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An eye operation, a book, a fainting episode or saying goodbye to 2016

close up ragazza

 

It’s been a while I haven’t written on my blog. I kind of owe it to myself to write one last piece for the year about to end. Which translates to… trying to account for my mental whereabouts since April. I think I will just focus on the present.

First of all, I have a confession to make. I was thinking of abandoning this blog (and perhaps start a new one some time in the future) as I thought of blogging as an interference with everything else. That is why I haven’t written in 8 months. I gave priority to other things. And I got some pretty cool results, as you will find out if you patiently read along. I trust you will.

What did I learn from this blogging hiatus? Love for writing cannot be an interference with life. And when it does, you take a break.

Taking a break from writing has been impossible, though. The year 2016 has been a good one for me because I have finally finished and published my book Tapping Into Translators’ Creativity. Incredible. I did it. I got there, before the end of the year.

And this is one item off the list, my wish list, my writing wish list. The book is out for the world to read. That’s all I wanted. My exclusive relationship with the manuscript has ended.

A few days prior to the big day of my book’s release, my 7 year old went through an eye operation. I had hoped to avoid being busy with work before and after the operation and, fortunately, nothing major (that I could not manage) happened. Besides the book. I wanted the book to go live before the end of the year and considering it was impossible to have everything ready before December, it had do be right before Xmas and… a few days after the operation.

Theoretically speaking, being ready to publish isn’t exactly the best way to describe the end of a writing journey. The writing journey never ends. Right now, I am thinking of ways the book could be even better. But projects need a deadline and I gave me one.

I will make a tiny parenthesis here to say that in my book I speak of deadlines and of writers and translators. The writers featured in this respect are Tracy Chevalier who wrote her book Girl With a Pearl Earring on a 9-month (biological) deadline and Fyodor Dostoevsky who wrote The Gambler on a 1-month deadline because of an agreement he had with the publisher. Money problems. Inspiring stories we all need to know about. Us whose life is determined by deadlines.

And there I was at the hospital after the operation, fainting. Because of fear, of concern, of love. And because I have a low blood pressure. Let’s be realistic. I know what it means to go through an eye operation, as I went through one myself. But when it happens to someone so close to you, the feelings are just incomparable.

The nurses were nice to their patient (and to me). They gave me tea. I still need to arrange an appointment with my doctor to talk about this, when I am done with a couple of translations, when I am done with 2016. Here’s another deadline for me. See?

I wish you a happy new year and lots of interesting things to pursue!

creativity · finding your way · projects · side projects · writing projects

Some thoughts on how to shape your ideas into projects

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Dear all,

These last few days were pretty creative. Not hectic but creative and with small and diverse projects. I am working on a small fashion translation (into Greek) for one of my favourite Italian brands, whereas the one I delivered last week was about parenting. What’s more: today my colleague Ela and I announced the launch of the Translators / Creators project which I will be presenting on the blog soon because it deserves a whole post.

Today I want to share some thoughts on projects and ideas.

The more I write and the more I elaborate my favourite topics, the more I am enthralled by how these ideas and topics can evolve.

It would seem that for every idea, there is an appropriate project, a potential transformation into something more concrete and meaningful both for you and for others.

That is how I came up with the course “How to find the right business side project (and allocate time to it”)”.

I was not aware that what I was doing was taking an idea (time management) elaborating it (through personal experience with a side project) and finalising it with the creation of a course.

Since the day I started working on the course, a lot of “side project” work has been taking place! The course itself, as I mentioned here is inspired by the challenges of freelancing. But there is more. A lot of the ideas in the course sprung from the Translators / Creators project aka #xl8cr8 I mentioned before.

But I want to take a step further and look at the “ideas to projects” process.

1. Solutions (projects) are practically right under our nose. You just have to keep your eyes open. The other day I was over to a translator’s website and I saw what has been there all the time “under my nose”. I then Ianded on the website (through WordPress reader) of another translator and my “idea” just clicked. I connected the two “dots” and I think I am getting closer to shaping my ideas with a view to create the projects I am so much looking forward to.

2. Some ideas have a limited potential but they can still be pursued. For me, this is what I have been experiencing with slogan contests. Writing taglines for a wide spectrum of companies is good exercise for a creative mind but they are not what I would call a real diversification for a linguist or writer. It can only be “shapeable” into something bigger if you work in a creative company that provides this type of service along with marketing and campaign material for their clients. Or if you become famous for writing Pepsi’s tagline. But they have a team for that.

3. For every idea, there is the right project. Start writing down your thoughts and you will see whether they are “shapeable” into something bigger or not. I have found out that writing and putting your thoughts on paper, shows you whether there is a “dead end” or not. I think that most ideas have the potential to be shaped into a project or similar but perhaps not as big as you want it to be. For example, an inspirational phrase can be limited to a quote you can use for your site to attract clients, to share with friends on social media or it can be elaborated for a book or become a chapter of a book.

4. Work on your ideas until you see them materialise. Today I started making notes for a new course in an Excel sheet (that was awkward). Of course at some point, I decided to move everything into PowerPoint. Something unpredictable happened. The course idea developed just because it acquired a new “setting”. I added and removed lots of little clouds, boxes and arrows and I am getting there. And even if I don’t, at least I have taken a step forward. On top, I recalled another idea I had kind of archived in my mind and created another slide. I will try not to be confused but working on more than one project is fine with me.

5. The “idea to projects” process is only a fragment of the bigger picture. I realised this as I was making the draft of the course with the clouds and arrows I was telling you about before. Sometimes you need to start from “thinking small” in order to wake up and see that your ideas or even your projects are only a means to something greater and more meaningful. This means getting out of your comfort zone and into a new zone, a new dimension.

6. Trendsetters are go getters. Talking of a new dimension, have you seen the film “Interstellar”? That “5th dimension” had a bit of an impact on me. What we are currently witnessing in the digital world is bound to fade away and loose its initial charm while going out of fashion. Those who have had a tremendous success are the trendsetters and the early adopters (usually with the funds but not always). It is a wise to learn from the best but it is wiser to tap into what could evolve into the adoption of a new idea.

creativity · diversification · freelancing · projects · side projects · training · translators · writing projects

Self paced course now available: How to find the right business side project

productivity course

Hallo everyone,

I am pleased to announce that one of my writing projects has now been concluded.

How to find the right business side project (and allocate time to it) is a self-paced online course with a dual purpose:

  • Identify your ideal side project & find ways to allocate time to it

This is a very practical and straightforward course with exercises to help you understand yourself and your current situation better and put things into perspective. Which translates to… a course that could give you the right motivation for your side project plans!

More about the course:

This course guides you through a process that helps you take a good and honest look at how you spend your time. If you have side projects you want to dedicate your time to but feel that there is a lot of pressure from your main professional activity (e.g. translation), this course could help.

How you use your time is up to you. Some things are not necessary, others are just distractions that do not help you work on your projects. You may have to do some compromises.

Think of a garden full of weeds. You need to remove them if you want your flowers to blossom.

Who is it for:

  • Freelancers with another activity / business on the side
  • Creatives / freelancers / entrepreneurs who want to find and dedicate time to a side project
  • Freelancers who are parents
  • Busy freelancers
  • Freelancers who want to review their social media activity

The course is available on Proz.com HERE and it is offered in various formats. Choose the one that suits you best. Should participants need further assistance, I will be delighted to help.

On a more personal note:

This course has been developed in view of how hectic and challenging freelancing can be and how it might be easy to get lost in social media and all the information we are inundated by. Freelancing constitutes a challenge also because we are all exposed to the patterns of success of other freelancers and entrepreneurs and we often forget what our own innate talents are. Your side projects need to reflect your personality, skills and aspirations.

a presto.

M.

creativity · diversification · freelance translation · freelancing · side projects · time management

6. Diversification is optional

alphonsemucha-pietrepreziose-rubinoametistasmeraldotopazio-copia
Alphonse Mucha

 

Lessons in freelance translation, n.6

The new year started well. Which translates to… feeling grateful, blessed and tired.

If you have been freelancing for some time and have had to cope with overlapping deadlines and a lot of hours of work from day till late at night, then you know that time is money. Time is a lot more than that.

You need time not just to work. You need time to think. Even if you eventually find out that thinking while working works best. But that is just my opinion. And you need time to figure out how to best diversify your business. What if my clients stop sending me work? What if Italy cuts back on imports to Greece? So far so good but what about tomorrow? However, diversification is also a personal desire. Even if I had the absolute certainty that I would be always as busy as I was recently, I would still do other things.

And by working on side projects (inadvertently trying to find the best diversification path), I have come to the following six conclusions.

Here they are.

6 THINGS TO CONSIDER ON THE ROAD TO DIVERSIFICATION

1. UNDERSTAND yourself better. This is the toughest part. Sometimes I think I figured it all out and then I am back to square one. What you are really good at?

2. BE REALISTIC. You might be dreaming of becoming a public speaker at local and international events but if you do not have the time for basic everyday things because you have small kids, then you should be more flexible and find the right thing for the circumstances you are in.

3. BE PASSIONATE. Being realistic is not enough. Your side projects – a way to diversify – need to reflect what you have in your psyche. What is it that could make you happy both professionally and personally? You need to constantly work on your side projects regardless of the little time you can allocate to it. To be able to do that, it has to be something that makes your heart sing.

4. THE SITE (not side) THEORY. I got you now. I am getting into the deep waters of my theory now. Not having my own site has really helped me do some serious thinking about where I am and where I want to be. I am still not there yet completely but some improvements have been made. This is how this theory works: If you were to create a website for your business, how would you name it? What tagline would you have? What pages would you like to see? What clients would you want to attract? I have done this “exercise” a few times and have even deleted a site I started creating. Then I created it again from scratch and the pages I have there now are getting close to what I would like my business to be in the near future. The site is not up yet and I do not even know what is going to happen with it but I am trying to learn from this.

5. BE FREE. You do not need to follow someone else’s footsteps. You do things because it is natural for you. If you are busy enough translating, why worry, why diversify? Yes, I know. It’s your heart’s desire. In that case, yes, go for it. Work while on the bus. I always take notes on the bus. I started taking notes for a writing project at the playground. Nobody got hurt. 🙂

6. TEST NEW WATERS. The other day I inquired about writing an article for a publication. I am glad I approached them. I realised I needed to do more than just blogging. If you see an opportunity, try and check it out. A slot of 5 minutes you create today could mean something bigger tomorrow.

That is all. For now.

M.