Rollercoaster ride

You’re lucky. I nearly left it too late to submit this month’s column. I’ve never left it this late to write, but I didn’t know what to write, or honestly, I didn’t want to. I’ve had some highs, lows, self-doubt and frustrations. I’ve felt apathetic, conflicted, and distracted; and after starting the year in a positive frame of mind, I’ve not found it easy to rationalise the following. I’ve realised that:

  • I don’t want to work independently as a freelancer; I need to be surrounded by creative people, a team.
  • I’m not interested in writing Facebook ads, About Us pages or LinkedIn profiles.
  • Maybe I need to work for a company that is more me.

I know lockdown 3.0 influences how I feel and what I’m thinking, casting a cloud over my head and thoughts. I, like others, am also struggling with cabin fever.

Everything is dragging with no end date in sight, and I find myself getting frustrated with silly things, like our rented house. The freezing weather hasn’t helped: it’s exacerbated issues with the house due to its lack of decent insulation, and I want to move, NOW. We’d planned to move towards Bristol this year, renting via the Army but it’s unlikely to happen. We may buy this year instead, but we need to look for houses, although we can’t justify travelling a good two hours away with the current climate. It’s not essential travel. Is Pete going to be able to race abroad this year, can we get a dog yet?! Everything is in limbo, out of my control, and I like to be in control!

Work has started to get me down: budget restrictions, a new role with more reactive stuff thrown in, and solutions to client challenges are beginning to look the same due to a lack of digital tools. I’m stagnating professionally. My copywriting coursework has stopped, my own doing. The chatter in the Facebook community is of winning pitches to write Facebook ads, About Us pages or LinkedIn profiles – which I’m not interested in writing. Having banked on doing freelance copywriting as my new career, it didn’t sit well with me. It was a ‘throw my hands up in the air and swear’ moment.

I even avoided speaking to my best friend; I didn’t want to talk about how I felt. I just wanted to curl up in the corner, stew things over, adjust to my new thoughts and the potential impact on what they meant longer term. When I did speak to my friend, I knew I should’ve spoken to him earlier. He’s always the right person to talk to about things, and as a solo entrepreneur, he knows about the struggles of starting something up on your own.

I then remembered my career change advice; it’s all about trying things, and if it doesn’t work out, pivot, and try something else. It’s not a failure, see it as knowing what you don’t want to do and finder out sooner. I haven’t put all my eggs into one basket and jacked my full-time role in to be a fulltime copywriter: it’s ok.

On my first non-working day, now that I have my longed-for flexible working pattern approved, I spoke to a couple of headhunters to get a feel for the market and talk through my thoughts. It’s tough out there, and companies are doing more direct recruitment. Which you’d think would be a bonus, but you don’t know who or what is looking at your CV scanning for keywords or whether HR know a good communication professional when they see one. The likelihood of a CV getting through is lower than ever.

I do know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side however I’m keen to look at going back agency side, either as a Comms consultant or copywriter. It could even be a sideways step, starting as a Comms consultant and then moving into copywriting. I thrived in an agency I worked in a few years ago, and I know it’s the environment for me. There’s a real buzz to agency life. Whenever a brief came in, everyone from the design and operations team to the comms & engagement leads downed tools and met as a group to hear it. We’d throw ideas around for a couple of hours and then break off into our respective teams to further develop our pitch ideas. We’d come back together three to four hours later to share our thinking and start working on a pitch document.  The atmosphere is so different: there’s fun, creativity, a pace to things and a real sense of teamwork. It’s you and creatives brainstorming ideas and proposals, bouncing ideas off each other, and learning new techniques. Each client proposal demands a different response, so the mental and professional challenge is always there. There’s also a need to bring in business: an agency will only exist if there is client work and there’s an element of sales in agency life. It’s about making connections with companies and building relationships over time in the hope it pays off. It’s the long game; you can’t slack.

Spurred on by information shared on a call with a headhunter, I searched for a local creative agency recruiting for a comms associate. Although advertised in December, I took the plunge and emailed them with a copy of my CV. Learning to copywrite well has definitely made me better at writing emails, and I went with an imaginative, direct, and fun approach. And it worked!

I received a response a couple of hours later, saying they’d love an informal chat with me. It made my day, it really did. I had a spring in my step, and I felt more optimistic. It might never come to anything, but it’s always worth building connections. And I suppose I was essentially pitching in my email to the agency; I might be good at pitching for work after all!

How do you get a handle on things? Or do you, as in the film Frozen, ‘let it go’? Do you feel you’re on a more even mental keel if you manage to get a fraction of control back?

Claire 1 – Lack of control 0!

www.WhenweGoOnline.com

Hello all,

Hope you are well and still keeping positive within Lockdown 3.0.

Today, I’m going to do something a little different and just write this letter to you all, about how I’m doing in this time and hopefully reach out to all of you who may be feeling similar.

When I say, I’m a drama student- most people would think of someone who lives their life on a stage, pratice rooms full of people making weird shapes and pretending to be trees (which I have done but don’t judge it). Though now, in this time that feels more like a fantasy than something I was doing only 3 months again, which I luckily was able to do.

Working with a mask on, is not the most glamorous thing in the world but it was not the torture that it appears to be. I was able to work in a class of 7 people, all socially distanced and in masks, but still in a pratice room. It was a strange experience, a warped sense of a familiar feeling of going into the room. Nevertheless, I was excited to do things after the nervousness we felt in Lockdown 2 of not knowing if life can be a little bit normal again. However, I also felt fear and frustration- fear that, I was doing my degree, all the while I kept seeing on  the news how the industry, I wanted to go into was ‘crumbling’ and going to be ‘CLOSED FOREVER!’ – Oh, the horror of it all! But it scared me of the anxieties what if it did, then what would I do, nevertheless, I just kept going to my classes and tried to solider through the fear that this wouldn’t be so.

And frustrated, I was upset that it just didn’t feel the same, it didn’t feel like the same degree and my experiences would they amount to the same, if I can’t properly perform.  This whole thing was just a whirlwind of emotions for three months and put me into a strange place.

Now in Lockdown 3, I miss that feeling but I also learnt from it. Now all my class I am sad to saying are online, which is still a strange sensation. Nevertheless those 3 months taught me a lot in how to cope in this strange circumstance. But I’ll break it down to three things.

1, Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself – Sometimes anxiety can take over in a difficult situation, it’s okay to take a day to yourself, to ease your worries and working on yourself, not me that’s writing and recently…knitting! I definitely recommend it- I’m not the best knitter but it’s very relaxing. Admit to yourself you’re having a bad day. We all have them.

2. Get to know other online chat avenues- Zoom is not the only outlet out there. Yes, it maybe it’s the most efficient but also take time away from it to, there is Microsoft teams, Skype, A website called Lark which not only calendars your events but also taking calls. There are plenty of avenues to try to navigate and feel more comfortable in this new way of talking. Additionally, this can apply talking to your friends, this doesn’t have to be over zoom either! There are plenty of ways to reach out, whether be over the internet through discord which is perfect for voice chats in big groups or even writing a letter or going on a walk, a nice way to break your day away from a screen  and stress and reach out to the people you love.

3. Think about what you’re grateful for. Over Lockdown, I feel I’ve reflected on I am lucky to have people around me who care about me so much and have been making steps to learn to appreciate things in life more . So tonight, I will be thankful I’m able to make a pancake and enjoy it with my family, in my home where I’m warm, fed and loved and I hope you all can do the same, whether it be with friends, family, pets or even having some alone time. Remember you can do this; you’ve survived this long and it’ll get more comfortable.

Love Em x

Em’s tip: If there are any societies or groups whether you be in university or just online in general. Don’t be afraid to get involved, it’s a great way to meet new people and have fun things to do online. For example, in my drama society at my university, we just did a online combat class- How cool is that!

A picture of my Knitting! I know it’s got some holes but a rainbow is a rainbow none the less.

London Exhibitions 2021


Looking forward to a brighter 2021, and dreaming of open galleries and enthralling shows, I have collected some of the best exhibitions hoping to open this year.
All of these include textiles in various ways – from garments and pattern, to interiors and photography.
If not physically open, let’s hope that these exhibitions will be available online in some form:

Zanele Muholi
Tate Modern, 5 November 2020 – 31 May 2021
Zanele Muholi Calls herself a visual activist – one who focuses on South Africa’s gay, trans, intersex and queer communities. The LBGTQIA+ communities still remain a target in South Africa, despite equality being promised in 1996. The photographs are intense, with the sitters gaze being an important aspect. The images also contain characteristic textiles, hair pieces, garments and make up.


Jean Dubuffet
Barbican Art Gallery, 11 Feb – 23 May 2021
This will be a retrospective exhibition of Dubuffet’s work showing his tireless experimentation. Butterfly assemblages, enamel paintings, colourful canvases and lithographs will be among the type of work shown. He is famously the founder of Art Brut movement and his work rallies against conventional standards of beauty.


Epic Iran
V&A, 13 Feb – 30 Aug
This exhibition will explore 5,000 years of art – from 3,000 BCE to the present day. Art and culture will be shown through 300 objects, which includes sculpture, textiles, carpets, film and photography. This is a landmark exhibition on one of the greatest civilisations in history. Knowing the V&A’s past shows, this will surely be a remarkable display.


Chintz: Cotton in Bloom
Fashion and Textile Museum, 12 March – 15 August 2021
The Fashion and Textile Museum spans hundreds of years and miles with this exhibition that explores Chintz fabric. This material bears multicoloured patterns and designs that became sensations throughout 18th century England and Europe. Some 150 examples of this textile will be on show, from Japanese dresses to wall hangings and sun hats.


Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser
V&A, from 27 March 2021
This immersive and theatrical exhibition takes you down the rabbit hole into a magical new world. It is the most comprehensive exhibition ever held on Alice and Wonderland. It looks at the huge impact Lewis Caroll’s story has had in the history of art, fashion, design performance and more. Salvador Dali, Walt Disney, Tim Walker and Vivienne Westwood are among those included.


Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Rooms
Tate Modern, 29 March 2021 – 27 March 2022
The Infinity Rooms are immersive installations of endless reflections. Kusama is famous for her obsessive and repetitive dots. Her work uses a variety of media such as painting, sculpture, drawing and performance. There has never been a Kusama exhibition of this size before in the Uk, so it’s not to be missed.


Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture
Fashion and Textile Museum, 3 September 2021 – 1 January 2022
Beautiful People explores fabulous examples from Chelsea’s iconic boutiques that sparked a 1960’s fashion revolution. Creative exploration led designers to sell radical clothing to counterculture youth. The flamboyant ‘flower power’ style emerged with an explosion of colour and pattern. Styles from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Jimmy Hendrix will be displayed alongside garments from iconic boutiques like the ‘Kings Road shop Granny Takes a Trip’.


Impressionist Decorations: the Birth of Modern Decor
National Gallery, 11 Sept 2021 – 9 Jan 2022
This is the first ever exhibition dedicated to the Impressionist’s impact on the decorative arts. These painters sought to bring the outdoors inside and turned their eye for landscapes into objects that could decorate the home. Interior elements such as panels, painted doors, tapestries, ceramics and paintings will be shown. Impressionists such as Renoir, Pissarro, Degas, Manet and Cezanne are included.

Lubaina Himid
Tate Modern, 24 Nov – 22 May 2022
The 2017 Turner Prize winning artist Lubaina Himid exhibits on a large scale, showing recent work and highlights from her career. Himid is known for her approaches on painting and social engagement. Her long career has contributed to the British Black arts movement and recognising women’s creativity. Taking inspiration from the Himid’s interest in theatre, this exhibition will unfold a series of scenes designed to put visitors both on the stage and backstage.

Tentatively optimistic of Hampshire

It really is the New Year, end of January and its bitter outside. How are you? I hope you’re keeping warm and safe and not feeling too depressed by lockdown 3.0. I’m interested to hear if you’re approaching things differently this year knowing we’ve been here before. I’m wrapped up and can be found mainlining tea in my office although I’m feeling optimistic. This year has got off to a much better start than I predicted.

I started my copywriting course, finally! Rather than squander our second week off at Christmas, Pete and I decided to have a little structure of sorts. Wake up, though not before 10am because you know, we were on holiday, breakfast, train, lunch, social media/news catch up, followed by a couple of hours of both of us studying. And we stuck to it. I’m struggling to wake up early after having so many lie-ins though.

There was something quite pleasing seeing us both study and work together to achieve our dreams. I sat in one area of the sitting room, Pete the other; headphones in and off we went. I made a dent in my course, covering topics I knew already, and others I didn’t. It also made me reflect on the web copy I developed last year, rethinking the way I would have approached the copy if I had to do it again.

I’m nearly at the end of the course and focusing on homework; one piece I must nail is coming up with a ‘spec ad’ in collaboration with a designer. This could be a banner ad, poster or leaflet co-developed by me and a designer for a brand I choose. The idea is that if I want to work as a copywriter, I need to showcase my writing but without any paid copywriting work under my belt it’s a bit tricky. I have a number of examples of creative writing, but I need more copywriting experience than just my web copy examples. The spec ad needs to be designed and written in the same style and tone of voice of the brand I choose so that if a prospective employer or client saw it, they wouldn’t be able to tell whether it was real or not. Ergo showcasing how well I have captured the tone of voice of the brand, and the designer’s creative skills.

What I have found interesting doing this course is the sometimes-conflicting advice I’m receiving. I follow an award-winning copywriter, Kate Toon, who I think I’ve mentioned last year. Listening to one of her podcasts, she and her co-host copywriter don’t agree that you need a spec ad to start out and be noticed; they feel a blog has more clout. Kate says she generates a lot of her business from people who have read her blog, rather than her portfolio.

I am torn, because I do find myself more drawn to Kate’s way of working, style and she has more experience than my current tutor. I am however going to do the spec ad, if only to see what it’s like working with a designer, and how hard I find it. Because I’m still a bit dubious that writing copy for banner, ads, posters etc. is for me!

To do the ad justice, I need clear space in my diary, and hold on to your hat’s folks, I’ve managed to obtain approval for my 4-day compressed week! I honestly didn’t think it was going to happen especially as I was starting a new role, but the new boss is impressed by my work ethic and thinks it’s achievable. What a relief. It’s now all systems go, no more excuses for me.

Another area I need to focus on is beefing up my social media presence. I made a concerted effort one weekend to do more on it, and oh my gosh doesn’t social media marketing swallow up your day before you know it! I spent nearly 4 hours re-doing my Facebook business profile, linking it to my business Instagram account, which has been renamed @staffordwrites. I researched the best scheduling tool (Later) to schedule my posts to both accounts, developed content and built on an idea I had last year to showcase my work: ‘Thank You Thursday’. It’s aimed at giving coverage to brands I’ve worked with, both raising their profile and my writing, and I managed to get my first post created, scheduled and ready to go. I felt quite proud and satisfied at the end of it all. And needing a lie down.

Come Thursday though nothing had been posted. Zip, nada, rien. I wasn’t impressed. And although I’ve tried to fix things, I can’t schedule any posts via Later as it’s a FB issue. Whilst trying, unsuccessfully to fix the FB problem, I stumbled across their scheduling tool which does work, and while it doesn’t give me all the data Later does, I’ve spent way too much time on FB trying to fix it. It will have to do for now.

I’ve updated LinkedIn again and it seems to be creating more interest too. Do you remember my column from July? I discussed my thoughts on the job descriptions I was seeing on The Dots and one that had caught my eye – Chief Change Maker. Well, a Chief Change Maker contacted me about a prospective role as an Innovation writer. Unexpected and very much welcomed and I’ve responded. Even if it comes to nothing, the connection is a good one and who knows what might happen further down the line. I mean, to just know a Chief Change Maker is exciting.

While January started in lockdown, again, and the weather outside is either freezing or wet, this year, dare I say it, has the makings of a good year. I’ve a spring in my step and nervous excitement about possible opportunities. All I want now is a good dump of snow please!

HATe

There are feelings that we hide inside and they keep building up. And when they do, they can either be tamed and transformed into something worthy or they can come out in the worst possible way.

In this post I would like to examine ‘hate’. It has been around for quite some time now but these days I feel like it’s growing stronger. During the past week one of my former teachers got accused of spreading religious ideas during his physics lessons. A long article on the happenings was published in an online magazine. The thing is, none of these accusations were true. People who know that man are aware of that. But the people who hide behind n/a in the name section, the ones wearing the cap of invisibility without grace started to offend him in so many ways in the comment section. The more they kept writing the more it was becoming obvious that they are not aiming at him. They were aiming at themselves, the pandemic, all their own faults, the people who were mean to them, the government. And it’s obvious that these reasons behind being angry apply to us all. It is all about what you do with that frustration.  Observing this situation from the perspective of an outsider made me more aware of what is really going on when someone hates “you”. Especially online.

 “Run” 2021

I brought this subject forward because from my perspective; as an artists, as one of the people who create something to be publicly viewed, we have to learn to defeat this hate and find the way to let it go. I had a chance to conduct a few art-in-public actions. They were published by the local online magazine in my city. Unfortunately, readers had completely different vision of aesthetics than I had, to say the least. I’m not talking about constructive criticism here. It was a big-time hate session. From offending me personally, through suggesting I should pay a fine for damaging the common wealth (although my actions lasted only 24 hours and were completely harmless to the surroundings) to claiming that all artists should quit taking drugs because we lost our minds. And I’m not writing it all here to pity myself or to show how wrong these people who wrote it were.

I’m coming forward with this concept because maybe lately you have heard something hurtful, maybe someone made you question what you do, whether it’s art, writing, dancing or something completely different. But could you easily put a face and a name to that hurtful comment? Did they really say it based on some relevant reasons? Or maybe, just maybe they’re the negative observers and you’re actually the one living your life and trying? Think about that.

Confidence comes with time and experience. I’m still learning that as a young artist and also simply as a person. If we want to do something great, and we want to achieve our goals we need to be prepared for the so-called ‘hate’ be it online or in real life. When we reach the point when it all stays outside and we gain the strength within what we’re doing- this will be the turning point. I really believe that.

Stay healthy,

Stay cool,

Maria

From School to University – The changes and differences to be aware of.

In my lead up to leaving my secondary school (which also acted as my college) to University, I found the transition difficult, particularly in the differences in structure. I know that for many young people, whether going to university or not, it’s a hard experience to go into the unknown. As a person with some experience now, I hope to put your mind at ease, even if not completely, but just a little, during this transition, particularly in this time where nothing really feels right

The Workload can vary 

For people coming out of A-levels, it was a time of having an extreme revision of a lot of content for exams. This may be something you never want to do again because of this. University is similar but not the stereotype of being A levels on high energy. Instead, most of your First-year work will be things you may have covered already and then build-up to the new elements. Lectures are similar to classes with the typical PowerPoint and taking notes, however, there are also seminars later on that are much more suited for you, instead of waiting behind to ask your teacher a question about your work after class. Instead, you have an hour with other people in your course to, not only ask questions but also get other perspectives that may change your mind. In many courses, you don’t have to go in every day, similar to college, but this time is not just to do homework but also do research on your own. In my opinion, University is a perfect space for people who don’t mind doing some extra work. As you work through your modules, it may appear that because you study one thing (or two if doing a joint degree) that you do less, but like college, you will have more substantial work instead to build your understanding. 

  • Teaching

In my experience, self-study was always the main focus at University. The majority of my teachers are good at what they do because they don’t need to specify that they are knowledgable. You already know that they are (partially because half of the books you will read are written by them) but also because they trust you enough that you can answer your own questions and solve your own problems instead of relying on the teacher. This can be one of the hardest things to adjust to, but the way to get over this is through doing your own research. If you simply rely on what your lecturer tells you throughout your degree, you will not get the full experience. Instead, you should gain more experiences. A good way to do this is not just to talk to your lecturers but perhaps reach out to other lecturers in different modules too to gain their view in order to eventually come to your own.

For this reason, most of the best teachers in my university experience acted more like hype-men and give advice rather than lead us to conclusions for the entire time. This transition is hard to get around but it is important for students when going into careers. Just make sure you still ask as many questions as possible.

  • Freedom and looking after yourself

For many people, going to University means freedom you don’t experience being surrounded by your family. It’s almost like a temptation once you get there, your focus is on making friends, making memories and going clubbing because now you can. However, these wants also distract you from the more negative elements of becoming an adult which you may not need to think of in school. One of the examples may be feeding yourself and being away from home. For some, this isn’t a problem but being in a new atmosphere and environment distracts from learning. In college, there is an intensity which people again want to avoid and University, for the most part, can do that, however, this will only happen if you plan. It is important to find in your first year, while things are little more relaxed, a balance between work and social life, such as doing 4 hours of revision a day on the lead up to exams or going out at least for 2 hours a day to see a friend. The main thing is to build a plan that can be challenging at times but also allows there to be some pacing. 

Once you have that, the university may become easier and less pressing on you and your mental health, which is the most important thing to look after.

Uni is a strange experience, to say the least between the so-called real world and childhood but this makes it the time in which you can start to figure out who you are, what you want and start to build it. In this time, it may be hard to know that but uni will continue differently through zoom and if they can continue so can you.

Em x

Em’s tip- It’s okay not to understand who you are as an artist, explore and try new things and don’t feel you need to stick to one thing to be popular, versatility is a good trait to have and being able to adapt is even better.

Also, take your vitamins.

Tales of Guatemalan Worry Dolls


As we enter a new year, we hope to leave our worries behind us. With that in mind, I remembered a small oval wooden box gifted to me as a child. Inside were six tiny wooden dolls from Guatemala, known as Worry Dolls. I remember them being fascinatingly miniature, placing one in the palm of my hand and telling it my worries before sleeping.


Worry dolls are known to have been created by the Mayan’s over 2,000 years ago. There are two trains of thought assigned to their beginnings: the first is that they are modelled on one of the creator gods; the other (and more common idea) is that the dolls are based on a Mayan legendary princess called Ixmucane. In this myth, the sun god gifted Ixmucane the power to solve any human problem.

worry dolls


According to tradition, Guatemalan children tell the dolls their worries before placing them under a pillow. With six dolls included in the oval box, each night should be a different doll, with one days rest. By the morning, the children will be gifted with knowledge of how to overcome their worries, allowing them to sleep soundly. In the morning, it is advised to rub the dolls tummy, so that the pain of carrying bad thoughts is relieved. The ritual of acknowledging anxieties before sleep is seen as beneficial, particularly for children. Worry dolls have now been recognised by paediatric and child therapists as a way of relaying concerns to a trustworthy listener.

Guatemalan Indigenous Clothing


The Worry dolls themselves are between 1-3cm tall and made out of wood, wire and fabric from Mayan garments. The face of the doll can be cotton, cardboard and paper, or clay and the outer clothing from wool or “aguayo” – a traditional Guatemalan cloth. This is all held in place with colourful yarn that is wrapped around each part. Moreover, the fabric used is offcuts from handmade clothes, as a way to reduce waste.

Indigenous Clothing


In Guatemala traditional clothing is bright and colourful, depicting local flowers, animals, geometric shapes and figures. The textiles are woven by hand and the yarns are dyed naturally with flowers, vegetables, herbs and bark for their vibrant colours. There are over 800 different styles of indigenous Guatemalan clothing, known as the traje tipico. The traje is still commonly worn by women, and there are various communities where men also wear traditional embroidered clothing. The most common parts of the women’s traje are the huipil (blouse), the faja (belt/sash), and the corte (skirt). Depending on the region, head accessories include the cinta (a type of headband), the tocoyal (a ribbon that is wound around the head ), and the tzute, which is worn on the head, or as a cloth to carry infants on their back. Wearing the traje is a way for indigenous women to keep culture and heritage alive.

Worry Dolls

The women who make these Worry Dolls live mostly in the rural areas of Guatemala. This provides them with an important supplement to the income they get from agriculture. Now these dolls are famous in Guatemalan culture and are sold as souvenirs to travellers passing through.


I find Worry Dolls magical, both in their significance and aesthetic. They are tiny replicas of Guatemalan people in indigenous cloth, and a reminder of their vibrant culture. In this way they bring a small part of Guatemalan magic into our home and dreams.

Worry Dolls and box

Happy New Year!

2020 was certainly not the best year so far, however, we are all done with it now! Even though nobody suspected it might take such an awful turn and the whole world will be hiding away from the pandemic if we think about it it might have not been as bad as it seems. Sit down, take a moment and think about positive aspects of 2020. Here are some of the positives from us!

  1. Because of lockdown we had more time to develop what was before merely just an idea of MyBest, and it the middle of 2020 we were ready to launch the website and publish the very first issue!
  2. MyBest, became more than we thought it would! We were hoping for MyBest, to be a quarterly online magazine but now we are posting every single week and even though it does get a bit much (keep in mind that at the moment, there is just one person taking care of all of the social media, scheduling, editing and all that jazz!) we hope that MyBest, will keep on going forward and we will be able to grow even more in 2021.
  3. We managed to work on many side projects – working with other artists is a full time job as it leads to many side projects and interesting collaborations. We are incredibly thankful for every single person we got to work with as a result of our work on MyBest,

2020 was a year of stagnation and yet many things have started rolling on quicker than ever. We might’ve not been able to do everything we have planned for 2020 but in the age of the pandemic the year actually had some bright moments. Only think about the amount of free time you could use to just rest, work on your projects, do uni work, watch your favorite movies and TV series. Sometimes it’s not that bad to stop for a second. The past year has definitely taught us to be grateful for everything we have and always strive to better ourselves as people.

We wish you all the best for the year 2021 and we hope that this year will bring nothing but joy to you and people close to you.

MyBest,

Monyca.

Younger Interviews- An Interview with a Young Artist: Peter Davies

E: So, I’m joined by one of my amazingly nerdy friends Peter (yes that’s a compliment to him), we’ve known each other since Primary school but we really only became friends again after going to see ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ about almost a year ago now. I think we bonded cause we both hated it, but hey friendship. Like me Peter is a fellow amateur artist but for him, it is the art of words.

E: First off how are you doing in Tier 3 which has just been introduced?

P: I’m not having too bad of a time; I feel being indoors allows me to concentrate a bit more. Sometimes there are things that distract me ( like we all feel sometimes) but it helps me think things. The limitations of being indoors, it almost makes you feel more creative, at least in my experience.

E: That’s a really positive way of thinking about it, So what kind of work do you do?

P: Well, I do a lot of fiction writing, I do a lot of short stories and long novels

E: What are you working on right now?

P: A big series, I’m almost finished with Book 1, it’s mostly doing editorial stuff but I’m also starting to work on a short story

E: What’s that about?

P:You’ll find out.

E: Oo, mysterious. Why did you start writing?

P: I’ve always been interested in creative writing, the idea of putting something together like stories has always fascinated me. I’ve found it easy to make things up but also I feel I can convey things through stories. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and I like the idea of sharing that with people and keeping it to yourself is pretty boring and you think ‘What if other people would want to see it.’

E: I definitely agree with you there, that’s why I do what I do and just get it out there for the world to see. Coming that perspective of conveying things in stories, why do you think it’s important for young people to be involved within the arts?

P: Well, it’s important for people, both young but also older people too to be focused in creative things because in a way it’s something we’ve lost a bit as well as gained. I think being creative and especially now adays when the world’s a bit bleak, having a creative outlet is more important as you have a place where you have some sort of control over is powerful as it’s something that people need right now. In a way creative defines us

E: Definitely especially if sometimes you feel invisible when you do when your  young and you feel unrepresented, speaking of Have you felt misrepresented as an artist before, particularly as a young person?

P: In some way I have had some opportunities, when I just start secondary school, I got to take part in a creative writing book called ‘around the world in 80 words’ and I wrote a short story for it.

E: Do you think that inspired you in a way, to keep writing?

P: A lot yeah, starting secondary started the interest.

E: Do you think, though it’s good to have these opportunities, not all people have had things like that. Have you ever felt like that in a way, particularly professionally?

P: Yeah, in some ways once you get serious about it,  you have a responsibility of topping your work and if you feel you can’t then you’re not living up to a potential, there’s a lot of pressure there in all creative people really and I think it’s mainly due to how difficult it is to get into the industry, sometimes it’s easy to get in due to more independent things but the main thing is people want to feel stable so there’s worry about that and because of that I feel young people feel pressured to not pursue it because it’s not going to get me anywhere and that’s a sad thing.

E: What you like to see a standard for the arts once Young people take over in the future like getting rid of these misconceptions?

I think what needs to happen is to allow young people more control of the content that they produce in the future, to allow them to actually have a voice not controlled by a older generation.

Take my own field of publishing, traditional publishing has some good aspects of being able to get yourself out there, but the problem is you have less creative control and you may come out with a product you wanted in the first place because of how corporate it is now  . Same with how it feels all the films recently are just parts of big franchises with big names attached rather than give people a chance.

 That’s why self-publishing has become more popular but that can also have it’s faults as some people won’t take you seriously because of that. Allowing more trust to young people should be the way to go, trust our voices and our stories instead of limiting it and it may surprise you.

E: It doesn’t help when you email and then they Ghost you!

P: Yeah, just tell me what I can do and what I can do better, give me a chance rather than feel like I’m wasting my time.

E: I agree with that. Finally, what advice would you give to people our age trying to get involved in the arts?

P: Keep making lots of things and be broad with the things you do make. If some tells you that you’re wasting your time just do it anyway because they don’t know what they are talking about. Though you need to be determined as the creative arts is something you must keep ramming yourself at to get through so keep going no matter.

Happy Holidays to all of you

Em x

Hibernate and reset

As I write this, it’s Christmas Eve eve. I’ve finally sat down after making an Earl Grey tea chocolate mousse for tomorrow and unblocking a drain. What a way to spend my first day off.

By the time you’ll read this column, it will be 2021 and another typical year. No? Anyone wake up on 1 Jan wishing everything back to normal, as though 2020 was just a bad dream? And to top it all off, I thoroughly struggled to write this column.

If I’d had a typewriter, I could imagine myself ripping the paper from the typewriter, scrunching it up and throwing it at and missing the bin, and laying discarded with other failed edits. I think it’s reflective of how I’m feeling; it’s the end of the year, I’ve had enough of looking at the four walls of my house, and I want to down tools. I can’t travel to see my parents for Christmas as Italy is locking down even more, and at the time of writing, my area moves into tier 4 day after Boxing Day. Oh, joy. I feel that I’m running out of new content to share with you too, as things aren’t moving quickly in my career change.

I’ve paid for the course I mentioned last month, but I haven’t got very far with it. I feel disheartened by the many messages in the course’s FB group talking about successful pitches, new clients etc., whereas I am hamstrung by a full-time job. I’d planned to study over the Christmas period and get myself into a position to start recouping the course’s cost, but I have a dilemma. If I manage to complete enough modules and start pitching for new business and am successful, how will I manage it with full-time work? I’d need to work every Friday afternoon and weekend, and frankly, I need a crying emoji right now because I’m baulking at that prospect.

I hear it all the time; you work all hours to build a business on the side – it’s the only way to build a business. I don’t think I can realistically deliver client work in my evenings, on just one weekend or even with an extra day if I get Friday’s off, without it having a detrimental effect on my life. More importantly, I’ve had enough of looking at my computer screen during the day for work, so I’m railing against looking at it in the evening. The course tutor says to try and make time for it, even if it’s for 15mins a day. I know people who combine their professional and personal work during the day; when they have free time, they crack on with their own work, laptop set up next to their work one.

Working from home has its perks, the commute is non-existent but with fewer distractions, the time I’m racking up in front of the screen is increasing, even to the point where I now need reading glasses for the first time. I’m fuming! It’s why I want relief from it, so the thought of two screens on my desk feels me with dread.  If I have a break at work in between meetings, I grab my coat and wellies and tramp around the village and fields, in desperate need of fresh air and vitamin D. In the evenings I’ll train or eat and curl up on the sofa with Pete and switch off. I need a break more than ever it seems, and the dark mornings and nights aren’t helping. I just want to hibernate, squirrel away. They say you need less sleep as you get older, I’m very much the opposite.

When I was doing my career change course earlier this year, I made time for the missions and exercises I had to do each week. Every Saturday I had a 10 am call which I never missed, this time though I seem to have lost the impetus to instigate the same rigour and routine to my new course. I think it’s because it’s self-paced. There’s no one pressurising you to have completed homework during the week.

By mid-January, I’ll know if my 4-day compressed week is approved, which will give me time to do my course. I have a new boss who wasn’t that keen about it when I mentioned it to her. She seems open to doing at least a six-month trial, so we’ll see. If it isn’t a reality, I’ll shut up as I’m bored of talking about it, and you’re probably bored of hearing about it.

It hasn’t been all doom and grumpy childlike sulks though. Instead of a website, I’ve created a portfolio which I’m going to add to my LinkedIn profile. I’ve added more projects to The Dots. I’ve been re-editing a client’s emails after doing his web copy earlier this year so continuing to learn. If my portfolio’s posting or sharing brings in work, then I’ll be happy, so long as I can manage it.

In the spirit of only focusing on what can help further my career, I’ve decided to delete job alerts for copywriter roles. Until I start getting more experience under my belt, I won’t have a chance of getting a position, and the more I look at job adverts for companies I like, the more disheartened I become. Best to switch off the distractions for now. I don’t know about you, but far too many emails come into my inbox for things I either forgot I’d signed up for or I’m just not interested in anymore, so it’s digital detox time.

And as the New Year rolls in, how many of you will set new year resolutions? Do you stick to them? I’m not one for resolutions. I tend to focus on the positive and ask myself what I’d like to do more of. You all know what I’d like to do, so my added resolution is just to see how things pan out and take it from there. There’s not much else I can do. Just as we’ve had to adjust and flex this year due to COVID-19, my career change will need to do the same. Patience is a virtue; I happen to have none.

I hope you had a good Christmas even if it’s been quite different and you’re ready to cope with whatever 2021 throws at you. Fingers crossed it’s a better one; it can’t get any worse!