I like making things.
There’s nothing to beat the feeling you get when, having started off with a seemingly unconnected collection of raw materials, you end up with a brand new object that didn’t previously exist.
In the past I’ve made steel wheels for Ford Cosworth racing cars (and tractors), glass- and carbon-fibre fishing rods (where, randomly, I also once made the sticks for HRH Prince Charles’ polo team and some replacement stilts for a passing circus troupe), laminated fibre glass tanks for giant crop spraying machines and the occasional boat and fishpond, and now carbon fibre parts for the aerospace industry.
My problem has always been that none of this wealth of experience in making things has ever translated into anything that you’d call creative. It’s creating things, yes, but it’s not Creative with a capital C.
I can’t draw or paint (even my handwriting is like the tracks of a dipsomaniacal arachnid with St Vitus’ Dance), I have no musical aptitude whatsoever (I don’t think anyone ever counts bongos do they?), I can’t sing and I don’t dance before the fourth or fifth pint, with predictable results. (once at a beer festival, somewhat the worse for wear, I careered headlong into a jazz band in full swing, nearly forcing the trumpet player to swallow his instrument mid-solo)
I am a bloody good cook though.
So aside from taking some nice pictures, being able to knock up something half decent in the kitchen and spending my teenage years dabbling in the theatre, I’ve never really considered myself a “creative” person. Although, had I obtained a grant to attend the stage management course I’d been accepted on at drama school in Guildford, (by happy coincidence the location of this year’s inaugural Golden Face Palms) who knows what exalted position I’d now hold in theatrical circles?
Then smartphones arrived on the market and suddenly I was the owner of an incredibly powerful computer that I could carry with me everywhere.
Not only that, but the thousands of applications available for these extraordinary devices let me experiment with (and share) images, sounds, video and – most importantly of all as it turns out – words.
I’ve always loved words, whether reading or talking, (and boy, I’ve done a lot of talking over the years) which makes it all the more strange that I wouldn’t have tried writing before.
But now I’ve got the bug, and I’ve got it bad.
From the first moment I get inspiration for a post and the ideas begin percolating through my head, I can’t wait to sit down and start writing.
I can spend hours finding links, making up artwork, checking facts, editing and re-editing text to improve the flow of narrative (hey listen to me talking about “flow of narrative”, anyone would think I was a writer) and finally posting and promoting on as many platforms as I can before sitting back and watching the stat counter in anticipation.
However, what if I didn’t have to wait until I got home, or more likely until the weekend, before I got my literary fix?
What if, instead of having to fit it in around my job, it actually was my job?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy what I currently do for a living, and not just because of the normal day to day challenges that any high-spec manufacturing job presents, but also because of the small, close-knit team of people I work with. (I can only speak for myself of course. I wouldn’t want to have to put up with me for twelve hours a day)
The thing is, not since my attempt to gain entry into the rarefied world of the theatre have I so badly wanted to have a career in something specific, no matter how late in the game it is.
I’ve had jobs that have been enjoyable, but they have purely been a means to an end, namely paying the bills and satisfying that pesky urge to eat now and again.
This is different though. Just like all those years ago when that stage-struck teenager was drawn to the smell of greasepaint, the roar of the crowd and the lure of the bright lights, writing is something I already know I love doing.
And which of us wouldn’t rather earn a crust doing something we love, if only we had the chance?
How to go about it, that’s the thing? I have no formal training or qualifications and I have neither the time nor the money to study full time.
I have no prior experience to quote on a cv and the few e-mails I have sent to local papers and in response to a recently advertised job, (including brief personal background info and links to the sole relevant example of my work, this blog) have led to a polite “Thanks but no thanks, we’ll keep you on file” type letter or, in most cases, nothing at all.
Nonetheless I shall not be deterred, and even though this germ of an idea only took hold in the last few months, I will continue to look at what chances I have, if any, of breaking into what could quite possibly be my dream job.
In the mean time if anyone out there has previously been faced with this dilemma, it’d be great to find out what your experiences were and if you have any advice to offer I’d be very grateful.