I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with celebrating the things I’ve achieved, especially in my creative work. The world seems like a particularly harsh environment for artists at the moment. Although, if you subscribe to the adversity = great work theory, perhaps you’ll disagree.
Even so, one of the things I’ve been most proud of is launching Fable Gazers, my podcast company.
See? I’ve even made a little progress here, by not referring to it as ‘my dinky little side hustle’. With over 18K downloads and counting, it’s been lovely to imagine the people all over the world who might be listening to our season 1: The Sugar Baby Confessionals, which is the culmination of three years of hard work.
So many people I respect have given such amazing feedback on it, and I really get a kick out of hearing how surprised people by how different it is to their expectations. People expect salaciousness, sure. A sordid exploration of a world full of sexual kinkery.
Well, it’s not NOT about that.
But it’s also full of my naive positivity and general dumb humour. I’m like the vanilla Snow White to Ruby’s big bad, sexy wolf (the wonderful subject of the series). It’s also about the secrets we tell ourselves and those we choose to share, and to whom, and why. It’s got feminism and pyschology, lots of laughs and even a few tears. Journalist and BBC broadcaster Bibi Lynch described it as ‘classy’.
It may be the only podcast you’ll hear that references both John Donne and threesomes in the same episode.
Mostly, however, it’s about modern love and what it means to be faithful. Give it a listen here, or on any podcast player.
If you’d like to help me have the time to work on season 2 (a completely different story about Regency romance queen Georgette Heyer, featuring wonderful guests like Stephen Fry, Joanne Harris, Emma Darwin and Harriet Evans) then please feel free to make a PayPal donation here.
Other things I’m proud of…
It’s harder to give myself credit for my other work: poetry (I came third in the Elmbridge Poetry Prize, which was nice), I wrote two YA novels, I’ve sung backup for some immensely talented people (Laura Frances and Ricky Damiani).
It’s very easy to say, ‘Well, they haven’t been published yet,’ or ‘Yes, but it wasn’t first prize was it?’ or ‘You could have sung better’ or ‘When’s that Scarlet Starlings album coming out anyway?’
Most people constantly battle the demons of negativity trying to tear us down, particularly when you’re working in a world where rejections come thick and fast. You have to develop a thick skin to cope.
But it’s also important not to let those rejections define you (I have to constantly tell myself this) and most importantly, recognise the work you’ve done, the great people who’ve helped you (so many for me, and I’ve thanked them personally).
Here’s a fab picture of me by the incredible writer, broadcaster and photographer Naomi Woddis. She captured a moment (I think) of me just nattering away to her. I’ve always found pics of myself difficult because of body dysmorphia etc. Her bravery in her own work really inspired me to let go and I think you can see it in the photo.
Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful holiday season. And here’s to more being kind to each other (and ourselves) in the future.
See you on the other side…in 2019!!