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.

Working and… working?

During the lockdown I’ve spent my free time doing what I’m truly passionate about – reading, writing, editing, I have finally started the magazine you are currently reading. A lot of good things came out of the lockdown, I have all the time in the world to simply create all day every day and do all the courses I could think of. Then the 4th of July happened and with my freshly washed uniform I went back to my day job since I don’t make enough money from commissions and the magazine at the moment is mostly a hobby that adds to my bills. I work in a chain pub in the town centre, honestly, I was really looking forward to going back to work after three months of being sat at home. However that meant that I will have less time for my creative work, which at first didn’t seem to be that obvious to me.

We have reopened almost a month ago and I haven’t submitted any of my poems to any competitions or poetry magazines. I haven’t written a single article as a ghost writer and I have not had enough time to reply to all of the emails as quickly as I used to before 4th of July. The lack of time for something that used to be my entire world for the past three months made me think that I’m doing something wrong. It made it difficult to enjoy my day job, even though I adore people I work with, they never fail to put a smile on my face and they are very supportive when I tell them about my creative work.

This is one of the issues a lot of creatives face. When we just start off in the world of creative industry it can be hard to find a job in the art world that pays you well enough to support yourself only from doing art. Apart from pursuing our passion we also need to support ourselves and yes, we won’t have that much time for being sat at home creating but with good time management one can achieve equally as much with a full time position, which pays for your bills. I’m lucky enough to be equally happy at my day job as I am as a creative – that’s a first piece of advice – find a day job that makes you want to wake up in the morning and go to work. No matter what you do for a living if it doesn’t make you happy you have to change it!

Plan your days off and days when you’ve got a late start. I don’t always have to wake up at 8am bu I do. Why? Because if I start at 3pm I still have time to do some social media marketing for the zine or reply to some emails. I have enough time to get ready, have breakfast, work on my creative projects and then go to work. Since I usually write at night if my partner isn’t home I will spend good 2 hours working on the book I’m currently writing. As long as you want to find time for your projects, trust me, you will. Go, get yourself a planner, calendar, notebook. Write down what you want to do during your day off. Make the points very specific so that you have ten tasks to do and then cross out half – amidst creative jobs and working day jobs don’t forget you also need to rest.

Take care of yourself, get those bills paid, stay safe and stay creative!