creativity · motivation · music · paraphrasing lyrics · translators

Made of stars

As I am trying to wrap up a hair product translation for which I found myself navigating through a plethora of hair-styling sites and emailing a Greek hair care specialist, I need to stop to write this.

You might have heard of The Open Mic founded by Dmitry Kornyukhov), a breakthrough blogging platform for translators and translation professionals. If you haven’t heard of it yet, check it out now. This is the first time that translators get together and call the shots without being “conditioned” by the big players of the translation industry. If someone knows about translation work, bare and real, it’s those who stay up all night to meet deadlines to pay rents, bills, loans, coffee packs. I think that The Open Mic has potential and what I feel like saying is that Dmitry has proved to be a creativity star.

What I got to share with you today is inspired by the origami stars created by Kozue MacMichael, a lovely, warm-hearted and amazingly creative colleague I had the opportunity to e-meet recently through my course.

As I was looking at the little shiny origami stars she made for The Open Mic here, my mind flew to a song by Moby and – you know me – when I connect the dots, something unusual occurs! Which translates to...a book, a post, another idea for an article or skipping lunch, to name some effects of creativity. In this case, it’s paraphrasing lyrics. This is not the first time I do this and believe me, I don’t want to be “labeled” as someone who paraphrases lyrics but I guess I will take my chances.

(few changes have been made to the lyrics)

We Are All Made Of Stars

Growing in numbers
Growing in speed
Trying to shape up the future
Trying to create what to see

Translators they come together
Theories they fall apart
No one can stop us now
‘Cause we are all made of stars

Efforts of others
Left in my mind
I sing in the reaches
We’ll see what we find

Translators they come together
Theories they fall apart
No one can stop us now
‘Cause we are all made of stars

Slow slow slow, come come
Someone come come come
Even translation is goin’ ’round
You can’t ignore what is goin’ ’round

Slowly rebuilding
I feel it in The Open Mic
Growing in numbers
Growing in peace

Translators they come together
Theories they fall apart
No one can stop us now
‘Cause we are all made of stars


Translators they come together
(Translators they come together)
Theories they fall apart
(Theories they fall apart)
No one can stop us now
(No one can stop us now)
‘Cause we are all made of stars
(We are all made of stars)

We are all made of stars
Translators they come together
We are all made of stars
(Theories they fall apart)
We are all made of stars
(No one can stop us now)
‘Cause we are all made of stars
(We are all made of stars)

 

Original lyrics here

finding your way · freelance translation · freelancing · motivation · work · writing

9. Promise yourself

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image source

Lessons in freelance translation, n.9

Ever get that feeling that life is just too overwhelming and you don’t know what to focus on? Projects you started, book(s) to finish, new ideas surfacing. Which translates to… a feeling of overwhelm when I don’t have a translation to work on.

Today was one of those days. I delivered a small fashion translation this morning and I am free. No other deadlines. The good side of it is that these couple of days I wrote long emails to friends, something I haven’t done in a while.

As far as (writing) projects are concerned, I still have a long way to go but I made a lot of progress as my book is almost finished (oops, have I told you I am writing a book?).

However, I know my limits, I have my priorities so I cannot dedicate all the time, energy and money on my writing project. I wish. But I have made a promise to myself not to give up. Freelancers constantly make promises to clients. How about making a promise to ourselves? Work towards the dream.

For some people it takes longer than others and this is why I needed to get this off my chest. I am fast at things I have to do but slow in doing what I want to do. It is a struggle within.

A promise to ourselves, to work on a side project or to conclude one is good for morale. When times are hard, we can look at our achievements and boost our confidence.

M.

beauty · creativity · finding your way · inspiration · motivation · writing

3 Italian holiday locations for writers and translators

Hi everyone,

As I was talking with a friend the other day who wants to visit Italy, I thought it would be a good idea to write that travel post I have been thinking of.

Italy is not just about Venice, Florence, Rome. Places that, of course, I recommend everyone to visit because they are just spectacular.

What about an authentic break to nourish your writing soul? A holiday that has nothing to do with waiting in line to see the Uffizi, the San Marco Basilica in Venice or the Vatican museum? Isn’t that just too stressful?

A break to help you finish your novel, start afresh, overcome writer’s block, get ideas for a new book or simply take a break from an intense year of translating or writing, or meet people. Which translates to… staying in a place that you would usually be passing by or perhaps still haven’t heard of.

I am quickly illustrating three Italian towns from three different regions in Northern Italy hoping to offer you some off the beaten track ideas for a relaxing and inspiring getaway.

What these locations have in common? The water! One of them is inside a lagoon and the other two by the lake!

Chioggia

(Veneto)

Canal Vena in Chioggia

Not all Italian houses that float on water are in Venice! But they can definitely be close to the world’s most unique city on water. Chioggia is in the Veneto region of Italy. A medium-sized fishing port inside the Venetian lagoon offering easy access to the Adriatic sea. Find out 17 things about this little promising town on the Virtual Tourist here. On a more personal note, I always buy fresh fish from this town whenever it is available and it is just delicious and nutritious. Fish is the word.

Varenna

(Lombardy)

Colourful Varenna on Lake Como

Highly recommended for inspiration and romantic strolls, Varenna on Lake Como, is a special, picturesque little village definitely worth seeing if you are visiting Lombardy. Combine it with an excursion to Menaggio and Bellagio and you will not be let down by the sheer beauty and elegance of the place. Varenna’s uniqueness is summarised in the title of a post I fished out called Varenna, Italy: Lake Como Without the Glitz. 

Stresa

(Piedmont)

View to Isola Bella from Stresa.

The queen of Lake Maggiore, Stresa is just breathtaking. Nothing more, nothing less. You will be inspired by those fabulous classy hotels, the impeccable and simply mesmerising beauty of Lake Maggiore dominated by the Borromean Islands – with Isola Bella being the most famous one. Find info on Visit Stresa site. An interesting fact of interest to writers is that Stresa hosts the Stresa Literature Award.

To write you don’t need to travel of course but if you want to do it the right way, think of places that are stress-free and help you breathe new air and be who you are. My suggestion? Don’t go there alone. Arrange it with other like-minded people like a sort of retreat.

M.

creativity · finding your way · inspiration · motivation · translation · writing

Translators who write

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Dear all,

Through the act of translation we get trained to write and with time become more needy of writing. Our desire to write our own things grows. Which translates to…. we are unleashed.

If writing is something you do on the side, it might be intimidating to start, proceed and conclude a project. And it gets worse if you have many ideas because working on many writing projects at the same time could stall the writing process.

But what if you choose to see it from a different angle so that you can actually help your writing?

However and notwithstanding the enigmas of how to handle the writing side of me, I have been able to make a lot of progress this month. So, I don’t really think there’s a best way to do it. It depends on what works best for you.

If life has given you overwhelming events worth writing about, do it. If it has given you frustration and you need to write that too, you can.

But do treat your writing project with love and utmost care. From A to Z. Perhaps as if it was a translation project. You are the happy client that receives a job well done and delivered on time. No one else can judge you. Writing isn’t how you earn your living. Don’t publish your work if you are not ready. The time will come if it’s meant to be.

You met your deadline. A deadline that gives life to more words.

— Do you write too? Do you find inspiration in your translation work? Does translation make you want to write more?

Magda

image from https://stocksnap.io/photo/C332PCV8D0

balance · finding your way · freelancing · motivation · procrastination · time management · twitter · work

How freelancers (and Twitter enthusiasts) can tame the procrastination beast

{What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.}

Procrastination.

A popular topic.

A normal human condition.

Here’s what. I will be viewing procrastination as a beast that wants to eat you alive.

Just joking.

Perhaps I should try to be a bit softer around the edges.

Procrastination is a beast you have to kill now.

Too strong?

Let me give it another go.

Procrastination is a BAD AND UGLY BEAST that prevents you from doing the BEAUTIFUL THINGS YOU WANT to do.

I think this sounds better.

Now.

I can’t wait to share with you one edgy way to stop putting things off. Things that mean something to you. Starting ~which translates to…~ blog was one of those things. So bear with me and I will tell you how I did it.Maybe you want to try it out too.

There’s one thing you should always remember.This beast is BAD. It’s stronger than you. And it has many friends.One of those friends, my friends, is TWITTER.

FIGHT THE PROCRASTINATION BEAST THROUGH WORK & LESS TWEETING

Are you spending too much time on Twitter (or other social media) during work or after finishing a project?

(there’s no way of this thing working unless I also talk about Twitter).

If you are a procrastinator, spending too much time on social media can make things worse.

I am not saying that in order to fight the procrastination beast, you should stay away from Twitter or your favourite social media platforms.

(that could actually help a lot though and you know it)

I’m saying that while you will be trying to fight procrastination, you are going to be facing procrastination’s BEST FRIEND. Social Media. So, we will have to take that friend into consideration.

This unusual way of fighting the P. beast and its friend can be summarised this way:

Fight procrastination + Control your social media addiction + Get work done + Do the things you love.

The whole package.

You see, I did it.

Me. Someone who has been putting off having a writing blog for almost two years. Someone who was writing drafts of posts and other stuff on her smartphone and a folder on the computer collecting digital dust.

Yes. Me.

You see, if you are not working, or if you are not very busy, it’s likely that you will don’t feel the pressure of running out of time which translates to spending more time on Twitter (or other social media platforms.)

However, there is one thing I want to emphasize here.

I don’t believe that people that spend a lot of time on Twitter on a daily basis are necessarily people who aren’t busy. They can actually be terribly busy but they also love to spend time on Twitter.And when you love doing something, you do CREATE TIME for it, don’t you?

If you are sending 20-30 tweets a day it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have nothing else to do. It could mean that you are multi-tasking and you are doing YOUR WORK and you are CONNECTING with others.

But what if combining WORK + SOCIAL MEDIA isn’t helping you overcome procrastination?

What if there was a way to fight procrastination, do what you want and need to do and send tweets too?

(but not too many tweets and probably not on a daily basis)

Interested?

Keep reading.

(if you are still with me, that is)

WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER

As I mentioned earlier, it took me nearly two years to start this blog.

The moment I started pursuing it, I kept getting more translation work. There was no way I could get down to seriously start my blog project because I constantly had to shift my attention to urgent work (with translation almost everything is urgent). There was no time management that could help me, no praying for time as the song goes.

I was also writing another rather demanding blog and co-writing on another which is partially “to blame” for postponing my writing blog. Still, the idea here is that it was ME who was doing this to MYSELF. Excuses or no excuses.

Basically, I was in a rut that went something like this:

Translation work + family + errands + other blogs + calls and emails from friends + more translation work + family + household chores + other blogs

& so forth

But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

And here’s the deal:

The increase of translation work helped me kill my procrastination habit.

What?

(if you are still here, please continue reading)

KILLING THE BEAST SOFTLY

The more you make promises to yourself or create insane to-do lists, the less likely it is to find the time to stick to your plans. If things keep coming up and if freelance life is so unpredictable, you are going round in circles.

What you need to do is be flexible. Don’t go against the tide. Go along with it.

I was unaware that I was finally finding a way to get on with my blog project. And I did this through translating. I guess this was the only or best way for me. I kind of need a challenge to get to do things. It might not work for you so don’t try this at home unless you love taking risks. Or trying different things.

This blog was created while translating on some crazy deadline.

Instead of waiting until my project was over, I started this blog. Because I knew that once my translation work would be over, I would be dragging this tired body for a NAP.

And I was completely unaware that I was coming up with a “way” to fight procrastination. Well, at least my way.

KILLING THE BEAST SOFTLY. WARMING UP

(please follow these steps in this order)

1. Focus on your work but don’t “forget” about your project.

2. Between “breaks” or periods without work, “think” about what you want to do without doing anything. Yes, do absolutely nothing. But make notes about it. Make it even more desirable. Lay out a plan on how you wish to proceed or be totally relaxed and just write down your thoughts and feelings. Why is this project so important to you? Is it important to you? Why do you put it off?

3. Do your job (for me it was translation) and, gradually, every time you have a “break”, look at your notes. Rewrite things so you are convinced that this is something you really want. (I have filled half a diary with these notes about my upcoming blog and other projects. I had to give up on some of them)

4. Go back to paid work. Work that pays the bills. Your project can wait. Give time to your project to simmer. See how much you want it.

5. Let your job “take the best of you”.

In the meantime, try to spend less time on social media. Continue sending tweets but don’t overdo it. If you can, tweet about your project. If you prefer not to, set a maximum of 4 tweets a day for 3 days.

Tough?

I know.

KILLING THE BEAST

1. Start simple. Let’s say you want to apply to a magazine you have been reading for a while for an article submission. Create a new email. Get the email address and the name of the person to address your query to. Start writing the first paragraph. If the beast is trying to bite you, refuse to give up. Stick to your guns. At least, finish the first paragraph. One finished sentence could induce another sentence. Or a hundred more.

2. If along the way you have a job assignment, all you need to do is focus on your assignment. Of course. But you are not anxious anymore about having done nothing for your project.

3. You promise to yourself that the moment you deliver the job to the client, you will get back to your project. If you feel like it, go take a peek at what you wrote or started. Add another piece to the mosaic. Just one. Add more pieces to the mosaic. You can do it while working or tweeting.

4. Add more pieces to the mosaic. You can do it while working or tweeting. But you PROCEED. You combine things. You control things. You control your LIFE. You might not get there very soon but you will.

Procrastination.

A normal human condition.

And with social media it could get worse.

But not necessarily.

Magda