23 | work work work.

Me speaking at the launch of UNDERPASS I, The Common Room, Norwich, 2014 (Photo by J. Cunningham)

I recently landed a new job, a position that is actually a first for me.  Great company, great benefits and a relaxed environment, what more could I ask for? Even with these positives, I am worried about getting the balance between a working schedule and creating time to spend on personal/creative endeavours.

It’s only within the last year or so that I’ve begun to take my writing a lot more seriously. I finished my degree at an impasse, struggling to see the value in my own work and was prepared to work for publishing houses and publications that sought to praise the value in others. I think it was out of selfishness that I decided to back my bags and work on my writing, but I truly believe it was also out of necessity.

I’d spent part of my undergraduate career quietly planning the ways in which I could publicly share my material in a way that would allow me to connect with other writers, artists and creators. I was lucky enough to be able to start UNDERPASS and start writing for The Norwich Radical, both of which gave me a head start in really coming to terms with my voice.

UNDERPASS I: Reflections (Photo by CKN)

I knew that I longed to be apart of a sphere in which my opinion mattered. It didn’t have to be number one, but it had to count. In my mind, staying in England was a poor career move. I found it increasingly difficult to penetrate writing circles and I didn’t really have an extensive catalogue of work I could reference. Perhaps out of naivety or sheer will I decided that Berlin would be the hub to cultivate my creative impasse.

In some ways, my move here has surpassed my expectations. I am writing regularly and am working with people I only ever imagined meeting. Here, with the ‘right’ connections and effort, it’s possible to live from writing alone. It’s not without its challenges, but nonetheless is possible.

Growing up, I was consistently told that working as a writer or an editor was a position that had to be supplemented with another job, something stable to pay bills and make your way. Even though I see otherwise,  apart of me is still stuck in this mindset. Having worked from such a young age, not be contractually employed is a foreign concept. In my body, fear still grows and it’s this feeling that often stops me from fully going after what I want.

Me speaking at the farewell launch party of UNDERPASS IV, Norwich, 2016 (Photo by A. Szymczyk)

Opportunities are coming my way and I’m ready to take them on. My fear is not that I can’t do it, but that I will overwhelm myself, not wanting to miss or waste anything. This position is equally as dangerous as not going after what you want at all. This is part of growing up and what it means to manage your time and your energy. My flatmate compliments how hardworking I am, yet I feel incredibly lazy for not thinking about the things I feel I should be working on.

Maybe because I’m in the middle of it, I can’t see it for what it is, but I know there are big things in store for me; the more I worry, the likelihood of me missing out. I guess this is a small note to myself to be proud of my creative journey thus far and to never lose sight of what I came here for.

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