Not being afraid to voice my opinion

  • Name: Nicolle Knapová
  • Occupation: Poet/aspiring novelist
  • University Degree: Currently finishing up my master degree in Creative writing and publishing
  • Favourite artist: Halsey/ Taylor Swift
  • Favourite colour: Baby blue
  • Favourite sound: Rain

Hi MyBest, Zine! I am Nicolle and I am a poet and a writer from the Czech Republic. Being an artist to me means not being afraid to voice my opinion. Being an artist to me means being able to share stories with people around the world. It enables me to express my feelings which is really important to me.  I love writing about topics such as mental health problems, forbidden love and New York (particularly Brooklyn). One of the biggest things that influences and inspires me the most is music. It doesn’t matter if it is Chopin or The Paper Kites. The one artist that inspires me and influences my work the most is without doubt Halsey. We are both Libras and she is someone I truly look up to. I have been listening to her ever since she released her debut album Badlands. It was love at first sight. When it comes to literature, a big influence for me is Murakami. I devoured his book Afterdark in a couple of days and left me in awe. It really left a mark on me.  I love creating playlists on Spotify. I made one for my debut novel that I want to publish in the next two years. It works as a soundtrack and every time I listen to it I can imagine the story unravel in front of me. But sometimes a really beautiful photo can inspire me just as perfectly.  I am currently hard at work writing my debut poetry collection Aftermath which I want to publish late this year. It is a very personal collection of my teen and young adult life- relationships, family, friendships, unfulfilled expectations and my mental health struggles.

I don’t really have a specific work routine! All I can tell you is that my creativity really comes to life around 10 PM when I want to sleep but my brain just doesn’t want to hear it.  I did spend the whole summer writing my dissertation- three chapters of the above mentioned novel and it was quite intense to write every day. My inspiration really does come in flares. But my writing process always involves coffee and music. I just can’t imagine doing it without it. Oh, and a candle and preferably a rainy morning.

What made me want to be an artist goes back to elementary school when I started writing little snippets of stories. I didn’t have many talents back then but writing was always something that I was praised for and therefore it stuck with me. The very first proper story that I wrote was about two cats that traveled to Egypt only for the one of them to be mistaken for Nefertiti. It was such a fun thing to do and to think I was only 10! Back then I only wrote in Czech which changed when I started high school. I tried writing in Czech but to be honest it just doesn’t sound as natural anymore. I find it insane but it is what it is! I used to be bullied and writing was to me a great way to express how I felt and it was a way to escape the reality. I love being a storyteller and I really hope I will one day be able to do this as a full-time job.

Reigning in the magpie tendencies

I had a bit of time off in the last month in Italy, which allowed me to take stock and think more clearly about what I was doing to enable my career change. In my previous column, I was pouring over creative job descriptions, looking at the skills required and what I needed to upskill in. In Italy, I looked at copywriting websites, found copywriting podcasts, did bitesize SEO courses, and finished off copywriting work for two clients. I was busy, and enjoyed it, but frankly, I feel like I need a good month off to make a dent in my career move. I’ve been building up my portfolio and upskilling, but it seems a bit organic, piecemeal and lacking in an actual plan.

I remember two images that were shared in my career change course that I feel justify my randomness and how I’m feeling. One showed points A and B with a direct line from A to B. The tutor said that people think a career change is a simple process or step. The other was an absolute mess of squiggles and swirls from A to B. This is career change she said. Ha! She is so right.

And so, I am pondering the following:

  • Do I go part-time in my current career and build my copywriting work on the side or apply directly to a perm or freelance copywriting role?
  • Do I try to find a job back in a communications agency, an environment I loved with variety, creativity and real teamwork?
  • How do I update my LinkedIn profile or re-write my CV if I don’t know what I am aiming for, and crucially not alert my current company?
  • Do I move to a four day week at work to give me the time to do more thinking and action things and limit the amount of ‘other career’ work that is eating up my free time?
  • I am planning to move closer to Bristol early next year and currently have job alerts set up for the local area to me now and Bristol. If I find a role close to me and I move next year, how will that work? Or I might find a position in Bristol before I move? Should I even be looking?!
  • The timing. COVID-19 timing. With so many people being made redundant, should I thank my lucky stars that I have a role and sit tight?
  • How do I carve out time to do relevant courses or training?

So many variables! And these fly around my mind regularly. What do I do first? What’s necessary? I must gain some semblance of control, rein in my thoughts and stop flitting between things like a magpie attracted by the next shiny thing.

On my flight back from Italy, I decided to act. I looked back through all the notes I had made, the interviews with people, websites I needed to look at, margin scrawls, starred sentences and got stuck into pulling out what I thought was important and put them into a list. I don’t know about you, but a list makes me feel calm, organised, and able to think clearly. A step closer to having some control because I am a control freak. With everything all clearly laid out on a page, it was easy for me to step back and look at what was essential and would help me further my progress. My list went into double digits which could have felt overwhelming, so I wanted to be quite tough on what could wait based on how much impact it had on my progress.

Instantly I could see what I needed to do. If I want to apply for a job on one of the many job alerts I have set up, I must have an up-to-date CV and one that reflects the portfolio work I have been doing – priority number one.

Priority number two; tweak my LinkedIn profile. I have some positive testimonials from the portfolio work I have done that I should share and could help me reposition myself to start connecting with more people in the areas that interest me. My profile summary must be more in line with my passions, the work I have done and am looking to do if I am to attract a different network.

Priority number three; continue to understand SEO. I started a great little course called SEO Nibbles from an award-winning copywriter, Kate Toon, in Italy, and I still have one more ‘nibble’ to do. I also want to find the time to listen to her copywriting podcasts. (COVID-19 has meant my usual podcast listening time, on ‘my commute to work’ has been taken away from me. I don’t have time to listen to a podcast between my bedroom and office!) I also managed to spend time with my sister, who shared hints and tips from what she had learnt about SEO as part of her job and kindly gave me some good material to read and use. Thanks, sis!

And that’s all I am prioritising for now. I can cope with things in threes, and so long as the ‘Do CV’, ‘Tweak LinkedIn profile’ and ‘Do SEO course’ post-it notes remain on my office wall, I won’t look at the list again. I need to focus, and I have time. I need to recognise this. I don’t have to do everything by the end of next week, and realistically I can’t. (My first headline idea for this month’s column was originally going to be ‘I want to be a salsa dancer, now!’ because that’s I how I feel. I’m an impatient person.) I’m lucky to have a job and a partner who gives me space to catch up on things like writing this column and ticking off my priorities, and I have some control back. Career change takes time, as simple as that.

By next month’s column, I will have an up-to-date CV!

We are now on PATREON!

MyBest, is constantly growing and we refuse to stop! Everything started with nothing but an idea to create a platform by creatives for creatives where we would not only showcase the art but also talk about daily life and day to day struggles of artists and creatives alike. Starting off in the art industry can be hard and we wanted to show other people that they’re not alone in this! Everything is a process and becoming a full-time artist can be a struggle sometimes but worry not as climbing up the career ladder is a time-consuming process in every occupation!

The very first issue of MyBest, was released during lockdown and we have been surprised with the amount of people interested in, what we thought of at the time, a project of love and passion. We are grateful for all the engagement and the constantly growing following – it is lovely to see that you want to see more of what MyBest, has to offer!

Together with our resident artists we managed to create not only a magazine but also an online platform where creators can share their thoughts, art, feelings, where we motivate and inspire. I’d like to personally thank our resident artists and resident writers – you are a truly amazing bunch and you inspire me every single day to keep going and keep our magazine growing, growing and growing! The amount of work that has been put in so far in the creation of the magazine is astonishing and I believe we can do so much more!

This month we have launched our very own Patreon Profile where you can access exclusive-MyBest, content! We are incredibly grateful to each and every single one of our readers for the ongoing support and we strive to bring you even more inspiring content each month. As now we grew to be an independent art-magazine we need your help to keep building on what we already have and evolve into even bigger collaborative platform and magazine for creators.

PATREON LINK HERE – https://www.patreon.com/mybestzine

We are also always on the look out for new resident writers and artists – if you want to become a part of what we do message us on Instagram or send an email outlining how you’d like to get involved and what you’ll bring to the magazine.

Thank you for those amazing months, we are exited to see what the future holds for us!

MyBest,

Monyca xx