As a writer working across forms – drama, fiction, non-fiction; not to mention non-writing work like speaking engagements, facilitation, and other things that occupy some kind of nebulous “creative” space but aren’t clearly defined or definable – as this kind of jack-of-all-trades creative, it’s sometimes really hard to tell people about what I do. I have a Google Doc with a bunch of different bios in it, depending on whether I’m working on a project which is more academic, or creative; to do with facilitation, or journalism, or creative writing. It’s like there are loads of different versions of me, and with each job I have to pull out the specific version I need to be to do that job (incidentally, this is not unlike being autistic – and I strongly believe that my neurodivergences are a part of why and how I like to work like this, hopping from project to project and role to role).
Working like this, as much as I love it, makes it kind of difficult to PR yourself – it’s hard to even tell someone at a party what I do, much less squeeze it into a polished soundbite that sounds good to someone I’m asking for money or attention or coverage. When asked in the CRIPtic PR workshop to think about my own USP, it was almost impossible – it depends on what I’m doing! It changes from project to project. And while I think it’s useful to identify the USP of each project, to be able to concisely explain what the project does (or is trying to do) – I’m also starting to think that actually, maybe that impossibility is entirely what makes me unique. My USP is the fact that I’m not just working on this project, but five others alongside it; it’s the fact that I’m always thinking about everything, all the time, that my train of thought runs on fifteen different tracks simultaneously.
I’m obsessed with form, with pushing and crossing boundaries, and with experimentation, and I think the fact that I work in different forms directly supports that obsession – I choose the forms I choose for projects because they’re the right forms, not because I’m only confident writing prose and I’m scared to try drama. I’m always seeking for the form that makes sense, that clicks with the project, and while I believe I have a long way to go in developing my work in all genres, I’m confident that I can make the right decisions about how to construct and present my work, as well as being able to defend those decisions.
In conversations with literary agents and producers, I’ve sometimes got the sense that they’re put off by my range – they seem to worry that I can’t settle, that I’m restless, that I don’t have staying power. The former is certainly true, but I think that’s an asset – I’m always pushing myself to be better, to try something new, to build on what I’ve already done. And I’m past pretending that only theatre or nonfiction or anything else is my sole passion – every project I work on informs everything else I create, and I’m starting to recognise this for the selling point it is.