How To Be A Writer: Meet Ida Theren

Current City: West Hollywood, Los Angeles

Hometown: Värnamo, Sweden

“I hope to inspire others to live their own, personal truth. If you need someone else’s permission to follow your dreams – well here it is! Haha.”

Photo: Shari Hoffman

Hi Ida! Welcome to The Boss Diary! Before we begin, tell us 3 words that best describe you.

Creative, smart and hilarious. Haha!

Tell us what you do professionally. 

I’m a writer, where I work with different mediums. I’ve been a cultural journalist for a decade. my debut novel “Att omfamna ett vattenfall” (To Embrace a Waterfall) a story about June Mansfield Miller, the wife of Henry Miller and lover of Anaïs Nin, based around 1925  – and about a young Swedish woman trying to find herself around 2010, and the obstacles they both meet in living a free unconventional life, as women – is coming out in November this year and I have another book coming probably next year. Currently I’m getting deeper into mastering screenwriting for features.

Currently we are going through a crazy time. How do you stay motivated during a time  where this is so much uncertainty?

I try to just stay cool and stay home, focusing on my spiritual development and my daughter, who’s almost 7 and home from school during the Corona virus health crisis. I meditate a lot and practice yoga with my teacher Andrea Marcum online. As an artist I am used to things being uncertain, I’m going to be 35 in a few months and I’ve still never really had a regular job, but I’ve lived all over the world, moving often, so I’m used to things changing all the time. I have a lot of trust, that the universe has my back! If you don’t have trust, I believe freedom will just give one anxiety and stress. So I just try to trust and surrender, into the great mystery… And put my hope into that all the hard work I’ve done to master my craft and build connections, throughout these years, will make sure I am taken care of.

To date, what has been the most memorable moment in your career.

When I sold my novel! I have written several novels that have all been rejected. I’ve cried so much about that, and spent so many hours writing, editing, writing… that felt completely wasted. 15 years writing fiction daily without getting a book published. And then finally it happened, the other year, and that was a huge turning point for me. I got a great publisher in Sweden and they have been so helpful and attentive to my book. I can’t wait for the novel to come out in November!

Everyone has a purpose, and it’s so refreshing to find women who are truly living their best life through their passions. How would you define your own purpose?  

To inspire other women and encourage them to live their own truth, and to follow their own gut on how to live their lives– not what some white dude decided they should be doing! I’ve always followed my heart and made tons of decisions that made no sense, from the way most people in society reason. How are you going to make a living as a writer? How are you going to survive as a single mother writer in New York or Los Angeles? It’s sort of a miracle, how things have worked out, really. But to quote Abraham-Hicks, things always work out for me. Part of it is privilege, I absolutely acknowledge that. Another part of it is hard work, endurance, persistence and faith. I hope to inspire others to live their own, personal truth. If you need someone else’s permission to follow your dreams – well here it is! Haha.

Who are some of your favorite female creatives or business women that you look up to?

My friend Maryam Ajayi, who’s an entrepreneur and founder of DiveInWell, that promotes diversity in wellness. She always encourages and inspires me, and we have each others back. And whenever we hang out we have so much fun and laugh most of the time, which is so important! I never say no to see a friend even if I am busy, I always prioritise relationships before work. And my friends inspire me so much and I value them highly. The energy they bring usually makes me work more efficient, when I then sit down to actually work.

Photo: Beth Klein

Tell me one thing that most people may not know about you. 

I had a full time career as an international fashion model for a couple of years around when I was 20. It sucked, though! I never really made any money, and it wasn’t very glamorous. I also recorded two albums with my band Oklahomo Trio that I had around that age. Almost no-one heard them! But it was fun 🙂 And I was an exchange student in Wyoming for a year when I was 16… I feel like I have lived so many different lives, there are so many things most people I meet don’t know because I sometimes forget they even happened! It feels like a dream, or something… I’ve known friends for years and then I mention something about the modelling and I realise, they didnt even know about it. My life now is so different, so it’s just not something I think about a lot. But I do think I got some of the focus on getting other’s approval out of my system. I don’t really care that much about the male gaze, or any gaze for that matter, now. But it’s fun to look nice, don’t get me wrong! But I don’t take it so seriously…

Name one thing that your hometown city is known for that some people may not know. 

It’s a small, working class town with lots of small businesses, in the middle of the Swedish Bible belt. Most kids’ parents were very religious and conservative. My parents were school teachers and not religious, so that made things easier for me when I moved away from home early and wanted to live another kind of life, than most people in my hometown. 

What would the “18-year old you,” say to you today?

Yes, I did it!! I knew it!

Before you go, what is one piece of advice you would give to women out there who are finding their way and figuring out their path?

Find a good balance between steady paying jobs that might not be exactly what you want to do, but that pays the bills, and then some work that follows the direction where you want to go in your career, and also, some space to really work on developing your creative ideas. A third of each is a pretty good rule of thumb! And just keep going! Your 20s are just a time for preparation. And also, choose your wars! Noone has the time to master everything. So focus on the things you really love and feel drawn to, rather than trying to do everything. At least if you want to be really good at it!

This or That:

  • Thin crust or deep dish: As long as it’s gluten free I’m down. Beggers can’t be chosers!
  • Lipstick or chapstick: Lipstick please!
  • Tea or coffee: I stopped drinking coffee a few months ago and OMG, it’s been so good for my physical and mental health. Now I’m a green tea and matcha lady!
  • Romance movie or horror film: Romance!!! I get scared so easily, I’m like a toddler.
  • J Lo or Shakira: Both, gimme gimme!
  • Instagram or Facebook: Instagram
  • Girls Night Out or Netflix: Do I get a baby sitter? I almost never drink so I usually get super exhausted among drunk people. But I’d love to watch some Netflix with my girls!

Quick 5:

  1. Where is your next vacation? I’m going to Sweden for the summer, to relax. So that will be my vacation this year. Honestly I have no desire to travel at the moment. I just want to chill.
  2. What is your favorite 90’s jam? That’s the way love goes – Janet Jackson. Ida’s sexual awakening vibes…. lol.
  3. If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why? My daughter’s little rescue dog. She gets more cuddles from her than I do!
  4. If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why? Claire Danes or Julia Stiles. Or that lady from Gone Girl! People say I look like all three of them and they are all great actresses, so wow, I guess I’m lucky!
  5. What are three things on your bucket list? Seriously, I’ve done every crazy adventure I ever dreamed of and more. Now I just want a nice house with a view, a Range Rover and some damn peace…! 
Photo: Matilda Eliasson