"How do you stay inspired when your full time job was supposed to be temporary?
By Georgia Wright
Collage by Brittany Hendry
The creative industry is somewhat of an enigma to me. When I was at University, discussing career options was always something that made me nauseous. Not because I was worried about finding a job, but because it was made abundantly clear that there were types of writing I would be paid for, and types I wouldn’t. Writing poetry or plays, that was for fun, writing editorials on the best head lice remedies for kids, that was for money. As time went on, half of my classmates decided they would go into publishing- there is money to be made in publishing.
But I never wanted to go into publishing, I never wanted to go into PR, and I definitely didn’t want to write editorials on head lice remedies. After graduating, I applied for what felt like a thousand jobs in the creative industry. Most paying the minimum but requiring the maximum experience, and some that were barely even related to my degree. I thought about being a teacher- swiftly decided that that was not meant to be, and eventually applied for a job as a barmaid in a small victorian pub.
I had the job within 48 hours, and here I am, 7 months later behind that same bar. First of all, I want to make it crystal-clear that taking a job to pay your bills, even if it isn’t in your preferred creative industry is not a sign of failure. My opinion on the matter is that if no one is paying you to write, get a job that pays you to do something else, and write for free.
"Taking a job to pay your bills, even if it isn’t in your preferred creative industry is not a sign of failure"
Removing the pressure to write for cash, has made me more creative than I have ever been. Suddenly, anything I produced was for the simple reason that I wanted to. I think there is something so brave in being a creative, producing art or writing stories because you simply can’t not. I am always kept awake at night, by the editorial ideas, or script or story ideas that fly around my head. And whilst a lack of sleep makes it hard to behave like a functional human being, at least I’ll never wonder if I’m pursuing something I truly love.
So, how do I stay creative in my not so temporary job? I write for free. I suggested one day that we set up a pub blog- and they let me. I asked if I could take over their social media platforms, to do the odd bit of marketing, and they let me. I re-designed their advertising boards, and that led me to being commissioned as a graphic designer. And when I heard they were thinking of hiring a professional designer, I told them no. I told them I could do it, if they didn’t like what I produced, they could pay someone else- but they had to at least let me try. And so they did.
The point is- I am not just a barmaid. I was pushy and I was eager, and now I am a manager with pub keys, head of marketing, freelance writer and designer, all for the same company. It’s about making creative choices. If no one's paying you to create, do it anyway. Like my love affair with Why Magazine, that stemmed from me sending them a piece, because I loved their content and they were looking for more. I never wanted to be paid. The first piece I sent, then turned into a second, then a third and so on- and now I have my own column.
So, to sum up- my advice is this- create whatever it is that takes you to a place where you are truly happy. Write the story that keeps you up at night, or paint the same landscape a hundred times because you couldn’t get the lighting right. Take a picture of the sky just because you think it looks beautiful, and most importantly, do it all because you want to. Because then, you’ll always be creating, for nobody other than yourself, and there is something so unbelievably powerful about that.