I’m Maddie, I’m 23, and I’m the owner of Harness Creation.
I’ve been creating content online for a long time – since I was just 12 years old. Writing fanfiction, before I even knew what online fandom was. I wrote all throughout high school, and even had people following my writing.
After I graduated, I decided I wanted to get a degree in History and Archaeology – a byproduct of my obsession with Percy Jackson. Yes, I know. I really thought that was a good idea. But I didn’t know what to do with my life, and I had always excelled academically, so it made sense to get tertiary education. And, well, I’d particularly excelled in history in my senior years, so it seemed like a great idea.
But university wasn’t exactly what I’d imagined it to be. Truthfully, I was one foot in, one foot out, because what I really wanted to do was write professionally. Publish a book. But I was always told there’s no real career in writing (and, yes, I do now see the irony in spurning the little money in writing for the even worse money in history/archaeology).
Eventually, I realised I was on the wrong path. That little gem came after my mental health took a dive and I failed all four archaeology subjects in one semester; the worst I’d ever performed academically. I’d never failed a subject before, let alone four.
So I did what I should have done between school and uni, and took a gap year.
I worked hard for the first six months, working two jobs to save up as much money as I could, as quickly as possible.
And then I bought a one way ticket to Europe. I travelled all over, by myself. Saw the Italian countryside, skyscrapers in London, the Sahara Desert (where I got terrible food poisoning and still got on a plane from Morocco to Greece, even though I was as sick as I’ve ever been), spent my 21st birthday on glaciers in Iceland, and I even hiked to Everest Base Camp.
I felt like it was all paying off – I understood the world and my place in it a little better (not to be a cliche), and I even had a new appreciation for study. Remembered how much I love to learn, and even how much I love history. Archaeology was out, and I was going to replace it with international relations.
And I’d even started writing my first full length novel while I was away. I could do both, I reasoned. Finish my degree, because I was so close anyway, and finish my book.
Of course, when life gives you lemonade, it then quickly follows with lemons. Or however that saying goes. The best year of my life was followed by the worst – I came home to the news that my mum had just been diagnosed with stage 3, grade 3, triple negative breast cancer.
If you know anything about breast cancer, you’ll know that that’s not great. Not stage 4, not yet, but she wasn’t given very good odds.
I lived at home, with my family, and went back to work in a cafeteria and reenrolled in uni (history and international relations), all the while watching mum get worse every day.
And I struggled through. No more writing. For the first time in almost ten years, I wasn’t writing.
But, don’t worry, this story doesn’t end badly. Mum had a great medical team, because of the unique nature of her cancer – a genetic gene mutation, of course. Because why not just throw that in there? I got tested for it too, and I also have the BRCA1 mutation. 80% lifetime chance of breast cancer.
I like to look on the bright side, though. Because we live in Australia, mum was given access to the best oncologists and surgeons in Brisbane, and I also have access to that same team.
It’s much easier to look on the bright side because mum lived. We’re not out of the woods, but we’re as far away from danger as we’ll ever be. There’s more tragedy of course, because my brother got sick shortly after, but he’s alive, too.
And I was still pushing through with uni.
It was around this time that I started writing again. And this is where it starts to get interesting, because I expanded the type of content I was creating.
I started to post videos on YouTube: reviews of movies and TV shows. I still do it, even though only about three people watch. But I loved it – love it – and I always want to make them better.
If you’ve actually read this far, you’ll know that there’s a bit of chaos in my house at this time. Recovering mum, sick brother, and a worldwide pandemic had us all cooped inside together.
No privacy at home to record, but, well, I needed that privacy. Desperately. I couldn’t create without it.
And there was nowhere in Brisbane to hire a small studio by the hour. I couldn’t even find a studio to actually rent.
My friend and I then started a podcast, too.
Luckily, there was a space where we could do that. But eventually that stopped being an option, too.
I was juggling multiple creative outlets, with nowhere to do them, and that’s how Harness Creation was born. This place is for people like me, who want to create content. Professionally, but also for fun. I wanted to keep prices low, so that everyone who wants to come, can.
I hope you enjoy my studio, which has come to life because of the sheer joy of creation.
(Oh, and by the way – I graduated uni, too.)