Some years ago, a mixed group of writers, artists, craftspeople - myself included - attended a series of business development workshops laid on by - I dimly remember, it was a long time ago - Scottish Enterprise. They were fun days and opportunity to do a little networking with like minded people was very welcome. The problem was that the sessions were aimed at developing creativity. And when we talked about it afterwards over the excellent free lunches, we all agreed that developing creativity was not what we needed. Creativity, we had in spades. What we didn't have, however, was the ability to take our undoubted skills and talents and use them in a commercial setting. The buzz word according to Blogger is 'monetise'. And let's face it, people who work in what have come to be called the 'Creative Industries' have little idea of monetising their own expertise.
Last week, on the advice of a friend, I booked a two hour Professional Development session with the Cultural Enterprise Office in Glasgow. At the end of the afternoon I staggered into a cafe with my head fairly buzzing with ideas and insights. I had been challenged, I had been inspired, and I had been forced to look at my working life from a dozen perspectives that might not have occurred to me.
The session consisted of exactly what was lacking in those earlier workshops - the creativity was taken for granted. Instead, the advisor focussed on where I consider myself to be, where I want to be and how I might get there. She acted as a facilitator. I did most of the talking but she asked difficult questions, challenging my perceptions of what I did and what I might be able to do, offering inspirational suggestions, not about the work itself, so much as about ways of organising my time, ways of getting to where I want to be, ways of 'seeing' who I am and what I do. Most of the time she was prompting me to think differently and it was very exhilarating.
Frankly, the session threw up so many exciting ideas and insights that I'm still thinking about it all. I can't speak too highly of this organisation, or my advisor. It was exactly what I needed. It remains to be seen whether I can act upon the findings over the coming months and years - but I'm certainly going to give it a go.