My Diversions Experience

Written by Milli-Rose Rubin

 

Throughout my life, I have always written in many ways, kept diaries and written articles for
my own purpose. I have never felt the need to put my writing out for people to see.

Firstly, I was unaware that the arts could be a sustainable career, and therefore, had always just enjoyed writing purely as therapy and enjoyment. It has always been something that I have
done in a time where the circumstances have been challenging, or a time when I wanted to
document my feelings, but only recently, entering the early years of adulthood, I have
thought about taking my writing a little more seriously.

Discovering Wired4Music
At the beginning of Lockdown, I wanted to make sure that while I was a music student in a
pandemic, I had a creative outlet that would be moving towards something that would not
just be contained to my four walls. I wanted to find a platform that would support the early
stages of creativity and even though I had been writing for my own use for a long time, I was
a little unsure on where I could start, in order to move this to the next level. I came across
Wired4Music and was surprised that a charity based organisation, not only had so much to
offer in terms of opportunity, but had endless external opportunities on offer. I started to think
about writing in a far more serious and productive way. Instead of writing my feelings and
personal stories, I started to think about new, current ideas that would be fit for publication.
On the Wired4Music website, I saw that there were opportunities for paid commissions on
offer. While we have all had more time during the current climate, to evaluate what we want
and adjust to a new routine, I took the chance to write about my mental health throughout
lockdown, and how music helped me. Getting a publication on the Wired4Music website and
the Youth Music website too, helped me build up confidence to see what else I can do to
challenge myself on this new path of writing, for an audience to read.

Another day in Lockdown and the Wired4Music December newsletter was out. I came
across this opportunity to be one of 8 participants/mentees on the diversions program, under
the Roadworks organisation. This intrigued me as there were multiple options to apply as a
potential musician, mentee or a writer. Although I am a music student at Goldsmiths
University, and value my love for music, singing specifically, I felt the need to extend my
ability further in the writing sector. I was surprised to see that I had landed a place on the
programme, and from that point onwards, my confidence in my writing has grown immensely.

The Diversions Programme
January 2021. The start of the new year, and I definitely was not thinking about new year’s
resolutions. The pandemic is far more about staying afloat and taking each day as it comes.
I was excited but apprehensive about the programme, unsure about what it would really
entail. I was battling about how vulnerable I should be with my writing, but ultimately I
decided to let that barrier down, which gave me far more long lasting results by doing this.
Ciaran Thaper was my mentor, who will be releasing his book later on in the year. This felt
like a step in the right direction already, in the care of a writer.

We started off by talking about the kind of content that I write and how often I write.
Establishing the daily ritual, when I write, how I write and what I write about, definitely got me
thinking of ways that I could frame my days around my writing, in order to produce my best
results. The mentoring sessions were every Monday and having that structure, enabled me
to constructively work towards something each week. Now that I had an audience member,
listening to my writing, I started to take myself a little more seriously. Taking part in the
Diversions programme meant that I had the opportunity to spend a micro grant of £250 and
a larger grant of £1000 on something that would support my creativity in any way that I like.
These mentoring sessions enabled me to learn about what kind of writer I am and to think
deeper about what type of content I would like to produce, as well as exploring different
ways to approach the writing process.

I decided to spend the first grant on two Writing courses taking place at CityLit University, but
delivered remotely. One was a Memoir writing course and the other will be a NonFiction
writing course starting this April. I then decided to spend the larger grant on a Macbook air,
and where I did not have my own laptop prior to this, it has been amazing to file all my
writing in an organised way, with a laptop of my own.

Mentoring
The mentoring sessions also provided the space and tools for me to learn how to pitch to
professional editors. I had never thought about constructing a pitch and it soon became a
reality when I sent a pitch to gal-dem, a piece that explores my relationship with a recently
given piano during the pandemic. This definitely got me thinking about future pitches that I
can construct myself, using the one that i wrote to gal-dem, with Ciaran, for reference.
The weekly mentoring sessions continued, and we also had regular group sessions with the
other people getting mentored on the programme. It was great to see how everybody else
was also benefiting from the programme and extending their ability with their creative
practice.

Overall, this programme has been an amazing opportunity for me to better my writing quality,
and consider new ways of writing. I find myself structuring the days around my writing, and
carefully thinking about what places encourage the best content. This programme has
facilitated a space for me to grow on a personal and creative level, and i now feel confident
in pitching my ideas, with the help from Ciaran. I feel like I have a substantial group of
people with the programme that will continuously support the future progress. With the help
from Spiral (Naomi Thaper), an organisation that will guide me if I want some advice about
careers or additional support, and the rest of the Diversions team, I am excited to see what
the next chapter will consist of.

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