keep your head up

7 things to cheer you up when you are down

I’m an inherently optimistic person and for the 10 times I fall down I will always get up 11 – here is a list of my favorite things to do when things don’t go as planned 🙂

Go to your favorite Chinese all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet

After all, you know what they say : “It’s better to be sorry for the things you did than for things you didn’t do”

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Buy a lottery ticket for next week

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The busy translator’s guide to summer style

Some of the best summer nights out are with shorts and t-shirts and beers at your local. However, summer is also known as the “wedding season”, aka the time when you have to plan your weekends depending on your friends’ weddings. These things should all take place in winter, when we would love some more socializing but no, as we live in Greece and summer is THE season for everything, they all have to be at the same time (sigh). Continue reading

How to make your own blog in 5 steps

I can’t stop saying how much I love blogging! If you are reading your favorite blogs and would like to have your own but don’t know where to start I’m here to tell you its easier than you think! I’ll give you some basic steps and I promise that it gets easier the more you work on it 🙂

photo by mediamarmalade.com

photo by mediamarmalade.com

Please note: I’m giving you the steps for a free blog, not a self-hosted one  – self-hosted blogs are also easy to work and more stylish but I think that the free scheme is good for a beginner in blogging.

  1. Choose your platform: Blogger or WordPress or even Tumblr. I’m more of a WordPress fan for this type of blogs as they are easier, more simple and there is support online and through wordpress, too.
  2. Choose your name. Brainstorm and write down a few ideas, think of what topics you’d like to cover and play with their meaning or combine them. Be creative J When you have chosen your platform, you can try your name and see if it is available. Pick something simple and memorable, something you will be able to say to someone without having to spell it out.
  3. Choose a theme – I’m always wasting ages on choosing themes! Most times I end up with the same as I seriously can’t choose J But don’t waste too much time on this step: choose a simple one, easily customizable and when you learn your platform sufficiently you will be able to upgrade to a more complex one, add widgets, plugins etc. There are many pre-designed themes for various subjects, such as magazines or food blogging.blog templates
  4. Decide on your menu and pages: usually your menu is the line under the header image and over your content and displays your pages (such as About Me) and categories (such as Books/Magazines). You can also have just one page and have your articles show like a diary. My blog has only 2 pages while my Greek blog features categories as I write for a lot of things there and wanted to make navigation easier.english blog metaphrasi1
  5. Write your first post! Most platforms have a very easy interface for posting. In wordpress it is under Blog Posts>Add new. You will see a category menu on your right and pick at least one category and (optional) some tags. You can also add a featured image – to be featured whenever your post gets shared 🙂
  • Your blog does not have to be immaculate from day one, so don’t stress too  much about it but don’t forget to thoroughly proofread your posts, choose nice, clear images (plenty of advice online for which images are best for blogging) and don’t forget to be your fabulous self! Don’t try to copy the exact same look of someone’s blog – they might be cool but they are not you, right?

    And if you are at loss for inspiration, check out this post about Where to find Inspiration and how to keep it.

    A final tip: connect your favorite social media to your blog so that your readers will be able to find you in their favorite medium. I’m obsessed with Instagram lately J

    Are you feeling ready? Follow my blog for more juicy info, follow your favorite blogs and join the blogosphere! If you need more technical advice (that I can offer) I’ll be glad to help and there’s also a reader here that is a wordpress expert I think J

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Summer Resolutions

Summer might not be full on here yet but I’m in a summer mood and I have set forth a couple of resolutions for this summer – don’t worry, I’ll add more soon so that I won’t have to admit that i failed them all in September 😛

My no 1 resolution this summer is: TO BE HAPPY

I went to a fantastic workshop in May with this lovely coach, Virginie and I’m looking forward to the next one (hopefully in September). It was called “Ordering from the cosmic kitchen” and it was all about defining your goals and getting in the right mindset to achieve them.

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10+1 reasons why you should consider doing a summer course

Being a solo-preneur is hard and not only due to the amount of work one has to shoulder but also because it makes it extremely difficult to take some time off from work to relax and think clearly about the business’ next steps and/or changes. Freelancers are constantly worried about work: deadlines when they are busy and famine when they are not. So what about taking some time off without the guilt of falling back on business issues? How? By enrolling on a summer course.

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The most important advantage is that a summer training course combines change of scenery (i.e. instant mood lift and relaxation) with learning and professional development. 

The drawback would be Continue reading

10 reasons why I love blogging

reasons why i love blogging

Why do we love blogging so much? And is the death of blogging nearer than ever or should the Cassandras of this world stop predicting this unlikely possibility? Here are 10 reasons I love blogging (almost) as much as reading :

  1. It is a fantastic form of expression. It is a little bit like having your own column in a paper or a whole magazine where you can write whatever you feel like.  fashion and fruit

 

 

2. It is very flexible and diverse: you can blog about books, lifestyle, unicorns, photography, cooking – just anything you feel passionate about and this is totally liberating!

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3. It is creative! You get to research various concepts, to look for the best pictures to go with your post, create infographics if you want and so many more cool stuff. I even made my own book quote quiz some time ago 🙂

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4. You get to meet awesome people. I have been following some Greek book blogs for a while now and I think we have formed a fantastic blogging community with common interests. In that way, blogging takes you outside your comfort zone if you are an introvert, like me… Did you read my interview in Ariel’s fab blog One Little Library, about translation and books? Ariel was featured here as a guest blogger, offering invaluable advice for finding and keeping blogging inspiration 😉 Also, I have met many interesting entrepreneurs and I have found invaluable advice in many of the blogs I follow!

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5. It grows with you. Your blog is your “baby”and it changes with you as the years pass and this is kind of nice. You can change its focus and take it wherever you want to go or you can even turn it into a business – this means that…

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6. You grow with it, too: blogging might make you consider making your passion your job and it can help you realize there is a whole market out there with a need that you might be able (and feel very confident) to cover. Meaning…

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7. It can be profitable. I don’t make money blogging, it is solely a relaxing thing for me at the moment but trust me, I take it as seriously as I would if it made me money (OK maybe then I’d take more care of my SEO #guilty) and I know many who do make (quite a lot) money from blogging. So its a great way to make money doing what you love, isn’t it?

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8. It lets out steam. If you have a strict corporate job or a job with zero margins for creativity and inspiration, blogging about things you love is a great way to relax (glass of chilled wine optional) and write about whatever you want.

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9. It helps you be more organized. In your writing, in your thinking, it helps with discipline and putting things into perspective; it makes you think harder, prepare and take actual steps towards your goals.

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10. It is a kind of therapy 🙂 It is fun, it makes you think more about yourself and others, it helps you meet new people, new cultures, new ideas, all without leaving your home. Or even if you do leave it, you can take it with you 🙂

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Can you relate? What are the things you love about blogging as a blogger or as a reader or both? And are there things you don’t love or simply hate about it? I think I could name a couple 😉

5 Tips for Finding (and Keeping) Inspiration

5 tips for finding (and keeping) inspiration

When I joined the Creative Superheroes group on Facebook, I thought that it would be a nice place for ideas and maybe a few tips on blogging. What I didn’t know was that it would be a FUN place to hang out, reading advice, discovering beautiful blogs and interesting people, all with Allison’s quirky and fun way!  So I jumped at the opportunity to feature one of the most interesting and inspiring bloggers and her advice for Finding (and keeping) Inspiration!

Please welcome Ariel and read more about her and her blog at the end of the post!!!

5 Tips for Finding (and Keeping) Inspiration

A guest post by Ariel from One Little Library

We often hear that inspiration strikes at random. It seems like something out of our control, that we can only hope for when all of the stars align. But it’s just not true.

Finding inspiration isn’t actually hard; creating is the hard part. The word “inspiration” originally came from the Latin word for breath: to breathe, to inhale. Think of inspiration as something you need to regularly take in. And what you take in will help you create.

If what you’re creating is writing and information, then what you need to take in is learning. Here are five things you can do to practice taking in inspiration:

  1. Get curious

Ask questions. Don’t accept information at face value. Ask Google. Click on that link. Follow rabbit trails to see what’s there. For example, as I was writing the intro to this post, I started to run into a mental block—which is ironic, I know. I decided to look up the etymology of “inspiration,” which is how I found out it comes from the word for breath. That definition “clicked” and helped me say something I wasn’t sure how to say before.

2. Find the gap

In my job as an acquisitions editor, I read proposals all the time. And I’m always surprised by the sheer number of ideas people have—even within a very specific genre or topic. There are infinite ways to spin something: to take a different angle, or to say it in a fresh way. I’ve learned that great writers are able to pinpoint a gap in the existing knowledge base.

3. Read, read, read

To find the gap in the knowledge base, you have to know the knowledge base. You have to know what others are writing about. They’re both your competition and your inspiration. What can you provide that is different/better? Plus, knowing what your readers know allows you to provide them with information that is more relevant and timely.

4. Start a conversation

I often find inspiration when I listen to the questions people are asking. And they are asking! Start a conversation about whatever your topic is, and put yourself out there as an expert—even if you’re not sure you have all of the answers. At the least, what you’ll get is a new idea to research and explore so that next time you might have the answer.

5. Look at titles

Often when I’m trying to figure out what to write, I look at just the title of another blog post or a book that strikes my fancy. If I was the author of that blog post, what would I say? To some, this might sound like stealing. In his book, Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon argued that “stealing” is actually an act of collaboration, building on someone else’s work to remix it and make it your own. More often than not, I start writing and I find that my blog post is very different from the original one.

A Note on Keeping Inspiration

It’s great when we start exploring and find a good idea, but how do you hold onto it? I like to stock up on ideas and revisit my lists whenever I’m looking for something to write about. Here are some of my favorite ways to hold onto inspiration.

Keep a small notebook on you at all times. I use the adorable notebooks from Obvious State. They fit perfectly inside the clutch wallet I use, so no matter where I’m going, I always have something to write on. Don’t forget a pen, too! But if you forget, pens are usually easier to come by than paper.

Use Google docs. Google docs are available anytime and anywhere, from any device. When I have an idea for a blog post, I often open a new Google doc, give it a short tentative title (I’ll revisit the title later when I have time to start writing), and write just a few words to remind me later of where I was going with that idea. In my Google Drive, I have TONS of mostly empty Word docs—all ideas for blog posts that I’m holding onto and can revisit whenever I like. I also have a Google doc list of blog post ideas—basically the digital version of my little notebook.

Don’t wait around for inspiration to strike. Find it, claim it, and take it in. And if you have any additional tips for finding and keeping inspiration, let us know in the comments!

 

Ariel
Ariel is a writer, blogger, editor, almost vegetarian California girl. During the day she is an Acquisitions Editor for an education publisher. When not working, you can usually find Ariel doing yoga at the beach, reading with a glass of wine, or writing a book review on her blog, One Little Library.
Thank you, Ariel for the brilliant (and usable) advice on finding inspiration! I’ll definitely use some of your tips 🙂

The only solution for translator’s block!

take-a-day-off

A TIP FOR TRANSLATOR’S BLOCK.

Translators, freelancers, creatives of any art…. We all have felt it. When the deadline is approaching quicker than Khaleesi’s dragons  but your progress is slower than George R.R. Martin’s writing pace of the next GoT book! You really want to give it all and finish the masterpiece you are translating in a few hours, then open a bottle of wine and chill out waiting for the big translation award committee to come knocking on your door with your nomination! OK I might have taken it too far but you really want to reach the finishing line and get.some.rest.But you can’t. Everything is going wrong. You catch a cold, your neighbor calls and wants to talk about cooking, there’s a power cut or you just plainly have-run-out-of-energy! And the bad news is, you can’t do anything about it but slowly drag your sorry self around the housemoaning «I have so much to do» without really doing anything!

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Do you know what the only solution is?

– TAKE A DAY OFF!

Or just an evening. Even if you think you don’t have the time, just do it. You will be so productive the following morning you will gain the «lost» evening in a few hours. Make sure you don’t spend all time stressing about the job, though -just pretend it doesn’t exist for one afternoon. Do something for yourself, relax, exercise, order take out or go for a drink. You will feel so nice and energized the following morning, you will fall in love with your job again! Trust me, it works!

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It works for me even when I really don’t think I can afford losing an entire afternoon (how will I manage to catch up with all those pages?). It really pays as you wake up in the morning fresh, a tiny little bit guilty (just enough so that to not press snooze) and happier than the day before – because you did something for yourself and you do not feel that your job is draining all your energy anymore!

What do you think? Have you tried it? How do you deal with translator’s (or writer’s) block?

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Office Detox for Translators

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I had some fun trying the Translator’s Wheel of Happiness and saw that one of my weakest points was my working environment. Although I designed my office myself, with simple, elegant touches including some of my favorite elements, I cannot deny the fact that I have since transformed it into a messy hell of printouts, files, knick-knacks and various office clutter so that I now feel it has become almost… toxic!

That’s why I decided to channel my procrastination energy to something useful: de-cluttering and renovating (on a very very tight budget, though) my office space. After all, I spend most of my mornings and many evenings here. I really need the space to be bright, happy and inspiring! My translations deserve it!ee8af7e0eb5bc8ab30c0118fe9cf9fb5

Here’s what I’ll do to detox my office space:

  1. Bright, natural light – this is a tricky one for me! My office has a lot of natural light,which i LOVE – BUT I have to make sure I don’t have my monitor directly in front of it as it makes it hard for my eyes to adjust and read properly.
  2. Find what works for you – some people want to work on a clutter free desk, while others get comfort from being surrounded with dictionaries, language books or their cats ❤
  3. Devote a few moments each morning to dust and return your desk/office to your favorite state (see point 3, above) – My desk is black glass and you won’t believe it but I have to dust it TWICE a day! I don’t want to inhale dirty dust from the hall or from next door offices. And of course, I have to re-organize my mess from the day before (#sigh)
  4. Eat healthy and light – more energy, less fat (and less fatigue). Try to pack a healthy lunch option – it will save you money, and office-chair body 😛 I usually pack a bar of dark chocolate, a banana and some dried nuts and I eat them mixed together or separately 🙂 Ah, I know, you can also see some more ideas at the Dietary Perks of Being a Translator 🙂 healthy snack
  5. Add some color – and let it be your “tranquilizer”! Whenever you feel stressed out or tired, focus on this bright blob of your favorite color and let it transport you to wherever you’d like to be: a sandy beach in the Aegean (yellow), a turquoise resort in Majjorka (turqoise green), a busy street in London (red), an exotic bazaar in Maracech (purple). Give your mind a (colorful) break and let your creative translator’s juices flow 🙂

TIP: Find a nice quote that will either make you smile or inspire you to work hard(er) and stick it in a nice (maybe colorful?) frame 🙂 It will add personality to your space!

Here are some of the free printables I found while browsing 🙂

 

 

I hope I’ll have a nice before and after to show in a couple of days!

What about you? Do you feel the need for an inspirational workspace or do you manage to work whatever the conditions around you? In which case I envy you 🙂