balance · blogging · Christmas · creativity · fatigue · finding your way · freelance translation · freelancing · inspiration · projects · side projects · translation · writing · writing projects

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!

diversification · translation · writing · writing projects

Joining the dots: My article for the ITI Bulletin (Sept/Oct 2015) on Diversification for translators


Hi everyone,

I am happy to let you know that I wrote a piece for the ITI Bulletin, featured in the latest September/October 2015 issue. Which translates to… my first writing piece published on paper (if you exclude a couple of articles I wrote for a magazine and a newspaper back home in my early 20s).

The topic of this article is diversification for which I wrote previously here. The idea has been percolating in my mind recently and finally took shape with this article (page 16 of the issue if I am not mistaken). It is inspired by Steve Jobs’s “connecting the dots” theory and the importance of asking questions.

The power of introspection through words is absolutely cathartic, revealing and …educative.


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

Some thoughts on how to shape your ideas into projects



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 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.


creativity · slogans · writing · writing projects

Tagline or slogan giveaway!

one of my fun slogans

Updated 07/01/2015: Due to new translation assignment (rather urgent too) I might not be able to get back to you straight away. But I will be accepting your requests until the 16th of Jan as promised. 🙂

Dear all,

I hope you all enjoyed Xmas. May you always be in good health and surrounded by the people you love.

Time to give away something to my readers! I have been thinking about it for some time but I wasn’t sure. Well, today I decided to go for it. Maybe it’s because of the melomakarona?

Here’s the story. After posting some fun and cool slogans on my blog here and here, I took part in a slogan contest and won – out of 300 entries the majority of which were written by English native speakers – which encouraged me to continue exploring this passion of mine.

What you get for free:

A minimum of 3 taglines or marketing slogans for your business to choose from (for the difference between a tagline and a slogan read this) along with ideas, suggestions, keywords to help come up with a tagline or slogan that works.

How to participate:

All you need to do is comment here or email me at phimag (at) live (dot) com. You do not need to follow my blog but I will be glad if you do.

Giveaway period:

From 28/12/2014 until 06/01/2015 (extended until the 16th!)

How it works:

To create your slogan or tagline, I will need the following information about your brand and/or business: goals, mission, what kind of message you want to convey, what you would like to avoid, whether you want to go for something bold, fun, powerful, classy etc. The process is simple, straight-forward and I will be involving you as well for feedback.


The slogan or tagline is written only for you. You cannot sell it. You may use it on your business lit, website, marketing materials and it is completely free of charge. By participating, you automatically agree that your name and/or company will be mentioned on this blog or other channels or material I use for professional reasons. However, if you wish to remain anonymous, I will respect your wish. If you don’t like the slogan or tagline, no worries.

That’s it. Interested? Great! I will be looking forward to hear from you.


blogging · finding your way · writing · writing projects

The exciting unpredictability of the writing process

{When you least expect it, you write it.}


Today I consumed myself in ironing shirts. I wrote nothing until now and it’s 16.08. But I have been thinking a lot. Again.

I was pondering on how on earth did I come up with my latest post ‘The “bohemian” freelancer’ (which was shared a few times on Twitter and got an interesting comment here by fellow translator Ela Hoffman).

I was trying to remember what I was writing about and trust me it had nothing to do with being bohemian.

The post was initially called “Ain’t no mountain high enough” and at some point while writing the mountain post I used the word bohemian. At some stage I changed the name of that post and temporarily called it “Make changes, not choices”. Do bear with me here as I am trying to get the pieces of this mosaic together…


I liked the word “bohemian” and I realised that as I was writing about mountains not being high enough, another topic was coming to light. Which translates to some confusion.

Since the bohemian idea intrigued me, I decided to start writing a new post.

And there you have the post I never decided I wanted to write being the one I fell in love with, not to mention I began using the hashtag #thebohemianinyou.

I am now looking at my watch. It’s 16.15. I better stop writing now before another topic emerges.

Thank you for loving the unpredictable bohemian post guys! Seems like there’s a Club of Bohemian Translators out there on the rise….



PS: the picture I used in this post is from “How to be bohemian: 14 steps (with pictures)” onWikihow

productivity · writing · writing projects

Why writers and bloggers need a lot of love


Talking about love on a writing blog is somehow unconventional.

Or is it just an impression I have?

Assumptions aside, I can’t tell my hands to stop typing.

(happens to you too, right?)

If you give me just 10 minutes, I would like to share why I think that love is so important for writers and bloggers. Well, love is indispensable for everyone but I want to focus on people who work with words.


– People who work with words are more sensible than others. They react to the feelings of love through words. Love is an unparalleled driving force. Think of all the stories about love, the films, the poems.

– If you don’t genuinely love writing you will not be able to put up with all the hard work that writing on a professional level involves.

– Without love, depression is always around the corner. Being depressed means being completely unproductive.

– If you get a writer’s block, there’s a huge possibility that the love you have for writing will be tested.

– Love can create writing miracles because love is about giving. It can mean giving pencils to a small kid from a poor family and it can provide sponsorship to a writer who needs it.


I always thought that writing is complex. But it’s not. The moment you begin writing you realise that it’s actually pretty simple. Even with a vague idea in your mind, the act of writing shows you the way and reveals things to you.

If you don’t love words, you don’t look for them which translates to not writing.