#freelancefriday: Organisation & Time Management

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#freelancefreitag: Organisation & Time Management

Hey my dears,

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

So, the entrée

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

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

Shift your mindset concerning organisational skills

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

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

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

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

Tools

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

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

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

Methods

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

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

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

Now, for the dessert
Tools, products, apps*

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

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

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

So long, my dears.

Take care

xx


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

#freelancefriday: Myths and Prejudices

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#freelancefriday: Myths and Prejudices

Hey my dears,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me know in the comments below.

So long, my dears

xxx
Gina.

 

 

 

 

 

*[unpaid ad]

#writerswednesday: Pro vs. Passion

Beitrag auf Deutsch

#writerswednesday:Pro vs. Passion

Hey my dears,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So long, my dears

xxx
Gina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Warum Lektoren wichtig sind

This entry is also available in English

IMG_2535

Und mit Lektor meine ich die Leute, die nochmal alles Korrekturlesen, bevor es raus in die Öffentlichkeit geht.

Aber fangen wir vorne an.
Wir sind soziale Wesen und unsere Interaktion miteinander beruht auf Kommunikation, sei diese nun verbal oder non-verbal. “Man kann nicht nicht kommunizieren”, wie Paul Watzlawick schon sagte.
Und natürlich wissen wir, dass es verschiedene Absichten und Ziele gibt, wenn wir kommunizieren, oder zumindest lernt man das, wenn man Sprache und Literatur studiert.
Ich will nicht unbedingt in die Details von Friedemann Schulz von Thuns Modell der “vier Seiten einer Nachricht” eingehen, in dem er erklärt, dass eine Nachricht einen informativen, einen appellativen, einen selbstoffenbarenden Inhalt hat und etwas über die Beziehung der beiden Gesprächspartner preisgibt. Wenn euch weitergehende Details interessieren, findet ihr hier mehr.
Aber einigen wir uns aus argumentatorischen Gründen hierauf:
Eine Nachricht kann informativ, appellativ, überredend oder überzeugend sein.
Wenn wir nun also über Business-Kommunikation reden, sagen wir mal, ihr wollt ein Produkt oder eine Dienstleistung verkaufen, aber auch in privaten Konversationen, nehmen wir mal an, ihr wollt jemanden von eurem Argument überzeugen, denke ich, können wir uns darauf einigen, dass all diese Kommunikationskanäle eines gemeinsam haben: einen Zweck.
Aber was ist dieser Zweck? Dieses Ziel?
Wenn eure Nachricht informativ ist, hat sie den simplen Zweck ebendiese Information weiterzugeben, ihr wollt uns mit dieser Information füttern.
Wenn eure Nachricht appellativ ist, dann wollt ihr, dass wir auf diesen Appell reagieren, richtig?
Wenn eure Nachricht überredend oder überzeugend ist, dann wollt ihr, dass wir euch zustimmen.
Was nun all diese Beispiele gemeinsam haben, ist nicht nur, dass sie alle einen Zweck haben, sondern auch, dass sie alle den gleichen Zweck haben: Ihr wollt in uns eine REAKTION hervorrufen.
Aber was passiert, wenn eure Kommunikation schiefläuft?
Naja, im besten Fall: nichts.
Im schlimmsten Fall generiert ihr eine Reaktion in uns, die ihr nicht haben wolltet, zum Beispiel gebt ihr uns eine Information, die wir nicht brauchen, nicht verarbeiten können oder die wir weder fähig noch gewillt sind, herunterzuschlucken.
Oder euer Appell war darauf ausgelegt eine verbale (“Sag was!”) oder eine non-verbale (“Tu was!”) Reaktion hervorzurufen. Wenn eure Kommunikation misslingt, dann sagen wir weder etwas, noch tun wir etwas, im besten Fall. Im schlimmsten Fall sagen wir das, was ihr nicht hören wolltet oder tun genau das entgegengesetzte zu dem, was ihr eigentlich wolltet.
Oder aber eure überzeugende oder überredende Kommunikation geht daneben und wir widersprechen euch anstatt euch zuzustimmen.
So oder so, im Prinzip generiert ihr ein “Nein”, wo ihr eigentlich ein “Ja” haben wolltet, ganz simpel gesprochen.

Nette Rede, Miss Laventura, aber was hat das mit Lektoren zu tun?!
Lektoren sind – im besten Falle – Sprachliebhaber. Oder zumindest kennen sie ihr Werkzeug und wissen damit umzugehen.
Ihr Werkzeug? Wörter.

So, nächste Lektion:
Ihr denkt vielleicht, dass unser Denken unsere Sprache beeinflusst, richtig?
Korrekt. Aber das funktioniert genauso andersherum und das ist ein Aspekt, den viele Leute leider übersehen.
Lasst mich euch einige Beispiele vorstellen: Die Inuit haben angeblich zweihundert – 200 !!! – verschiedene Wörter für Schnee. Wie viele habt ihr? Aber warum? Vermutlich, weil ihre Umgebung essentiell ihr Leben und vor allem ihr Überleben beeinflusst und es daher überlebenswichtig für sie ist, zu wissen, welche Art von Schnee sich dort befindet.
Die Hopi-Indianer haben keine Zeitformen wie wir sie kennen. In dem Beispiel, das uns im Kurs gegeben wurde, sieht man einen Mann an eine Mauer gelehnt und er sagt jedes Mal “Er rannte”. Also, gleiches Bild, gleiche Position und jedes Mal “Er rannte”. Was ist eure natürliche Reaktion darauf? Genau, wahrscheinlich “Was zum Kuckuck?! Rannte er, rennt er oder wird er rennen?!”, weil dies nun mal die Kategorien sind, in denen wir Zeitrahmen und Zeitpunkte definieren, richtig? Es ist für unser Denksystem unverständlich, unbegreiflich, im wahrsten Sinne, wir können es nicht greifen.
Natürlich gibt es auch einfachere Beispiele, wie die Tatsache, dass die englische Sprache kein Wort für “Fernweh” kennt oder, dass – einfach gesprochen – es Wörter in einer Sprache gibt, für die es kein Äquivalent in einer anderen gibt.

Zurück zu den Lektoren.
Wie schon gesagt, im Idealfall sind sie Sprachliebhaber oder wissen mit ihrem Werkzeug umzugehen.
Und ich meine nicht zwangsläufig den manipulativen oder überredenden Einsatz von Sprache, wie man ihn so oft aus der Werbung kennt, das ist nochmal ein Thema für sich, auch wenn ich zu behaupten wage, dass hierbei ähnliche Töne angeschlagen werden.
Aber es geht um die Verwendung von Stilmitteln (ja, genau, die nervigen, die ihr aus der Schule kennt, Alliteration, Personifikation, etc.).
Wozu? Ja, genau, jetzt habt ihr’s, meine Freunde: Für den Zweck!
Um eure Aussage rüberzubringen, um eine Reaktion zu generieren (und natürlich, wenn es um geschäftliche Kommunikation geht, geht es meist nicht nur darum eine Reaktion hervorzurufen, sondern eine ganz bestimmte zu generieren).
Sprache kann uns bewegen, uns verletzten, ja uns vielleicht sogar heilen.

Was ich meine ist das hier:
“Die Kategorisierung, die in emotionalen, amourösen Beziehungen stattfindet, dient als destruktive Kraft gegenüber der wahren Bedeutung der Emotion selbst.”

Oder:
“Liebe wird zu einem vergessenen Wiegenlied, wenn wir sie etikettieren wie Lippenstifte.”
Was bleibt bei euch eher hängen?

Warum sehen wir nie,
dass ein bisschen Poesie
geht so leicht von Mund zu Ohr,
hebt hervor
die Nachricht, die ein anderer trägt,
die mit Lächeln oder Tränen uns bewegt.
Warum sehen wir nie
den Zauber und die Kraft der Poesie?

(ja, grad ausgedacht, war eigentlich nicht geplant, aber hey, das ist das Leben, Reaktion und so)

Okay, super, Miss, nun hast du uns gezeigt, dass Lektoren ihr Werkzeug kennen und zu gebrauchen wissen sollten, aber der Titel hier behauptet eine Antwort auf die Frage zu haben, warum Lektoren wichtig sind.
Ihr habt Recht, entschuldigt bitte, ich bin abgeschweift, schönes Thema, die Sprache, weites Feld, ich mag es.
Okay, ich schulde euch eine Antwort.
Schaut euch mal das Bild an, das diesen Blogeintrag begleitet. Lest es in Ruhe durch.
Ja, genau das war auch meine Reaktion!
Diese Herzen wurden vor Allerheiligen verkauft um sie in Gräber zu stecken.
Würdet ihr sie kaufen? Würdet ihr sie in das Grab eines geliebten Menschen stecken?
Dachte ich mir.
Aber warum nicht? Was ist hier gescheitert?
Es ist nicht nur die Tatsache, dass sich da Rechtschreibfehler befinden, sondern es hat eine weitere, tiefere Ebene.
Analysieren wir das mal kurz: Ihr wolltet dieses Produkt verkaufen. Ihr wolltet, dass wir dieses Produkt kaufen. Ihr habt ein Produkt angeboten und wolltet eine positive Reaktion, ein “ja” generieren, das sich in einer non-verbalen Aktion, nämlich dem Kauf des Produkts, manifestiert.
Die Tatsache, dass diese Produkte nun im Handel zum Verkauf angeboten werden, zeigt verschiedenes: Zum Einen scheint derjenige, der die Schrift auf den Herzen angebracht hat, die Produkte nicht gegengeprüft zu haben. Zum Anderen scheint kein Lektor eine weitere Prüfung vorgenommen zu haben. Des Weiteren scheint es keine finale Überprüfung gegeben zu haben, bevor die Produkte in den Handel gingen.
Aber wisst ihr, was die Reaktion ist? Nein.
Und wisst ihr, warum die Reaktion “Nein” ist?
Weil die fehlende Überprüfung, das fehlende Lektorat eine weitere Aussage mit sich trägt:
Ist mir egal!
Dass wir als Kunden euch egal sind, dass unsere Reaktion euch egal ist, weil ihr anscheinend glaubt, wir würden es trotzdem kaufen.
Und wisst ihr, was dieses “Nein” begleitet? Eine Abneigung, Abstoßung. Weil es tief im Innern etwas von fehlendem Respekt hat, von Arroganz, ja vielleicht sogar eine Art Beleidigung des potentiellen Kunden/Käufers.
Das hier ist nur ein Beispiel, wendet es gern auf andere Fälle an.
Wenn eure Website voller Rechtschreibfehler ist oder ihr die falschen Wörter benutzt, vermittelt das den Eindruck, euch seien eure Leser/Kunden egal.
Hinzu kommt, dass ihr die Informationen, die ihr eigentlich geben wollt, verfälschen könntet. Und ich denke, wir sind uns einig, dass es einen Unterschied zwischen “Kaum hatte er gearbeitet,…” und “Er hat kaum gearbeitet” gibt, oder?
Und damit arbeitet ihr gegen euch selbst, da ihr durch die Verwendung falscher Wörter und fehlender Korrektur eine Reaktion hervorruft, die eurem eigentlichen Zweck entgegengesetzt ist.
Im schlimmsten Fall erinnern wir uns an euch als jemanden, dem seine Leser/Kunden egal sind und hören auf eure Produkte zu kaufen, eure Zeitung zu lesen, werden euer Buch nicht kaufen oder die von euch angebotene Dienstleistung nicht buchen.
Heutzutage ist die Halbwertzeit einer Information sehr kurz und das macht viele Leute nachlässig, weil “ach, wen stört das schon, morgen interessiert das keinen mehr” oder “ach, die werden das schon verstehen” wird die Mentalität, nach der wir leben.
Es ist nur Sprache, richtig? Und es ist ja nur auf der sprachlichen Ebene, auf der wir euch als Kunden egal sind, richtig?
In persona seid ihr wie Mütter selbst, es ist nur das sprachliche Level, das ihr vernachlässigt, ja?
Ist ja nur Sprache.
Richtig?
Denkt daran, was wir zuvor besprochen haben, wie auch Sprache das Denken beeinflusst. So hat Sprache dann doch auch einen Einfluss auf unser Handeln, nicht?
Auch wenn das Argument “ein nachlässiges Verhalten auf sprachlicher Ebene zeugt von einem nachlässigen Verhalten im Allgemeinen” etwas weit hergeholt erscheinen mag, so deutet es doch ein wenig darauf hin, oder nicht? Unbewusst und ganz tief drinnen?
Versteht mich nicht falsch, bitte seht das nicht als Beleidigung oder Angriff.
Ich sage nicht, dass euch eure Kunden egal sind.
Ich sage nur, dass das die unterschwellige Botschaft sein kann, die bei euren Kunden ankommt.
Und okay, nicht jeder Kunde interessiert sich dafür und manchen ist es egal, aber es wird auch potentielle Kunden geben, die dadurch immer genau das bleiben: potentiell.
Weil ihre Reaktion sein könnte “Wenn die sich um mich genauso gut kümmern wie um ihre Grammatik, geh ich da besser nicht hin”.

Und DAS, meine Freunde, ist der Grund, warum Lektoren wichtig sind.
Weil sie helfen können, solche Szenarios, wie sie eben beschrieben wurden, zu verhindern, weil sie euch kennen, weil sie eure Aussage und eure Botschaft kennen und euren Gesprächspartner und sie den richtigen Kanal suchen um eure Botschaft zu vermitteln. Sie können euch helfen, wenn alle anderen Aspekte eures Projekts euch in Anspruch nehmen oder ihr betriebsblind geworden seid und ihr einfach nur noch fertig werden wollt.
Weil sie Sprachliebhaber sind oder zumindest mit ihrem Werkzeug umzugehen wissen.
Ihr Werkzeug? Wörter.

PS: Ja, ich rege mich jedes Mal auf, wenn ich im Nachhinein noch einen Fehler in einem meiner Einträge finde, auch wenn ich kein Geld mit meinem Blog verdiene.
PPS: Ja, die Stelle mit dem Lippenstift war ein Zitat aus Labelled Love, obwohl ich Menschen, die sich selbst und ihre eigenen Werke zitieren, meist eher komisch finde.
PPPS: Ja, richtig geraten, ich bin Lektorin 😉