Tips for juggling creativity and work: part two

This week, I bring you Tori’s tips for juggling creativity and work.


Creative type No. 2

Tori, food writer and communications officer

1.  What’s your creative passion or dream?

To live well and share that fun by writing about it. In my early 20’s I wasn’t very well -there were a few  years when I spent a disproportionate amount of time in bed- I kept the brain ticking by writing a terrible terrible novel. I learned that when things are a bit rocky time spent on the couch with a lap rug, cup of tea, and an internal conversation can be instantly comforting. I’m not quite sure where the cooking thing came from; I grew up in a household where food was about fuel, not fantasy. In my blog I call the husband ‘The Hungry One” and I think he’s had a huge role- the satisfaction of feeding and delighting someone you adore can’t be underestimated.  These days I love nothing more than reading other people’s writing about food, cooking and travel; so I try and add to those conversations by writing about what we do. Even if it the writing goes nowhere, hopefully when I’m old I’ll have an excellent dossier of a life well lived.

2.  How do you support yourself financially?

I spend a lot of time taking capital letters up and down in a communications job for a government agency. In my spare time, I write about food for and am always trying to get some more freelance work going. The husband is endlessly patient with my meagre contributions to the household bottom line.

3.  Are there sacrifices involved in following your creative dream, and what makes it worthwhile?

The ego is a tough one; the suspicion that you’re not advancing as quickly as you perhaps could in the ‘real world’ job because of your creative choices. But at the end of the day, it’s about what makes you happy- and the real world doesn’t always do that.

4.  Do you hope to support yourself through your creative work / do you already?

I’d love to earn a bit more cash from it. One day I’d love nothing more than to have two smiley little kids on the carpet tottering about while I get to write.

5.  What are your top three tips for managing a creative passion?

Make sure that whoever shares your life supports your creative life too.

Don’t be afraid to talk about what you do- I wish when you meet people they wouldn’t instantly ask ‘where do you work’, but instead ask ‘what do you love to do?’

If it stops making you happy; give yourself permission to take a break until you feel the urge to play again.

6.  Where would you like to be in your life in five years time, and what are three things you are doing now to get you there?

See above; sitting on a couch somewhere with one happy little muffin on the floor and maybe another in the oven, writing and earning a little bit of money from it would be perfect.

Being able to properly poach eggs (always my downfall)

Maybe turning the writing into a book (but this one may see the light of day)…


Thanks Tori!  To visit Tori’s blog and hear some truly excellent foodie tales, go to

To see last week’s tips, from playwright and business analyst David, click here.

I have one more set of tips to bring you, from the lovely, art’n’crafty Kate over at I’ll publish that in a couple of weeks – might be a bit busy next week, getting married.

Horoscope for the Week beginning 14 September 2009

This week, you will find the backbone you never knew you had as it transforms from spaghetti into kevlar in one, fell motion. Adversaries, believing until now that they had your number, fall back, confused and, suddenly, afraid. But you don’t need to wait around for them to re-group – you are on your way, donning the brash new colours of your courage and heading straight for the moral high ground. From up there, where mere mortals fear to tread, you might see someone who looks just like you, far, far below. Squint through your telescope – it’s not you, it’s (gasp) your mortal enemy, pushing against the same stone wall you used to prop up with your daily efforts, but from the other side. You used to wear the exact same pooh-brown shoes. Even your hair looks the same coffee colour from up here. Funny – down there, all you could see was how different you were; up here, all you can see are different shades of brown.

Tips for juggling creativity and work: part 1

Some time ago, I wrote a post called “The Juggling Act.” I got quite a lot of responses from you guys, about how you face the challenge of juggling creativity and a paying job.  So I thought I would interview three creative types and get their insights about how they do the juggle. This week’s creative type is:


Creative Type No. 1:

David Sharpe, playwright and business analyst for the creative industries

David was a recent finalist in the Short’n’Sweet play competition, and won best emerging playwright award.  He’s currently working on a number of play and film projects.

1.  What’s your creative passion or dream?
To write for theatre and for film/television.

2.  How do you support yourself financially?
I work full time in arts management.

3.  Are there sacrifices involved in following your creative dream, and what makes it worthwhile?

It’s the other way round.  It’s my creative output that suffers from me working full time. So the sacrifice is less time spent writing and learning how to do it better. But I like the security of full time work and the bonus is that I enjoy working in arts management.

What makes this juggling act worthwhile is two things:

  • seeing my work performed and
  • being able to pay the mortgage.
  • 4.  Do you hope to support yourself through your creative work / do you already?
    No.  I hope to be able to continue to work full time and find enough time to pursue my writing.

    5.  What are your top three tips for managing a creative passion?

  • Commit to it.  Set yourself goals. Where you can, quit other things you’re doing and pursue your creative work (I know, I know.  How can I say this when I’m working full time?  But you can cut out the other stuff around you – for instance, I’m currently finishing and unrelated degree early in order to concentrate on my writing).
  • Continually improve your work.  Seek criticism of your work from smart, talented people.  Don’t be precious about it – it’s vital.  You won’t be able to manage a creative passion if your product is no good.
  • Find people who can help.  Make contacts, pursue opportunities, create a network.  In turn, take time to help those people who help you.  If nothing else, you meet some great people!  But it’s practical too – I know that none of my work would have got to stage without the efforts of others, so I keep networking.
  • 6.  Where would you like to be in your life in five years time, and what are three things you are doing now to get you there?

    I’d like to still be pursuing my career in arts management.  I will probably still be working full time – though possibly I might move to working for myself.

    Creatively, I’d like to have a range of plays and scripts ready for production and available to exploit.  I’d like at least some of those plays be in regular demand for production, and to generate a small stream of income.  And I’d like to eventually – maybe in five years, maybe sooner or later – have a full length play produced by a major company and published.  How’s that?

    I’m searching for professional development opportunities.  Making contact with people who can improve my writing.

    I’m looking for opportunities for my work to be performed – in essence, bringing it to the attention of others who can produce it.

    I’ve set some goals for the year – to continue to develop one full-length script and to write the first draft of another.  To have two more short plays produced.  To enter one new competition.  To access two professional development opportunities. To write two short film scripts – one new and one adapted from a previous work.  Some of these are done already!  And some haven’t been started…

    And just for the moment, I’m not writing.  No time.  But soon there will be and until then there’s other stuff I can do.  I’m reading, watching, listening, researching, making notes – so that I’ll be ready to work.


    A big thank you to David for giving us such honest and useful advice!  Next week, I’ll publish Tori’s tips.  Tori is a food writer by night, a communications officer by day.  You can check out her blog at

    Horoscope for the Week 7 September 2009

    This week will take you by surprise.  Sugary lips will find yours and kiss you silly with caramel cake and chocolate buttons.  Your friends will look at you strangely, your eyes red with too much energy to burn.  It’s nothing to hide from: it’s your opportunity to tear up the park between your place and theirs with your uncaged ideas; the impossible will light up the pavement.  By Wednesday, you will have painted your mind royal green, your walls reflecting the bright new spring.  By Thursday, words will cover your clothes, reminiscent of the brilliance of the World’s first electric bulb; by Friday, you will fall into a contented heap, toes varnished with flowers, ready for summer.