I was of course creative before kids working as a screenwriter, director and magazine editor…you get the picture. I was born creative, baby.
Hear me out though, those kids took my creativity to another level.
Throughout history (and I’ve found throughout my life so far too), creativity arises and thrives within limitations, be it time, budget, tools/access, they exist and are are actually vital in making creativity happen.
Yes it can be hard to work around kids (for everyone, creative or not), to find the time, the space, the energy (particularly with passion projects) but my children have informed my work (this here blog for a start), they’ve inspired me and made me happier (and probably more ambitious) than I was before they arrived.
My tenacity has sky-rocketed too because along with wanting to provide for them, make them proud and I still desperately need to be me in order to be a good, content mother.
It’s different for everyone, I can only write from my personal perspective and I am lucky to have a family who helps with childcare meaning I can afford pre-school.
It is not the same for everyone and the inequality in the workplace for women is real and limiting.
I have kids, yes but I’m still Vicki, the woman I was pre-kids and I want and need to work, doing what I love. Procreation has made me pushier, more determined because time is short and I’m a dab hand at juggling now and more productive than ever.
And let’s not forget kids or not, everyone is working with restrictions…
I interviewed the great movie producer Gil Adler when I screened a film of mine in LA a few years back) and he agreed that whatever the budget you get, you never have enough, everyone wants more from you.. and he produced Superman Returns 2 and Valkyrie amongst others…
Whether it’s big or small budget projects, people always want more than the budget allows-bigger effects, higher production values, the most prominent actors…you are literally pushing everything and everyone to achieve the greatest final product you can in spite of all the constraints and adversities.
It’s probably that passion that makes something great in the end I think.
Of course my freelance filmmaking career was useful training for when kids arrived. Because time and energy is often (OK always) zapped (and a lot of budget too) but that means the windows (large or small) I have, are used more wisely, I have no choice but to get down and focus.
It makes absolute sense too as whenever I have tonnes of time ahead of me to create, I don’t.
I procrastinate, I fidget, I do everything I can, not to stare at the blank page and write. I need pressure and deadlines to thrive and you do too, probably. Even if those deadlines are self-imposed like I gave myself to write this post.
This blog was in fact born from me needing to rediscover my voice ten months after a traumatic birth with my first son Oliver in 2010. It got me writing again. After leading teams of 100 plus on set and writing for a living, desperate to regain a part of me, to get creative again and it did just that.
It gave me back my voice. Like all my writing work, I was writing what I know, my experiences as they happen to connect with others…similar to TV and film projects I penned before the blogs. They became thriving businesses to boot. They gave me another career.
More so, it opened me up to thinking I am more than a screenwriter and director (as much as I love those parts of me) but importantly they don’t have to define me.
The blog has given me the confidence to do on-camera work, to model over on my style blog, to work in advertising as my own boss…and blogging has done exactly the same for so many other brilliant women out there whether they worked in the creative industries before kids or not.
It’s helped us hone our creativity, our technical abilities, to become greater negotiators and business owners. Kids have inspired our blogs and thus our creativity.
We put ourselves in boxes don’t we, all of us do, often letting them define us ( I know I used to) but ticking the ‘mother’ box has freed, rather than contained, me.
I see that now, two kids down.
I didn’t think that would be the case, when I first became pregnant, I worried when people questioned whether I would still work, still feel creative, be ambitious (what a sexist society we live in to even question that)…
…I used to work 15 hour days on set when directing so living on little sleep now, is not going to stop me writing, blogging, doing what drives and stimulates me.
Some days I feel like I’m failing at everything, other days (and they’re getting more frequent) I high-five myself for keeping my dreams in check while bringing home the real cheques- only possible thanks to childcare, and ensuring those monkeys are happy, because having babies doesn’t mean you can’t still be you…in fact it might just help you find a new you and what’s not to love about that?!
Have your kids made you more creative?