Two weeks ago I said goodbye to Changeworks and became a full time freelancer. People keep asking me what I’m up to. So far it’s gone like this:
- Week 1: Run away
- Week 2: Holiday
- Week 3: Get on with it
That’s maybe too brief.
Week 1 was week really difficult, people and community are really important to me. I suddenly felt I wasn’t part of anything. On Thursday I felt lonely. That was the day that everything broke. The shower, the phone, the internet…
I wanted to believe I could do it but everything seemed so difficult. That night I had a poetry gig called Stone Soup. I didn’t feel like performing. There were over 50 people there, loads more than expected. There were some great bands, a lovely atmosphere, I sat next some lovely ladies, the gig went well. But nobody I knew was there to see me. I couldn’t help feeling like I’d chosen the path of a freelance lone ranger and the rest of my life would continue… alone.
Friday, I booked a ticket to be somewhere where I knew I’d feel loved and safe. I couldn’t just go because earlier in the week I’d arranged ‘Freelance Friday pints’. Since I’d arranged it, I made an effort and had a really good time. Sometimes it’s good to do things when you don’t feel like it or think you can. Six freelancers met, Alan (The Broughton Spurtle), Shell Bryson, Ally Tibbitt, LillyLyle and Jaimie MaccDonland in the Brass Monkey, Leith. Others said they wanted to come next time, Milo McLaughlin (AKA Clear Minded Creative), Jon Melville, Elspeth Murray, Tom Allan, James Coltham, Tony Bibby and Michael MacLeod. It was a bit noisy so if you’ve got a suggestion for a better venue, do let me know? Also if you’re a freelancer and you’d like to join us another time just drop me a comment or tweet me.
I went straight from the ‘Freelance Friday’ pub to the train. I spent the next few days with my sister Julia and her family, then with my folks on my Dad’s newly fitted out canal boat (it was his retirement project) and lastly with my sister Ruth and her family for two days. They all stay in England, It was my niece’s fifth birthday. She cried when I left and said she wanted me to stay forever. It was good to be part of a team again, I had a role, I had something to contribute, I was part of the family. We decorated this brilliant cake together.
The Rest of My Life
I’m back and I’ve just started week 3, I’m feeling more positive. My flat is tidier. The future is exciting and unplanned and I know there are advantages to taking the freelance path.
This week I’m running creative writing workshops in a school in Edinburgh and for a retired arts group in West Lothian. I’m recording podcasts for Greener Leith, meeting other freelancers and doing things I need to do like get my hair cut. I’m enjoying seeing friends too. Next week I’m in the West Port Book Festival so I’m preparing for that.
My future plans?
I was freelancing half my week already, here are some of the things I plan to keep doing:
- making films and podcasts
- running training, especially storytelling training for adults and teachers
- writing curriculum linked shows, workshops and stories for museum and other education providers
- pitching new ideas to CBeebies. The pilot I’ve already made with BBC Scotland could become a series so if that happens I’ll be pretty busy with that (and overjoyed).
- writing for websites
- offering consultancy in education, science communication and new media
- volunteering as a journalist for Greener Leith
- I’ve started running creative writing workshops as an Author. I’ve really enjoyed working with adults with mental health problems; I definitely want to do more of that. I’m also excited about visiting schools
- I want to establish new working partnerships. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Elspeth Murray on a few projects lately. She’s been a wonderful encouragement. I’m so grateful to her for helping me to move forward as a writer and poet. I’d like to work more with creative and inspiring people like Elspeth.
- I want to write more, I want to get picture books published. I’m going to apply for the Scottish Book Trust Mentoring scheme to try to help make that happen (fingers crossed).
- I have some ideas for projects to run in Edinburgh, art / poetry related
- I’ve started to learn to play the ukulele, I realized during the fringe show that the guitar is too heavy to carry around and I kept bashing people on busses. A uke is safer, smaller and funkier.
Basically I want to be an influence and use my creativity to make the world a better place. The ukulele will not achieve that at first so bear with me.
And if you hear of anyone looking for an audio trailer, a curriculum linked education workshop, storytelling training, a author visit, some web text, a TV script or a bad ukulele player…. I’m your woman.