The community I live in is pretty special. I have artists, craftspeople,and musicians within a stones throw of my door . As well being incredibly handy for last minute Christmas gifts, it’s been really useful to be able to talk to people who understand the weird world of trying to make a living from something you’ve created. Over a beautiful tea on Sunday, I was given the sage advice ‘it’s the pull between what you want to do, and what you know will sell’ . The fact that these words came from someone whose work I admire greatly, and is a successful artist and illustrator, made me think. Or rather re-think. I had been of the mind that perhaps I needed to focus on trying to be more literary (which seems to work with poems, but not short stories), or that I have to be careful not to write what is regarded as low brow fiction ( despite the fact that I know a good rom-com can be a glorious thing),and then, where on earth does commercial writing come in to the equation ?
I think I was afraid of going back to the days of writing endless pages about spectacle coatings,and sales targets, where I really was trying to make the best of a bad situation. Writing for other people doesn’t have to be like that though. If I’m trying to make a client happy, and make their business successful, the challenge to create the correct image through words is still wrought through craft and care. If you’ve ever read a bad restaurant website, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
I short, I’ve had to get over my idea of what a creative life is. Sometimes,it’s being what your audience want. Not to the extent that you lose your own vision, or your own self, but enough to make other people happy, which is always going to involve some compromise. And sometimes it is the biggest self indulgence, and a playground of ideas, dramas, catharsis and chaos. Then, if you’re really lucky, people love your work enough to join in your game.
To see some of the fabulous work from this special part of Shropshire have a look at