After Brighton Digital Women: The next step in my creative journey

In August 2015, I saw my friend Nicole retweet lone in-house digital marketer and fellow Brightonian, Rachel Finch.

Rachel was seeking women in digital who, like her, felt that SEO meetups were sometimes a bit of a sausage fest. She was keen to start her own women-led digital marketing meetup and wondered who might be up for helping her. My interest was immediately sparked.

Finding a tribe

A week later, I was in a pub with Rachel, Allegra Chapman, and Alice Still. We instantly bonded and acknowledged the potential to build something rad. Over the weeks and months that followed, we created a brand, launched a website, and started hosting regular monthly meetups.

The last four years has been a hugely enriching journey. Our inclusive, diversity-focused events have gone from strength to strength. We’ve given many women (and men) in Brighton a platform to gain public speaking experience, have writing published, make connections, and share opportunities.

Women that attended our meetups from the early days have gone on to launch hugely successful projects.

Pippa Moyle announced her plans for Brighton Girl at one of our early meetups and we’ve been blown away by the enormous impact her work has had, not just in this city, but globally. That girl is on fire!

Alice Reeves has launched an agency, The Joyful Web, and BelongCon — a series of moving, inspiring, and connecting events which we bloody love.

Many women have landed new roles through the connections they have made with us. Or have managed to work through issues that were holding them back in existing roles with our support.

I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to go freelance off the back of all the amazing relationships I’ve forged through Brighton Digital Women events over the last four years.

I’ve loved every minute.
Sussex Digital Awards Winner

But my heart now tells me it is time to make space for something new

After an amazing journey, I recently made the difficult decision to step away from my role with Brighton Digital Women. This move will allow me to take my freelance work to the next level and to revive a creative project that I’ve been sadly neglecting.

Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2012, I use creative journaling as a way to manage my mood. I have kept diaries since I was nine. But since my diagnosis, I’ve started to use journaling as a more creative and therapeutic outlet.

I write most days, either first thing in the morning, during the day when the mood strikes me when working from home, or in the evening if I’ve been at Platf9rm.

My writing takes whatever form I need it to that day. Sometimes I write as if I were my best friend counselling myself. Other times I write as if writing a letter. On occasion, my writing is just a stream of consciousness. Or it comes out as poetry.

When I hit upon a topic or theme that I want to explore further, I write a post about it on my blog, Digital Solace. I have found it hard to find time to do this on top of my freelance work for my clients and my voluntary work for Brighton Digital Women.

Digital Solace has been rather neglected while I focused on Brighton Digital Women but I’m excited now to have time to publish more creative work.

Brighton Digital Women Lana Burgess Talking

Creative writing for hope, joy and connection

Here’s my latest poem, Pathways, which I published recently on Digital Solace. It’s about an intoxicating rising feeling of hope, contentment, and connection.

I wrote it during the day on a Saturday that I went out dancing to Sonic Switch in the Green Door Store to celebrate my birthday. I met someone truly beautiful on the dance floor that night.

It feels a bit like the poem allowed me to release something and open my heart to the potential of connection. I wasn’t going to publish it. Publishing poetry feels utterly cringeworthy and makes me squirm.

But, I decided, actually, putting perfectly imperfect thoughts and expressions out into the universe is something we should all do more of. So, fuck it, it’s live.

Thank you all for your amazing support and love throughout my journey with Brighton Digital Women. I hope you’ll all be here cheering me on in my new chapter.

Brighton Digital Women will continue to blossom in the safe and nurturing hands of founders Rachel Finch and Allegra Chapman. I’m excited to come to future events as an attendee! I know I’ll continue to absorb the amazing energy that flows when we all meet.

Love to you all,

Lana.


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