find a different path altogether. At times, those experiences lead us to find the people or opportunities that are more aligned for us. Although it can be painful, it can also be a gift. We just have to be willing to look.
How do you hold yourself accountable and achieve the goals that you set forth? This is an interesting question for me, because the answer is often different. Sometimes I’m able to hold myself accountable extremely well, and other times I need outside help to keep me on track. When I’m part of a performance, there is no choice but to get something done by a specific date. When I wrote my short film, I literally decided that I was going to get it filmed by a specific time and I made it happen. When I wrote my book, I had a life coach that helped keep me accountable and helped me work through my doubts and fears, gently pushing me when I needed it. A lot of it comes down to recognizing what I need at various times.
What do you find most fulfilling in the career that you’ve chosen? I’ve found different things fulfilling about all of the various jobs I’ve had. The things I end up loving the most are the ones where I can utilize my creativity in while deeply connecting with others. That brings me joy, even when the subject matter is difficult.
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers? Without the dark, there is no light. In addition, laughter and hugs are often underrated. I highly suggest both as often as possible.
Connect with Lynn via her website.
Images Courtesy of PR by the Book