Up Close With Coco Marett
Posted on 13 September 2018
Coco Marett is a writer, editor and meditation teacher based in Hong Kong. She is currently Digital Editor for Hong Kong Tatler.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
I was born in Melbourne and was raised between there and Hong Kong. My parents travelled a lot and brought me and my brother with them from when we were really young, so being constantly on the move is something I’ve always enjoyed.
Today, I’m based in Hong Kong and I’m a writer, an editor and I also teach meditation.
What drew you to writing in the first place?
I was really ADD as a kid. My imagination was wild, I was always dreaming up these crazy stories and characters. But also because I was so restless I really struggled to communicate thoughts and ideas verbally – writing was patient with me and allowed me to take my time in expressing myself.
Do you ever get writer's block and how do you get over it?
Rather than getting flustered, I try to see it as an opportunity to rewire my thought process, and you can do this two ways: first, walk away from it. Staring at a blank page isn’t going to find you the answer. Take a walk, take a long shower, go out and have a drink with a friend, whatever. The best ideas come when you aren’t trying.
Second, write anyway. Just lose all inhibition and write, no matter how bad it comes out, even if it’s pure gibberish. You don’t have to use what you’ve written, and you can always polish it later, but there might be something that comes out that you can elaborate on.
But if I have one piece of advice when it comes to writer’s block, it’s don’t be so hard on yourself. Sh*t happens. The right words will come.
What inspires you? What kind of stories do you dream about covering?
I love telling other peoples’ stories. By far my favorite stories I’ve written have come about by me just hanging out with someone and having a totally open and candid conversation and/or experience with them – whether it’s having a sake-fuelled evening at Yardbird with Pharrell, running around Hong Kong looking for a lost painting with Harif Guzman or understanding sustainable agriculture by spending days in the fields with Balinese farmers.
I love this quote by Anais Nin: “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
My dream story? I’ve always wanted to interview my dad about the Vietnam War (he’s a veteran) and write a lengthy piece about that, his experience, and his continuing involvement with the army now.
What advice would you give to those wanting to become a writer or get into the publishing business?
Know your worth. Like any other creative role, a lot of people don’t understand what we do, its value or the amount of work that actually gets put into it.
Tell us about your journey to meditation/yoga and how you started teaching?
I started doing yoga for fun/fitness, but I quickly noticed how it began to change me not just physically but mentally as well. I was calmer, I was craving different food, etc. I guess the journalist in me kicked in and I wanted to understand yoga on a deeper level. I took a 200-hour RYT course with no intention to teach, I just wanted to learn about the philosophy behind it.
But as they do, things changed. I started teaching yoga and I wasn’t loving it, but people enjoyed the last 10 or so minutes of my class where I’d guide them through breathing techniques and talk a bit about yogic philosophy, so I changed directions and focused on breathing and meditation instead.
It was the right move, and I’m in love with what I do now.
Top 3 travel destinations and 5 travel essentials you can't live without.
I never travel without an eye mask (I use them religiously, whether I’m travelling or not), a good book, Polaroid camera, paw paw ointment and comfortable shoes.
Where are you travelling to next?
Singapore, to see Kamasi Washington live. Then I’m off to San Francisco and then Sonoma to get my wine on.
Follow Coco on Instagram @cocomarett