Hello Freelance

04 Oct

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 BrysonAlly 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 MelvilleElspeth 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

New plans:

  • 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.


Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Freelance Friday, poetry


Tags: , , , , ,

28 responses to “Hello Freelance

  1. anita sharkey

    October 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Ems, so proud of you. You needed a holiday,your family are your senior management team and will keep you sane. I’ll keep eye out for work. Here for you x

  2. Elspeth

    October 4, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Great stuff, Emily! I’m glad to have been a part of this roller-coaster stage of your journey. And that is one heck of a cake!

  3. dorkymum

    October 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Wow – so full of admiration for you Emily! Will watch with interest (even from London!) and expect to see your star burning brighter and brighter over the next year or two… I’ve no doubt you’re going to have lots of fun and be very successful. Love the sound of freelance Fridays… I’m hoping to start doing a bit more work myself after we’ve moved, so may have to see if there is anything similar going on down south, and if not will ask permission to steal your idea. Go you talented lady 🙂 xx

    • auntyemily

      October 5, 2011 at 12:05 am

      Aw thanks Ruth. I’m looking forward to reading about your London adventures (:

  4. Michael Traill (@MTraill)

    October 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Hi Emily,

    Sounds like a really exciting (albeit busy) time for you!

    Best of luck with it all 🙂


  5. Hannah

    October 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    yey 🙂 am proud of your faith! and I’m super-excited that you found a ukelele to learn on – I am so looking forward to hearing you play that soon x

    • auntyemily

      October 5, 2011 at 12:09 am

      Thanks Hannah. I borrowed one and learnt to play hallelujah on it. Not sure I’ll be performance ready any time soon though (:

  6. Susanne Mueller (@RainChameleon)

    October 4, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Hi Emily,
    finally the next blog 🙂 I am again and again impressed by all you do. I wish I had the guts to do something similar like you. You are someone to look up to and think> alright/ it is possible.

    See you, Susanne xx

    • auntyemily

      October 5, 2011 at 12:11 am

      Thanks Susanne, super encouraging as always. Hope to see you soon (:

  7. Anna Beswick

    October 4, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Such a great blog post Ems, always so proud of you xx

  8. Adele

    October 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Well done for being honest Emily, and as usual I am astounded by how you manage to find time to do all this amazing stuff!

  9. Lynne Rickards

    October 5, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Good luck, Emily – it sounds like you’ve got a great game plan and a million creative ideas to explore. Looking forward to the next time our creative paths cross.

    • auntyemily

      October 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks so much Lynne, hope to see you again soon (:

  10. SuddenlyMum

    October 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Aw Ems, that’s great. You go girl! You’ve put a stake in ground and pinned your colours to the mast. I admire your trust, faith and hope and I know God will open up door upon door for you. Sparkly shiny doors with fun doorbells 🙂

    • auntyemily

      October 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm

      Aw, thanks Kate! I’ll keep my eyes peeled for those sparkly doors with novelty bells, they sound good (:

  11. Miriam Adcock

    October 10, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Wow – I didn’t realise you had so many talents. Especially impressed by the storytelling – I used to be a member of a speakers club, and we had the option to try storytelling – I read the manual, tried in front of a mirror – and realised it is an incredibly difficult talent – that unfortunately I didn’t have. Please keep us up to date with Storytelling gigs and creative writing workshops – and best of luck with everything, Miriam

    • auntyemily

      October 10, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks very much Miriam,

      I think you do have the ability to be a storyteller, we all tell stories when we say what we did at the weekend or on holiday, so you already have all the basics. The rest can be worked on so don’t give up if you want to do it! What’s brilliant is it’s about you being yourself, it’s not like acting. Everyone does it differently, everyone has something to bring. I think it’s more fun learning on a course with others rather than by yourself though (:

      On gigs, my next one is in Edinburgh at the West Port Book Festival this Thursday, it’s free but ticketed. More info on their website

      The Zero Waste Scotland blog is on my blogroll (see bottom right) so I keep up to date with what you’re up to too (:


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