Not long ago, I posted about the changes my life has undergone recently - mainly in the form of employment. After ten years of making coffee I had reached my wits end. I have creative dreams and ambitions, but no idea when these will become something tangible; more than just a dream or a hobby.
Can what I love ever become what pays the bills?
What has kept me sane over the last ten years has been - BEING BUSY. So busy. So, so busy. Any creative endeavour I can sink my teeth into - I will. Any company I can get involved with, any acting role, writing, blogging. I love it all. I love it, but none of it pays. Occasionally an acting job will give me some money, occasionally I will be able to get some added income from a freelance job, but mostly - my income has been: coffee-making. Cafes. Hospitality.
I've been an actress, a producer, an administrator, a writer, a social-media wiz, a production manager... you name it - I've probably done it. I took a two-year internship in an independent theatre space basically doing every job under the sun to help keep the place afloat and didn't receive a single pound. That's how desperate I was and AM to do what I love.
I have taken almost any opportunity to act, to be in the theatre, to be creative. If someone asks me to be involved in something - I say "yes!" and this attitude has served me incredibly well thus far. The downside has always been time. I spend most of my life feeling like I'm chasing time, which isn't ideal. It seems the opposite of what every 'self help' book and wise friend tells you do. Time is precious and it's so important to stop and make time for ourselves. I'm good at that....when I have time. I am brilliant at being alone, brilliant at relaxing with my laptop in my favourite coffee shop, but the issue just seems to be WHEN.
If you've read my Getting Creative With Your Income post, you will know that I quit my job three months ago. God, it's only been three months. I took a temporary opportunity while re-building my life in every aspect - creatively, professionally and personally. Some aspects I took control over - namely a theatre company, but others have simply come my way and Lord, let them stay.
Five Weeks After Quitting My Job....
Five weeks after quitting my job I received an email from a brilliant and inspiring writer and entrepreneur, Ravi. My theatre company (Play With Fire) approached her about mentoring us into our first endeavour, which she accepted with open arms and was an enormous help.
Then... this email. How mysterious. But every gut feeling in me knew it was good. I've been burned a few too many times to get overly excited about potential opportunities, but something about this felt different. Safe. Secure. Dare I say - professional. In the creative world there are a lot of people "talking the talk" and not a lot of actual results. I have fallen victim too many times to people who talk the talk and started to lose hope that a creative position would ever come my way that I could truly throw myself into without fear.
And... it actually happened. This incredible woman was in fact - offering me a job. And not just any job - a dream job. A job where I get to link brilliant people together, work on promoting creative work that truly helps people, that raises awareness, that tells stories that MATTER.
And why? Well - because she stalked me. She stalked my history, my endeavours, THIS BLOG. She knew I was a hard worker, that I shared her passions, that I would deliver on my promises. I can't believe my long history of attempts to find a suitable career and all of my volunteered experience actually got me to this moment.
I will never forget sitting with Ravi, in the sunshine at her beautiful home and just thinking: 'this is what all my work has been for. This is why I took all those opportunities, why I didn't get that role, why I quit my job.... because of Ziggy's Wish'.
I have now been working with Ravi for seven weeks and it is a true dream. It's hard work and a full time emotional investment - but it's incredible. It feels like the answer to a lot of questions I have had about what my future involves and how I'm meant to pursue my skills.
What an incredible feeling.
And of course - my own theatre company - Play With Fire. Play With Fire was a dream set-up between myself and my best friend Daniel. We knew that we could produce theatre, we knew we could do it well, but - we wanted to do it properly.
There is a lot of inspiring work being done in Manchester; it's a thriving, exciting city. BUT - there are a lot of people working for free. I personally have worked for free FAR more times than I've been paid. It's an assumed thing. We are making a play, you're doing what you love, therefore - we don't have to pay you. Wouldn't be accepted in any other field, right?
So - Play With Fire was born - a company where Dan and I could make the kind of theatre we care about and do it as professionally as we know how.
The first step was to seek funding. And our approach to funding encompasses everything I'm trying to say in this post. Namely - WE WORKED OUR BUTTS OFF. Dan and I spent literally months on this application. We drafted and redrafted - we gave it to many professionals to read over and edit for us.... we made sure it encompassed our goals as best we could, we crossed everything, kissed it and sent it off. Perhaps one day I will find the time to write about the day I found out we were successful (it's a bangin' story) but for now - let me just say - it was a brilliant day. We got the funding and the incredible, mad rollercoaster to Orphans began.
I am seeing the results of my hard work every single day and know that I have never been so creatively satisfied. I spend my days with Ravi and Stacy in the beautiful Ziggy's Wish office, scouring the internet for inspiring stories to share, I am involved in some truly intimidating conversations about future projects that terrify me, but I know will help me grow. Then, in my evenings and spare time, I get to work on Play With Fire, my own baby. I get to write exciting emails, update our website, write the next schedule....
I may be a nerd. But I love it.
And, best of all, my life feels perfectly balanced at this point. I am still working two days a week in the beautiful zen of Oak Street Cafe, which I value so so much. And - without it, I wouldn't be able to take beautiful photos like this (and eat beautiful meals!)
A life COMPLETELY without hospitality still seems a bit strange. It's been an enormous part of my life for TEN YEARS - it's paid my rent, it's given me daily entertainment and, surely, the reason why a quiet cafe with an easy-to-reach powerpoint and yummy soy latte is one of my favourite places to be.
But - What About Your Blog??
I feel truly sad that blogging has had to take a back seat over the last few months. This place, my happy place, is so important to me. Here - I get to connect with you all - I get to WRITE, I get to share my thoughts and feelings and, best of all, hear your thoughts back.
I need this. I will never stop. It just may be a little less regular. I promise you - delicious meals are still happening every day and I'm trying to stay diligent on Instagram! ;)
What was the point of this post?
Really to say - work hard. Try everything. And if you WANT to throw yourself into something - do it, even if you're fearful the payoff may not come. It likely will, even if in an unexpected package.
I truly have never been happier. My future has never looked so bright. And a day like today, where I have done NOTHING except eat delicious food with my partner, sit in front of my laptop to write and am heading out to a movie later, are so so precious because they are so rare.
Love and Sweet Potatoes,
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