• Zoe Davis

A Writer's Opportunities

At school I was a writer and found it was the best way to express myself, to get my point across, to write stories and to be creative. Over the years my career paths and life took me on adventures where I lost sight of my writing. However, last August when I took the plunge and committed to train as a Celebrant, it renewed my passion for writing. So when opportunities spring out at me, I try my hardest not to miss out, maybe that is a touch of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) too but also top of my list is another opportunity to tell my story, to inspire others, to share my skills, to improve my skills and to be creative.

Last year I seized that writing opportunity and I felt brave enough to attempt my first article which was for The Celebrant Magazine and it appeared in Issue Six - December 2020 thanks to the lovely publisher and editor of the magazine, Veronika Robinson. Today I have the opportunity to share this article with you and hope it inspire others.

Zoe Davis is a newly certified Celebrant having just finished Wedding and Funeral training with Celebrants Collective. Zoe is a farmer’s wife and a mother of two living in France and getting set to enter the world of Weddings and Funerals in France as Celebrant of Life.

My life as a celebrant is just starting out and I have to say I am so thrilled that I have decided to take the leap of faith changing career path in a year that has seen such a worldwide upheaval in this industry. For me and many others that took this path this year it was a brave and courageous decision to follow our dreams.

Since completing my training with Natasha Johnson and Claire Bradford I have been taking things slowly. Working through how I will operate and show myself to future couples and families. My website has been a labour of love and hard work since September and finally went live this month. There will be tweaks along the way as I settle into my new venture and learn new things, add different things and remove what doesn’t work for me or my business. My business cards are happily en route to myself, this was a tricky task in itself. I wanted to keep things as local as possible yet as cost effective as I possibly could as this year has not been financially stable for many of us. I found a fabulous company, Le Jardin Perdu, the cards are eco-friendly containing seeds, so once you have finished with my business card no throwing in the bin, plant and watch it grow! I have also had the details of this company included in my business card so couples and families may contact Le Jardin Perdu if they wish for cards or stationary for their ceremonies. I find this adds a great way to networking with other small businesses across the country, to build a reputation and to build on word of mouth for my own business.

Living and working in France also throws a huge learning curveball for me. So many rules and regulations are different to those in the UK. For example if you live in France and decide to legally marry this will be carried out at your local Mairie’s office. Fees are dependent on departments and regions. If you do not wish to marry but wish to be recognised as a couple living together you may form something called a PAC’s. This you can do so by going to your Mairie’s office for information and if there is legal binding information to be sorted out this can be done at a Notaire’s and is something I need to learn and understand more about as it appears it isn’t always the same for each couple. Another example of differing rules in France would be for Funerals. Funerals are led in a very different manor to the UK. For example Funerals can take place, depending on the cause of death, within 7 days it is not usually left longer than this. In the UK many have waited weeks before a loved one can be laid to rest.

Then there is paperwork. As I busy myself with ensuring I have correct information to pass onto couples and families I have a need to make sure I have a system that is in place and works for me along with template letters and questionnaires set up and available at the click of a button. And if any of you know France, the French love paperwork so I need to ensure all my French papers are correct for my business. I have also been busy networking with other people in the industry, to have my name recognised, seeking potential venues to visit, getting myself ready to visit funeral directors and explain who I am and what I do. It seems my list is never ending yet at the same time equally exciting.

I am finding new ways of working that I would never have dreamt of 20 years ago. New modern and technically minded ways using apps, writing pens for iPad’s, learning how Zoom really works and how many pretty stationary books with glittery pens I can find!

I first looked into becoming a Celebrant two years ago. I researched a lot, looked at different courses but something just didn’t click then for me. I still continued to follow Natasha Johnson and Terri Shanks on social media and every now and then I would wonder “what would it be like.” It wasn’t until I was leading a coaching session earlier on this year with a client when I literally had this “epiphany” and I knew it was time and the added bonus was that Celebrants Collective would be offering exactly what I was looking for. To be able to create and share in celebrations of life, to write love and life stories about people filled me with lots of tingly exciting goose bumps.

My advice for anyone thinking about becoming a Celebrant is to take your time, research lots and find a course that suits you! The last part is very important as there is so much to learn in the industry and take in.

As I see the year out with one wedding booked in, several venues booked into the diary to visit and I busy myself ensuring my plans and goals are all in place, I would like to take this moment and thank 2020 for all that it has taught me and to wish each and every one of you a very positive and sparkling new year!

Since writing the above article and reading it back to myself today with a fresh set of eyes, it is truly amazing to see the changes that have happened in just a few months and it's funny how time really does make a difference to the challenges we face from day to day.

I then found myself chomping at the bit to get stuck in and seek another opportunity to tell my story and to indulge in my writing. This is when I stumbled across a project run by an amazing photographer, Colin Usher.

Colin Usher had been searching for his own way to tell his stories and that of many others; to help inspire others, to show himself and others how far they had come and where they have travelled, to share happiness and creativeness. Colin created the concept of Somebody Might Waveback which had me intrigued and I quickly realised this was another place I wanted to share my story too. Please take a look at this project and read the many stories that have already been contributed to this great cause and if you feel you would like to contribute with your inspiring story too, please contact the fabulous Colin Usher. To read my story please click on the image below.

To part I leave you with one of my all time favourite and inspiring quotes. Source of quote - unknown.

"In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act "

Images - my own