I sometimes use my blog to rant or share too much, and it makes me feel better. I hope this one will make me feel very perky by the time I’ve written it. And that it won’t make you too emotional.
Bad news comes in threes, I guess, and we all have to roll with the punches at this very moment. So yesterday there were two announcements which feel unfair/Grrrrr making to me at the moment.
First Sigh: the Chancellor announces some much needed help for Self Employed – that’s me – for 13 years I have balanced PAYE work like teaching at Mountview or University of West of Scotland with Fee based work to make a balanced portfolio which just enabled me to survive. It’s my choice of work/life/tax balance, as it is for so many of my freelance friends. £3 sale on a book here, £30 on a coaching session there, £300 maybe for a small consultancy, and £3000 very rarely as a grant to undertake some long-form work. But the three’s add up and are supported with some steady (or not so steady) gigs in teaching. Read the small print of the announcement yesterday and me and my clan of portfolio balancers are excluded – because we’re too complicated. Because we balance PAYE and fee income. (Forgetting maybe that there is now no PAYE income for us, and fees have dried up) So I have to rely on what’s left in the bank and savings and get on hold to a call centre I guess. Sigh
Second Sigh: An hour later the Arts Council cuts all its Grant for the Arts funding in one email. I was 5 days away from hearing whether a grant was coming through which would have given me 3-4 months of work which I could do in splendid isolation. It was also a fund which would have given small fees to around 48 writers, directors and actors in delivering 12 plays for future attention. I’d even worked out an easy way the project could all have been done in isolation if needed, and still delivered the desired engagement outcomes. But no. The funds have been stopped with one turn of the tap. Instead I can apply on Monday for some salvation grant to replace the grant which they didn’t give me, if I want to go through the whole process all over again. Sigh – give up.
Third Sigh: Just a long held one which I won’t go into any details about, but a project I’ve been working on for three years was scuppered recently (non virus related) and that could have given me a long-term purpose/££ to balance my freelance income. Now with the virus it is unlikely to re resurrected and no-one wants to talk about the decision or the project. Sigh – forget it, get over it, move on.
So I am the lucky one. I have to dig deep down the back of the sofa to see whether there is anything in reserve. I do have a sofa and I do have a roof over my head. If I use all my life’s savings I can last a year and then that’s it. I have no pension pot, so that was meant as my emergency fund. Well this is one I guess.
I am very lucky. Many of my portfolio freelancers (PAYE and Fee balance) have nothing in reserve and nothing down the back of the sofa. They are the ones I am writing this for. I need to shout out and see how best to help them and push with others for a re-think if at all possible. I’m shouting out for all the dozens of small companies and individuals who had projects lined up which would have employed people, but have just been turned off last night by the Arts Council. There must be a better way. Although I honour all the Treasury and Arts Council staff who must be working every hour the gods gave to come to decisions which have to be made.
Now I have to dig deep inside, breathe, and re-invent myself afresh. I have to find ways over the next few months of being Grady in the cloud. I have to re-look at the assets I have, like my two books, and see how I could get them to make money in the future. I have to be the inventor that I am and find new ways to be necessary, and I have to stay strong and healthy (well not yoga, running healthy) to face yet more madness which may come our way.
Thank you, dear reader, for going through my sighs and watching them turn deeper, into breathes which will refresh me and help me find a way forward. I am lucky to have you there to read this, and to be a support. Now. Get on with it Grady – find a fun image to go with this blog.