#MonologueMonday

Cheers my dears,

as mentioned a few times I’ve spent the last weeks not only working on external projects but also on the preparation of new content for you. The first results are online now.

Let me know what you think 🙂 I hope you find something in it.

Happy Easter

xxx

Virtual Book Reading – YouTube Live Premiere

Virtual Book Reading – YouTube Live Premiere

Cheers my dears,

it’s been a while and I hope to find you safe & sound and healthy. Besides platitudes and commonplaces phrases, I really do hope that you’re well. 

As some of you might have seen, I took some time to prepare new content. Not as fast as my head would want to sometimes, but sometimes it’s more about a healthy and stable than a fast pace. Thank you for staying, joining and being patient.🍀🙏🍀

Now it’s a New Year and now even a New Lunar Year – Year of the Ox 🐂🌺 And I have prepared something for you.

A virtual book reading of my latest book „Live Loud & Suffer in Silence“ 📓 and it’s going to air as a Youtube live premiere on Sunday, 21st February at 6pm GMT+1 (German time). 🎥

During the premiere you can watch & listen and chat with me at the same time, as I’ll be watching the reading with you from the other side of the screen.

Grab yourself a cup of tea 🍵 , coffee ☕️, a beer 🍺, or a glass of wine 🍷 and make yourself cozy.

I wish I could say „get comfortable“ but due to the fact that this book is not an easy ride and deals a lot with mental health topics, let’s say „let’s get uncomfortable together“.

We are not alone in this. 💪

Here’s the link:

You can also set an alarm to be reminded.

This time you get a „proper“ book reading of one hour with many insights and background information on the book and the connected donation plan and the merch designs.

Another goodie from me to you: From Sunday 21st until Thursday 25th you get a 15% discount on the items in my SpreadShop!

I hope to see you there.

So long, my dears

💋💋💋

My SpreadShop is Online Now

live loud by laventura

Cheers my Dears,

I’m happy to announce that my SpreadShop is online now!

It has been a dream, vision and plan to design a shop connected to my latest book Live Loud & Suffer in Silence since I thought about writing the book.

With the help of Norman from NGraphix Design the quotes from the book got a really cool and unique look and you can purchase them now on t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, caps and more.

25% of my earnings will be donated to local mental health institutions, just like with the book.

Until 24th November you get 15% discount!!

I’m happy when you pop by. Feel free to share and send me feedback.

So long my dears,

xxx Gina.

Cheers my Dears und Hallo meine Lieben,

Ich freue mich sehr euch mitteilen zu können, dass mein SpreadShop nun online ist!

Es war ein Traum, eine Vision und ein Plan, so einen Shop in Verbindung mit meinem neuesten Buch Live Loud & Suffer in Silence aufzubauen seit ich überhaupt darüber nachgedacht habe, es zu schreiben.

Mit der Hilfe von Norman von NGraphix Design haben die Zitate aus dem Buch nun einen coolen und einzigartigen Look bekommen und ihr könnt sie auf T-Shirts, Kapuzenpullis, Jacken, Kappen und mehr kaufen.

25% meiner Einnahmen werden auch hier an lokale Institutionen gespendet, die Menschen mit mentalen Gesundheitsproblemen helfen, ebenso wie bei dem Buch.

Bis zum 24. November bekommt ihr noch 15% Rabatt!!!

Ich freu mich, wenn ihr mal vorbeischaut. Teilt es gern und sendet mir Feedback.

Auf bald, meine Lieben

xxx Gina.

#freelancefriday & #socialsaturday: We need to talk!

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#freelancefriday: We need to talk

Cheers my dears,

we need to talk! Take this as a #freelancefriday and a #socialsaturday post, as it is concerned with work and society. Both intertwined.

After having watched a video on Instagram from a German jazz musician, in which he talks about the artists and people from the event and entertainment industry suffering through the current crisis, and following that having had a conversation with an acquaintance (thanks for this, Miss K.K.), I decided it’s time to break the silence. I mean, I already talked quite directly about the risks and challenges of being a freelancer in another post – quote: “Every day that I don’t go to work is a day that I don’t earn money.” – but this here goes deeper and further.

So get yourself a tea or coffee and sit down. Because this is important.

We are all affected by the current crisis, that’s nothing new and nothing I should need to have to point out explicitly. And us living here in Germany or Europe, we’re still well off and should be grateful for it. Nevertheless, some things and circumstances need our attention.

Now in November at least here in Germany, it’s gonna be a Lockdown Light so to say – not so “light” and easy for all the small businesses, people working in gastronomy, the entertainment industry, freelancers, artists. Especially if they don’t have a well running online shop or if they live from selling products and services that are not able to be digitalised.

Second time this year that an uncontrollable wave threatens to wash away everything that hasn’t been fixed and anchored in the few months we had to gasp air. Many pub or restaurant owners and small business people fear having to close their facilities, not just for a month, but forever. Shut down and close their life work. Many musicians, authors, artists, theatre ensembles and others whose work is depending on tours, readings, performances, yeah, on social life, fear for their financial existence.

No, this post doesn’t aim to protest against masks and hygienic rules. To the contrary. They are necessary to save and protect the ones that need to be protected most.

But it’s a plea to support where we can. And we can. If we want to.

Saying “Well, what can one do, eh” right now, doesn’t help anyone. We have chances and options. Small ones. But also a small pebble in a sea can cause concentric circles.

If you’re now wondering, well, Gina, what is that you want, what should we do? I’m gonna tell you.

If you normally take your whole family out to your favourite Italian restaurant on a Sunday, then stick to that and order your favourite dish from Luigi every Sunday, because Luigi needs that! Eff the delivery apps that don’t have him listed, call him and order directly. Get over your laziness of finding an alternative that’s accessible with three clicks and don’t invest your money into big chains that already have more savings than Luigi could ever dream of, okay? Thank you.

If you’re said because you’re unable to visit the concert of your favourite band, buy CDs, vinyl, t-shirts, Merch and prove that it’s your favourite band. Or if they offer an online-concert with tickets, get your ticket. You would have spent the money anyway.

I hear you now, but we’re also struggling and need to take better care of our money. Yes, you are right. Absolutely. Good point. But let me calculate real quickly and I’m really bad at maths: If you normally would have spent let’s say 80 bucks on a ticket for the concert and you were refunded now due to cancellation of said concert, but you could purchase a vinyl or a t-shirt for let’s say 30 bucks, then it’s 50 bucks in your pocket and 30 in the pockets of your favourite artists, who are really effed and probably haven’t been sleeping well for a while now. Unless they hamstered ish loads of whiskey, wine and gin.

You love a particular poetry slammer but slams are dismissed? Well, I bet they have live recordings on CD or already published a book or two. Take the 8 bucks you would have invested in the live show and buy the book. But the book is more expensive than 8 bucks! Sorry, I forgot the pretzel and the beer plus the bus ticket/gas money/parking ticket you would have paid that night 😉 despite my lack of skills in maths I think you’re getting what I’m aiming at, huh?

For heaven’s sake, no, please, if you are struggling massively financially right now and your financial existence is at stake, please don’t invest your last button to help others, but help yourself first. Only if you have, you can give. But if you have a little, then give, cause you know what? That can save financial existences, and in some cases lives. What, 8 bucks are changing something? Yes, because if 100 people say that their 8 bucks won’t do anything, that’s 800 bucks that can’t do anything.

But you know something else? Even if you don’t have one spare cent, you can still help and support. How? By using your social media accounts to share contents of your favourite artists. Now you’re saying but Gina, I only got 20 followers, that’s not gonna be of any use. Even if I might repeat myself, I’m gonna say it again: con.cen.tric…cir.cles my friends. If one of your followers sees what you shared and clicks on the profile, finds valuable content and shares it again, we end up in the popular snowball effect and you might never now what kind of effects that can have. And I mean, does it hurt you? It doesn’t cost a penny, only three clicks while you’re taking a sh… bath. In comparison to the massive amount of free content you’re provided with by small businesses, artists & co. that’s a minimal effort, which might have a huge effect.

If you say now, hold on a minute, all this free content we get, well, they’re not obliged to provide it, it’s part of their normal marketing, then we have to get one thing straight: No, they don’t have to do it. They do it out of conviction. And for marketing reasons, sure. But mostly out of conviction. Because they have something to say. And they want to share it. Because they are convinced that it might help others, that there is something in it for someone. And rarely do they ask for something back in return. Because oftentimes a “Please support me during this time and buy my album/my book” is perceived as begging. While it’s just an appeal. And if you consumed free content en masse before and now are turning up your nose at those artists pleading for support and you call him pathetic or beggar, then please leave my virtual living room immediately. Merci.

Get another coffee or tea, my dears, we’re not finished yet.

We need to talk about Christmas, too. Besides the fact that it’s uncertain right now how exactly we’re gonna celebrate our family gatherings this year, I’d like to stick to the topic and talk about gifts and presents.

Another plea from my side: Please think, buy and invest wisely. If you normally would go to Luigi on the 25th to get your Scampi al Forno with all your family, then order from him on that day. If the family photo shoot you wanted to gift is cancelled due to restrictions, buy a voucher from the photographer to get your photos when it’s possible again. If you’re not super talented yourself in doing DIY projects and cannot timber a night table yourself, then search on etsy or other platforms or talk to your local carpenter who can make your idea a reality in a professional manner.

I don’t urge or press or ask you to spend more money than planned, I don’t ask you to donate to heal all the misery in the world, because – let’s be honest – when it comes to that, my heart could bleed every day and everyone of us could donate all their income and savings to ease the pain of the world. I just ask you to take a closer look at the investments you wanted to make anyway and to make sure whether there are alternatives which would help people who are really in need of support right now. You could help them make ends meet rather than throwing your money into the mouths’ of big companies that belch one time and smirk, knowing that there is gonna be a tomorrow for them. Unlike many small business owners, freelancers and artists. Yes, maybe the handmade calendar does cost 3 bucks more but believe me, they are well invested. And if it’s only for the coffee to get the small business owner out of bed to design your personal calendar.

And if you say now, well, they should have thought about things like that before becoming a freelancer or an artist, I ask you to hold your breath for a second. One person becomes a nurse out of conviction, which includes a permanent position. The other steps into the traditional family business, sells products to keep the tradition and is able to pay themselves a regular monthly income. The other becomes a musician, author, photographer out of conviction and passion to contribute cultural value to society. And these jobs rarely ever include permanent positions or regular incomes.

And I ask you: What would your life look like without the books you read? Without the photographs of landscapes that take you to places you’ve never visited and make you dream? Without the music that got you through your last heartbreak or that was the anthem to your big joyful moment? Without the handmade bookmark gifted to you by granny? Without the handmade and designed post card that you got from your best friend, on which she wrote a quote from your favourite author and that reminds you of the depth of your friendship whenever you look at it?

If any of these things resonates with you and now you got a song in your head, and if you want these things to still exist “when it’s over” (whenever that might be and whatever it might look like), then I beg you: Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.

Even if it’s just sharing content, a post, a story.

Concentric Circles.

with love, hope and gratitude in heart

Gina.

PS: I’m gonna speak about it on the balcony, too, so keep an eye open.

#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

#writerswednesday: Book Reading of Labelled Love // Buchlesung Labelled Love

#writerswednesday: book reading

Cheers my dears,

if you haven’t made it to my Youtube live premiere, you can still watch the book reading of Labelled Love here.
It’s a bilingual party, so all information is given in English and German, while the reading itself is in English.

I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Feel free to leave your comments and questions in the comment section below.

xx

Subscribe to my Youtube Channel and my Newsletter to stay up to date 😉

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Meine Lieben,

falls ihr meine Youtube Live Premiere verpasst habt, könnt ihr die Buchlesung von Labelled Love hier anschauen.
Es ist eine zweisprachige Party, also alle Informationen werden sowohl auf Englisch als auch auf Deutsch gesagt, nur die Lesung selbst ist auf Englisch.

Ich hoffe, es gefällt euch.

Lasst eure Kommentare und Fragen gern im Kommentarfeld unten da.

xx

Folgt meinem Youtube-Kanal und tragt euch in meinen Newsletter ein, um nichts mehr zu verpassen 😉

#writerswednesday: Write it off your Chest ! – A Writing Exercise for Everyone

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#writerswednesday: write it off your chest

Cheers my dears,

today it’s #writerswednesday again and due to the current crisis I came up with something different.
I’ve prepared a writing exercise for you as a little video class to help you release pressure and breathe properly again.

It’s for everyone!
You don’t need to be a writer, poet or to have any skills in advance.
All you need is pen & paper.

The exercise consists of a little warm-up and three exercises.

Join me 🙂

I hope it helps you to get through these tough times.

If it’s helpful and valuable for you, feel free to share it with a friend.
I’d love to read/see/watch your results, so please tag me if you publish something from this exercise 🙂
Also feel free to leave some feedback in the comments below

take care, stay safe & sound and healthy

xx

#randomramblings: Courage, Contemplation and Creativity during Crisis

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#randomramblings: Courage, Contemplation and Creativity during Crisis

Hey my dears,

no, today there won’t be a #sundaystory* but an interims post due to the current situation.
It’s not easy and it feels like the world was turned upside down, many things aren’t as we knew them or as how we got used to them for years, decades or even our whole lives.
I will avoid to repeat what is said in the media each and every day and what we hear from friends and acquaintances, as I assume that we all are already overloaded with information. On the other hand, it’s not my aim to pretend that everything is peachy sky and vanilla cake with cherry on top. It’s not.
But those who have been following me for a while now or even know me in person might have noticed that I have a tendency to be optimistic. I’d like to call it pragmatic optimism.
Because once a friend told me “Okay, Gina, now we have talked one hour about the problem, let’s talk at least one hour about the solution, that’s much more useful.”
What I’m saying is, I don’t try to sugarcoat anything or to confront it with blissful ignorance. That’s not me.
I don’t have solutions for the situation. But I’d like to try to contribute to spreading some light. And you can guess my medium of choice.
I hope the text will be more structured than my thoughts are right now and that you can take something away from it.

There will be more posts following according to my categories #modelmonday, #writerswednesday, #freelancefriday,#socialsaturday that are especially written for this time of crisis.
Make sure you subscribe to the newsletter, if you want to stay up to date.

Here now some perspectives on what we might do during this time, learn from it and take away from it.

Time
Now we ended up at what I already pointed at in a different post.
“We will never have time, unless we take it.”
Many didn’t take it, now it’s there, wanted or unwanted.

Instead of focusing now on what your everyday life normally would look like and what you would normally be doing and where you’d normally be, we can maybe switch over to a more pragmatic and useful approach.
How often did you say something like “Well, if I had more time, I would finally repair the squeaking cupboard door”? Or paint the walls, tidy up, iron shirts, take care of wooden furniture with special treatments, repot the plants on the balcony or whatever. These are productive things.
Of course they can be applied to personal stuff as well, like “Yeah, if I had as much time as XY, I would also do my nails, try out new hair styles, but in contrast to her I have to…” Or “As much time as he has, no wonder he already finished that game”, read this and that book, whatever comes to your mind.
Also popular “If there weren’t so many distractions at home and I had more time, I’d also love to do sports at home.”
Well, the fact about the distractions is real, but let me try to help you with this. God knows I’m not an expert, but as someone who works a lot in the home office and belongs to the more active (some say restless) types, I might have some tipps and tricks for you.

We order the above mentioned:
– productive / pragmatic
– fun
– training / learning / education
– sports

Especially if you’re not used to working at home or educating yourself at home via online courses or the like, the own four walls hold many distractions in store and you might end up in a never ending story.
Tendency is quite high, that it makes most sense to start off with the things on the outward to eliminate as many distractions as possible.
So repair the cupboard door at first, tidy up that bloody chaos drawer, dust off the lamps, clean the floor, iron the shirts, etc. etc. etc.
As said, just make sure you don’t end up in a perpetuum mobile, because while being busy with task A, you might recognise in addition to task B and C many more tasks until Z and then restart the whole alphabet with A’ and so forth.
That’s why I recommend the method that I also used in my IGTV video on instagram and here in one of my blog posts:
Take manageable portions from all the things you have to and want to do, so some that you might really be able to finish within a day and start with those that add to structure.
So, before you start neatly decorating your washing machine with washy tape, please start with tidying up and sorting out the cupboards and drawers and then work your way to cleaning up and then go over to the details. (Unless the details are a little creative pause for you and you feel secure enough to return to the have to’s vs. the want to’s)

Education and learning is another productive and pragmatic way to spend your time.
Now you can learn the language you always wanted to learn, read the business book about topic XY. Many content creators are offering free online courses and e-books right now. #solidarity, so if you’re interested in audio books, languages or DIY projects in your home or whatever, you can browse through the diverse platforms and find free material or get some good content for a small budget from an expert.
Same goes for sports. Many trainers with own apps are offering the subscription for free right now or for less money and some gyms offer free courses on youtube, etc.
And fun, like playing games, finally reading again or listening to music, is not to be forgotten.

The biggest problem is probably the lack of routine that is normally dictated by your everyday life. I understand that.
But, I have good news for you: You’re now the captain of the ship!
You can build your own routine. It’s not easy, I admit, and it takes time, yes and yes, I hear your arguments “Yeah, then I have a new routine and everything goes back to normal, so why?”
Yeeeeeeeah…..no! Other good news: You can also take some of the things you like from your own routine and implement it later into your everyday life 😉

Here now the pragmatic approach:
Take a big sheet of paper. We’ll use the method that I used in the above mentioned video and post and apply it onto this case.
Write down all the tasks that have to be done, should be done and that you want to do. Then categorise them according to work, fun, sports, education & learning for instance. Just randomly onto the paper.
Ready, list everything that comes to your mind, go!

Ready? Great!
It might look like a lot now.
Now take another sheet of paper and create lists according to the categories you chose. (I recommend making them colourful)
And now take a closer look at all the things you wrote down on your random sheet before.
Let’s say you gave your list the colour green for household stuff. Now mark everything on the random sheet green that has something to do with household.
And now put it into the list, preferably according to a logical principal, like mentioned above.
Does it make sense to start a big clean up and then sort out the cupboards? Or would it be better the other way round?
Try to imagine the processes and to list them in a manner that makes sense, so that you don’t end up having done one task seven times in three weeks and totally neglecting another one that you wanted to do.
It will take a little moment. Just do it.
Great.
Now do the same with the other categories.

Amazing. Now you should have structured lists and an overview.
If you like to, you can put it into your calendar or just do it according to your mood and energy level. When you get up in the morning and during breakfast or the first coffee you’re thinking “Ah, today is a good day for sports”, pick something from your sports list. “Today I feel neither creative nor sporty, actually I just wanna chat with my friends”. Okay, do it. Call your friends. While you’re sorting out your wardrobe for instance. 😉 By the way, your friend might even help you decide what items to keep and which ones to donate or sell or give away. How does that sound?

Me personally, I’m a friend of picking at least one thing that I have to do and one thing that I want do, but often I’d also go according to the “What do I feel like today?” principle and then combining the tasks from different categories.
I recommend picking at least one thing you have to and one you want to do.
So, before I do six things I want to do, I’ll pick one to two, three things from the list that have to be done. This way I have success and fun in one day.
The Kinder egg for adults so to day 😉

Before this post gets completely out of hand, I’m gonna throw in some things you might wanna do:

household
– sort out your wardrobe and donate or sell the items you don’t want and need (doing something good and earning some money)
– structure your cupboards and rearrange them
– laundry, ironing, taking care of furniture and floors
– dust off the lamps
– archive photos and store old data from your computer on external hard drives

sports
– online courses and videos and using what you have to get some sports into your day
– if you can’t motivate yourself on your own and maybe live alone, try to find online groups that meet at a specific time of the day and do sports together
– computer games with sporty activities are also an option

business (a separate post concerning business will follow)
– now’s the time to restructure and relaunch your website
– depending on the branch you’re working in, you might find new concepts for your sales, marketing and online services
– you can create special offers and spread them on the various platforms you use

education / learning
– finally you can dedicate yourself to your DIY projects, the material for your self-made shelf is already rotting in your cellar, isn’t it?
– learn something new, a language, cooking, how to cut your hair yourself, doing manicure at home, drawing, whatever it is that you have been interested in for a long time and always wanted to learn

fun & relaxation
– take a long walk through nature and listen to the wind and the birds
– read
– listen to audio books
– finally watch the movie / series you have been longing to watch
– call friends
– playing games in the analogue world with room mates, partners, family or online with friends
– creating and designing birthday presents (especially for those that won’t be able to celebrate their birthdays due to the crisis, hello my Aries babes, don’t worry, postponed doesn’t mean cancelled and we have to celebrate according to the opportunities, and there will be opportunities in the future)
– meditation / relaxation techniques
– dance through the room

This is just a small list, but maybe there are some impulses in it that inspire you. I hope so.
Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below and share your tipps and ideas. Sharing is caring.

And now imagine this:
What if we all learned something from this situation and took something away from it?
What if, when everything is slowly returning to a level of normality, we got out of it more toned, more educated and if we met all our loved ones in a fresh and rearranged home and took hours to exchange what we have done and learned?

Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s difficult and hard, especially for families with children, who now also have to do home office and are not used to it. For those that still have to go to work with worries in their hearts. For the care givers, doctors, retailers and tradesmen, delivery people and craftsmen, farmers and all the small and medium sized companies and self-employed people, that are confronted with big problems and worries and sorrows.
I see you and you’re brave. True heroes. I have nothing but gratitude and respect for you and I’m thinking of you!
But maybe you too find something in this post, that might spread some light onto your sorrowful soul and that nurtures it with positivity and calmness.
I’m not free from sorrow either, but I decide consciously for hope and optimism.
And I share it with you. I hope your arms are open so that you can embrace it.

Take care, stay at home, stay safe and sound.

xx

Gina.

* the #sundaystory will be paused until my upcoming book is published. I need my resources now to keep my business running and creativity flowing. I hope you understand that. Please bear with me.

#socialsaturday: International Women’s Day 2020 or Be the change you want to see

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Hey my dears,

I know, I know, the order seems to be a bit off, but it will all get tidied up, don’t worry.
On the 8th of March it was International Women’s Day and if you haven’t seen my content for it yet, please go to the balcony and have a look at the highlight IWD 2020.
As a good housewife is supposed to, I did not just only tidy up and clean my analogue home and put the spring decoration up, but here in my virtual home as well. 😀
I hope you like the new design and the touch of colour and that it makes you come and visit me more often here.

Now, let’s roll up the sleeves and get to the relevant topics:
New Year’s Eve alone close to the sea gave me the opportunity to reflect the old year and let go of it. The trip rewarded me with fresh wind and motivation to make 2020 not only a new year, but to set the sails for a new decade.
I hope you’re feeling the same and that the first quarter of the year has already been positive for you. Observing my direct and indirect surrounding, I have the impression that 2020 already brought some massive changes and shifts for many people and I’m excited for which surprises it has in stock for all of us. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to it.

With a big portion of creative energy, I’m currently working like a maniac on different projects, I hope to share with you quite soon.
Therefore, I haven’t produced specific poems or texts for IWD this year.
But let’s take a moment to think about all the amazing women out there. Which woman comes to your mind first?
And which three ones are following? Which women do you find inspiring?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

And now, please sit down, we have to talk.
Let’s not pretend, to be simply human isn’t always easy.
But as a society we even manage to make it even more difficult for certain groups.
This can be referred to nationality, religion, outward appearance, skin colour, sexual orientation or sex and gender and certainly to many more attributed, as there is always someone to be found, whom one could give a hard(er) time.
But because recently it was International Women’s Day, let’s stick with this group: Women and people, who identify as such.
I don’t think I’ll have to mention all the hurdles, obstacles, challenges women are facing, it’s somewhere along the lines of beauty ideals marketed by media, the balance between work and family, unequal pay for equal work and society’s expectations towards the sexes and genders in general. The list is long.

I alone won’t change that. You neither.
But as Teresa von Avila, a woman herself, said “If many small people do many small things, the face of the world will change.”
And I think if everybody starts where they are, use what they have and do what they can, something is going to move and change.
But what does this mean in detail or what can it mean concretely?
I don’t own the stone of wisdom and I don’t have a one-fits-all-ready-made-solution, but I have some suggestions.

How about if we started reflecting our attitudes, opinions and convictions about masculinity and femininity while taking a walk or sitting on the sofa?

Is it fair, when I expect of my mother, sister, partner, colleague, that she not only fulfils all the roles society has for her, but that she does so perfectly?
Is it fair, when I deny a career focused woman the capability of being a good mother? Is it fair, when I deny a housewife the capability of having a sense for business?
Is it fair, when I don’t expect of my father, brother, partner, colleague to fulfil all the roles society has for him and he doesn’t have to be perfect at it, either?
Is it fair, when I deprive a man that stays home with his kids instead of going to work of his masculinity and sneer at him?

No, it’s not.

To reflect is certainly the first step to insight, which in turn is said to move something. And then?
Thinking alternative ways. Then walk.
How about if we started being a bit kinder towards our colleague, who has been coming to work with an out-of-bed-look for a week, because she has been working her pretty, but less toned butt off to juggle two small – teething and feverish – kids, her work and social life? Just brew a coffee for her and get her some lunch and tell her that she’s doing an amazing job.
How about telling the guy that stays at home with his kids, that especially because of society’s prejudices he is brave to have made this step? When we asked him how he’s feeling, why he’s doing it and whether he now considers his wife less of a woman and himself less of a man? And when we told him that he is also doing an amazing job?

That was the soft version. Let’s come to the bolder option.
Calling someone out on their bullshit.
Is it fair, when nudging out of frustration and touching without consent is dismissed with words like “boys will be boys”, which later turns into “a man is just a man”?
Is it fair, when we repeatedly listen to people in our direct surrounding telling us how we should live our lives and which definition of masculinity and femininity we have to obey?
Is it fair, when we give the responsibility for our own actions out of our own hands and put it into the world view society proclaims?

No, it’s not.
And now?

How about, if we started to teach our children that they can become and achieve anything, regardless of their sex and gender? What if we taught them that it’s okay if a boy wants to play with dolls and that “But she’s a girl!” is no legit reason to exclude the sister from the football match?
How about telling the aunties and uncles, who on every occasion – and big birthdays and especially weddings seem to be perfect occasions – tell us, either with a pitiful or reproachful manner, that we “will find the right woman one day” or “the right man will come” into our lives, but that we could put a little more effort into finding someone, just because we attend the event without a partner or ring on our finger?
Who wants to go one step further, can of course switch over to telling them lovingly that they should mind their own business. Or you could chink a glass, get the attention of everyone and have a 20 minute rant until even the guests in the back seats understood your point. The choice is yours.
How about not hiding behind “I’m not responsible for that, my husband takes care of that”, but actively reflecting and pondering on our understanding of femininity and masculinity and the tasks, attitudes, challenges and chances that are connected to it?
How about taking responsibility for our own actions, which starts with reflection and thinking about what we could change?
How about taking responsibility in our social constructs and stopped accepting certain platitudes and excuses?
How about telling our interlocutor that this action or those words were utter bs?

As you can see, there are manifold options to start somehow somewhere in order to change something.
But if I continue the list, this post will end up being way too long and nobody’s gonna read that much.
Furthermore, change and growth starts within oneself, within everyone.

Nevertheless, I do think that if everyone started with themselves and did what they could, that it will have an impact.
As it’s so often said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
2020 is a new decade. It’s time to not just share these quotes, but to actively work with them.
Nobody’s perfect and not everything is gonna work out (directly).
Trying implies the possibility of failure, but it doesn’t have to. 😉

If you haven’t read my latest poems concerning the relationship between men and women yet, come to the balcony.
Attention, explicit content! 😉

Cheers my dears, take care

xx

PS: If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletter yet, revisit the page and subscribe to stay in touch and get updates on blog posts, my upcoming book and special offers and events.

#writerswednesday: Happy New Year! 2020

© Thorsten Marquardt, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019 – full text at end of post –

My dears,

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

A new decade is lying ahead
and I hope we use it to spread
ideas and inspiration
reflection and some contemplation
breathe it in and smile some more
set the sails and move from shore
into the great wide sea
to grow, become and be
what and who we are meant to be.

It’s exactly collaborations like these that make my heart jump and be even more passionate about art.
There are these moments where you’re having a really nice and interesting conversation and then, when continuing the exchange via email, something great is forming itself.
Thanks to Thorsten Marquardt, who sent me this picture, which gave me – in connection to our conversation – the inspiration for this poem and thanks to his efforts it now looks the way it does, as he put the text around the picture.
I truly appreciate the exchange with others, as I always say
Inspiration through Communication
And this is proof that it works.

Thanks to everyone who worked with me in 2019, who gave me insights, impulses, feedback.
Nothing of it goes unnoticed.

I thank all the people I was allowed to meet on my way and to collaborate with from the depth of my heart.
2019 taught me a lot. About goodbyes and hellos, about exchange, about nurturing, needs vs wants, about people, life and art. And so much more.
Not only do I thank all the people, who made the year so insightful and meaningful as it was, but I also thank the year itself for having been such a good teacher.

To all of you reading this: I wish you all the best for the new year, the new decade, I hope you had time to reflect on the past, be in and enjoy the present and look into the future with a hopeful heart and determined mind.

The sails are set
and I bet
the wind is soon to come
to move ahead and move along
into a wider space
from place to place
and home once more
into the water and back to shore
ever moving
ever growing
as life itself
a water flowing

© Gina Laventura, 2019

© Thorsten Marquardt, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

poetry, passion and perseverance
let us endure the loss of what once
was our home, our harbour, we were safe
the slight remembrance
and subtle memory, we take to our grave
written in our bones, our chest, our breath,
the idea of paradise after death,
the holy land
after the end,
giving hope, but causing pain,
so we write and love again and again,
to go back
but we lose track
and for the apple we reach
although they teach
us to withstand temptation
but in secret contemplation
we are all half sinners, half saints
and the idea of paradise
faints
and lives only in hopes and dreams and memory
and in art we see
what once
was our home, our harbour, we were safe.
persevered through poetry, passion and prose
and from the grave
they rose
into the holy land.
a longing, a dream, a missing
that will barely end.

© Gina Laventura, 2019

#modelmonday: Communicating with Models – #1 Finding the right model: How and where?

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#modelmonday: Communicating with Models

Every now and then, especially when I’m booked on workshops, I get frequently asked where to find models and how to approach them.
So, I thought it might be a good thing to write a blog post about this topic.

As this topic is quite broad and long blog posts don’t get read as much, I’m going to split the topic into several sections.
* finding models – how and where?
* approaching them / written communication
* behaving on set
* communicating after the shoot

Today, I’m trying to keep it short and simple concerning the first two points.

Well, times have changed and the formerly well frequented online platforms like model-kartei and modelmayhem are less and less frequented and experienced a fair drop in quality of the work portrayed there.
Which is also why several of the great ones that used to present their work on these platforms now deleted their accounts. Nevertheless, it’s worth keeping some pictures up there and checking now and then for some good job offers or for interesting workshops, model sharings, and of course models from your region for example.
Before the decrease, these platforms where a good option to pursue your hobby or passion or even job.
Now, today Facebook and Instagram are more and more present and I consider it fair to say that basically if you’re not present on these platforms, you rarely exist on the internet.
Nowadays only few people go and search for websites if they search for a photographer, respectively a model. (Unless your SEO content is of such a major quality that your website is one of the first three ones popping up when I google “photographer in [insert area]” for example.
I know that especially certain generations have a critical opinion towards social media and that even having a Facebook account is a nuisance to them. And by the way, I completely understand that!
But, I think it’s just fair to say that you should consider the option.

Now, wherever you search, here some general points:
Instead of searching directly for models, here’s another option: Find photographers whose style you like and click through their portfolio. Mostly the models are linked (as they should be, credit to those who deserve it, huh) and then you can check out their portfolio and see whether it matches your wishes and needs. If you’re unsure whether they are the right choice and whether they have the right work ethic, check for their rating or even ask one of the photographers that worked with them.
Read their sedcard text!!! Normally, if not totally devoured by nowaday’s crippled communication, the models show all important information, like range of work (fashion, portrait, nude, etc.), availability (full-time job or student), prices, special features (freckles, tattoos, etc.), impairments (allergies, short sightedness, etc.), measurements, skills (needs a MUA or can do make-up themselves) and so forth in their profile text.
Make really sure that your interest in working with this model is genuine, otherwise you do not only waste their, but mostly your own time as well.
Then write them a message in which you already include parts of the concept you’d like to produce with them.
If possible, have a mood board ready and/or save and like the pictures of the chosen model that you really appreciate and like.
Include pictures of the styling you’d like from their portfolio or in your mood board or if you offer the option of getting the desired clothes, tell them. (nothing more annoying than getting a request for a bridal shoot and three messages into the convo you mention that the model should bring their own wedding dress – which not every model possesses, just saying –)
Let them know, if they need make-up skills or if you provide a make-up artist.
Most importantly: State within the first three sentences if it’s a TFP or a paid shoot!
Make it easy for both you and communicate clearly. No, you don’t have to write a novel, bullet points are fine, but brief them correctly, it saves a lot of time on both sides.
And respect your potential model. If the box for “nude” is not ticked… guess what? It means they don’t do nude shoots!
(I know it sounds obvious, but believe me, you can’t imagine how many people don’t seem to pay attention to the basic info on the sedcard.)

If you visit workshops, ask the photographer who is giving the workshop whether they can recommend models.

If you are a beginner and you want to focus on technical stuff, let me give you an advice: Don’t shoot with a beginner model.
Be willing to pay! Pay for an advanced and experienced model who knows how to act in front of the cam, so you can focus on light, lens, aperture, ISO and all the other things you need to focus on.
You save yourself a lot of energy with that, because it can put pressure on you, if the model doesn’t know what to do and asks “like this?”, “should I do this?”, etc. because they feel just as insecure as you do. (same goes the other way round, but I already talked about that in another blogpost on building a portfolio)

So, once again, in a nutshell:
* search on model/photography platforms
* search on social media
* scroll through other photographers’ profiles and check out their models
* ask the leading photographer at a workshop for recommended models

* read the model’s sedcard text and check their portfolio and their range of work
* communicate your concepts and ideas clearly
* put all relevant information in your message
* state if it’s a TFP or paid shoot
* state what you provide and what they should bring
* as a beginner: be willing to pay for an experienced model

I hope my ideas provided some impulses and inspiration for you.
Let me know what you think or if you have ideas that I missed, shoot me a message.

For the sake of self-advertising:
Yes, you can book me as a model, if you wish to work with me 😉
Just scroll through my portfolio and hop over to the contact section and send me a message.

So long, my dears.

xx

#socialsaturday: Superficial Society

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#socialsaturday: Superficial Society

Hey my dears,

actually the first idea for a title was “why do we desire that people desire what we desire?”, but then I thought it might be too long. And maybe too confusing.
But seriously, why do we do that?
Okay, okay, I see, I need to put some structure in here, otherwise we will get lost in a hundred topics.
So, give me a sec. And a sip of coffee.

Okay, back to the topic.
What distinguishes us as humans from animals?
I mean despite regular hair cuts, clothes and make-up and hot baths instead of licking ourselves clean like a cat.
Well, philosophers would say reason and language. Homo logos, you know. Which also implies a correlation between language and divine logic or sense.
Can we just wait here a second.
Reason. Well, I don’t know about you, but recently I’ve seen people doing more things that – at least for me – don’t fall under the category of reasonable than I could put in one blog post without boring you.
I mean, take simple things like throwing trash onto the street while walking when the bin is just 2 freaking meters away from you. Does that sound reasonable?
Or pushing your pram into the bus in such a way that no one can get from the front to the end while the bus driver is yelling that everybody should move further to the back and then you shout at the people who kindly ask you if there was a chance they might pass by. Does that sound reasonable?
Other way round, going to the gym to train your biceps so that every girl would fall for your trained body straight away and wants to touch it, but then being at the train station and watching a mother with a toddler and a pram and not helping her get that pretty heavy thing up the stairs, does that sound reasonable?
I think you get what I’m aiming at, but believe me, there are hundreds of millions of examples where I think doubting reason within people is kind of a daily sport.
(Btw: this doesn’t exclude myself, countless times that I kind of watch myself and then wonder “Well, Gina, was that reasonable? Is there any logical thinking left in your head or is it just on top of your neck to look good on a portrait, sheesh, girl, get your shit together!”)

Language. First, let us ask one simple, but very important question: What’s it good for?
Is it just for me to name things and so that I can define things that pop up in my head and explain them to myself?
The keyword is communication. And this means (at least according to various sources I looked up for this post) the sending, receiving and exchanging of information (or things).
But it’s about sending and receiving. Normally this includes two or more people, doesn’t it?
(Don’t judge people, who use this human tool also to communicate with themselves, it’s just you explaining your own thoughts to yourself, which I consider pretty fine, don’t worry.)
So, why and when did communication turn into one interlocutor using the other one as a stage to put their own life narration into the spotlight?
I mean.. where is the exchange?
Believe me, my dears, I commute too often with public transport and even one time forgetting your earphones makes you notice too many things around you. But on the other hand, it’s an impulse for blog posts, huh?
So, please, play this game the next time you’re sitting somewhere and listen to people talking. And I mean, for a while.
Can you find exchange? Like real exchange? Or is it rather everybody just talking about themselves and then it’s the other one’s turn?
Just observe.

Now for the desire part.
Reason and language flow into it, if you are wondering now why I talked about that before.
So, let’s take some pretty common conversation, okay?

Situation 1: Two people graduated from high school.
A: And what are you going to study?
B: I’m not going to study.
A: What?!
B: I want to do an apprenticeship.
A: Ah.

Situation 2: A student (B) living from a part-time job and a credit and someone being at the end of their apprenticeship (A) and already earning “real” money are talking.
A: And when are you going to move out from your parents’ house?
B: Well, actually I’m aiming for higher education and want to do another degree once I finished the first one.
A: So, you don’t want to move out until you’re what? 28?

Situation 3: An engaged or married woman in the process of family planning (A) and a woman focussed on her career (B) are talking.
A: And when are you going to marry?
B: Hm?
A: When are you going to marry and have children?
B: Um, dunno?!
A: Well, darling, we all don’t get younger, do we?

Why is it that we seem to desire that other people desire what we desire?
And this assumption wouldn’t even be the worst thing. The worst thing is the next step that oh so frequently follows:
Judgement.
As if our life narration was the only valid one.

If your greatest desire is to study and you have the privilege of getting a chance to do it, then value it!
There are people who would love to, but that don’t have access to education, let alone higher education.
And if your friend decides that studying isn’t their cup of tea, then congratulate them on their choice and wish them all the best.

If what you define as a desirable life includes moving out as early as possible and having a space of your own and you get the chance to get it, value it!
Maybe your studying friend would love to have a place of their own, too, but they had to decide about their priorities: flat or next degree.
Who are you to tell them they made the wrong choice just because your choice would have been different?

If your vision of a desirable life necessarily includes getting married and having children, and you found the right partner and you were physically able to give birth to healthy children, then guess what, value it!
And if you found fulfilment in that and you think “wow, now I truly know what I’m here for!” than that’s great. But who are you to tell another woman that unless she has children she doesn’t know her purpose here on earth? Isn’t that a bit harsh?
And even if she doesn’t want to, or didn’t find the person with whom she’d love to, who are you to judge someone else’s priority list?

Let me tell you something:
We will all be judged one day. But that’s not our job, believe me.
Who are we to tell other people which desire and life narration is valid and which is not?
And when did we get so presumptuous and arrogant to assume that our choices are the only right ones?
When did we forget to stay open and listen and see the world from different angles?
When did we forget to communicate?

And now for reasonable communication:
Why don’t we listen? Why do we act our lives out on a virtual and now even analogue stage as if it was the best play ever written and any other narration was invalid and less worthy?
Can we maybe change the narration?

How about

Situation 1
A: Are you going to study or do you want to do an apprenticeship?

Situation 2:
A: What are your plans and desires for the future?

Situation 3:
A: Do you want to marry and have children one day?

On a grammatical level, most yes-or-no-questions or questions without suggesting an answer, offer more space for real communication.
Be open, be interested, listen. And for the sake of an open and less superficial society: Don’t judge!
Please.

Can we maybe start asking really cool and interesting questions again?
Like
How are you?
What makes you happy?
What’s your favourite dish?

I could go on writing about this subject, but I’ll leave it at that. For now.
As always, feel free to comment here, share your opinion with me via email or Facebook or Instagram.

So long, my dears.

xxx
Gina.

#freelancefriday: Myths and Prejudices

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#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.

 

 

 

 

 

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#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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