Posts Tagged ‘Zaum’

On This Day…

Monday, November 17th, 2014

I have just had a quick skim read of my blog posts on and around the 17 November in 2010/11/12/13 and it has made me quite pleased that I write all of this random drivel and chuck it into big bad world of THE INTERNET. So what was I up to, I hear you ask with excitement and vigour? Well!

In 2010, I was in Sydney applying for my first travel/work visa to go to France. These were exciting times as I suddenly had permission to go and live in my favourite city in the world and I was in Sydney eating cheese with my best friend, Gill. What more could a girl ask for?

In 2011, I was writing 50,000 words in one month for NaNoWriMo (a task I managed to successfully complete) and I had tripped over whilst running along the Canal Saint Martin in Paris, horrendously injuring my knees. Or at least, that’s how I made it seem.

In 2012, I was eating cake and enjoying Beaujoulais Nouveau in Paris while attending exhibition openings that I made a small appearance in. Ooh la la!

In 2013, I had recently met the Queen. That’s how I roll.

So that’s not bad really. Not bad at all.

Movebubble and Shaker

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

As Friday evening draws closer and my working week comes to an end, I thought I would clear up the misconception that some people seem to have that I don’t actually do any work. I have some how managed to create the illusion of being a lazy unemployed bum, but sadly this is not the case. I am quite lazy, I am unemployed (self-employed technically) but I am not a bum.

Over the past few months I have managed to build up a lovely group of clients and have worked on some interesting projects. One of the best things about my job is that I have to learn about a very random range of subjects – this week I wrote about data protection, recycling, infectious diseases, security systems, and community gardening.

One of my most regular writing projects is for a start-up company called Movebubble. They have created an online platform for homeowners to list their houses for people to view and rent. You can set up an online profile with previous rental history and referees and connect with homeowners looking to rent. It’s BRILLIANT. Especially the blog that features some fantastic posts written by various genius writers, including yours truly.

So should you feel like moving to London any time soon and you want to learn more about Islington, landlord insurance or what handmade gifts to give this Christmas, check out the Movebubble blog.

Happy Classroomiversary to Me!

Friday, May 9th, 2014

You know I love celebrating anniversaries. Any excuse to potentially eat cake. So here’s another one! Today is one year since I started working in The Classroom office space in the Northern Quarter. A lot has happened in that time – I have done some work, spent a lot of time checking email and being distracted by the internet, and I have met some interesting (and weird) people. The atmosphere in the office has changed over the year as different personalities have come and gone and it has grown into a fun, vibrant and friendly place to be. I really enjoy coming to work – it is far more entertaining that checking Facebook at home alone on my couch. I would have brought in cake to celebrate, however it is Friday, which means there’s hardly anyone in here because who does work on a Friday? Ah, the joy of freelance.

Working hard in the classroom

Working hard in the classroom

Web Content Overload

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

For the past few weeks I have been spending a lot of time looking for writing opportunities and exploring the big-bad-world of THE INTERNET. I have become somewhat horrified by the excessive nature of web content and the number of sites that exist purely for people to write “SEO articles” to increase user traffic to their websites. I realise that as a copywriter I should be joining this bandwagon and writing articles about how to avoid procrastination as a freelancer, why SEO is important, or perhaps how to “Smoke a can of tuna with toilet paper.” You know, important stuff. But I just can’t – it hurts too much and there are already enough people writing exactly the same things, quoting exactly the same people and raising exactly the same points. I wouldn’t be bringing anything new to the table.

My search for writing work has taken me down some dark and torturous paths, mostly involving websites advertising freelance writing jobs at ridiculously low prices. There are bidding wars for who will complete the jobs for the lowest price. Write twenty 500-word articles for £20 – at an hour per article, that’s £1 per hour. Who is actually willing to do that and why are they making it hard for all of us to make a decent living?

Perhaps I am lazy for not participating in this battle but I am not willing to accept that my industry and my own professional skills are worth so little. Copywriters are often the first to be taken out of a creative project when budgets are restricted because ‘everyone can write.’ Perhaps, but not everyone can write well. So I am continuing on my search for exciting, positive and creative projects where people are wanting to produce beautifully crafted work. I know there are other people who feel the same way – let’s create our own band wagon. Ours will have streamers and novelty horns.

A Potentially Stupid Idea

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

I am having a ‘stuck’ moment today where I am doubting my ridiculous insistence at trying to be a writer. I am thinking it would be best for me to give up, study accounting and get a real job. However, whenever I have these days I always concoct a stupid plan to distract myself from the reality of my life, such as setting myself 108 challenges to achieve in 108 days or running a marathon. Today’s idea – sign up for NaNoWriMo (again.)

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month – a month long period where people across the world set themselves the goal of writing 50,000 words. I successfully completed it while living in Paris in 2011, however have always felt that I cheated slightly by writing a memoir, rather than a fictional novel. Last year I contemplated trying it again but failed as fiction is just not my thing. However, maybe these additional 12 months have developed some sort of creative impulse in me and I will now be able to do it. I highly doubt it. But maybe.

I feel that I will need some sort of plan for the story – otherwise I will start writing and become instantly bored and annoyed with my characters and story line. So what will I write about? If I can come up with a decent story idea, or at least an interesting main character and location, I will agree to participate in NaNoWriMo. Of course, I only have 8 days to come up with this as it starts on 1 November. So… any ideas?

Wednesday Write-In

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Every Wednesday I receive an email from a writers’ group called CAKE with a list of words to use as inspiration for a piece of writing. The idea is to write something (whether it be fiction, non-fiction, poetry or just a ramble) using one or more of the words provided. Then you should share it with the CAKE network for feedback and just to prove to yourself that you have actually done some writing today.

I have been meaning to participate but my lack of direction and efficiency has meant that I have always thought of an excuse not to. Not today. Today’s words were tide : short-sighted : reflective :apocalypse : gloom. I started writing about an old man sitting by a window, looking outside at the gloomy Manchester drizzle. But this then turned into a children’s story about a boy called Sam. Here is my story. *Please remember that this was written in a short period of time with zero editing. It will not be award winning.

Sam’s Glasses

 

Sam’s mum made him wear glasses. They will help you see things that are far away, she had said.

Sam didn’t like his glasses – they hurt behind his ears and fell down his nose whenever he tied his shoes or looked at ants on the ground.

Children at school teased him. His mum said he should explain that he was short-sighted, but that didn’t help. They just called him “Short-Eyed-Sam.”

Sam liked to take his glasses off and see the world through his own eyes. He would see colourful shapes and blurry forms that no one else could.

Without his glasses, his backyard would turn into an adventure land with green spindles and mumbopikes, flying jiggernots, and the endless cavern where the three-nosed humbert lived.

One day before school, Sam stopped to inspect a beetle outside his classroom and his glasses fell off. As he stood up, he felt the metal frames crunch under his foot – his glasses were broken.

His teacher called everyone inside and Sam sat down at his desk. As he looked around the room, Sam started to smile. Gone were the Times Tables charts, spelling books and school projects. The walls of the classroom stretched and expanded, towering blue, yellow and red poles sprouted high into the air and a big black screen hovered in the air infront.

Rows of robots with flashing lights and buttons churned and whirred as a giant orange flower walked and talked back and forth far off in the distance. From above hung lime green vines filled with exotic three-armed creatures, the more daring of them sneaking a wave at Sam from high above.

The giant walking-talking flower invited Sam to come forward, beckoning him with a floppy petal and a large smile. Sam skipped past the robots, pushing the buttons of a few as he passed and laughing at the yellow bellied shoddies and flapjaws.

When he reached the front, Sam danced and sang with joy – this was the best day at school ever. The robots clapped at the end of his performance and Sam felt like the King of the Schoolroom Jungle.

The giant walking-talking flower held out a set of silver Super Space Goggles which Sam placed on his face. As the world around him became clear again and his teacher’s concerned face peered back at him, Sam found himself back in his classroom.

Sam walked back to his desk, sad that his adventure was over. But as he sat at the back of the classroom Sam lifted his glasses on and off his nose, shifting between a maths lesson and watching a giant walking-talking flower.

Published Again!

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

About six months ago, I responded to a call out from Chronicle Books to submit Instagram photographs for a book they were publishing. I didn’t expect anything from it but decided to take the “Be in it to win it” attitude. I hadn’t received any sort of confirmation from the publishers so presumed I hadn’t been accepted.

At the time of submission, I was about to move from Paris to Manchester and had no fixed address so I gave them my brother’s bakery address. So neither of us were really expecting a parcel addressed to me to arrive at his shop. Inside the mysterious package were two copies of This Is Happening, featuring one of my photographs.

Now I'm a published photographer!

Now I’m a published photographer!

I am particularly thrilled to have my photograph printed in a book produced by one of my favourite publishing companies. Now I wonder if they would like my book about Paris…

Who Has Two Jobs? Jess Has Two Jobs.

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

I don’t know what has happened to me – all of a sudden my life revolves around making sure I get to Artisan 15 minutes before my start time, serving food with a smile, and then trying to get enough sleep to do it all again the next day. Last week involved many hours of serving practise and I had my first REAL shift yesterday. The good news – I didn’t drop anything! I consider this to be a huge success and came away from yesterday’s service thinking that maybe I can do this waitressing business after all.

I am working tonight so am spending the day in my other office attempting to write. This was side tracked by the discovery that it is my friend, Nate’s birthday today and I was horrified to discover that he hadn’t eaten any cake by 10.30am! JESS AND A PIECE OF CHOCOLATE AND GUINNESS CAKE AT TAKK TO THE RESCUE!

This cake solves all problems.

This cake solves all problems.

The weather in Manchester has been relatively good and I have managed to wear sleeveless tops on occasion. That said, my temperature tolerance appears to have shifted dramatically and a 20 degree day feels hot. I am still a lovely whiter shade of pale but I have officially booked plane tickets to Croatia for my birthday. Beaches, sunshine and hot weather – these are the best presents I could ask for.

Sunshine equals picnic lunches in Piccadilly Gardens

Sunshine equals picnic lunches in Piccadilly Gardens

In the Office

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Exciting times in the world of Zaum, me and all things Manchester – I am writing to you from my new office space! Extraordinarily uncomfortable faux-leather dining chairs, home-related distractions and general boredom while working in my apartment have encouraged me to seek new office territory. There are a lot of small, shared studio spaces around Manchester, most offering space to work at really low prices. I signed up to join a space called The Classroom – a white walled, school-desk furnished work space that is used by freelancers of various disciplines. For £24 a month, I can come in here and use the desks, printer, kitchen, and internet on any weekday from 9am to 6.30pm. I am yet to really meet anyone but I have only been here for half an hour. It’ll happen. I can smell great potential.

The Next Challenge

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Ok, I’ve done a marathon. Tick. Now I need to publish a book. That is significantly more daunting than running 42 kilometres and so today I came up with a genius idea which is either stupid and will just die out or brilliant and will actually work. I am hoping for the latter.

I am going to think of 108 ‘challenges’ or ‘tasks’ that I need to complete over the next 108 days, one of which is “Finish writing my book.” So on 31 July, I will have a final draft that will have been sent to publishers for their perusal. The other challenges will be smaller (although one is to go on holiday to somewhere sunny which is hardly small) and I am still working on the list. Currently it includes learning Dutch, working with an artist in their studio and reading Anna Karenina. I will write about each challenge as I complete it on my new website, 108 in 108, that I quickly threw together today using WordPress templates. The design isn’t mine but I love the balloons! So much fun.

So please follow along, support me and push me. I really struggle with the lack of motivation to finish so would appreciate all kicking up the butt. Go find those steel-capped boots! I am one stubborn mule.