#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.

#randomramblings: Kühnheit, Kontemplation und Kreativität in der Krise

Read in English

#randomramblings: Kühnheit, Kontemplation und Kreativität in der Krise

Hey meine Lieben,

nein, heute gibt es keine #sundaystory*, sondern quasi einen Interimspost aufgrund der aktuellen Lage.
Die Situation ist grad nicht einfach, es fühlt sich an als stünde die Welt Kopf, vieles ist nicht mehr so, wie wir es kannten oder wie wir uns über Jahre, Jahrzehnte und gar unser ganzes Leben dran gewöhnt haben.
Ich werde es jetzt vermeiden das zu wiederholen, was eh jeden Tag in den Nachrichten gesagt wird und was man aus dem Freundes- und Bekanntenkreis hört, denn vermutlich ist ein jeder von uns schon von zu viel Information überflutet. Andererseits ist es auch nicht mein Ziel, hier einen auf heile, heile, Gänschen zu machen und so zu tun als sei alles eitel Sonnenschein und rosig. Ist es nicht.
Aber wer mir schon eine Weile folgt oder mich gar persönlich kennt, dürfte bemerkt haben, dass ich einen Hang zum Optimismus habe. Gern nenne ich ihn pragmatischen Optimismus.
Denn ein Freund sagte mir mal “So, Gina, jetzt haben wir eine Stunde über das Problem geredet, lass uns jetzt mindestens eine Stunde über die Lösung reden, das ist wesentlich sinnvoller.”
Worauf ich hinauswill ist, dass ich nicht alles beschönigen will, gar mit verblümter Ignoranz etwas daherschwafeln möchte. Das liegt mir fern.
Lösungen für die Situation hab ich keine. Aber ich würde gerne versuchen, meinen Beitrag zu leisten, um Licht zu verbreiten. Und mein Medium dafür könnt ihr euch denken.
Ich hoffe, der Text wird strukturierter als meine Gedanken es gerade sind und ich hoffe, ihr findet etwas darin, was euch einen inspirierenden Impuls gibt.

Es wird noch weitere Posts in meinen Kategorien #modelmonday, #writerswednesday, #freelancefriday, #socialsaturday geben, die speziell für diese Zeit der Krise geschrieben wurden.
Meldet euch gern für den Newsletter an, um auf dem Laufenden zu bleiben.

Hier also ein paar Perspektiven, was wir vielleicht in dieser Zeit tun, von ihr lernen und aus ihr mitnehmen können.

Zeit
Jetzt sind wir bei dem Satz, den ich bereits in einem vorangegangenen Post geschrieben habe.
“Wir werden nie Zeit haben, außer wir nehmen sie uns.”
Viele haben sie nicht genommen, jetzt ist sie einfach da, gewollt oder ungewollt.

Und anstatt sich jetzt darauf zu verbeißen, dass eigentlich der Alltag ja so und so aussieht und man ja jetzt eigentlich gerade das und das täte und da und da wäre, hallo Konjunktiv, können wir es vielleicht pragmatischer und sinnvoller angehen.
Wie oft habt ihr sowas gesagt wie “Ach, wenn ich mal Zeit hätte, dann würde ich endlich mal diese olle quietschende Schranktür reparieren”? Wahlweise auch streichen, aufräumen, Hemden bügeln, die Holzmöbel mit Holzpolitur pflegen, Balkonpflanzen umtopfen oder sonstiges. Das sind produktive Dinge.
Aber natürlich hört man die Sätze auch auf persönliches bezogen “Ja, wenn ich die Zeit hätte, die Person XY hat, dann würde ich mir auch die Nägel machen und tausend Frisuren ausprobieren, aber ich muss ja im Gegensatz zu ihr…”. Oder auch “Ja, so viel Zeit wie der hat, kein Wunder, dass er das Spiel schon durchgezockt hat”, dieses oder jenes Buch gelesen hat, oder nehmt, was euch einfällt.
Ebenfalls beliebt “Wenn ich Zeit hätte und ich zuhause nicht so abgelenkt wäre, würde ich auch gern zuhause Sport machen.”
Der Faktor mit der Ablenkung ist sicherlich ein schwieriger, aber lasst mich versuchen, euch zu helfen. Ich bin weiß Gott kein Experte, aber als jemand, der viel im Home Office erledigt und sowieso eher zu den aktiven (manche sagen rastlosen) gehört, hab ich vielleicht ein paar Tricks für euch im Ärmel.

Wir sortieren oben genanntes:
– Produktives / Pragmatisches
– Spaß
– Weiterbildung
– Sport

Gerade, wenn man es nicht gewöhnt ist, daheim zu arbeiten oder sich auf beispielsweise Online-Kurse einzulassen, bieten die eigenen vier Wände viel zu viele Möglichkeiten, in einem perpetuum mobile zu enden.
Aber tendenziell kann es sinnvoll sein, zuerst das Äußere zu bearbeiten, um mögliche Ablenkungen zu eliminieren.
Also eben zuerst den Küchenschrank zu reparieren, die doofe Schublade endlich mal aufzuräumen, Lampen abzustauben, zu wischen, Hemden zu bügeln, etc. etc. etc.
Wie gesagt, man muss nur aufpassen, nicht in einer Schleife hängenzubleiben, denn während man Aufgabe A gerade bearbeitet, fallen einem nebst den noch gelisteten Aufgaben B und C meist noch mehr auf, meist bis Z durch und dann nochmal das ganze Alphabet mit A’ und so weiter.
Daher empfehle ich die Methode, die ich auch in meinem Video zum Thema Zeitmanagement und Organisation als IGTV auf Instagram und hier in einem meiner Blogposts benannt habe:
Nehmt eine Portion an Aufgaben, die ihr auch wirklich an einem Tag schaffen könnt und fangt mit denen an, die der groben Struktur schon mal Form verleihen.
Also bevor ihr anfangt, eure Waschmaschine minutiös mit Washytape aufzuhübschen, beginnt doch bitte erstmal beim Ausmisten und Wegwerfen, arbeitet euch dann, nachdem die Schubladen und Schränke wieder ordentlich sind zum großen Hausputz vor und widmet euch dann den Details. (Außer diese dienen euch als kreative Pause und ihr fühlt euch sicher genug, den Weg zurück zu dem was getan werden muss vs. was getan werden möchte, zu finden)

Weiterbildung ist natürlich auch ein produktiver und pragmatischer Weg, die Zeit zu verbringen.
Jetzt könnt ihr endlich die Sprache lernen, die ihr schon immer mal lernen wolltet oder das Fachbuch über Thema XY durchackern. Viele Anbieter verschenken momentan sogar kostenlose Kurse und e-books. #solidarität und so, also wenn euch Hörbücher, Sprachen oder auch DIY-Projekte im Haushalt oder sonst was interessiert, könnt ihr nun das Internet nach kostenlosen Materialien durchstöbern oder auch für kleines Geld einen Kurs von einem Experten buchen.
Dasselbe gilt für Sport. Viele Trainer, die eigene Apps haben, bieten auch ihre Kurse momentan kostenlos oder stark vergünstigt an, manche Fitnessstudios stellen kostenlos Youtube-Videos zur Verfügung, etc.
Und der Spaß, wie Spiele spielen, endlich mal wieder lesen oder entspannt Musik hören, soll natürlich auch nicht zu kurz kommen.

Das größte Problem dürfte hierbei auch wieder in der Abwesenheit der vom Alltag diktierten Routine liegen. Versteh ich.
Aber, ich habe gute Neuigkeiten für euch: Ihr seid jetzt der Kapitän des Schiffes!
Ihr könnt euch selbst eine Routine bauen. Ist nicht so einfach, geb ich zu, dauert auch ja, und ja, viele argumentieren mit “Ja, dann hab ich eine neue Routine und dann ist alles vorbei und der Alltag kommt zurück. Wozu also?”
Jaaaaaa….nein! Zweite gute Nachricht: Ihr könnt sogar Dinge, die euch an eurer eigenen Routine gefallen, später mitnehmen und integrieren. 😉

Hier also der pragmatische Ansatz:
Schnappt euch mal ein großes Blatt Papier. Wir nehmen die Methode, die ich im oben genannten Video und Post verwende und wenden sie einfach auf diesen Fall hier an.
Wir schreiben alle Aufgaben auf, die, die getan werden müssen/sollten, die, die wir machen möchten und wir kategorisieren sie beispielsweise nach Arbeit, Spaß, Sport und Fortbildung. Einfach wild aufs Papier.
Auf gehts, alles einmal listen bitte, alles, was euch einfällt!

Fertig? Super!
Sieht jetzt vielleicht sehr viel aus.
Nehmt bitte ein zweites Blatt Papier und erstellt Listen mit den von euch gewünschten Kategorien. (Empfehlenswert ist auch sie bunt zu gestalten)
Und nun nehmt die Dinge, die ihr wild aufs Papier geschrieben habt und betrachtet sie einmal ordentlich.
Sagen wir, ihr habt Haushalt grün in eurer Liste stehen. Kringelt nun auf dem wilden Papier alles, was mit Haushalt zu tun hat, grün ein.
Und jetzt sortiert sie in die Liste, aber am besten nach einem logischen Prinzip. Wie oben beschrieben.
Macht es Sinn, erst den großen Hausputz zu veranstalten und dann die Schränke auszuräumen und auszumisten? Oder wäre es andersrum besser?
Versucht euch die Abläufe vorzustellen und so zu listen, dass der Ablauf Sinn macht und ihr nicht in drei Wochen eine Aufgabe sieben Mal gemacht habt und eine andere immer noch nicht erledigt habt, obwohl ihr eigentlich wolltet.
Das dauert. Macht mal.
Gut.
Jetzt verfahrt mit den anderen Kategorien genauso.

Super. Jetzt solltet ihr eine überschaubare Liste haben.
Wer mag, kann das nun in seinen Kalender eintragen oder nach Lust und Laune machen. Wenn ihr morgens aufsteht und vielleicht beim Frühstück oder ersten Kaffee denkt “Ah, heute ist ein guter Tag für Sport”, dann schnappt euch vielleicht eine Sache von eurer Sport-Liste. “Heut fühl ich mich weder kreativ noch sportlich, eigentlich will ich nur mit Freunden schnacken”. Okay. Macht das, ruft die Freunde an. Während ihr zum Beispiel den Kleiderschrank aufräumt. 😉 Außerdem können die Freunde euch vielleicht beim Entscheiden, welches Kleidungsstück weg kann und welches bleiben soll, helfen. Na, wie klingt das?

Ich persönlich bin ein Freund davon, aus verschiedenen Kategorien mindestens eine Sache zu wählen und diese dann zu kombinieren, verfahre aber auch oftmals, wenn möglich, nach dem “Wonach ist mir heute?”-Prinzip und wähle dann Dinge, die getan werden müssen und kombiniere sie mit etwas, was ich tun möchte und wonach mir ist.
Empfehlenswert ist es meiner Meinung nach, mindestens eine Sache zu wählen, die unter Muss fällt und mindestens eine Sache zu wählen, die unter möchte fällt.
Heißt, bevor ich sechs Dinge tu, auf die ich Bock hab, nehme ich wohl eher eine oder zwei, drei Sachen, die getan werden müssen und bearbeite sie zuerst. So habe ich Erfolg und Spaß an einem Tag.
Quasi das Ü-Ei der Erwachsenen 😀

Bevor dieser Post jetzt komplett ausartet, schmeiße ich hier mal ein paar Dinge, die man tun kann, in den Raum:

Haushalt & Co.
– Kleiderschrank ausmisten und aussortierte Kleidung spenden oder online verkaufen (was gutes tun oder sogar noch ein paar Groschen [ja, ich habe Groschen gesagt] verdienen)
– Ordnung in den Schränken machen
– waschen, bügeln, Möbel und Böden pflegen
– Lampen entstauben
– Fotos archivieren und alte Daten vom Computer aussortieren

Sport
– Online-Kurse oder Videos suchen oder die zur Verfügung stehenden Mittel nutzen und sich sportlich betätigen
– Wer sich nicht gut allein motivieren kann und vielleicht alleine wohnt, kann sich online Gruppen anschließen, die zu einem bestimmten Zeitpunkt am Tag gemeinsam die Übungen machen
– Auch Konsolen mit entsprechenden Sport-Spielen eignen sich

Business (zu diesem Thema wird es noch einen gesonderten Post geben)
– Jetzt ist die Zeit, in der ihr eure Website überarbeiten könnt
– Ihr könnt – je nachdem, in welcher Branche ihr tätig seid – über alternative Wege für Vertrieb, Marketing und euer Angebot nachdenken
– Ihr könnt auch per E-Mail, Telefon und Co. versuchen, weiter Kunden zu akquirieren, auch wenn es in der aktuellen Situation schwierig sein kann
– Besondere Angebote für eure Kunden könnt ihr erstellen und auf den Plattformen, die ihr nutzt, verbreiten

Weiterbildung
– Endlich könnt ihr euch den DIY-Projekten widmen, die Bauteile für euer Palettenregal liegen doch schon seit Monaten in eurem Keller
– Etwas neues lernen, eine Sprache, kochen, sich selbst die Haare zu schneiden, Maniküre daheim, Zeichnen, was auch immer euch interessiert und ihr immer schon mal lernen wolltet

Spaß & Entspannung
– Einen langen Spaziergang durch die Natur machen und dem Wind und den Vögeln lauschen
– Lesen
– Hörbücher hören
– Endlich mal den Film / die Serie schauen, die ihr schon so lang sehen wolltet
– Mit Freunden telefonieren
– Analog mit den Mitbewohnern, dem Partner, der Familie Spiele spielen oder online mit Freunden etwas spielen
– Geburtstagsgeschenke basteln (besonders für diejenigen, die ihren Geburtstag aufgrund der Krise nicht feiern können, hallo, ihr lieben Widder, keine Sorge, Partys kann man nachholen, aufgeschoben ist nicht aufgehoben und man muss die Feste feiern, wie sie fallen 😉 )
– Meditation / Entspannungsübungen
– durch die Wohnung tanzen

Das ist nur eine kleine Auswahl, aber vielleicht sind da ja ein paar Impulse bei, die euch selbst zum Nachdenken anregen. Ich hoffe es.
Teilt gern eure eigenen Ideen und Tipps hier in den Kommentaren. Inspiration durch Kommunikation. Sharing is caring.

Und nun stellt euch Folgendes vor:
Wie wäre es wohl, wenn wir von dieser Situation lernen und etwas mitnehmen?
Wenn wir, wenn die Wogen sich geglättet haben, trainierter, ruhiger, wissender und mit vielen Dingen, die wir gelernt und gemacht haben all unsere Lieben wieder treffen und wir sie in unser neu gestaltetes und aufgeräumtes Heim einladen und dann Stunde um Stunde uns darüber austauschen, was wir alles gemacht, gelernt und mitgenommen haben?

Versteht mich nicht falsch, ich weiß, es ist schwer, besonders für Familien mit Kindern, die jetzt auch noch Home Office machen müssen und dies absolut nicht gewöhnt sind. Für die, die weiterhin mit Sorge arbeiten gehen müssen. Für die Pflegekräfte, die Ärzte, die Einzelhändler, die Paketzusteller und Handwerker, die Landwirte und all die kleinen und mittelständischen Unternehmen und Selbstständigen, die sich mit großen Sorgen konfrontiert sehen.
Ich seh euch und ihr seid mutig. Wahre Helden. Mein Dank und Respekt gebührt euch und ich denke an euch!
Aber vielleicht findet auch ihr hier drin etwas, das eurer sorgenvollen Seele einen Lichtblick und etwas Ruhe schenkt.
Sorgenfrei bin ich auch nicht, aber ich entscheide mich bewusst für die Hoffnung und den Optimismus.
Und teile sie mit euch. Ich hoffe, ihr breitet die Arme aus und nehmt sie an.

Passt auf euch auf, bleibt zuhause, bleibt gesund.

xx

Gina.

*die #sundaystory wird leider aussetzen müssen und die nächste Runde wird erst nach Publikation meines neuen Buches gespielt. Ich brauche momentan meine Ressourcen, um mein Business am Laufen und den kreativen Fluss am Fließen zu halten. Ich bitte um euer Verständnis.

#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

#freelancefriday: Organisation & Time Management

Auf Deutsch lesen

#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]

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.

My Catalyst for Creative Impulses

My dears,

It’s already been a while since I’ve been blogging.
But I’m on it, working on it.
But here’s something, I wanted to invite you to:
Follow me on Instagram!
Why?
Because, you know, sometimes, when it’s just too busy a time to sit down and write a blog post (including obsessive paranoia about spelling mistakes resulting in three circles of proofreading..), but still inspiration hits you hard, you need to find a way to release that creative pressure.
And I found a catalyst for those inspirations that jump on me in moments when I’m most busy and in the flow, mainly when I take a short coffee or tea break from working.
Well, that catalyst is Instagram, because with the app InstaQuote I can create neat little pictures with texts on it and upload them on Instagram and Facebook with just one click.
So, if you don’t want to miss out on anything, I invite you to follow my Insta profile to stay tuned.
Of course this doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop blogging, it’s just a way to release the pressure that builds up when inspiration strikes me, but I don’t find the time to create a full blog post here.
Here are some results that I’ve created so far:

This one was the first one I created and I felt so released afterwards
gina-laventura-remaining-scars-victory-memory-free-set-me-free-

The following one was my contribution to Valentine’s Day (for all the cynics out there 😉 )
gina-laventura-valentines-day-cynics-my-hail-to-love-storm-wind-compass

The following one has the caption:
“Talent is fine, but in order to live up to your full potential, passion is essential. Passion and the will to pursue and to persist. To pursue your dreams and to persist on your goals. And to persevere when it gets hard.”

IMG_3699

And of course I use it for funny things as well 😉
gina-laventura-workout-selfies-gym

Please tell me what you think?
Do you have any recommendations for other apps that might be helpful?
You can comment here or on Facebook or on Instagram.

I hope a wonderful and joyful Easter weekend is ahead of you.
All the best and stay tuned. 🙂

xxx

Happy (Chinese) New Year and Thank You!

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar

IMG_0445
Photo & Editing: freshandjuicy

My dears,

I am utterly, utterly sorry for not having posted for so long.
And I know I have said that a hundred times before, but as plain as it sounds: sometimes life comes in between!
I had planned so many blog posts and thoughts I wanted to share with you and I am well aware that I still owe you two sundaystories.
But I hope you will be kind with me and understand that I was just too busy and too many things happened all at the same time, so I had to set priorities and work my way through a whole lot of to-do-lists and tasks. And although art and writing is definitely a priority in my heart, other matters had to be put first.

I felt terribly sorry and even told a friend “now that I have gained some new readers who even show interest in my blog and interact with me, I let them down” and he said I shouldn’t worry and that my readers probably would be patient and understanding and caring and kind and that they would be happy when I finally post again.
So, I hope he was right.

I won’t promise to publish a bunch of blog posts right now, because I prefer making promises that I can keep and as it is still a turbulent time for me with loads of things to do, I don’t want to disappoint you by not finding the time to blog.
But I promise that all the posts I had planned will be published bit by bit and I hope you find something interesting, enjoyable and inspiring in it.

Well, I haven’t made it to post at New Year to wish you a wonderful start into a hopefully successful and amazing new year, but at least I made it to Chinese New Year, which started on the 8th February.
It will be the year of the Red (Fire) Monkey and is said to become an interesting, adventurous year with many chances to achieve goals.
So, I wish that this year will hold its promise for you and that you find the strength to set out and achieve the goals you’ve set yourself!

Remember when in my Christmas Post I invited you to count your blessings on Christmas Eve?
Well, of course I did the same and I think it is a beautiful way to end one year and step into the next: Being aware of and thankful for one’s blessings!
This is why I’d like to say a big

to all of you.
To the ones of you, who have followed and accompanied me from my first blog steps to the relaunch, through texts and videos and photos to the publishing of Labelled Love.
I am thankful for my family and friends who support me in all my endeavors.
I’m thankful for all the inspiring people I was and am allowed to meet and for the remarks and moments that brighten my days and keep me going.
Some examples (as shown in the picture):
Once an acquaintance wrote me a message, saying something along the lines of “I’ve just read your blog and I love your story Reflection” followed by one of the remarks that has stuck with me ever since: “Your art matters.”
Or when I was having a really bad phase and a million things happened at once and I was struggling and one of my closest friends asked what was wrong with me and I answered something like “Everyone reaches their limit at some point” and she replied “My free spirit Gina has no limits!”.
Or when another one of my closest friends bought my book and when I said that she doesn’t even read in English, she said “but it’s written by you and I want to display it on my shelf because I’m proud of my friend”.
Or the moment when I advertised my first book being published on social media and a former close friend hit the ‘like’ button and I had to smile, because we had known each other eight or ten years before “One day” (the day I published) and I always said “One day I’m going to publish a book”; it was as if my words were remembered and hitting the ‘like’ button somehow said something like “Well done, girl, I knew you would.”. Despite my critical point of view of overrating ‘likes’ and the like, this was a moment it actually meant something.
The moments when someone says that they read my blog and liked it or when people send me inspiring and motivating quotes or ask for more entries to keep me going; the moment one of my favorite poetry slammers (Patrick Salmen, the first slammer I ever saw on stage and the reason I still go and watch slams) started following me on instagram; the moment I was allowed to see Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Big Magic, a book I love, live and even ask her questions; the moments I’m able to collaborate with other creative people, like writers, dancers, actors, directors, photographers and videographers; the moments you guys read and like and comment and interact with my work; the moments I’m allowed to be connected to creativity and experience inspiration.
I could list at least twenty more examples, but I’m going to leave it at that.
Thank you!

What is it that you are thankful for?

I think it is important to sit down once in a while and really take the time and list the things we love, appreciate and that we are thankful for.
And to communicate them.
That is what I’d like to invite you to: Think about it, count your blessings, list them (in mind or on paper), communicate!
Tell someone what you appreciate in them, tell someone that you love them, tell a stranger that you find their aura astonishing, tell yourself something nice.
Life is too short not to spread the love.
Namaste.

To provide you with a sweet little appetizer of what is planned for the next blog posts (please, give me some time):
* Two book recommendations
* Some tipps for creativity
* Two sundaystories I still owe you
* Another game of #sundaystory
* At least three further blog posts on diverse topics
* Text and Image collaborations telling stories through visuals and lyric
* Further projects, still to be planned in detail 😉

Any preferences how I should prioritize? Any other ideas?
Hey, it’s New Year with goals to be achieved: Let me know, is there anything you’d like to see here and what you’d be interested in?
Comment here or send me an email or a message on Facebook.

All the best and loads of love.

Gina.

Merry Christmas!

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar


picture source: pixelstalk.net

My dears,

I’m utterly utterly sorry for not posting for so long.
Recently I have been too busy to blog, but I hope I’ll find time during the holidays to get back to blogging asap and present some new texts to you!

I wish you all a wonderful and blessed Christmas time amongst your beloved ones with loads of love and joy and happiness!

Let us count our blessings tonight and pray for the ones who are not as fortunate as we are and share and spread some love and piece; with our families, friends, neighbours, strangers, across the world. We are all one.

All the best

Gina.

Taking a shower

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Photo & Edtiing: GOTOX, 2011

Today a result from a writing exercise I had to do in one of my courses.
Basically the exercise was this: Normally you handle adjectives and comparisons carefully, just like stereotypes, but this time, think about something that you did today and try to compare it to anything and use many adjectives. Exaggeration helps to become aware of stylistic devices.

Taking a shower

This morning I woke up and my back was hurting like hell. I felt as if I had been run down by a lorry.
I knew the only suitable pain relief I could get was a hot shower, so I took my towels and my peeling gloves which remind me of goose-bumps on a shivering body when I touch them and opened my door which made a similar shrieking noise like me after having noticed the severe pain in my back. I tiptoed over the blue carpet that was leading my way to the shower from one edge of the hallway to the other just like those tunnel visions people have when they are about to die. I could even see the white light at the end of the corridor. While I was tiptoeing the blue carpet tickled my feet and it felt as comfortable as the grass did back in my childhood days when I ran across the green of our back garden.
When I finally reached the bathroom door I opened it as quiet as I could to not be reminded of that shrieking sound again. I entered the shower room and closed the door, put my towels on the doorknob and started undressing myself like in slow motion. Although for me it felt as if I was moving like an old woman who was suffering from some severe disease, I imagined myself as undressing with a sexy slowness as if I was about to seduce somebody with this striptease. I let my clothes drop like leafs of a tree in autumn and entered the shower. Then I shut the door and despite the fact that this shower room is more reminiscent of a cabin in a psychiatric clinic and unsuitable for claustrophobics, I just felt protected like a pearl in a shell.
I turned on the hot water and let it run down my aching body, stretched my arms and reached on tiptoes for the top of the shower door in a position that reminded me of some random BDSM story where the victim is tied up, about to being whipped.

Gina Laventura © 2012

funny anecdote: I read this story out loud in class and my lecturer said “Well, your story seems to work as all the boys, the further you went in your story, blushed and started watching their feet.”

Cheese Macaroni

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar

super fast, super easy and super tasty macaroni! 🙂

You need:
250g Macaroni
250g Ricotta
2 teaspoons of grainy mustard
3 spoons of chives
salt and pepper
200g Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
100g dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
butter or oil for the form
100g grated emmentaler (or a cheese mix for gratins)

a big bowl and a form for gratin.

Put the macaroni in a pot with boiling salted water and make them al dente according to the packaging.

Mix ricotta, mustard and chives in a big bowl and add salt and pepper to taste.
Now put in the macaroni, the cherry tomatoes and the dried tomatoes and stir everything.
Grease the gratin form. Put the macaroni mix in and distribute it evenly.
Preheat oven/grill. Put the cheese on top of the mix and grantinate it for 4-5 minutes in the grill. (works in a normal oven as well, but keep an eye on it, let’s say with 180° it might take up to 45min)

If you want to put some left over chives on top and serve the food.

Bon appetit! 🙂

#tbt: Winchester – Now and Then –

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#tbt: November 2014

Two years ago I’ve spent a semester abroad in England. In Winchester to be precise.
Before coming to the main topic, the short comeback to Winchester this year, I think I have to take a detour and start from the beginning.
3 months England. 3 months Winchester. “3 months holiday”, some people think. Haha, no. 12 weeks preparing courses and assignments, working on the mid-term assignments, the mark of which contributed to the final mark. Furthermore, one had to adjust to the different “system” as even essays are structured differently there.
3 months full of interesting courses and I had the luck of meeting amazing lecturers who were truly inspiring, not only concerning the content of their courses but also concerning their method of teaching. Moreover, I had a course about the short story and that was when the prose line of my writing started.
3 months of meeting new acquaintances, but moreover, making new friends. Friends who I still keep in contact with and in whose lives I still can – due to modern communication channels – participate at least a bit.
3 months I like to remind myself of. Not because everything was peace, love and harmony in a sea of milk and honey. It was a nerve-stretching time and a lot was moving and changing and it continued when I came back home. But maybe that’s the reason why I like to remember this time. Because it was milk and honey in sleepless nights and cake combined with contemplative days.
3 months, I wouldn’t want to miss.

Interim: I came back home. The first thing I did? Taking everything out of each and every single cupboard, shelf and other storage possibility I own and sort it out. Outside the box so to speak. Making room for air to breath. Meeting friends. The friendship to my beloved people intensified and we grew closer to each other than we were before. And I’m thankful for that.
Uni. Work. Creative stuff. Inhale, taking a run-up and run. Making up time. Tearing forward in order to hopefully get where you want to get.

Fast Forward: 2014.
Finally there was the possibility of visiting Winchester again. Even if just for four days.
After the bus that started at Heathrow spit us all out at the King Alfred Statue and I was able to inhale deeply, I had to smile. The sleep deprivation and the inconvenience of travel (and yes, it is an inconvenience to ride on a bus for one hour when it smells as if a complete fish market decided to lock itself up in there), was irrelevant. Washed away. I was there.
Besides the fact that in most cases when you travel and you are “away” the atmosphere is different, England always had something special about it for me.
When saying “away” we mostly mean being “away from everyday life”, away from routine, from constant repetition. Taking a break from the meritocratic and hectic society in whose wheel we run every day just to fall out of it at the end of the day, crawling into bed and falling asleep with the feeling that we haven’t achieved enough.
At least this is how you can feel from time to time. We’re just talking about a feeling, not about it being an actual fact. And whether this is optimal or not we don’t want to discuss now, either.
But here’s the main point: I often tried to analyse why I felt so comfortable in Winchester, in England. (So comfortable, that it’s always hard for me to leave again.) Is it because of all the memories I harbour? Because of the fact that I always connect it to an aha-moment and a moving time? I really tried to analyse it over and over and over again. Do I idealise and if I’d be there for a longer time, everything would be as much routine as here, as stuck, as hectic, just the same?
For now, and I say for now, the diagnosis of my analysis is this: I personally perceive the mentality there as different. The people there also have a job, a house to clean, hobbies, friends, families, obligations, ambitions and goals. But somehow they still manage to meet their friends once a week for a pint and a round of pool in a pub or to have dinner together and talk. Without watching the clock all the time, without getting nervous and making the impression as if the length of their to-do-list just doubled because of this enjoyable time.
It’s this having time, or maybe taking time for things that make you happy. And still managing to get everything else done. But the people seem more relaxed about it. I say seem, because it is my personal opinion, my personal impression. If you want to agree, you can agree, if you can’t agree, then you don’t agree with me, that’s ok. As said, I’m talking about a feeling, not necessarily of a fact that can be proved.

I was asked “Is Winchester still the same as when you left?”
 Well, yes and no.
 Of course, the air is the same, the city didn’t change too much, although there are some new shops and some building sites. But of course, things changed, we changed. It’s been two years now and it would have been a shame if everything was still the same, wouldn’t it? We all progress and proceed with our lives and that is good, we grow and develop.
But what I can say is this: It was an absolutely amazing feeling to meet again after such a time span and seeing old friends again, catching up, sitting in a pub and talking as if two years had been nothing at all.

And no, to say “just take this relaxed attitude and atmosphere and apply it when you’re back home” and believing that this is as easy as it sounds, is just wrong.
But it’s worth a try.

Head Holiday

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Photo & Editing: freshandjuicy

An endless to do list.
One task completed, two others added.
The thought about all the things you would like to do (again) if you just had some time again. But first the washing has to be done, the house has to be cleaned, the bills have to be paid, the project has to be worked on, the emails and papers have to be sorted, the duties have to be fulfilled.
But then, yes then, when everything is done, then you can read the book you got for your birthday four months ago, then you can go to the theatre again or cosily relax on the balcony, or catch up with the thirty-five episodes of your favourite TV show or play a computer game again to complete the mission.
When did long to-do-lists become a sign for ambition? When did we decide that workaholic was the new career goal, no matter what branch we’re working in? When did stress become a synonym for eagerness and success? When did “you look exhausted, you should eat and sleep properly again” become a compliment that appreciates your body shape and is a hint towards your eagerness?
In this list like success plan even the things that are enjoyable and lovable become another to-do-nuisance, like “call Sarah”, “reply to Mark’s email” or “going to the cinema with Susi and Jo”. Are we still enjoying? Are we enjoying the time we’re now spending there or are we already structuring the next day in order to get the things done, for which there is no time left now because of the visit to the cinema?
Time…Factor time…always a topic. Especially in a society that is determined by phrases like “Time is money”. Maybe time is money. But moreover, time is precious. We just have it once. Once the minute is gone, you’ll never get it back. Sitting down from time to time and reflecting upon how you would like to (not should or have to) invest this precious good can be quite helpful.
We are stressed out, frantic, we run from appointment to appointment, from goal to goal, and we always believe to one day reach the point where we finally have the time to do all the things we’d like to do. But what if we never reach that point? What if there is always another point added to the list? What if we can’t help ourselves but to put another point on the list, because we are not used to and moreover, can’t handle a blank piece of paper anymore? What if we didn’t know what to do with it?
And what if, yes, what if we just took the time we think we didn’t have? What if we just followed the urge to walk through fields and forests after the first coffee in the morning? What if that was exactly what gives us enough energy to get eight instead of three things done from our to-do-list?
What if you took the little timeframe between the things that are to be done to start reading the first chapter of the book you got for your birthday four month ago? What if we replaced complaining about an urgently needed holiday by taking time for ourselves? Holiday in the head. Head holiday.
Be it during a stroll through fields and forests or while reading a book on the balcony or while sitting in the next café observing strangers, it doesn’t matter that much. What if we took the time and enjoyed it? And what if, yes, what if that would be exactly the method that makes it easier for us to get all the things done that are to be done?
Everybody’s talking about the great work-life-balance and everything has to be optimised and perfected, be it the working moral, the working method, one’s own look, the wardrobe, the time management or one’s partner. But with all this craze for optimisation we forgot to pause now and then and to enjoy what we already have (achieved), to say thank you. With all this perfectionism we forgot to be good, to be good to ourselves.
We’re not talking about lazing around or taking things not seriously, but we’re talking about stopping the monkey business in our minds in order to breath again. To stop optimising and start reflecting and realising. To sit down instead of running around.
To hold the eyes closed for a moment and taking a holiday.
A holiday in the head. Head holiday.

#tbt: Quoteworthy

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Throwback Thursday to when I was quoted. With a little addition to the original at the end.

You know, since I was 14 or so, I’ve been collecting. Everybody was collecting something back in those days. Be it little porcelain animals, candles, dried flowers, whatever it was, everybody had another obsession for collecting one thing or the other.
I started collecting quotes. Wrote them down in different colours in my little notebook.
Quotes from Nietzsche, Woolf, Wild, Cleopatra, anonymous people and sometimes even some smart remarks made by people that were close to me.
Often because they had a deeper level of meaning, but sometimes because I had the slight feeling that they might be exactly what I need in the future. In a desperate moment or a moment when I was searching for an answer to a particular question.
I dare say I was a good and passionate collector for some years, I could quote by heart and tell precisely who uttered it. For every occasion a quote would slip from my lips. For my birthday and other occasions I would get cards with quotes on it, so that I could pin them on my wall. My walls were selectively decorated with quote cards.
I had started writing poetry way before I became a quote collector.
Never did I really assume that one day one of my remarks or lines from my written works would become quote worthy or actually be quoted. (Until that one time where a fellow pupil stole one of my lines and pretended it was her’s, as everybody knew she was writing as well)

Fast forward: 2015.
Last year I published my first book.
And I got some feedback on it. And on some lines that are considered memorable.
Like “Love becomes a lost lullaby when we label it like lipstick.”

And then there is today.
Taking a break from working. Scrolling through my WhatsApp contacts (yes you only do that in breaks, out of boredom, curiosity or the itch of stalking someone, I know).
Out of a sudden I stopped.
There I saw it. As an away status.
A line oh so familiar to me.
“The heart’s a stranger we once knew.”
From my story Reflection. (reposted below)

I feel genuinely honoured and pleased.
These are no lines I picked up somewhere else. They are not the quote of a quote.
These are the words that fled from the inspirational spark in my mind through my body, through my fingertips onto the page.
And it made me smile to see these words, this line standing there.
Why? Because it means that those words mean something to someone. That they give something to someone.

And that is what I’m writing for.

Addition: I want to be honest with you. The true story went like this: I saw this quote. And I got angry. Why? Because it wasn’t really a quote. And as I’ve learned from Austin Kleon, whose works I will recommend tomorrow, “Quote correctly or don’t quote at all”. Okay, I’m not that strict, if you don’t know who said it but you love the quote and you can’t find out via google or other search options who said it, then I’m perfectly fine if you still share the quote you love. Only point is this: Please, please, please mark it as a quote! How? Use quotation marks! Just to indicate that this formation of words is not your intellectual property, that it doesn’t stem from your own mind. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t resonate with you, it’s still something that you shared. Nothing is taken away from you if you use these tiny quotation marks, I mean, come on, artists produce art and they share it, so of course it is an absolute joy if they see that their work resonates with the people, but if you don’t indicate that it is a quote (or name the origin of it if you know it) then it makes the impression of pretence, of stealing, of pretending that it was you who created it. Is that fair to the artist? Is that fair to all the sweat, blood and tears they’ve put into the creation of the work?
I don’t even ask for naming me. I just ask for two tiny “”.
So, you might wonder, if I got this angry with the quote which wasn’t indicated as one, why did I write such a positive post about it?
The answer is quite simple: Because I didn’t want this negativity to get hold of me. Every energy is energy, whether it is positive or negative. And we can transform it. It’s up to us what we make out of it. And that time I decided to transform the negative energy into positive energy.
So the original post was absolutely honest, so is this addition to it. Not because I decided to blame the person who didn’t quote correctly later on after having thought about it, absolutely not. I still stand to what I said in my original post, it is an honour and a pleasure to be quoted and it means a lot to me if something, be it a small piece of a sentence of one of my works, resonates with you and gives something to you, and yes, this is definitely a part of what I’m writing for, I want to give (back), but I decided to write this addition in order to urge you to quote correctly or at least to use quotation marks. Just to be fair with the artist, the creator.