What’s a typical day like for you?
I’m very lucky to get to be the mother of a cheeky 2 year old, so typically my days revolve around keeping her out of mischief… I live on the shores of Lake Ontario, so no 24 hour time period feels complete without a playdate at the beach or a stroll along the pier to impersonate ducks and collect pebbles (- oh, to be two)! I use her mid-day nap to catch up with work, take a dip in the pool, and berate myself for not meal-planning in light of the approaching dinnertime. On an ideal day, the hours following her bedtime would allow me a moment alone with a book outside, or a drink with friends, followed by a bath. I’m a night owl, so post-bath is when most of my poetry comes to life!
What’s your career background?
My career to date feels a little like a tug of war between flowers and words?!
I trained as Floral Designer in the beautiful Bath, UK 12 years ago before going on to spend a number of years in London after university, seeking the life of an adult with a “proper job” in Communications. As much as I adored the city and those I worked with, I soon realised that to deny myself as an artist would ultimately result in a miserable me. So, worn out by the 9-5 (or 6, or 7!) and in need of some fresh air, I relocated to Ontario, Canada, where I began designing full-service wedding florals in the Niagara Region until my little one came along. It’s only recently that I’ve transitioned into world of freelance copywriting, mostly for local businesses within the wedding industry, which I’m finding requires me to be both creative and communicative – win-win!
– Have you always written or is it a recent change for you?
I can’t remember a time when I haven’t used written language to make sense of my feelings and experiences, but it’s just in the last year and a half that I’ve begun rhyming my words and sharing them more officially with others. This way of writing feels brand new and yet totally familiar? And it’s seen me transition from ‘I write’ to ‘I’m a writer’, which feels really write (I mean, right).
– How do you balance work and play?
The on-going responsibilities of motherhood mean I often see my written work as playtime! Though for my own sanity, I try my best to put physical boundaries around the day’s activities – being sure to take my laptop away from the home environment by way of separating and defining the various roles I play.
I’ll also say that lately I’ve been attempting to embody ‘fruitfulness’, as opposed to productivity, when approaching my work. To be ‘fruitful’ sounds like less I’m operating machinery, and seems to imply a nurturing of character that’s often required to produce good work. I think it also invites us to embrace the idea of changing seasons that I consider reflective of the natural ebb and flow of our output. I tend to find that work and play feel one and the same in this frame of mind? And I’m all in favour of it.
– Have you found social media helpful to your career?
Okay, so for years I resisted the social media game to promote myself personally… I knew the rules and the tricks having managed a number of high profile accounts during my time in London, but I felt a little cynical toward the online world, if I’m honest. More recently I’ve come to admire the way it unites artists across continents, and when I began to view it less as a marketing tool and more as a way to connect with like-minded people – I saw it’s benefits in a fresh way. Now, being a part of the Insta poetry community feels like such a privilege!
– How do you switch off from work?
Motherhood often requires my feet to remain on the ground – to think practically and rationally more so than comes naturally to me (- what’s for dinner? Which mini socks are missing? How many bananas are likely to be consumed this week?). So at the moment, ‘switching off’ looks like writing poetry?! But to really recharge, I need a total change of scene about once a month, and I’ll happily escape anywhere that allows me space to day dream and create and pop my head up into the clouds for a moment.
– Who would you cite as your inspiration work wise?
I feel deeply inspired people who can articulate their undeniable intelligence in a disarming way by using humour and empathy. That sounds very specific?! But when I look at the reporting of Stacey Dooley, the writing of Helen Russel, the commentary of Russel Brand, and Shad’s lyrical genius… They all have this quality in common. The art they create (or “fruit” they bear!) uplifts others on so many levels.
– What would your advice be for other writers looking to get out there?
Where possible, write what you truly love to write, not what you feel you should be writing. When this clicked for me, I was surprised by how motivated, driven, and confident I felt in my work. Personally, I’ve found that by writing therapeutically for myself, more so than writing to impress others, ensures I can’t deviate too far from authenticity – and isn’t that something we’re all craving more of?