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  • Nik

The obligatory nature of self-justification as a creative

Let me set the scene. You are working your survival job. It's fine, the people are lovely, the job isn't physically taxing and it's relatively drama-free. You are doing long hours just to pay the rent and your creativity feels like its plateauing. You have projects on the go but they are all in their early days. You have sent off applications for the job you have trained for. And now there is the seemingly repetitive conversation with work colleagues, mates you pass on the street, old school friends but even people who are also in the same industry as you.


'Hey, how are you doing? How's all the theatre stuff going?” Now this person is probably genuinely interested. You could reply "yeah it's going well, applied for a few jobs and working on various projects”. Now that's all the conversation needs to be and can be. But for some reason, your actual response is, “yeah it’s going really well, I applied for a directing job, it’s a student show but it is fully paid. I'm working on my own projects too, which are in their early days but the hope is to get arts council funding to get a small scale tour on the go later this year and potentially take it to Edinburgh”.


This is what I do. The latter. Writing this common transcript now doesn't actually seem bad or wrong in any way. However, on reflection, it’s the reason I feel I need to justify what I'm doing with facts that make it seem like there is an issue. I feel like if I don't say it's a paid job or what the plan for the small project is, it makes me feel what I am doing is irrelevant and not worth doing.


I don't think there is any other profession that feels like they have to justify what they do. If you are a plumber, we assume you are doing plumbing work. No one ever asks what plumbing work are you doing at the moment? Maybe they do and I just haven't met enough plumbers to use that as an example. But I think my point still stands.


I'm trying not to moan and I want to clarify this is not an issue I have with other people, it's the problem I have with myself. There is just a feeling of obligatory, self-justification that for me needs to be ironed out within my psyche.


Anyway, I hope you are having a great year so far, full of creativity and joy.


Nik




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