Skip to content

Optimism is a weapon.

Help fund ten extra places on our project next year.

"My mentor helped to realise my passion for writing and the creative arts"

Jess went from aspiring writer to prize winner, and feels more confident in tackling the remaining barriers to her dream creative career.

I applied to get a mentor because I didn’t have any connections to the industries I was interested in working in and wanted more guidance in these fields.

At the beginning of the year I set myself a goal of entering the Orwell Youth Prize so that I could challenge myself by writing a fictional piece, an area where I hadn’t had much experience. My mentor helped to realise my passion for writing and the creative arts throughout the year, but I truly realised my own potential when I won the prize and really began to imagine a future in a creative industry.

Even at the writing prize celebration days I felt quite out of place amongst the other young writers, most of whom seemed to be from more privileged schools or backgrounds. I worry that this will be more apparent as I pursue a career in writing. I also know very few people (and no one outside of Arts Emergency) in a creative field that I would like to pursue, which I think makes it more difficult to break into writing or filmmaking.

Also, the lack of funding I have for independent projects (such as making a short film) still makes me feel quite insecure about succeeding in a filmmaking career, for example, which is especially true considering the gender imbalance in the film industry. More locally, the libraries' lack funding makes it more difficult to access material that may help me in my studies or future career ambitions.

I would love to pursue a creative career in writing or filmmaking, something which I never really thought I would be capable of achieving before my year with my mentor

Over the year, I’ve improved my creative writing and public speaking skills – a lot of which came with becoming more confident in my abilities, and I now feel more confident when applying for things and pursuing a creative career. I really loved celebrating my successes with Dan, but I think the most memorable parts of the year were just the conversations that we had where we could brainstorm ideas and chat about the future.

I’m hoping to study English, Film Studies and Creative Writing at St Andrews in September. After this I would love to pursue a creative career in writing or filmmaking, something which I never really thought I would be capable of achieving before my year with my mentor.

To anyone thinking of becoming a mentee with Arts Emergency, I would say: take the opportunity because now is the right time to start setting the foundations for a career that you will love. It will open so many doors to different avenues that you may not have thought about.