#writerswednesday: A Pinch of Truth

Cheers my dears,

it’s been a while… Nearly three months – let that sink in, 3 months – since I published my second book Live Loud & Suffer in Silence and that was also the last time I posted on here and showed new plants on the balcony.

Especially in times like these I consider it important to share a pinch of truth here.

Did I plan to take a pause after publishing? Heck no! My plan was to produce IGTVs and videos and content to market the book, to share more of it with you, to dive fully into advertising it and to show you the deeper meaning and aim of this book project. Also, I wanted to start writing the German version asap.

But here’s the truth: I underestimated the amount of energy it took from me to write this book. I always said it wasn’t a walk in the park writing it – and by the way: reading it isn’t either – but I definitely underestimated the amount of time I’d need to recharge my batteries. It took a lot, if not all of me, as I do structure my stories analytically, yes, but I write them from a place where I AM every character I write. Can you imagine? I feel every emotion they feel, I walk every step they walk, I do not watch them break down, I break down with them. And that to me is an authentic way of writing. But it is also draining. Like a lot!

Could I have pushed more, forced myself to produce more content and market it well? Probably yes. But where would I be now then? Another truth: These times with the pandemic going on affected many of us. Freelancers as much, if not a bit more, as small businesses, big companies and entrepreneurs. And as you might already know from my #freelancefriday posts, yes, I am a freelancer, too. So besides being drained from my book project (which doesn’t generate a bunch of money and provides me with financial prosperity – which isn’t its aim anyway as my aim is to generate money to donate it) also some projects I acquired beforehand were stopped or cancelled due to the uncertainty the pandemic confronted us with. Trying to acquire new projects in unstable times like these is a challenge of its own, as you might be able to imagine. And guess what, that is draining, too.

And as I aim for more realness and transparency on the internet, I thought it’d be the right step to share this pinch of truth with you. It’s not easy “being real” in this superficial world of hearts and likes and “wows”, but you know, I can’t write a book called Live Loud & Suffer in Silence, which is a cynical comment as my characters suffer quite loud in these stories and then pretend everything is perfectly polished fine. Because reality looks different than a post-processed picture from one of my shoots, different from the well placed items I position for twenty minutes and I take 30 shots of until I decide which one to post. And it does take a leap of faith to show your face without make-up in an IGTV these days, to sit down not looking, feeling or being your best and taking this realness to proceed in times where people go to plastic surgeons to look more like their filtered version. (small film recommendation: The Social Dilemma; available on the big streaming platform with x at the end)

But I think it’s necessary to break this cycle to move forward and although I don’t have many followers, I want to use all my platforms to talk about these things as well.

I’d like you to know that I’m grateful for your support, by purchasing the book, reading it, taking your time to send me feedback. That shows me that all the sleepless nights and every ounce of energy I invested in this project was so worth it. Because it gave something to someone. And that’s what I’m writing for.

Please stay a little more patient with me. Right now I’m regaining a fresh creative vibe and I aim to get back to frequent blog posting and to prepare a virtual book reading for you, so please stay tuned on my YouTube channel, too. I hope you find something in my work that gives you something.

More to come, my dears. 

So long

 

xxx

#freelancefriday: 3 Quick Home Office Tipps

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#freelancefriday: Quick Home Office Tipps

Cheers my dears,

weekend is near and maybe you’re looking forward to it, as you’re having a rough and tough week behind you.
Enjoy it!

During these turbulent times many people have been transferred from their regular work space into home office and for many that wasn’t as easy peasy and yeah! as it might sound.
Kudos and respect to everyone, who has a whole family including children (that don’t go to kindergarten or school right now) around them and still manages to get home office done!
Frankly, I have no effing idea how you do it, but if you have tipps and tricks and advice to share, please leave them in the comments, I bet your way of dealing with this struggle and still staying sane might be beneficial for some readers here.

I heard from friends that the first three to four day up to a week were troublesome for them, so the first days they basically only worked half days as the rest was used to figure out to combine private and professional life in one and the same environment.
And I do understand that it’s a tricky thing, especially if you’re someone craving and now really missing that 9 to 5 structure.
To be honest, I’m not one of them, but I do understand that you struggle.

So, I have some tipps I’d like to share with you, especially if you really miss your daily 9 to 5.
Some I read, some I heard from friends, some are based on my own experience and common sense.
To be fair, I haven’t perfected or perfectly optimised my home office work schedule in detail, although most of my work is done from home, except for courses and workshops. But we are all students of life and we’re all learning and will keep on doing so. So why not learn and grow together?
It’s more fun, I guess.

Well, here we go:

#1 SPACE
If anyhow possible, try to establish a designated work space!
In case you don’t already have a home office or a working space including desktop and office chair, etc., that is.
Don’t work from bed or sofa. Preferably use the kitchen table or if you have a dining room with a table, use that one.
I mean, in your office you would work in an upright seated position, I assume, so try to rebuild that at home.
Also, try to keep it clean from distractions. So, don’t have your grocery shopping list and the book you read as pastime next to your work calendar and your laptop.
Use the rooms and spaces you have by their names. And only repurpose one of them, not all of them.
You’d like to keep private private and only have one professional space.

#2 TIME SCHEDULE
Version A
If you’re a defender of the creed “If you never go to work, you never leave work” (which to my mind holds some truth and demands absolute discipline if you don’t want to end up checking and answering your mails at 10 p.m.), you might want to create a schedule.
Again, this won’t be easy, as your spouse might ask you in between wether you need something from the grocery store or you yourself might feel the urge to “just go quickly”, which would not happen in your professional habitat.
So, if you’re someone, who absolutely needs this structure of going to work, working, break, working, going home, how about trying this:
Get up in the morning and get ready as if you were to leave for work. Take your self-made coffee to go, put a jacket on and take a walk around the block. 20 minutes or more or less and pretend it’s your commute to work. Tune yourself into work mode, order your tasks for the day, etc.
When you come home, go directly to the space you created for work, or if that is your usual way, go to the kitchen first and grab a cuppa and then go. Then try to work exactly the time as you normally would and take your break at the time you normally would.
If you normally spend your break outside, go outside. If you normally write your shopping list during your break, do that.
Try to do the same things as usual. And finish work when you normally would.
Then take a walk again and make it your commute from work to home. That way you might be able to trick your brain into separating private from professional environment, although technically it’s the same space.
Oh, and shut the laptop before you leave and put it aside or into your laptop bag! No re-opening, no working after you come back home!!

Version B
If you’re someone who doesn’t need these strict schedules, but who even enjoys getting up at 5 a.m., working for an hour, taking a break for a workout, meditation or yoga or something, then go back to work, breakfast, etc., so if you’re able to scatter your working hours throughout the day, I still recommend having a designated work space and to definitely have a time when to stop work.
And I also recommend to set that in your brain early enough.
For instance, I personally don’t start my day off by saying “I’m gonna end work at five today” or something like that, but I have my tasks for the day that I need/want to achieve* and during work I get a feeling of how long it’s gonna take me. In the early afternoon I normally get a feeling for it and then I tell myself “Okay, today it’s gonna be six”, I hope you get the idea. As said, I myself am working on that.

* concerning to-do lists and time and task management, I already wrote a blogpost about it and on my balcony I have an IGTV about how I work with to-do lists and calendars

#3 WEEKEND IS WEEKEND
I know, this goes together with space and time, but really, on a Friday, put your work stuff aside and use the weekend for pastimes, zoom calls with friends, walks, running errands, like you normally would.
That’s one of the biggest lessons I learned, especially during this time, but that’s a longer story. I myself take this time right now to really make up my mind concerning working hours, structure, task & time management and how to have some me-time and something like a true weekend. (something like, because mostly, I use my free time for creative projects, haha)
And I can only invite you to learn this lesson with me.

So, these were just some quick tipps.
Of course there is more to it and everything depends on your situation, like do you live alone or do you have a roomie or spouse living with you, do you have children, in which branch do you work etc. and I’m well aware of that.
I couldn’t cover it all here, but please feel free to share your insights, opinions and questions in the comment section below.

My offer to you
If you struggle with getting organised or to make some time for yourself or anything like that, please feel free to contact me.
I’d like to help and if my experience and my mind can be of any service, I offer this to you right now.
These times aren’t easy, so let’s help each other out.

Just contact me and we can schedule a 30 minute zoom or Skype and we can see if and how I can help you.

How do you cope with home office?
Let me know in the comments below.

I hope you found something useful in this post.

So long, my dears

xx

#freelancefriday: 3 Schnelle Tipps fürs Home-Office

Read in English

#freelancefriday: Schnelle Home Office Tipps

Hey meine Lieben,

das Wochenende naht und vielleicht freut ihr euch schon drauf, weil ihr eine lange und anstrengende Woche hinter euch habt.
Genießt es!

In turbulenten Zeiten wie diesen sind viele von ihrem normalen Arbeitsplatz ins Home Office gewandert (worden) und für viele war es nicht so einfach und cool, wie es vielleicht klingen mag.
Hut ab und Respekt für jeden, der eine ganze Familie inklusive Kinder (die momentan weder Kindergarten noch Schule besuchen können) um sich hat und dennoch irgendwie das Home Office rockt!
Ohne Sch..erz, ich hab absolut keine Ahnung, wie ihr das schafft, aber falls ihr Tipps und Tricks und Ratschläge habt, wie man da durchkommt ohne den Verstand zu verlieren, teilt sie gern hier in den Kommentaren. Ich wette, das könnte einigen Lesern hier echt helfen.

Ich hab von Freunden gehört, dass die ersten drei bis fünf Tage aus dem Alltagsrhythmus raus und rein ins Arbeiten von Daheim die schwierigsten waren. Also haben sie die ersten Tage quasi nur halbtags gearbeitet, weil die andere Hälfte dafür draufging, herauszufinden, wie zum Henker man Privatleben und Berufsleben splittet und vereint, während man in ein und demselben Umfeld ist.
Und ich verstehe, dass das echt knifflig sein kann, besonders, wenn ihr zu denen gehört, die den normalen 8-Stunden-Arbeitstag brauchen und nun vermissen.
Um ehrlich zu sein, ich gehöre nicht dazu, aber ich verstehe, dass es euch verrückt macht und umtreibt.

Also habe ich mal ein paar Tipps zusammengeschrieben, die ich gern mit euch teilen möchte, besonders wenn ihr den durchgeregelten Arbeitsalltag vermisst.
Manche davon habe ich gelesen, andere von Freunden gehört und manche basieren auf meiner eigenen Erfahrung und gesundem Menschenverstand.
Um ehrlich zu sein habe ich selbst meinen Home Office Plan weder perfektioniert noch im Detail optimiert, obwohl ich die meisten Arbeiten von daheim erledige. Aber wir sind alle Schüler des Lebens und lernen stetig und werden dies auch weiter tun. Also, warum sollen wir nicht zusammen lernen?
Macht doch mehr Spaß, würd ich sagen.

So, los geht’s:

#1 RAUM SCHAFFEN
Wenn irgendwie möglich, richtet euch einen definierten Arbeitsplatz ein!
Natürlich gilt das nur, wenn ihr nicht eh schon ein Home Office oder ein Arbeitszimmer oder dergleichen habt.
Arbeitet nicht im Bett oder vom Sofa aus. Vorzugsweise setzt euch an den Küchentisch oder falls ihr ein Esszimmer habt, an den Tisch dort.
Ich mein, auf der Arbeit arbeitet ihr tendenziell ja auch in einer aufrecht sitzenden Position, nehme ich an. Versucht also, das zuhause nachzubilden.
Am besten haltet ihr diesen Arbeitsplatz frei von Ablenkungen. Also, habt nicht euren Einkaufszettel und das Buch, das ihr zum Vergnügen lest, direkt neben eurem Arbeitskalender und dem Laptop.
Nutzt die Räume ihren Namen entsprechend und sorgt dafür, dass ihr nur einen umfunktioniert, nicht alle.
Ihr solltet versuchen das Private privat sein zu lassen und nur einen berufsbezogenen Platz zu haben.

#2 ZEITPLAN
Version A
Falls ihr Verfechter der Ansicht “Wenn du niemals zur Arbeit gehst, kommst du auch nie von der Arbeit heim” seid (welche sicherlich eine ordentliche Portion Wahrheit beinhaltet und echt viel Disziplin verlangt, wenn ihr nicht abends um zehn noch Arbeitsmails checken und beantworten wollt), dann solltet ihr euch einen Zeitplan überlegen.
Auch das wird nicht unbedingt leicht, weil euer Partner vielleicht mittendrin fragt, ob ihr was vom Supermarkt braucht oder ihr selbst geneigt seid “nur mal eben schnell hinzugehen”, was in eurem normalen Arbeitsalltag nicht passieren würde.
Wenn ihr also jemand seid, der diese Struktur von zur Arbeit gehen, arbeiten, Pause, arbeiten, nach Hause gehen seid, wie wäre es hiermit:
Steht morgens auf und macht euch fertig, wie ihr es auch machen würdet, wenn ihr zur Arbeit geht. Nehmt euch euren Tee oder Kaffee im Thermobecher mit und dreht eine Runde um den Block. 10 oder 20 Minuten oder mehr oder weniger und tut so, als sei dies euer Weg zur Arbeit. Stellt euren Kopf auf Arbeit ein, geht die Aufgaben des Tages durch, etc.
Wenn ihr heimkommt, geht direkt zu eurem hergerichteten Arbeitsplatz oder, falls das euer normaler Rhythmus ist, macht einen Abstecher in die Küche und nehmt euch einen Kaffee und geht dann zum Arbeitsplatz. Versucht dann genau so lange zu arbeiten, wie ihr es normalerweise tätet und nehmt die Pause dann, wann ihr es normalerweise auch tut.
Wenn ihr regulär eure Pause draußen verbringt, geht raus. Wenn ihr sie normalerweise dazu nutzt euren Einkaufszettel zu schreiben, macht das.
Versucht den Tag möglichst so zu gestalten, wie ihr es immer macht.
Und nach getaner Arbeit dreht wieder eine Runde um den Block und tut so, als sei dies euer Heimweg nach der Arbeit. So könnt ihr euer Gehirn vielleicht austricksen eine Grenze zwischen Arbeit und Privat zu ziehen, obwohl es offensichtlich ein und dasselbe räumliche Umfeld ist.
Oh, und klappt den Laptop zu bevor ihr rausgeht oder räumt ihn weg oder packt ihn in eure Tasche! Nicht wieder öffnen, keine Arbeit mehr, wenn ihr heimkommt! !

Version B
Wenn ihr zu denen gehört, die nicht unbedingt einen ganz so strikten Zeitplan braucht, sondern es eher genießt um 5 Uhr aufzustehen, für eine Stunde zu arbeiten, dann eine Pause zu machen fürs Training, Meditation oder Yoga oder dergleichen, also wenn ihr es schafft eure Arbeitsstunden über den Tag zu verteilen, empfehle ich euch trotzdem einen definierten Arbeitsplatz und euch eine Zeit zu setzen, zu der ihr Feierabend macht.
Und ich empfehle euch, diese Zeit früh genug festzusetzen.
Ich persönlich beispielsweise starte meinen Tag nicht mit dem Gedanken “heute arbeite ich bis fünf” oder so, aber ich habe meine Aufgaben für den Tag geordnet, die ich erreichen muss/will* und während ich arbeite, bekomm ich eine Idee, wie lange es mich in etwa kosten wird. Am frühen Nachmittag kann ich dann meist eine genaue Zeit benennen und sag mir “Okay, heute dauert es bis sechs”, ich hoffe, ihr versteht. Wie gesagt, auch ich arbeite noch daran.

* zum Thema To-Do-Listen und Zeit- und Aufgabenmanagement habe ich bereits einen Blogpost geschrieben und auf dem Balkon findet ihr ein IGTV, in dem ich erkläre, wie ich mit To-Do-Listen und Kalendern arbeite

#3 WOCHENENDE IST WOCHENENDE
Ich weiß, es geht eigentlich mit Raum und Zeit einher, aber ernsthaft, an nem Freitag packt euer Arbeitszeug beiseite und nutzt euer Wochenende für Freizeit, Zoom-Anrufe mit Freunden, Spaziergänge, Einkäufe, wie ihr normalerweise würdet.
Das ist eine der größten Lektionen, die ich gelernt habe, besonders in dieser Zeit, aber das ist eine längere Geschichte. Ich persönlich nutze die Zeit momentan dazu, mir Gedanken über Arbeitszeit, Struktur, Aufgaben- und Zeitmanagement zu machen und dennoch genügend Zeit für mich zu haben und sowas wie ein richtiges Wochenende. (“sowas wie”, weil ich meine Freizeit dann doch meist für kreative Projekte nutze, haha)
Und ich kann euch nur einladen, diese Lektion mit mir zu lernen.

So, das waren nur ein paar schnelle Tipps.
Natürlich gehört noch eine Menge mehr dazu und hängt von eurer Situation ab, lebt ihr alleine oder habt ihr einen Mitbewohner oder Partner, habt ihr Kinder, in welcher Branche arbeitet ihr, etc., das ist mir bewusst.
Alles konnte ich jetzt hier nicht abdecken, aber teilt eure Ansichten, Einsichten, Meinungen und Fragen gern unten in den Kommentaren.

Mein Angebot für euch
Solltet ihr Schwierigkeiten haben euch zu organisieren, strukturieren und im Home Office einzufinden, Zeit für euch freizuschaufeln oder etwas in die Richtung, kontaktiert mich gern.
Ich helfe gern und falls meine Erfahrung und meine Denke hilfreich sein können, möchte ich euch das jetzt gerne anbieten.
Diese Zeiten sind nicht einfach, also lasst uns einander helfen.

Kontaktiert mich einfach und wir machen ein dreißigminütiges Zoom- oder Skype-Gespräch aus, um zu sehen, ob und wie ich euch helfen kann.

Wie findet ihr euch im Home Office zurecht?
Lasst es mich unten in den Kommentaren wissen.

Ich hoffe, ihr habt etwas hilfreiches und sinnvolles in diesem Post gefunden.

Auf bald, meine Lieben

xx

#freelancefriday: Organisation & Time Management

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#freelancefreitag: Organisation & Time Management

Hey my dears,

as promised in the latest video on my balcony, here the next #freelancefriday.
Today’s serving: As an entrée some notes on organisation in general, but especially as a freelancer, the main dish being helpful tools and methods that I use to stay organised and to schedule my time, and the desert consists of recommended products and techniques in a nutshell.

So, the entrée

I think we can all agree that in a hectic, busy world, being organised and scheduling your time well, can be of immense advantage, right?
Even more so when you are freelancer and you don’t necessarily have fixed working times and don’t have to be at work from 9 to 5.
What sounds extremely cool and relaxed for some is actually a hard challenge, because no one will be pushing you until the deadlines push, so you have to discipline yourself.
And whoever tried to change their daily routines, be it including more sports or a morning meditation, knows how difficult it can be to establish good habits and moreover: to keep them.

Let me tell you directly: I’m far from being an expert in organisation and especially time management. I’m still struggling, but at least not on a daily basis anymore. But I struggle as much as you do, probably at least, and we’re in this together, so let’s help each other out and share some advice. I go first.

Shift your mindset concerning organisational skills

There are several conceptions about being organised, let’s have a look
a) “I don’t need to be organised, a genius controls the chaos!” – Erm, okay, how long does it take you to find your phone plus cable, your purse, your keys and where exactly do you store the papers you have to fill out and send to administration? ah, understood… (btw the envelopes are in the trolley, second to last drawer, you’re welcome)

b) “I admire people who are so well organised and seem to have their shit together. I feel I can never accomplish that.” – Why do you think that? Have you ever tried? I too admire people who do yoga everyday and who meditate everyday and all these things, but instead of telling myself that I can’t do it, I try to do it as often as possible and the more you practice, the better you get and the easier it gets to implement these habits. So try it, one organised day, the next one a mess, the next one even more mess, the following one merely organised, the next one organised again, just TRY!

c) “I feel like being organised takes away my flexibility and creativity.” – Firstly, the image of the chaotic creative without any plan or organisational skills is long out-dated, let’s not deal with that, okay? I understand the flexibility part, but you know what? You can plan flexibility, too. Say wooooot? Yes, we will come to that when I serve the main dish, stay curious. And btw, being organised doesn’t mean ending up like Kant, who strictly followed a schedule including x minutes for breakfast and y minutes for taking a walk etc. and who’s day schedule looked like a train schedule. (and when do they ever work out, huh?)

Now, take some time to swallow and digest.
Ready?
Okay, let me present to you: The lovingly composed main dish

Tools

Calendars – electronic and old school paperback
Don’t underestimate the advantage and use of the old school tool called calendar.
Many things are out-dated, updated or now replaced by electronic gadgets, but I love having a good old paperback calendar.
And that is for several reasons: Your paperback calendar can’t shut down when the battery is low and doesn’t glitch. Plus, writing with your own hand has an influence on haptic memory, so the likeliness of you remembering your appointments and to-dos increases.
I tend to double back-up, so I use my electronic calendar on my phone (synchronised with my computer) and my paperback version. Especially transferring appointments from one medium to the other is a great way to store it properly in my memory. It’s a bit like writing cheat sheets that you then actually don’t need anymore, cause you wrote it so often that it’s stored in your mind.

To-Do-Lists – electronic and on paper
I know, it sounds like a meticulous method of a pedantic person, and some people say having to-do-lists just puts more pressure on them and there might even be some studies proving that right. (Well, I guess if you search long enough you’ll always find studies proving or destroying your arguments, huh)
But the thing is: When I say to-do-lists, these don’t necessarily have to be lists. Find out what works best for you, whether it’s a cloud with colourful small clouds in it that tell you what needs to be done or whether it’s sticky notes all around your house or reminders in your calendar or other app, to mix some paper with digital options. It’s up to you. I personally like lists, they work best for me and I separate the to-dos according to the branch they fall into, so creative, professional (meaning external job bookings), private, diverse with marked tasks if they have a deadline or a certain time span in which they have to be done.

(to find out more about how I combine to-do-lists and calendar, have a look at my balcony once in a while, I’ll show you there. Bring a hot beverage of your choice and make yourself comfortable.)

Methods

Keep it colourful
When it comes to calendars and to-do-lists, I like to keep it colourful, which adds a little more fun to it.
So, creative would have a colour on the to-do-list, which could or could not be the same colour in my paper and electronic calendar.
If you’re a little bit more for recognisability, I recommend you try to use the same colours in every medium. I personally for instance rarely ever use read, because it is the colour of urgency and pressure and correction, you know. (Yes, of love, too, but c’mon, not concerning tasks, not for me) So, I’d even tend to mark things like professional work, external bookings in a soothing colour, to lift up my spirit when I look at the next task that needs to be done.
Play with colour, you’re free. There is no right and wrong. Experiment.

Plan flexibility
Especially if you belong to category c from the entrée, here’s the thing: To-do-lists and calendars don’t necessarily take away your flexibility.
Being too flexible might even cause you to start off with the tasks you like most, ending up doing the rest in a hurry, because oooooh these deadlines come so surprisingly.
So, let’s say you schedule four tasks, which are not fix appointments:
Working on your website
Cleaning the house
Calling three clients
Preparing a presentation for an event
Now, let’s say you want to keep your weekend free, you have other fix appointments, professional or private, that gives you five days to juggle these tasks around.
Classic would be to divide it into first, second and third priority, but that’s not the focus right now, but of course, please try to fulfil the urgent tasks first. (If your mother in law is going to visit tomorrow, maybe, just maybe it’s a good idea to clean the house today, and with today I mean: Start now!)
Let’s say your original plan was:
Monday – Website
Tuesday – Website and calling clients
Wednesday – Website and Presentation
Thursday – Cleaning the house
Friday – Website and Presentation
Sounds good right? But now you end up being in a more talkative mood on the Monday and you’d prefer to go out and market your business instead of sitting alone in front of your computer all day, working on the website. Guess what, swap the client calling to Monday and if you have no concentration whatsoever, clean the house, too, either while being on the phone or before and after.
If you end up ripping yourself apart because you didn’t follow your original plan and now you have to do a lot of website, website, presentation, website from Wednesday to Friday, it won’t help you at all, and that’s the real blocker and the real pressure point. It’s not the calendar, nor the to-do-list, it’s how you deal with it and your attitude towards it.

Combine tasks
One of my favourites! Instead of hating on yourself for not having followed the original plan and now feeling a bit of pressure on how to get the rest fulfilled, let’s breathe for a moment and ask ourselves: How can we get these things done?
Many people “lose” time or use it inefficiently, just by not planning ahead. I hear you..”But planning takes time, too.” Yes, it does, but how much? I plan my days and logical ways for combining tasks while I’m showering, before I go to bed, while I’m drinking my first coffee in the morning.
So, I need to bring letters to the post office, do grocery shopping, call a client, clean the house, call my friend, go to an appointment, write two texts for clients, write my own creative stuff and maybe have some me-time.
Now, before I run from A to B like a headless chicken, feel exhausted at the end of the day and only tick off two tasks, I like to think in advance.
(Plus, I do most of all things by feet and public transport, so some planning serves well, you know.)
So, where’s my appointment? In a part of the city that’s not near supermarkets. Hm, okay, can’t combine these. Oh, but the post office is in walking distance. Note to self: Take letters with you to appointment. Is there a supermarket on my way back? Oh yeah, when I hop off the bus 5 stations earlier there’s a supermarket. Check. Take letters with you, take a bus earlier, go to post office, go to appointment, go to supermarket, take next bus home. (Three things done in one go, beat that!)
[hold my beer] Take letters, take one bus earlier, go to post office, go to appointment, go to supermarket, next bus home, call clients while having a cup of me-time-tea, take 30 minutes for myself after finishing calls, calling friend while cleaning the house. Bam! – drops the mic –
Now I have the next day the perfect setting to focus on writing, because most distractions are eliminated and sitting comfortably in a freshly cleaned environment is a good kick off to be productive. At least for me. I can get up, shower, take some time for myself and then start my day. Didn’t reach one of the clients yesterday? Okay, gonna try today.
This is just a quick n dirty example of how combining tasks can help. It’s not always possible, but it is more often than you think. And I hear you again: “But that sounds like one stressful day that you have to recover from the next.” Well, again, it’s about attitude. I tend to listen to some of my favourite music while running errands, I’m thinking about my creative ideas while walking to the bus or I just observe and take in the beauty of the moment while walking the streets, and knowing how I’m gonna feel after such a productive day makes it worth trying, you know.

Now, for the dessert
Tools, products, apps*

There are some helpful tools and having talked about calendars and to-do-lists a lot now, I’d like to share some products and apps that I use and used or heard of as being good.
My recommendation is that you find out what you prefer. There are a million calendars, journals and products out there.
You can use a classic one like those from Filofax, or if you aim to start your year with more awareness, there are journals and calendars including more of that, on the German market Ein Guter Plan being the one I used for two years.
I personally switched over from classic filofax format to using the inlays from weekview, that fit into my leather filofax. The structure with quarter plans and one week a page plus one page to-do-list for the according week is my preferred choice and works well for me. Plus, I really like that you have a quote for every week.
My normal to-do-lists I just write on a big sheet of paper and I tend to use that as my general to-do-list of all the tasks that have to be done, marking those that have a deadline, and choosing some of them to put them in my filofax for the week I plan to do them.
To get a more detailed insight into how I do that, I invite you to join me on the balcony.

When it comes to apps, I have to say, I’m not that extravagant when it comes to this, I use the normal calendar app and sometimes I’d use To-Do-Lists or Wunderlist.
But I heard from successful project managers and other freelancers involved in several big projects that BusyCal is the go to app that also synchronises on all your devices, because it is more detailed, you can include to-do-lists, type in additional information about meetings and even choose different time zones when you travel. It’s rather expensive, but if your business relies on precise scheduling and recording and tracking, it’s said to be one of the best options.

So, my dears, I hope today’s menu was to your taste.
If you have any remarks for the cook, feel free to use the comment section, email or DM.
Do you have any recommendations on tools, methods, products, apps that help you to stay organised and manage your time well?
For a little nibbling after you digested everything: There will be a snack on the balcony. 😉

So long, my dears.

Take care

xx


*none of these links are affiliated links, I don’t receive any money or other compensation for sharing these

#freelancefriday: Mythen & Vorurteile

Read in English here

#freelancefriday: Mythen & Vorurteile

Hey meine Lieben,

heute mal was anderes.
Wie in meinem letzten #writerswednesday Post versprochen, habe ich mir etwas überlegt, um die Verspätung wiedergutzumachen.
Da ich mich öfter mal mit anderen Kreativen austausche und aus diesen Konversationen immer Impulse hervorgehen, ebenso wie beim Hören des deutschen Podcasts Creative Kraut* von einem Freund von mir, habe ich eine Idee gehabt, die mir im Kopf blieb.
So dachte ich, dass es für euch interessant sein könnte, ein bisschen über das Leben eines Freiberuflers (oder auch Freelancers – den Unterschied spreche ich später noch an –) zu erfahren.
Warum bin ich in der Position darüber zu schreiben?
Hm, vornehmlich, weil ich seit mittlerweile 6 Jahren – woop woop – einer bin.
Sechs Jahre?! Ja, anstatt einen Studentenjob anzunehmen, wie viele meiner Kommilitonen, habe ich mich damals dazu entschlossen, mich neben dem Studium selbstständig zu machen.
Klingt saucool oder? Haha, wenn meine nachträgliche Bilanzierung mich nicht trügt, gab es einige Monate oder gar Jahre, in denen ein Studentenjob weeeeesentlich lukrativer gewesen wäre. 😀
Aber ich habe viel auf dem Weg gelernt und er hat mich dahin geführt, wo ich heute bin.

Und da heute scheinbar auf allen möglichen Plattformen das “Baue dein eigenes Business auf”, “Kündige deinen Job und tu, was du liebst” so intensiv beworben wird, dachte ich, könnte es ganz interessant sein, ein bisschen von meinem Weg und meine Gedanken dazu zu teilen.
Was denkt ihr? Gute Idee oder eher Schnapsidee?
Also, lasst mich mal wissen, entweder hier in den Kommentaren oder per E-Mail oder wie üblich über Facebook oder Instagram, ob ich diese Serie hier fortsetzen soll.

Heute würde ich gerne mit einigen Mythen und Vorurteilen gegenüber der freiberuflichen oder Freelancetätigkeit aufräumen.
Dazu nehme ich Aussagen, wie ich sie schon oft gehört oder in den Augen meiner Gesprächspartner gelesen habe, und gehe darauf ein.
Wie immer entspringen die Aussagen natürlich meiner eigenen Erfahrung und Meinung und dienen nicht zur Verallgemeinerung.

Kleiner Disclaimer: Ich schreibe aus der Perspektive eines Freiberuflers, der in Deutschland lebt und arbeitet. Deshalb entsprechen manche Aussagen und Regeln nicht unbedingt dem freiberuflichen Dasein in anderen Ländern. Falls ihr freiberuflich in anderen Ländern tätig seid, lasst mich gern eure Meinung wissen, ich bin interessiert daran, wie es sich in anderen Ländern darstellt und gestaltet!

Also, fangen wir an:

1. Oh, wow, du musst nicht von 8 bis 17 Uhr arbeiten und kannst dir deine Arbeit frei einteilen, wie es dir gefällt!

Also, das kommt darauf an, für was ihr gebucht wurdet.
Wenn ihr etwas unterrichtet oder Kurse gebt, dann solltet ihr schon zur angegebenen Kurszeit erscheinen, nicht wahr?
Aber klar, die Vor- und Nachbereitung könnt ihr zu einem Zeitpunkt machen, der in euren Zeitplan passt, rein theoretisch zumindest, solange ihr zur nächsten Sitzung vorbereitet seid.
Falls es sich um einen Job mit einer Deadline handelt, der aber keine Zwischenziele beinhaltet, mag es zunächst so wirken, als könntet ihr euch den ganzen Tag die Nägel lackieren und nur hier und da mal ein Stündchen arbeiten.
Aber nehmen wir mal an, ihr habt mehr als ein Projekt gleichzeitig laufen, was nicht unüblich ist (und auch etwas mit Geld zu tun hat, aber dazu komme ich gleich), dann müsst ihr schon verdammte Meister des Zeitmanagements sein, um alles unter einen Hut zu bekommen und nicht den Überblick zu verlieren und immer noch bestmöglich abzuliefern.
Und das wiederum, meine Lieben, bedeutet, dass ihr lange arbeiten werdet und oftmals kein Wochenende habt und manchmal sogar gar nicht mehr wisst, welcher Wochentag grad ist.

2. DAS ist dein Stundensatz?! Du verdienst ja ein Vermögen!

Puh, einatmen, ausatmen, ruhig bleiben.
Ja, mein Stundensatz ist höher als das, was du in deiner Festanstellung verdienst, wenn du dein Monatsgehalt durch deine Arbeitstage und dann Stunden teilst.
Stimmt.
ABER: Ich habe keinen Arbeitgeber, der einen gewissen Prozentsatz oder gar die Hälfte meiner Krankenversicherung bezahlt. Ich bin mein Arbeitgeber. Also zahle ich 100%.
Je nachdem, in welchem Bereich ihr arbeitet, kann es sogar sein, dass ihr dazu verpflichtet seid, euch privat zu versichern.
(Und hier kommen wir zum Unterschied: In Deutschland machen wir einen Unterschied zwischen freier Mitarbeiter und Freiberufler, die per definitionem meistens Anwälte, Architekten oder – so wie ich – Kreative wie Autoren sind. Zwar nutzen wir gern den fancy Anglizismus Freelancer, der dann oftmals mit Freiberufler übersetzt wird, aber korrekt ist das nicht. Nicht jeder Freelancer ist ein Freiberufler.)
Und private Krankenversicherung ist niemals günstig.
Außerdem habe ich keinen bezahlten Urlaub. Jeder Tag, an dem ich nicht arbeiten gehe, ist ein Tag, an dem ich kein Geld verdiene.
Ich wiederhole: Jeder Tag, an dem ich nicht arbeiten gehe, ist ein Tag, an dem ich kein Geld verdiene.
Lasst das mal für ‘ne Minute sacken.
Und ja, das bedeutet, dass viele Freelancer (ich benutze den Begriff hier als Zusammenfassung für Freiberufler und freie Mitarbeiter) arbeiten gehen, obwohl sie mega krank sind, schlicht und ergreifend deshalb, weil sie es sich nicht leisten können auszufallen.
Zusätzlich ist meine Arbeit Projektarbeit. Manchmal läuft ein Projekt ein Jahr, manchmal nur einige Monate und manchmal ist es ein sehr kurzfristiges Projekt, wie das Lektorat eines Buches innerhalb einer Woche.
Und das, meine Lieben, bedeutet, dass ich in möglichst kurzer Zeit möglichst viel verdienen sollte, denn wenn man nicht zu den ständig Glücklichen gehört, die bereits für ein Folgeprojekt den Vertrag in der Tasche haben, dass man sich von seinem Ersparten über Wasser halten muss, bis das nächste Projekt eingetütet ist.
(Hinweis: Eure Fixkosten werden dennoch jeden Monat von eurem Konto abgebucht, weil es keine Sau interessiert, ob ihr grade Geldeingänge verzeichnet oder nicht)
Das, in Kombination mit dem, was ich zuvor gesagt habe, führt oftmals dazu, dass Freelancer jede Joboption ergreifen, die sich bietet, sich den Arsch abarbeiten und keine Wochenenden haben, um das Gefühl einer Pseudo-Sicherheit zu haben, sollte das nächste Projekt erstmal auf sich warten lassen.
Und jetzt meine Lieben, stellt euch vor, dass 80% (Zahl ist geschätzt, keine Beweise vorhanden) eurer potentiellen Kunden versuchen, eure Preise zu drücken und mit euch zu verhandeln.
Jetzt bloß nicht verzweifelt wirken und Würde und Selbstwertgefühl bewahren!

3. Es ist total cool, dass du dir deine Projekte selbst aussuchen kannst und nicht immer dasselbe tun musst. Das macht die Arbeit vielfältig, das muss total spannend sein!

Mh, ja und nein.
Also ja, die Arbeit kann sehr vielfältig sein. Vielleicht lektoriert ihr ein Kochbuch, übersetzt die Website eines Coaches, geht als Übersetzer auf eine Messe für Kosmetik und unterstützt den Relaunch der virtuellen Präsenz eines Schuhladens.
Das ist absolut bunt und vielfältig und das ist definitiv eine Sache, die ich am freiberuflichen Arbeiten sehr schätze.
Aber das bedeutet auch, wenn ihr mehrere Projekte parallel laufen habt, dass euer Gehirn sehr schnell und flexibel arbeiten muss, damit ihr innerhalb von 12 Stunden durch 3 verschiedene Themen springen könnt und in allen dreien eure bestmögliche Arbeit abliefert.
Oder innerhalb einer Woche müsst ihr diverse Schreibstile nutzen, euer Gehirn auf andere Sprachen umschalten und dabei immer noch eure Termine einhalten.
Also ja, definitiv ist das total spannend und man lernt aus den verschiedensten Bereichen eine ganze Menge dazu.
(Wie viel ich allein durch das Lektorieren von Texten, mit deren Inhalten ich mich freiwillig nie im Detail beschäftigt hätte, gelernt habe. Und plötzlich entdeckst du dich selbst auf einer Party, wo du über Digitalisierung, Smart Homes, Finanzen und Medizin redest. haha)
Also ja, es ist aufregend, aber es kann auch sehr anstrengend sein.
Und an manchen Tagen wünscht ihr euch einfach nur ein “normales Leben” mit geregelten Arbeitszeiten, wo ihr zu einer bestimmten Uhrzeit nach Hause kommt und Feierabend habt und einfach die Dinge tut, die noch zu tun sind, wie einkaufen und Haushaltskram (denn ja, auch als Freelancer müssen diese Dinge noch irgendwo untergebracht werden) und euch dann mit einem guten Buch oder eurem Lieblingsfilm auf die Couch werfen könnt.
Aber es wäre schlichtweg gelogen, wenn ich jetzt behaupten würde, diese Arbeit sei nicht interessant oder spannend. Klar, nicht jedes Projekt ist ein Wow-Projekt und es gibt Tage, an denen ihr einfach null Bock habt, selbst bei Projekten, die euch eigentlich gut gefallen, aber das hat man ja immer, egal was man arbeitet.
Dennoch sind diese Aspekte definitiv welche, die mir an der freiberuflichen Tätigkeit sehr gut gefallen.

So, so viel zu den Mythen.
Bevor sich nun jemand aufregt, lasst mich kurz ein paar Dinge klarstellen:
1. Ich möchte in keiner Weise sagen, dass Freelance-Arbeit scheiße ist, weil es keinen bezahlten Urlaub gibt oder weil ihr mit einigen Unsicherheiten in Bezug auf Projekte umgehen müsst. Ich will mich darüber auch gar nicht beschweren, denn ihr könntet einfach sagen “Ja, aber das ist das, was du dir ausgesucht hast. Niemand hat dich gezwungen. Du kannst dir auch eine Festanstellung suchen. Das war doch deine Entscheidung.” und ich hätte diesem Argument rein gar nichts entgegenzusetzen.
2. Keineswegs möchte ich Festanstellungen irgendwie runtermachen und das Freelance-Dasein als das Nonplusultra loben oder gar behaupten, dass Freelance-Arbeit stressiger als eine Festanstellung ist. Nein, ganz bestimmt nicht! Eine Freundin von mir ist Krankenschwester, was eine Festanstellung mit bezahltem Urlaub und Krankenversicherung ist, und ich weiß, wie gestresst sie nicht nur an einigen Tagen nach Hause kommt und ich bewundere sie und ihre Kollegen für das, was sie jeden Tag leisten. Ebenso wie ich jedem meine Achtung entgegenbringe, der jeden Tag aufsteht und sein Bestes gibt. Egal, was und in welcher Vertragsform er oder sie nun auch arbeitet.
3. Mein eigentliches Ziel ist es, Verständnis und Bewusstsein für den oftmals weit verbreiteten Irrglauben über freiberufliche oder freie Tätigkeiten zu kreieren.
Sheesh, wenn ihr euch mal in den sozialen Netzen umschaut, bekommt man den Eindruck, dass jeder dritte euch erzählen will, dass ihr euren festen Job in die Tonne hauen und euren Träumen folgen sollt, um das zu tun, was ihr liebt. (Als wenn die Arbeit als Freelancer eine Garantie dafür sei.)
Was ich sagen will: Bitte bedenkt einige Punkte bevor ihr überhaupt irgendwas in die Tonne werft, okay?
Nur weil ihr als Freelancer in diversen Projekten mit vielfältigen Themen arbeitet, heißt das nicht, dass ihr euren Traum lebt, denn wie zuvor gesagt ist es oft so, dass man einfach den nächsten Job annimmt, der sich da bietet, um die Rechnungen zu bezahlen.

Ich will keine der Arbeiten, egal ob nun Freelance, freiberuflich oder feste Anstellung, auf einen Podest stellen und die anderen heruntermachen.
Mir geht es um Verständnis in beide Richtungen.

Lasst mich wissen, was ihr denkt.
Seid ihr Freelancer und liebt es?
Habt ihr eine Festanstellung und spielt mit dem Gedanken, euch selbstständig zu machen? (Falls ja, hoffe ich, dass mein Post euch nicht dazu bewegt hat, diese Idee zu verteufeln. Wenn es das ist, was ihr wirklich wollt, tut es! Ich sage nur, informiert euch vorher und macht eure Hausaufgaben, damit ihr nicht verträumt in irgendetwas hineinstolpert und euch hinterher denkt “Was zur Hölle habe ich getan?!”, okay?)
Habt ihr beide Seiten kennengelernt? Und falls ja, welche bevorzugt ihr und warum?

Lasst euch in den Kommentaren aus.

Auf bald, meine Lieben

xxx
Gina.

 

 

 

 

*[unbezahlte Werbung]

#freelancefriday: Myths and Prejudices

Auf Deutsch lesen

#freelancefriday: Myths and Prejudices

Hey my dears,

today for something different.
First, I told you I prepared something to make up for my belated #writerswednesday post and secondly, I thought this idea was a good one.
As I talked to other creatives and also listened to the German podcast Creative Kraut* from a good friend of mine, this idea popped up in my mind and stayed there, so I thought it might be interesting for you to read a little bit about the life of a freelancer.
Why am I entitled to speak about these things? Well, mostly because I have been working as a freelancer for 6 years now, officially, woop woop.
Six years?! Yep, instead of searching for a part time student job, I decided to build up my freelance business beside my studies.
Sounds so cool, right? Haha, well, if I did my calculation right, there were many months in which working a part time student job would have been wayyyy more lucrative 😀
But, I learned a lot along the way and it brought me where I am today.

And since nowadays on all the platforms setting up your own business and leaving your corporate job and do what you love is so intensively and extensively promoted, I thought you might be interested in me sharing a part of my journey and thoughts upon it.
What do you think? Good idea or rather “hard liquor idea” (Schnapsidee is what we call it in German, don’t ask me why, probably because your ideas after consuming hard liquor might be quite, erm, weird?!)
So, let me know, if you’d like me to continue this series in the comments below or as usual on any other platform like Facebook or Instagram or even via email.

What I prepared for today is to do away with some of the myths and prejudices that are connected to the perception of freelance work.
I’ll post a statement, just like the ones I have heard or read in the eyes of my interlocutors, and then touch upon them.
Of course, as always, the answers derive from my own opinion and experience and are not to be generalised.

Little disclaimer: I write from the perspective and experience of a freelancer working and living in Germany. Of course, certain regulations and have-to’s might differ in your very own country. I would love to hear about freelance work in other countries, so please feel free to share your experience!

So, let’s start with the myths & prejudices:

1. Oh, wow, so you don’t have to work 9 to 5 and can schedule your work as you please!

Well, it depends on the job you got booked for.
If you’re booked for a coaching session on a regular basis or giving courses, of course you have to show up when it’s supposed to take place, huh?
But sure, preparing and the work afterwards you could do when your time allows, as long as you are prepared for the next session.
If it’s a job with a deadline but no schedule in between, it might seem as if you could sleep in and paint your nails all day and then just work one hour here and one hour there.
But let’s assume you have more than one project running at the same time (which by the way is not unusual, as it has something to do with money, too, but I’ll come to that in a minute) and then you have to be an effing master of time management to not lose track and guess what, my dears, often you end up working late and you don’t have a weekend and due to that it might also happen that you forget which day it is at all.

2. THAT is your rate per hour?! You’re earning a fortune!!

Phew, okay, breathe in, breathe out.
Yes, my hourly rate is higher than what you earn in your regular job if you take your monthly income and divide it by your working days and then hours.
True.
BUT: I don’t have a boss that pays a certain percentage or even half of my health insurance. I am my boss. Means I pay 100%.
Depending on the field you work in, you might be obliged to take a private insurance, as is often the case for freelancers in Germany.
Little note: we make a difference between freier Mitarbeiter and Freiberufler, which could be translated as free employee and freelancer, so the latter is mostly by definition a lawyer, architect or – like me – someone working in a creative field, like an author for example.
And private insurance is never cheap.
Furthermore, I don’t have paid vacation. Every day I don’t go to work is a day I don’t earn money.
I repeat: Every day that I don’t go to work is a day that I don’t earn money.
Let that sink in for a moment.
And yes, that means for many freelancers that they go to work although they are ill as a dog, because they simply can’t afford to be sick.
Additionally, I run on projects. Sometimes a project contract is as long as one year, sometimes it’s some months and sometimes it’s a short term thing, like editing a book within a week.
That my friends, means that I have to earn as much as possible in a short time span because in most cases, if you’re not lucky, you don’t have a following project already signed, so it might happen that you have to live on your savings for months or longer. (Note: Your fix costs are still gonna be booked from your bank account, because they don’t give an eff whether you have income or not)
That, connected to what I said before, leads to many freelancers taking nearly every option for a job, even many short term ones, to ensure they have enough savings if the next project start is delayed.
And that in turn makes many freelancers end up having no weekend at all but working their butts off in order to gain a feeling of pseudo-security.
And now, my dears, imagine that nearly 80% (number is estimated, no proof) of the people interested in your services try to press your prices down and negotiate with you.
Try not to look desperate and to keep some self-confidence and self-worth remaining.

3. It’s really cool, you can choose your projects and your work is so diverse, it must be exciting!

Mh, yes and no.
Yes, it’s true, the work can be very diverse as you might be editing a cook book for one client, translate a website for a coach, go on trade fairs as a translator for cosmetics and support the relaunch of the virtual spaces of a shoe company.
Sure, it’s diverse. And that’s an absolute lovable trait to freelance work, to my mind.
But it also means, if all or some of the projects are running in parallel, that your brain needs to work quickly and to stay flexible enough to jump through three different topics within 12 hours and still deliver the best work it can. Or within a week you might have to change the writing style, switch your brain from one language to the other and stick to appointments and schedules.
So, yes, it is exciting and you get many insights into different fields of work and you can learn amazingly much!
(How many things I learned from editing texts about topics that voluntarily I would never have dived into as deep. And then suddenly you find yourself on a party talking about digitalisation, smart homes, finances and medicine, just because your brain remembered the pages you edited. haha)
So, yes, it is exciting, but it can also be very exhausting.
And on some days you just wish you had “a normal life”, come home at the same time of the day and then be free to do the things that need to be done (grocery shopping, household stuff) – because guess what, besides all the project and topic hopping, that needs to be done, too in a freelancer’s life – and then chill with a good book or your favourite movie.
But it would be a lie if I claimed that it’s not diverse or not exciting. Of course, not every project is a wow one, and even in projects you love there are days where you just don’t feel it.
But that’s definitely a trait of freelance work that I consider exciting.

So, so much for the myths.
Before people start arguing now, let me take a stand for myself:
1. I don’t mean to say that freelance work is shit because you don’t get paid vacay or because you have to work a lot and have to deal with a certain insecurity when it comes to projects. I don’t mean to complain about that, either, cause you could say “Well, that’s what you chose. Nobody forced you. You can still go and search for a regular job. It was your decision.” and I wouldn’t have any counter argument against that.
2. Neither do I mean to belittle regular jobs and praise freelance work or claim that freelance work is more stressful than a regular job. Heck, no! A friend of mine is a nurse and I know how much stress that means, and yes it’s a regular job including paid vacation and health insurance, etc., and I truly admire her and her colleagues for doing what they do. Just like I admire everyone getting up in the morning, whatever they work and giving it their best.
3. My main aim is to create awareness and to do away with some of the commonly spread misconceptions as I’d call them about freelance work. Sheesh, when you look onto social media it seems like everybody’s telling you to throw your regular job into a trash bin and follow your dream and do what you love.
What I’m aiming to say is: Please consider some points of freelance work before you throw anything into the bin, okay?
Just because you’re working as a freelancer and have different project options in diverse fields doesn’t mean that you live your dream, because as stated before, sometimes you just have to take the next best offer to pay the bills, you know.

I don’t mean to put any of the jobs, be it regular or freelance, on a pedestal and talk the other one down.
Understanding in both directions is what I’d like to create.

Let me know what you think.
Are you a freelancer and loving it?
Do you have a regular job and are playing with the idea to step into the freelance life? (if so, I hope my post didn’t make you hate the idea, that wasn’t my intention. If that’s what you wanna do, do it, I just say, inform yourself and do your research and do not dreamily trip into something and when you wake up you think “what have I done?!”)
Have you experienced both sides, and if so, which one do you prefer and why?

Let me know in the comments below.

So long, my dears

xxx
Gina.

 

 

 

 

 

*[unpaid ad]

#writerswednesday: Pro vs. Passion

Beitrag auf Deutsch

#writerswednesday:Pro vs. Passion

Hey my dears,

it’s #writerswednesday again. Yes, I know I’m too late, but sorry, “real life” as the grown-ups call it, kept me busy.
But don’t worry, I’m planning on something as a compensation to make up for the delay.

So, what’s today’s topic?
We’re going to have a little chit chat about writing as a profession and writing as a passion.
Which, by the way, does not necessarily exclude one another.
But step by step.

So, let’s say you’re a writer. A passionate one. Maybe you’re a good one. Maybe even a great one.
Let us be honest, tendencies are quite high that you’re not writing for a living.
(If you are, please get in contact with me or comment on this post, I’d love to hear your opinion on all that’s gonna follow now.)

So, maybe you have tried to get your works into publishing houses or maybe you didn’t.
Well, which other options are there to work as a writer?
You could be an editor, so correcting other people’s texts, books, websites, dissertations and other academic texts.
Or you could work as a copy writer in an advertising agency or a marketing agency.
If you have profound journalistic knowledge, maybe you’re even working for a newspaper or magazine. As a writer. Or editor.
Or as something completely different, as it is quite often the case.
But let’s assume your work has something to do with writing, be it building headlines and capturing texts in order to market a product or be it reading and correcting books or other written works.

It was in Austin Kleon’s books Steal like an Artist* and Show your Work* that I was confronted with the idea that instead of aiming for a writing career there is a moment of bliss when your writing hasn’t been commercialised yet, because you can follow your passion and be as free as you want to. No expectations, no briefings, no deadlines, no customer that wants some particular text from you.
In that moment, years ago, when I read it, I was a bit taken aback by this utterance, but the more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me what he meant.
A similar thing is what I experienced in my academic work, because as long as I could choose a topic and hold a presentation on it in a manner which was rather free, besides the design of the slides that was mandatory, I felt like doing exactly what I wanted to do. But once I was asked to write a term paper with all its framework and structure and requirements, I felt so under pressure and was so concentrated on making my academic work fit into the framework, that I actually didn’t pay as much attention to delivering the content in an understandable and logical manner. (I know there is a problem with this example, as presentation and written term paper are two different mediums, but let it just sit here for the sake of the argument, okay? thanks.)

Anyway, as long as your art is not commercialised (yet) you can do what ever you like as you’re not obliged to please a client.
Of course, you should keep your audience in mind and create content that they hopefully gonna love, but that’s not the same as someone yelling at you “THAT is what I paid you for?!”.
You get the idea, I guess.

So, does this now mean that as a professional you’re not passionate?
And vice versa: A passionate creative is not professional?

Well, I’d object both ideas.
But, I’d say the way in which you burn for your own projects differs from the passion you put into your professional work.
My professional services range from text creation to translations, editing and professional storytelling to writing texts for special occasions and I wouldn’t say that there is no passion whatsoever behind it. I love this kind of work!
But I have to admit, the process of creation oftentimes differs from a spontaneous poetic idea that you can’t write down quick enough before it slips through your fingers.

On the other hand, when concerned with my own creative projects, I do not lack a professional approach when it comes to organising a photo shooting, planning in advance or when preparing photo and text combinations.
For instance my Instagram account displays mostly my passionate creative projects and not my booked professional work. But I do plan and organise which post goes together with which picture, when to post it, etc., so I’d claim there is a professional approach towards it.
Admittedly, if I do not stick to the planned postings because I don’t feel like it and prefer another idea, of course, in this field I’m free and flexible to do as I please, which is not the case with a booked service.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t claim that profession and passion exclude each other.
But the emphasis might differ.

The question is:
Will you really lose your passion once your art becomes your profession?

I for my part, cannot give any hands-on advice on that, as my professional work and my passionate creativity revolve both around language and writing, but differ concerning the content and purpose.
But I know from a friend, who used to draw passionately, that once she had to draw for clients, she felt like losing the passion for what used to lighten up her days and meant fun and relaxation for her.
I’d claim there are often phases, whether it’s writer’s block or just being fed up with something you used to pursue passionately in your free time, but once it gets to the level that you can’t find any joy in it anymore and feel the urge to quit it all together, maybe reconsidering your choices and then adjust them, might help you not lose your passion.
For me personally, I think it is a bliss that everything I do is more or less connected by the red thread of language and text, but that professional and passionate work (because actually, it’s both work, though one might be paid and the other not or not in the same manner) differ content-wise.
If that is possible for you, maybe that’s an option for you, too.
I know others who would get distracted by having so many different projects running and who prefer to concentrate on one approach or method or type of work completely. (Which I can understand completely btw!)
And it’s not that I chose all my work to differ to this extent, but it just took its way in that direction for now and I see the positive in it.

Fortunately, I never got to a point where I considered giving up writing all together.
Giving up Instagram? Yes.
Deleting Facebook? Yes.
Stop blogging? Yes.
But writing itself and for itself? Never.

Whether that was now supported by the fact that my professional and passionate work differ or whether it’s just written into my bones and onto my heart, I can’t define.

What’s your opinion and/or experience with that?
Did you make your passion your profession and regret it afterwards?
Do you purposely not make your passion your profession?

Please share your thoughts, I’m eager to know.

So long, my dears

xxx
Gina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#modelmonday: Building a Portfolio

#modelmonday: Building a Portfolio

Building a Portfolio

As there are many aspiring models and hobby models out there who’d like to take a step into modelling as their profession or passion, but often don’t really know how to start, I thought about sharing some experiences, insights and my personal opinion, based on what I have learned during 10 years of standing in front of the camera myself.

I’d like to start modelling but I don’t have good photos

Now, first of all I recommend you ask yourself whether you’d like to pursue a career in this business or whether you consider it more a hobby or passion.
This is not to say that once you decided, you have to stick with that decision, you might as well turn your professional desire into a passion or make your passion your profession.
All I’m saying is that depending on your answer, the approach might be different.

1. If you’d like to pursue it as a career I recommend you get some good digitals (basically shots with no make-up, face front, face profile, sometimes front with a smile, whole body shots, often in tight clothes or bikini so your shape becomes easily visible) and directly apply to agencies.
But beware, getting good digitals isn’t always as easy as it sounds as a wrong angle might eff up your proportions completely and looking at them you’ll wonder why you ever thought you could apply to a modelling agency.
Believe me, I know what I’m talking about.
The other option is you check for open castings provided by your agency of choice, sometimes they offer open castings where digitals are also taken, but it’s always a good idea to already have some pictures with you.
And yes, that might mean you’ll have to invest. Check for photographers that offer sedcard (or setcard) photo shootings, they might help you get a good base to get a foot in the biz, and yes, as it is their profession, they want to be paid.

2. If modelling is rather a hobby or a passion for you, it’s not a bad idea to have good digitals, too, but this doesn’t necessary have to be the first step.
What you want to do is get some photos of you that show your versatility.
What do I mean by that? I mean that you want to get pictures of yourself that differ in style, styling, location, facial expression and mood you portray.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to have friends who are photographers or you know someone who knows someone, etc. to get some pictures that you can start with at least to register on platforms in order to find other creatives to collaborate with.
If not, you might consider paying a photographer for a first session in order to get a base.
Then you can for instance register on a platform that offers a space for photographers, models and make-up artists to collaborate for joint productions, free projects or even paid jobs.

digital face front -dermagdans-

I’d like to build a versatile portfolio, but how?

1. Even if you decided to pursue modelling as a career, registering on a platform where creatives meet or setting up a Facebook page or showing some pictures on Instagram might help you get attention from some amazing photographers that would like to work with you. If an agency accepted you, they often know photographers and you start off by shooting some free projects with them, which adds to your and their portfolio.

2. No matter whether additionally to your career or for your hobby or passion, checking said platforms for Tfp projects (free projects intended to broaden the portfolios of photographer and model where none earns money but the photographic results serve as compensation) is a good idea to get involved into different projects set on different locations in different outfits and styles and to work with different photographers who produce pictures in different looks.

3. Another option, which many don’t like to take into consideration, is search for photographers whose style you adore and whose work would level up your portfolio and then, yes, guess what, PAY THEM ! I know, unbelievable. Thing is this: Often times the top ranking photographers you’d love to work with don’t offer Tfp shoots. Or at least not to amateurs. And yes, darling, according to many people’s definition we are amateurs. So, if you really crave getting pictures from this photographer, save your money and go for it.
By no means do I say that you can’t ask them whether they’d be down for a Tfp shooting with you, please don’t misunderstand. I’m just saying that often times they do free projects either with very experienced models or with promising new faces. And whether you’re a promising new face or not is unfortunately not up to you to decide.

.

Should I invest into building a portfolio and if so, how much?

1. If you’re registered with an agency, they normally take care of test shoots to broaden your portfolio, so you shouldn’t pay a photographer in order to take pictures from you if your agency got you this test shoot.
Never ever should you pay for the registration with an agency or for a casting! Never ever! If you read about a casting where you should pay for the establishment of a setcard or for the photos taken by a professional photographer or anything like it, leave it, drop the idea, don’t do it, it’s not serious!
You might tend to think “but I’m not an experienced model, of course I have to invest before I earn” and well, the approach is more than true in various fields of life, but consider this: If you sent your pictures to an agency or went to a casting and they decided to add you to their list of models, then it was because they saw potential in you. Potential to get jobs, earn money, and as they earn from what you earn, it’s also the potential money they see you bringing back. So, don’t ever pay for setting up a profile or setcard for your agency. Serious and professional agencies don’t do that. They might take a certain charge from your first fees in order to compensate the expenses they had for getting you those jobs, yes, but: You don’t pay in advance!

2. Different when you’re not registered with an agency. Of course you still have the chance to participate in free projects, but there is no one providing you options like these, but you have to find them yourself, for instance on creative collaboration websites or if you follow photographers and make-up artists on Facebook and Instagram and they are searching for a model. If you only find Tfp options that don’t really add to your portfolio because you already have a million pictures in this style or because they all go into a direction you don’t aim at, there is still the possibility to search for jobs you have to pay for, but sometimes these are special offers for a specific topic. So, sometimes you only have to pay the make-up artist or it’s just a small fee you have to pay for photographer, make-up artist and post processing. And with small fee I talk round about 80 €. That’s a mofo deal!

3. So yes, I understand that you don’t want to or can’t invest a fortune into building a portfolio, but saving some money and putting it into a well spent shooting that gets you extraordinary results, is worth it. It raises the tendency that great photographers, yes, even those ones you stalk on a daily and that mostly work with very experienced models, see you and see your potential and that you get asked by cool creatives to collaborate with them.
Does this already land you jobs where you earn a lot of money? Well, if you’re really lucky, yes. In a normal case, rather not. But it gives you the chance to collaborate with other creatives whose portfolio might be broader or of high quality on Tfp, which then adds to the attention you gain, which offers you more chances for more free projects, which eventually might lead to you getting paid jobs. (Oh, and paid jobs rarely come to you via email in the morning post, while you’re drinking coffee and painting your nails or grooming your beard, if you’re a male model, you actually have to search for them and apply. Unless you just ate a fortune cookie that serves you luck 24/7, then your inbox might explode in 3,2,1….)

.

So, talking from my own experience, I can say that building up a portfolio which enabled me to work with the great photographers that I had been stalking often enough before, dreaming to work with them, thinking “they will never work with me” etc., wasn’t an easy task, but you learn a lot on the way and that’s amazing, too.
I started off with having some Tfp shoots. I was lucky enough to have caught a photographer’s eye on an event who then gave me his card and asked me to come around for a free photo shoot. That was pure luxury and I’m really thankful for that. With those pictures I registered on platforms and browsed through the Tfp jobs and applied.
And guess what: I’ve been rejected a lot. Like… A LOT!
Then I saw some jobs where you had to pay, but I watched the pictures of the make-up artists and photographers working on the projects and thought “I’d love to work with them!”. Well, round about 100 other girls thought the same, so even paying for it wouldn’t give you a guarantee to be part of the project. So, I took some of my saved money and invested in different jobs of this kind. And it WAS SO WORTH IT!
I picked them wisely and did my research well before throwing my money out of the window, but it instantly raised the level of my portfolio. It’s really important to choose wisely and to consider the quality of the photos, the uniqueness of the project etc. before you invest.
We’re talking inVESTment, not inWASTEment, huh.
It must have been round about 5 photo shootings I paid for, each of them ranging somewhere between 40 € and 100 €, so yes, I invested something between 250 € and 300 € of my hard earned and saved money into great pictures of extraordinary kind back in those days.
And they gave me the chance to work with so many great photographers on Tfp later on that now I can count several Tfp and paid shootings to my portfolio, because yes, later on, I also landed jobs where I got paid.
The way wasn’t easy, but every step was worth it!

dermagdans

I hope my recommendations and coffee chat like rambling helped you and gave you a little insight.
Feel free to share your own experience with me and let me know if you still have questions. Let me know in the comments below, shoot me an email or send me a DM on Instagram.

Blogwarming Party

Hier Beitrag auf Deutsch lesen

norbert josefsson

Welcome!

Grab a drink, take a seat or join me on the dance floor and let’s celebrate together.
The sofa is already there, decoration is not yet complete, table and chairs are ordered but not yet delivered, so take some cushions and make yourself comfortable in my place of creativity, my new virtual home.

Just like a housewarming party where not everything is 100% ready and perfect, I throw this blogwarming party today, where the frame is set, new layout plastered on the walls, but some details might still be added or removed in the course of the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it here and that you come over and visit me often.

After two years of not blogging, many months of planning the new layout, structuring ideas and setting up a whole strategy and subject schedule, pulling all-nighter after all-nighter in order to progress and proceed here, my fingertips are still covered in colour, my hair’s a mess and I’m still sweating.

But you see me with a smile on my face as it feels good to be back.

Let me give you a quick “room tour”. – Everybody should know where the loo and the fridge with fresh beer is, huh? –
On top you find the different topics.
The portfolio offers you an insight into my photo and video repertoire.
The about section offers you information on me, this blog and my work. Same in German below.
The services section gives you an overview of the services I offer on this website, including modelling and writing with the specific services of poetry & prose for special occasions and professional storytelling.
Contact & booking explains itself, I guess.
The Creative Chaos Cloud shows you all categories which you can find blog entries about, so that you can quickly get to the topics you’re interested in.

So much for the room tour, I hope you’re gonna find your way and if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’m trying to be a good host, you know.

What are the plans for the next weeks, what do I offer and why should you come back?
First of all, I’ve worked hard on a concept and contents that might be of value and interest for you.
So, here is what I came up with:
I will blog four times a month, so once a week about topics connected to the different fields I’m working in. One topic a week, that is.
Thus, what you gonna get is this:
#modelmonday: Information for models and photographers, funny anecdotes I experienced during 10 years in front of the camera and other info connected to this field.
#writerswednesday: Information for writers and readers, food for thought, inspiration and impulses revolving around writing and reading.
#socialsaturday: Random topics connected to us humans interacting with one another, social phenomenons, questions, perspectives, impulses on social topics.
#sundaystory: Yes, the sundaystory will be back and we gonna play again. If you don’t know what the sundaystory is, please click here. I will announce the next round early enough, but this won’t be before August probably, as I still owe two of my readers their stories.

After this blogwarming party, where you can take your time to stroll around and look at the redecoration, the new furniture and features, there will be a special series on the balcony, a.k.a instagram. So, don’t forget to check out my plants on the balcony, too.
Plus, I will also take you with me behind the scenes of creative productions in the insta stories.
The special series has been a production with Norbert Josefsson, which we produced last year, but I considered it so beautiful that I kept it for a special moment.
And I think that moment has come now.
So every day, starting on Friday, 15th June, I’m going to post one picture with text on instagram and facebook, which will add up to a series of six. On Thursday, 21st, you will get the complete series here on the blog as well as on instagram.

After the special we will start off with the first sundaystory on the 24th, as it has been two years of me owing these stories to two of my readers.
I hope you’re still there and I hope you still gonna read it.

Which leads me, after the organisational part, to the speech I’m supposed to give on such an event before everybody starts popping bottles like crazy – or at least that’s what I’m gonna do –.
Ahem, clink clink, ladies and gents, may I have your attention please: (you better grab another shot and drink, this is gonna take a while – or just skip the part written in italics – the perk of being here virtually and not in reality)

Thanks for being here tonight, for sharing this moment with me, for taking some time out of your busy day to join this celebration.
I’d like to thank all of the followers here on WordPress that stayed although I haven’t blogged for two years, which, in nowadays time is like an eternity.
Also I’d like to thank all the followers on instagram that didn’t unfollow when I didn’t post for six months, which is close to social media suicide.
I’d like to thank the virtual community for staying with me, supporting me and being patient with me.

Most of all, I’d like to thank the people, especially my closest friends, who virtually and in real life sent me their positive vibes and words, who encouraged me to keep up the work, who relentlessly kept asking about my work, my art, my blog, my writings and my poetry, who invested their time and energy to provide me with tipps and tricks, good advice and knowledge about social media, who gave me input and impulses for new content, who were patient with me when I asked for advice and feedback and who were loving and caring when I had to say “no” to events and instead had to sit down and work, who shared their nurturing positive energy with me and who knowingly or unknowingly inspired me and fuelled my motivation.

Without all of you, your patience and support, we probably wouldn’t be celebrating today.
It wasn’t an easy time and task, but now we’re here and I raise my glass to all of you. I’m forever grateful.

martin zethoff

Now enough of the talk and enjoy your time here, I hope you gonna stay a little longer and come back frequently.
If you have any questions, let me know.

xxx
Gina.

Sneak Peek into Labelled Love: A Borrowed Life

Today another little sneak peek into my book Labelled Love.


Photo & Editing: Ralph Wietek

A Borrowed Life

Have you ever seen a musician playing their instrument?
Say, a violinist playing so passionately that not only the music itself, but his facial expression and the passion expressed through his body moves you, touches you?
Well, I have seen many people, many different people in passionate moments. I saw musicians playing, dancers practicing their choreographies, I saw people kissing, crying, smiling through the tears. I saw you. In a restaurant. With her. Talking. Cards on the table. Within this heartfelt drama your passion took over and you reached for her neck while she was talking and you kissed her. Passionately.
And I have seen her. Sitting at her desk, her laptop in front of her. She started writing and suddenly the keyboard became a piano, her head slightly tilting to the left, a facial expression between passion and pain. The corner of her mouth forming a little smile, yet her eyes filled with tears, her hands gently moving across the keyboard, the laptop becoming an instrument, her hands forming a melancholic melody on paper:

I have been living a borrowed life. My life has never been my own. It was always about other people’s happiness. Never about my own.
I always thought that once somebody liked or loved me, I’d have to like or love them back. Because I knew how it felt to be unhappy in love and so I wanted to avoid doing the same thing to them as was done to me. So, I convinced myself to like them, to love them. And yes, you can convince yourself to have certain emotions until you nearly believe them yourself. But there will always remain this little spark, this little part inside of you that knows that it is not completely right, not fully correct, that it is not as authentic as it could have been if it were real.
I have been so many different people in my life. That’s why I am a good, maybe even a great actress.
It was never about me, it was about the others, so I slipped into the roles that contributed to their happiness. And they believed me. Because I believed myself.
But the truth sneaks up behind you and gets you in retrospect. And then you discover that the truth does not lie in retrospect, but that you already knew when you were in that particular situation. But you convinced yourself to believe differently.
And then you discover: I have been living a borrowed life. A life that has never been my own.
You turn around and you oppose yourself by saying: My life has always been my own. But I got lost along the road I went.
And then you doubt, and then you get desperate and then you lift your tear filled eyes to the sky above and you revolt and you rebel. And you promise yourself to go and get your life back, to not back down, to fight for your life and to become better than you were before.
But then there are these silent moments. These moments where you have a lump in your throat and you look into the mirror and your gleaming eyes show desperation while your lips form a smile and you say: If this is what I am meant to be, if this is why I am here on earth, to contribute to the happiness of others and putting my own aside, I will pay the price. I will live a borrowed life in order to fulfil my destiny. If this is what it is, then let it be so. But I will reserve some parts for myself, some secrecy. But other than that, it’s alright, if this is what I am really here for.
And you know that the only issue with these thoughts is, that you just don’t know.
You just know, whatever path it is that you have to take, you are going to take it, make it, be it borrowed, be it your own, you’re not going to bend over or back down. You’re going to slip into another role that somebody else or life itself wrote for you and you’re going to go with it.
I am not going to say that one day I will have to set you free. Because you were never caged. But one day I might have to let you go. And I will. Because this is love. And love is the only truth I know. The only truth that cannot be concealed with make-up or by imposing a role on it. This doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t fight. And it doesn’t mean that I would resign over it. This just means, that besides all the roles I played, all the lives I lived and all the contributions I made, this will be a moment when I stick to the very truth that lies deep inside our hearts.
I’ve been so many different people in my life.
But once you set me free, or rather you helped me to set myself free, for once. For once, there was no script. For once, it was about me. And I appreciate that. I will always keep that beside the truth that is inscribed onto my heart.
This little spark of truth that once was revealed to me shall accompany me on my way.
For once, I lived my life. For once, it was mine.
For once, there was you.
I have been so many different people in my life.
I lived.
A borrowed life.

Gina Laventura © 2014

Sneak Peek into Labelled Love: Kiss me, Jonny!

This story was written before I had collected all the stories for my book, even before I started structuring and writing the book. But the moment it was ready I knew it had to become part of it. And so it is now a chapter that you can find in Labelled Love. You can still enter the competition and win a paperback copy of the book here.
Diese Geschichte hab ich geschrieben bevor ich anfing die Geschichten für mein Buch zu sammeln und zusammenzustellen, aber von dem Moment an da sie fertig war, wusste ich, dass sie ein Teil des Buches werden muss. Und so ist sie nun in Labelled Love zu finden. Ihr könnt immer noch am Gewinnspiel teilnehmen und eine Taschenbuchausgabe des Buches gewinnen.



dedicated to Jonny

“I miss him.” Rosie said.
“Well, that’s not very like you.” Poppy replied.
“Yeah, I know. Normally, I rarely miss anyone. Not because they don’t mean anything to me, don’t get me wrong, but I never actually felt the need to miss them, you know. I carry them with me in my heart anyway and I think of them and keep in contact with them. I could go away for weeks without missing anyone, you see. I mean, I am happy to meet them again and looking forward to meeting them again and sometimes can’t wait to see them again, but that is something different. And when talking about missing, I don’t mean this search for company that grows on everybody from time to time, as this kind of wanting company is not individual enough to call it missing. And I’m not talking about the way of missing that is based on physical or even sexual needs, you know. Neither am I talking about this kind of romantic thought of missing someone, where you tear yourself apart and can’t think of anything else than the person you miss, you see.”
Poppy looked up from her steaming cup of tea and shook her head. “Nah, that wouldn’t be much like you, either.”
“When I say I miss him, I’m talking about something different. Not about missing company in general or missing the bodily aspect of it all. I’m talking about the silent presence of his next to mine, this comforting atmosphere that spreads around and within me when he’s there. And I’m not depicting some kind of these moving cinema scenes where people haven’t seen each other for a while and run towards each other and embrace heartily with all the passion a person can possess. No, the scene I’m picturing is different. We would meet and say ‘Hi’, talk about the weather and how things went. We would stand next to each other, waiting for the next tube. And eventually his warm hand would slide between my cold fingers, giving my veins this impulse that would go straight through every fibre of my body and warm my heart again. I would smile at that and stretch myself, stand on my tiptoes to reach his ear and whisper ‘Kiss me, Jonny!’. And suddenly the world would be complete again.”

Gina Laventura © 2013

Sneak Peek into my Book: Intro

Today I’ll give you a little sneak peak into my book Labelled Love which I published this year.
It is available on amazon as paperback and as kindle version.

200421707-001

Intro

Something old, something new,
Something borrowed, something blue

A blue book.
Some stories might seem quite familiar or old to you, others new.
Some of them I wrote a while ago, others just recently.
But on a more abstract level: The history of love is long and old. People have loved each other over the past centuries and they will continue to discover love. So love stories are old. But we are new souls and the connection the universe or destiny has pushed us in, has not existed before, so a love story might be old, but this love story is new.
If we take into consideration what the Indians once said “We don’t own the earth, we just borrowed it from our children.”, we might well apply that to love, and every love story can be regarded as borrowed from the universe, as one day we might have to give it back.
Whether it be old, new, borrowed or owned, this story is not just another love story.
It is a story about love.

Gina Laventura © 2014