For many of us, getting home from a long day’s work and settling into a burning passion project is verging on unthinkable. Who has the energy or headspace for that? Well, as a matter of fact, we know a few. PLATF9RM is full of creative souls whose passion and drive helps them juggle successful careers and side projects. We asked some of them to let us into the secrets of how, when and why they switch off business mode and slip into their creative space.
Benji Lamb – Pavilion
“By day I work for a Chinese digital marketing and e-commerce agency called GMA China, but on the side I’m part of a shameless indie pop band called Pavilion. We’re really excited to have recently launched our debut single, Between Days.
PLATF9RM is my main physical space for both my career and my passion project. It’s a creative space full of creative people, so it’s easy to switch between business and creative brains during a free hour in the day. Sometimes I find it helps to simply move seats when I’m changing my focus. I also use different browsers: Safari for business, Chrome for creative. That helps me to stay on track with what I’m doing.
Juggling work and creative projects is always a challenge, but ultimately I think they both have to be a labour of love to succeed. If you’re interested enough in both, switching between isn’t too much of a chore.
I can’t say I ever really relax into being creative – in fact, being creative is the opposite of relaxing! I care too much about my music, and like any creative, I’m anxious about how it’ll be perceived. There’s also the pressure to use our time well when we’re paying for a day in the studio.
Ultimately, I think you just have to be sincere and someone, somewhere will respond. We all feel like we're screaming into the void, right?”
Becky Rui - Photographer
“I’m a personal branding photographer, but my personal projects are generally also photography based and inspired by my love of documenting things. I’m fascinated by how other people experience life! I want to share people’s stories to help them feel heard, be seen, and for everyone to feel less alone. I’m currently exploring our relationship with body hair as women.
When I’m not away on shoots I usually work on my business from PLATF9RM, because it’s where I feel most focussed, calm and business-minded. I usually edit my personal work at home or in cafes. For my personal projects I prefer not to have an outcome in my mind, allowing creativity to fully lead in the moment instead.
It can sometimes feel like there isn’t enough time to juggle everything, but I find it helps to schedule sessions in my diary for personal work and prioritise that – although if I’m not in the mood, that’s okay. It doesn’t feel right for me to be ‘making’ all the time.
I feel it’s important to allow our creative process to be what it wants to be, and be aware of how different environments, music and company can make a difference to how we feel. Space, people and sounds can all inspire us and support our flow.”
Toni Finnimore – the Social Society
“I work with charities as a consultant, I coach women in business, I support vulnerable children going through the court system, I'm an advocate for the elderly… but my passion project is the Social Society, the UK's first social club for social good. We’re moving super fast and supporting some amazing local charities.
My workspaces vary hugely, from care homes to court rooms, but my creative space is PLATF9RM. I find I can get so much work done at Hove Town Hall. It's light and airy, friendly, the coffee is delish and I get to chit chat with lots of amazing creatives. Above all, I love its consistency.
Juggling work and the Social Society means 6am coffee shop starts, followed by lots of project work and travel followed by lots of evenings and weekends. Having said this, I love every minute. I find inspiration on seafront strolls, from social society members and my whacky friends – but most often when dancing around my flat at night with headphones on!
I find that when I'm getting creative and stuck into something I love I simply feel better. I feel excited, ideas flow and I bounce up and down with excitement about the possibilities.”
Sofaya Hussein – Headblush Glitta
“While I don’t have a side project as such, there are two very different sides to running Headblush Glitta. It’s fun at the forefront, and business at the back! I run a Glitter Bar for public and private events and make products for personal use, as well as doing all of the back-office work, from graphic design and social media to book keeping and general admin.
As you can imagine, my physical workspaces differ all the time! My admin workspace is PLATF9RM, a place where I can get my head down with my laptop and focus on the back office bits. My creative space is at home. I have a desk for playing with and applying my own makeup, where I make content for the makeup side of Headblush, and another desk for making, creating, packaging and photographing products for Headblush Glitta. The Glitter Bar is mobile, so I put my creative hat on with bold makeup and an outfit full of sequins and take the creativity with me to wherever the Glitter Bar is going that evening.
How do I get into a creative headspace? Well, after a day of admin-based work, I'm often itching to get some creativity in! A good cup of tea, a well chosen playlist and a scour for inspo on Instagram and Pinterest usually sets me up to create a bold makeup look or product shot. I find a lot of my inspiration from makeup artists, drag queens, influencers and fashonistas on Instagram and Pinterest, as well as all of the amazing, interesting people I see in Brighton and Hove on a daily basis. I love colour, so all I need is to see an interesting colour combo and my mind starts whirring!”
Lana Burgess – Digital Solace
“By day I'm a freelance writer & content strategist, and for the last four years my creative side project has been organising inclusive events for Brighton Digital Women and commissioning and editing articles for our blog. I've gained masses from growing this community and am so delighted with all the positive feedback we've had from women who have managed to advance their careers through our events. However, after an amazing journey, I recently came to the difficult decision to step away from my role with Brighton Digital Women to make room for a brand new creative project.
Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2012, I’ve been using creative journalling as a way to manage my mood. I have kept diaries since I was nine. But since my diagnosis, I've started to use journalling as a more creative and therapeutic outlet. I write most days either first thing in the morning, during the day when the mood strikes me when working from home, or in the evening if I've been at PLATF9RM.
My writing takes whatever form I need it to that day. Sometimes I write as if I were my best friend counselling myself. Sometimes as if writing a letter. Sometimes my writing is just a stream of consciousness. Sometimes it comes out as poetry. When I hit upon a topic or theme that I want to explore further, I write a post about it on my blog, Digital Solace.
A hot bath with lots of bubbles, candles, and ambient music normally helps me relax into a creative space after a long day’s work. Or if I have anxious energy to release, then a good dance around the living room to something visceral like Venetian Snares is good. My creative space involves candles. I like to journal at home with scented candles lit, main lights off, ambient music on. Your creative space is about recreating a feeling. I find once you've felt being utterly lost in flow, you know what space you need to be in to reconnect to the neural pathways that got you there.”
Launching a creative side project can feel daunting, but there are so many ways to make it work around your career. The Corcovado Project is an amazing organisation providing spaces for people to connect and create in nature, away from the pressures of everyday. This month they’re running a day long workshop which will see us learning and making both indoors and out, and exploring how to make the best of digital and analogue in nature. The fun will start at 10am, and we’ll wrap up with a hearty veggie bowl food dinner. Day tickets are limited to 40, but an additional 60 tickets are available for the evening. See you there!