Monday, 10 October 2011

Just try it

Two years ago I left an agency and became a freelance writer. Two years ago, I didn't have a clue what I was doing - just why I was doing it (I'd got bored in an office, doing the same thing every day). Two years on, I'm working on new and interesting projects all the time. I know what I'm doing. And I remembered that on Saturday, while giving a presentation. And it scared me a bit.

I, alongside a few other members of 26, shared stories and advice or gave workshops to other members of the group - and to some who'd never heard of us before but liked the idea of Wordstock.

We came up with Wordstock - the name and concept - in a 26 Board meeting a few months ago. After three years of very successful annual speeches, we decided it was time for a change. We'd got bored of the same thing. We needed a new challenge.

Wordstock, we decided, would be a word festival - a gathering of around 60 creative people (mostly writers) who'd wade deep into words and scribble and chat feverishly, drugged full of festival spirit.

This is me. Tom Lynham took the photo.

At the festival, I spoke about 26 Flavours of Cornwall with Tom Scott, the man who came up with the idea for this beautiful exhibition that's been touring Cornwall for the last few months. I worked with Tom for a year to help make it happen. Telling the stories now made us realise just how much we'd done, how many people we'd spoken to, how many teas, coffees and beers we'd drunk. And how it'd all started.

I moved to Cornwall this time last year because I got bored of London life. Now I'm back in London - eager to experience it until it's bored with me - because I got itchy feet in Cornwall.

Itchy feet led me to San Jose (California) to study for a semester after just a year at university in Surrey.

They took me up the east coast of Australia, too.

They persuaded me to pitch 26 Treasures to 26 back in 2010.

And to start a theatre company in the middle of my MA.

And walk around Britain by the light of the full moon.

There's a pattern emerging. Doing the same thing every day isn't great for my imagination. It starts to bleed my creativity. Fanciful ideas pop into my head - they tell me to try stuff. Go on, try it. What's the worst that'll happen?

On Saturday, I looked back a year and saw me in Cornwall, working with and learning from Tom, setting up events, pitching ideas to Eden and Trebah. I got scared because that's now all done. But today I'm sitting at my desk, dreaming about all the possibilities out there. And I'm looking forward to every one.

Someone who came to our presentation on Saturday asked me how you start one of these sorts of projects - a 26 Treasures, a 26 Flavours of Cornwall...

I smiled, looking back, looking forwards.

'Just try it. What's the worst that'll happen?'

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