A couple of months ago, my contract came to an end and I decided that I would have a go at earning a living creatively. I’d do the things I love – writing and making videos – and trust that if I took the leap, the net would appear and I’d be able to make a living. You can read my original post here: That was July so the question is: did the net appear? Am I making a living creatively?
Yes. I think I can say the answer is yes. The net appeared.
I have to say though, there were a few weeks when I didn’t think it would.
I didn’t look for work in August really – I was still being paid for my old job (having been a teacher 3 days a week) and so I didn’t feel any sense of urgency. Then came September. I went off to Uganda to do some video work for the charity Five Talents. You can read about that on my other blog, Help100. That wasn’t paid work but it was a lot of fun!
It was crunch time when I got back. I went to the BBC and networked, but was told by several people that there aren’t any jobs right now. I advertised my services as a wedding videographer using Google Adwords but, despite spending about £100, I got no enquiries at all. The agency I was registered with as a supply teacher wrote to me and said I’d been taken off their lists as I hadn’t completed something online by a certain date. I looked through jobsites and applied to agencies as a supply teacher. Nothing. A lot of traipsing around to interviews and filling in forms for CRB checks but no actual work. So I signed on.
I even got rejected there. I hadn’t, apparently, paid enough National Insurance over the last two tax years to qualify for Jobseekers Allowance.
Things felt bad. Not only did I lack money, I lacked motivation. I couldn’t get myself started in a morning. Although there are lots of things that I really love doing, like reading, running, making cards, and writing my blogs, not to mention the book I’m supposed to be writing at the moment, I simply had no enthusiasm for any of them. I kept telling myself, I should do these things now, because sooner or later, work will come along and I won’t have time. But I just couldn’t raise myself – and the less I did, the more despondent I felt. It was a Catch 22 situation.
Suddenly though, things started looking up. Bored one afternoon, and worrying about the future and pensions and life in general, I rang the National Insurance helpline and asked how I could work out if I’d one day be entitled to a state pension. I got chatting to the man on the helpline and he said that the Job Centre had made a mistake and I was entitled to my Jobseekers Allowance. I rang them and they immediately admitted it and back paid the money into my account that day.
Then a video job came in. I should be filming that soon. Then I had another 3 video enquiries, one after the other. Wow. It seemed to good to be true. I’ll be signing off at the Job Centre when I’ve only just signed on! I’ve had a couple of positive emails from the BBC and I’ve managed to get some writing done. OK, so mostly on my blogs and not on my book but it’s a start. I need to keep the words flowing.
Two friends in the TV industry have asked if I’ll partner up with them on a couple of projects and I’ve agreed to run another loneliness retreat.
I took the leap and apparently, a whole collection of nets has appeared!