Friday, July 1, 2016

Turning The Page To A New Life Chapter

It's official!

As of today, I'll be freelancing full-time as copywriter and virtual assistant.

My current mood swings back and forth between excited elation and knee-jellying terror. It goes something like this:

Squeeee! I'm free! I will make a living with my writing and VAing! I can work from home! I can work from anywhere! Except...

Yikes! What if I don't earn enough? What if I can't pay my bills or health insurance? What if my clients drop me? What if I fuck up? What if I'm just not good/organized/disciplined enough? And yet...

Squeeee! I can start novel-writing again! I can set up a passive source of income! I can work on my balcony! I can get a dog!

I'm going to make an educated guess that everyone who takes the leap from employment to freelancing also takes the same or a similar ride on the emotional rollercoaster. It's scary and exhilirating all in one.

It's probably also one of the most courageous things I've ever done, even though it doesn't feel that way (yet?).

Over the past year or so, things have kept falling into place in my life, things that I let happen and guide me, things that brought me here without me having to pull and push and shove and fight.

Yes, I worked hard to get here. I'm sleep-deprived, my to-do list is a mile long, and I can't remember the last time I had a proper work-out.

But I don't feel drained, or stressed, or like the ground might suddenly break away from under my feet. I don't have to fear that I'll die of hunger alone in a gutter somewhere if this doesn't pan out. I have several backup and contingency plans in place, in case something goes wrong.

I'm as prepared as I'll ever be, and I know it. I feel safe in taking this step now, at this point in my life. And I'm happy and immensely grateful to be able to start this new life chapter in such a positive way.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Dead Skin - Fourth Poem

Dead Skin

I am filled
with a void of nothing

at a crossroads

Which way to take
from here

So many options
none feel true

So many obstacles
all my own

Escape is paramount
yet here I stand


To shed my skin
with the void inside

To leave it behind

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Remembrance - Third Poem

(Last one... for now. ;-) )


nugget of knowledge
whisper of wisdom

heard for the first time
invokes a tremor

not as if it’s a novel thought
but as if I’m reminded

of something lost
long ago

hidden treasure 
from deep within
to be discovered

set free

when time 
and my spirit 
call for its remembrance

Sunday, January 31, 2016

How I Built My Own Workout Desk - My Write Bike

Sedentary Lifestyle - Not Ideal

For years now, I've been coming home after my day job, and sitting down at my desk, dining table or couch to write. What I write varies, but one thing doesn't: I'm sitting. I'm comfortable, and so are my flaccid muscles. 

Instead of using the time after work to exercise my body and straighten out the kinks in muscles, bones and joints that have accumulated over my desk-job day, I sit some more.

A healthy lifestyle this is not. But I'd rather sit and write than work out and not write. If only I could come up with a way to get some exercise while writing...

How to Get Moving

I'd heard of treadmill desks, obviously. But not only do they take up a lot of space, they are also rather expensive. 

Then I stumbled across the so called desk peddlers and thought maybe... They're smaller and cheaper than treadmill desks, to be sure. And that's when it hit me! I own an exercise-bike for home use, gathering dust in the corner behind my bedroom door!

Maybe I didn't have to spend a lot of money on something I already had, and could possibly assemble myself...? All I had to do was add a few parts to the bike, after all. What parts exactly was the variable in need of exploring. 

"Ingredients" for My Bike Desk

So I rummaged around my own inventory - what flat surface object did I own that I could somehow attach to the handle-bars of the bike? I got lucky almost immediately when I unearthed this old laptop lap-shelf thingy that I hadn't used for a while:

Suddenly, I was excited - its shape would make my rookie tinkering so much eaiser than expected. All I had to do was hook it over the bike's handle-bars, and presto! I had an easy, flat surface to put my laptop on, without too much danger of the entire contraption sliding off, or my laptop slipping off the desk. It was almost too good to be true.

Of course, it was, if only a little. The angle this left the laptop at on top of the handle-bars was a bit too steep for comfortable writing. I soon got cramps in my wrists when I tried to type out any serious-length text. So I had to elevate the front end of the shelf away from the bike's control unit - but how? 

Perfecting The Raw Material

I figured some sort of wedge between the shelf and the control unit would do the trick, so I cut up an old moving box and experimented with folding different shapes into triangles and wedges. It had to both elevate and straighten the shelf to a comfortable writing-height, while being sturdy enough to hold the weight of my laptop as well as my hands while typing on it.

I finally found the perfect sturdy wedge-shape that helped make writing while riding the bike almost as comfortable as when sitting at my desk. I tried it out that same night. It worked wonderfully, just as I'd hoped and imagined. 

One Last Thing...

Since functionality was now perfected, I also wanted to make sure I wouldn't accidentally knock the entire thing to the ground - my laptop is the one thing out of all my possessions for which I'd run into a burning building (I'm a writer. 'Nuff said.). So, unwilling to subject it to my clumsiness, I ordered two velcro-straps on Amazon. They arrived two days later and, after a few more minutes of testing, found their ideal positions:

Now, unless I knock over the entire bike, my laptop is no longer in danger of flying off the handle. *snerk*

Yes, I know the entire setup looks a bit makeshift. I'm not exactly a master tinkerer. But it's stable, secure, and comfortable enough to use for an hour of writing. And it didn't cost me much aside from about half an hour of experimenting and a few euros. 

Cost Break-Down

Building my own Write Bike (as I call it) was way cheaper than buying anything specifically designed with the purpose of moving while writing. All in all, the costs broke down to the following:

What I had to buy
- 2 velcro straps for 11,02€ 

What I found at home
- 1 home exercise bike, original price (2012) ca. 100€
- 1 laptop support, original price ca. 4€
- 1 moving box, original price 1,50€

This amounts to a total of 116,52€, of which I'd paid 105,50€ years ago.

Final Result

And so here it is: My Write Bike in all its glory. I use it almost every night and am loving it.

Do you have a way to work out while writing? What other options are there? I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

What Would It Take - Another Poem

(Apparently, I'm on a roll...)

What would it take?

What would it take
for you to bid farewell
to your mother and father
your sisters and brothers

What would it take
for you to walk
thousands of miles
through heat and cold
through hunger and thirst

What would it take
for you to carry
your beloved children
through fever and fear
towards the unknown

What would it take
for you to prefer
the uncertainties and insecurities
and foreign hostilities
to all that is familiar

What would it take
for YOU to leave home
Not because you have somewhere to go
But because you have nowhere to stay
Because 'home' has ceased to be

What would it take?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Waste of Words - A Poem

(My first in many years...)

waste of words

people talk
back and forth

in circles
round and round

the chatter of a million empty phrases
over and over

saying nothing new
nothing bold
nothing true
again and again

I sit
and wish for silence

for looks between souls
for truths without words

Here and Now