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  • Writer's pictureDan Simpson


People writing on the wall
Planning our dream days in 2027

A couple of weeks ago I sat down with the poets from the project to think and talk about our careers. In my experience - of my own practice and in talking to other artists - it can be hard to find time to step back from the day-to-day and look to the longer term. The hustle of creativity - and, perhaps, capitalism - means we can get narrowly focused into the now and the just-in-front-of us, working from poem to poem and project to project.

Key questions might be: what kind of artist do I want to be in five years time, and what kind of work do I want to make? And more broadly: what might my life look like? These goals require more planning and charted navigation, instead of riding the rapids of gigs, emails, and social media output. We can make maps to help us get where we want to go, filling out the details with others’ experience, our own instincts, and some realistic best-guesswork. It’s a very human endeavour to dream and scheme.

Reflection post it notes pinned up on the wall
And what will the landscape be like in 5-10 years?

It was a practical, reflective, and nourishing day - not least because bringing diverse artists from various backgrounds and with different ambitions to learn from each other is a beautiful challenge to a solo practice. Poetry can be a pretty solitary endeavour - so being in community with peers, and sharing the wisdom of the group, was invaluable.

Mentoring and professional development is a key part of the project for me - I have benefitted hugely from it in my own 10-odd year poetry career - and it seems harder to come by in our industry. Plenty of writing workshops, not as much support for the ‘being our own agents / business managers’ side of being a poet.

It’s something I feel called to offer to anyone wanting to build a career in or integrate creativity into their lives, not least through my coaching practice. I find that the more I support someone in their own work, the more I discover my own path - and can share that back. A wonderfully reciprocal cycle!

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