BALANCE….being creative isn’t always easy

2 Dec


So I haven’t been too active on the blog front of late! But MAKE is still fully in my heart and I’ve been deliberating how to adjust the balance and I thought a great way to start was to maybe share with you some of my experience.

I think I have been lucky over the years to somehow get to a point in life where I can GET back on track or actually do what I love and that is creating and networking with creative people. Which is a strange thing to say, as I have been doing this through my whole career. But I can truly say passion also can come with experience and not always doing the things we want to do.

Without telling you my whole life story, I will explain in a Nut Shell how I got here and maybe some hopefully good advice to those also at the same cross roads or are looking to take a different path.

I trained/studied as an illustrator, but can remember MY ENTIRE life having wanted to do something visual and creative. Even as a kid I absolutely loved drawing, sticking, glueing, building, painting, and making things.

Things went fairly well, so well I came out of my course with a first class honors degree and I think emailed and wrote (YES actually wrote HARD letters and sent real images) to EVERY illustration agent, publishers, magazine and newspaper creative departments I could think of in London. But I quickly got dis-heartened by people wanting me or my work for FREE, trial run, be an intern, send us some FREE stuff, even stock illustration, all of which went against my soul.  So I said NO.

And then I sold my soul anyway. And started out as an assistant in a small Graphic Design Studio in London. And then I started the long road of gaining experience. I luckily managed to always stay close to the source and have met and worked with many many great creatives. But I’m the one in the background. I worked through lots of roles and industries, studio manager, project manager, traffic manager, resource planner and manager, process management , art buying, art selling, events manager, design manager…….. the list goes on. And so do the disciplines, the arts, design, fashion, events, music, advertising, marketing, media, digital, packaging and all of those both client side and agency side. Nearly 8 years of finding my way…

Right now I am either boring you, or those that are just starting out are scared, or those in the same predicament are all to aware of the journey. BUT and yes there is a BUT. Experience has taught me something in the last couple of years. And not just career experience but personal experience.

I NEVER sold my soul, I just made a choice. I chose to stay on that journey I took, because actually I wasn’t ready to take any new leap into a new world, the creative world, that actually meant so much to me. And also I was LEARNING! I have learnt so much in every role I took. And things that as a creative /illustrator you never learn and have to also figure out on your own. How to plan, to promote, to budget, to network to organise. To work with other people. All these things, became valuable learnings in those roles.  And ALL the great inspirational people I met along the way, also taught me something.

SO how has it changed? Well it’s changing slowly and actually now the two work VERY well together. I decided after some serious life changing events all in the last 3 years, like moving to another country, sadly loosing my mum to cancer, buying a flat in another country, buying a dog, getting married, that is was time to reassess and make some choices.

I wanted more balance in my life, to do the things I love doing but with more flexibility.  I realised life can be short and if you want to make the most of it, you have to change your way of thinking. And then I suddenly realised I LOVED BOTH worlds! I love all the roles I have done and the people I have met, but I also wanted a piece of the pie and to be that creative person too! And I realised after all the years the thing I was most scared of was MYSELF. Being creative is I think extremely personal. It’s from YOU, its in your head, heart and soul.

OK there is the debate it has all been around before and we are influenced by so many things in our work. Yet ultimately when you create something and put it out there, wether it be art, design, fashion, words, or music its YOU. So it can be extremely personal.

So I decided I had gained enough experience to make that leap of faith and to get MAKE out of my head which had been my brain child since leaving university. I realised it had been festering away all these years and been developing with all the experience I was gaining alongside it. But to do this I needed some time. So I left my lovely secure job as Design Manager at TomTom and decided to go Freelance. And so far so good. There are ups and downs being self-employed. But ultimately I am getting great work and meeting really creative people in different environments. And when a placement ends I get time to focus on MAKE.

But I am now on another assignment as Senior Project Manager for Product Design at Philips here in Amsterdam. Great team and exciting projects but I am finding I need to balance again with MAKE.

So apologies for the lack in blogging…..but things are still going on with MAKE and will keep you real posted , real soon.

And Freelance has also been a huge learning curve and a leap of faith too. Maybe I will share some of my freelance experience on that soon too, for those that need some tips, or some insight on what to expect.

But basically we can all find balance if we look for it and we have worked hard enough for it , and just because we sometimes wander a bit on our life journey, it doesn’t mean we still cannot do the things we love. Ultimately experience , or no experience, doing the thing you love the most can be the hardest. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ALL try.



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