26 July 2008

Writing: Creative Commradry

It has been nearly six months since Matthias and I moved to Manchester and I have begun pursuing the creative life full-time. Slowly but surely, piece by piece, I have been building a portfolio and a writing routine. There is always an incredible amount of stimulus everywhere (if you look), but somehow it is a lonely road to walk if you don't actually have many interactions and the support of people who know and understand what you are about. So finally, I decided to get out there and do something to foster interaction and the universe brought me some creative companionship.

I started volunteering for an Oxfam charity shop a couple villages away from where we live. It is actually the village where Matthias works. Half the store is a book department and I spend a half-day twice a week sorting, pricing and shelving books. It is a chance to see an interesting cross section of the British public and learn about the culture (the TV just wasn't cutting it anymore and Dr. Who was only so exemplary). I have been at it two weeks now and I am enjoying it. It is an unending source of inspiration and bargain books. I'm doomed.

This week, I also finally had my first internet 'date' with a gal I met on Ravelry, the Facebook for knitters and crocheters. Stephanie is also a writer and knitter, but moonlights as an IT consultant. We got together this week and found out we have a lot in common. She is also a foreigner (Italian), but she has been in Britain for six years. She has lent me two new creativity books: The Creative Habit by Twila Tharp and The Creative License by Danny Gregory. Both books look promising, but I must admit I more drawn to Tharp's book. It was so amazing to finally speak to someone who can relate to the psychological challenges of writing as well as the practical, day-to-day challenges. Steph is working on finding an agent for her book while I am more focused on online and magazine articles. Nonetheless, we had fruitful conversations that pushed me to think about things in new ways and take action (like posting everyday...)

I am still working up the courage and polishing the ideas to make my first pitch to a print magazine. I am still writing for Webooks, a London based e-book publisher and for the Venere Travel Blog. I also applied to be a mystery shopper and was accepted into their pool. Now there is a way to get my expenses paid for while I explore places like London, eh? 

I should hear back within a couple weeks if my DIY guide to starting a charity knitting project has been accepted to an online knitting magazine. Fingers crossed, but it is a really good article, if I do say so myself. That would give me the clip I really need to maintain some credibility when pitching the glossy knit mags both here and stateside. It is a market niche with only a baker's dozen (many of which are printed only four times a year) printed in English between the two countries.

I chose to part ways with the marketing company I was writing SEO for in London due to the way the client communicated, which I later realized was just an excuse to quit doing something that was only earning me peanuts, no recognition for my work and was the lousy validation needed to quiet my ever-rioting Protestant work ethic. Everything, despite minor upsets in between, is unfolding just as it should. At least that is how I feel about it. It feels good to celebrate every victory - large or small. 

1 comment:

Tamagosan said...

CONGRATS BRITT!
on the following...

""I am still working up the courage and polishing the ideas to make my first pitch to a print magazine. I am still writing for Webooks, a London based e-book publisher and for the Venere Travel Blog. I also applied to be a mystery shopper and was accepted into their pool. Now there is a way to get my expenses paid for while I explore places like London, eh? ""