I was very honoured (and pleased and flattered and surprised) to be asked to speak about creativity at a Krea Kolektiva event last evening. They invite twelve people to speak for five minutes each about creative projects or their work or themselves. You can see the Krea Kolektiva project here and follow them on Facebook here. The evening was really enjoyable, with some fabulously dynamic presentations about new ideas and projects which are underway in Mallorca, and I got to meet and make some new friends, so I am very pleased about that. I would definitely recommend you go to the next one which is planned to be on a bigger scale…. details to follow. Thanks to Matthew and Sally for including me in this fantastic idea, and thanks to Barbara for being a really cool hostess.
Every single one of the presenters, and probably all of the audience as well, would be great subjects for interviews….
So … This is what I planned to say, but to be honest I am a better writer than I am speaker, so it all went a bit tits up. Here’s the text I wrote and then forgot to say. 🙂
It was in early 2006 , a few months after the birth of my daughter that I discovered blogging. These days every man and his cat have a blog, but ten years ago it was still quite a niche. I remember the exquisite excitement of writing and posting my first articles online and then watching the statistics rise as it was read in places as far away from me as could possibly be. How could someone in Australia or South America be even slightly interested in what I had to say about Mallorca or raising my kid? It was the biggest thrill ever! Unexpectedly I had the key to a secret room which up to that point only people who could write HTML had been able to enter. I had my own place where I could publish whatever I wanted to. I did get knockbacks, as I sent my articles to friends that I thought would read them and be nice and encouraging, but instead I received messages back asking me why I was bothering, what was the point of publishing my thoughts online? That stung, but I kept going. One thing slowly lead to another and I started to get some writing jobs to supplement my main work. So by 2007 I was running my successful massage business in Port Andratx as well as well as editing a magazine. Our daughter had just turned two. We had bought our house in s’Arraco and we were mortgaged up to the hilt. I remember going to see an accountant who asked me what my back up plan was, and I remember looking at him thinking, shit, I don’t have a fucking plan. Then a couple of days later I was hit by a car, which put me out of action for two months. My massage business had to close, and then without decent advertising sales the magazine flopped. Then Lehman Brothers, and then the planet went bust. Within the year my husband and I were on the edge of bankruptcy. Our situation was desperate; we had mounting debts and no way to pay them. The stress and anxiety was unbearable. I remember breaking down and crying in front of my daughter and her looking at me so confused, that she started sobbing as well. If there such a thing as a breaking point I think that I reached it that day. But you all probably agree that creativity and inventiveness can be squeezed out of you when you are under a great deal of pressure, and that is what happened to me. So I began to reinvent myself, and Phoenix Media was born. I pitched for PR and writing work and amazingly got clients and newspaper columns! Being inventive, engineering stories and events which feature clients, developing relationships with others, these were all using skills that I had used before in my previous lives back in the UK. And I said YES to everything. Creativity comes from saying yes and taking the risk. For me most of the time, taking the risk was no risk at all as I didn’t have anything to lose. Sometimes saying yes is a stupid thing to do, and I’ve got myself into situations where I can’t do the job. These days I have to turn down work, which is a strange feeling after so long of being in debt. Creativity is intrinsically linked with confidence. The better relationship I have with my client, the deeper and further my imagination can develop. When you are the one expected to come up with the crazy ideas then it can be a bit vulnerable out there, so I have had to learn how to take criticism as well as praise, both of which come with their own challenges. Over the years I have written about so many different subjects, from
I’ve walked the streets of Magaluf and 4am with the Street Angels
I’ve done some good as well, I think. I’ve certainly organised and promoted a tonne of different charity events, and I have my own little project which I like to do.
Pet Project is a regular column in the paper, it aims to help a homeless animal every week in Mallorca, and I am always looking for people who might be able to help me, especially other writers and photographers. You might find yourself photographing some very happy scenes like
Now I am lucky that I have learnt another skill.
Despite my husband being a professional photographer I have never really known one end of a camera from the other, but last year my good friend Diana Hirsch taught me exactly that, and now I can tell my stories through images as well. I like doing portraits
I might soon be able to tell you about another project which is just getting its legs at the moment, but I am going to wait a few days…
I guess the thing that I have mostly created is myself.
And all because of a blog.
I currently write for
- Myself, and my clients
I am regularly published here:
- El Pais online
- The Majorca Daily Bulletin (Mallorca Stories, The Grapevine and Pet Project)
- Euro Weekly News (Family Matters)
- Spain Holiday
And I am always interested in new people and new ideas, and I would rather write about you than tell you about myself. Get in touch. @mcleod_vicki @phoenixmediamlr https://www.facebook.com/PhoenixMediaMallorca https://www.facebook.com/vicki.mcleod phoenixmediamallorca(at)gmail.com