Androgyna, or The Fool (a play)

Dear reader,

I wrote this play for one of my classes last semester. It’s an interpretation of Ben Jonson’s Volpone from a different point of view of one of the characters.

Here Androgyno becomes Androgyna because this character identifies as female. It is important to understand intersex people and their rights.. This play is an attempt to enable minority characters and reveal the voices that sometimes go unheard but that deserve to be listened to.

Please provide feedback + ideas in the comments below.

xoxo,

the bbb blogger

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fun, funky, fresh

georgia may jagger by ellen von unwerth for vogue russia january 2015 image from here

georgia may jagger by ellen von unwerth for vogue russia january 2015
image from here

Ringing in the New Year with a wardrobe update is always exciting, right? I love fashion—I do. It’s fun. It’s funky. It’s fresh. Or sometimes it can be.

But a trend I’m not sure how I feel about is the whole Polyvore fad.

yay

  • Matching is great. The OCD part of me really gets it.

image from here

nay

  • Most people, in real life, don’t have the luxury to match every single item of their closet with their Starbucks cup o’ joe. It’s just too unrealistic.
  • Also, is it like Pinterest on steroids?

“Weekend Walks” image from here

gray

  • The whole world is able to see all the weird trends that happen in the fashion world. Like McDonald’s gear (as shown below). Is this public sharing that great? Who knows.
  • Is this fad going to fade out like Myspace? We’ll see.

image from here

How to Recognize and Resolve Writing Burnout

Sally dreamed of becoming a successful writer. For several years, she had been working as a freelance writer. Her upcoming project was due in a few hours. At first, Sally was enthusiastic about the new project, which she’d been working on over the last two weeks. But every time she picked up her laptop to write a sentence, no inspiration struck.

After the initial excitement of the project wore off, Sally felt increasingly rushed to finish the assignment. Additionally, she started to avoid writing whenever she could: she would do a load of laundry, scrub the kitchen floor, shampoo the carpet, vacuum the stairs—anything to avoid writing. Disagreements and arguments between clients and Sally seemed to happen regularly.

Now, well after midnight, Sally stares blankly at her computer screen, realizing that her eleventh hour is quickly coming to a close.

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Identifying the Problem: What is Writing Burnout?

The fictional anecdote above could happen to any freelance writer. Whether freelance writers have worked independently for several years or have been working on one project for several months, writing burnout can happen. Burnout means that an individual experiences mental or physical exhaustion because he or she is overworked or stressed. Writing burnout is a real problem. But what are the signs of writing burnout, and what can be done about it?

Throes of Creation by Leonid Pasternak (image found here)


How to Recognize Writing Burnout

Recognizing writing burnout can be difficult for many freelance writers. On the LinkedIn group page called “Freelance Writers,” web writer and small business owner David K. William posted an article and asked how to deal with burnout. William posted Tiffany Faming’s article called “3 Signs You Are Approaching a Writing Burnout.” In this article, the three signs Faming warned of were the following: first, “you don’t want [the article to be] perfect, you just want it done”; second, “you’ll take any opportunity to avoid writing”; and third, “you’re having problems with clients.” Although these signs may seem obvious, freelance writers must be aware of how they are feeling in order to identify burnout.

In the story at the start of this essay, Sally experienced all three of these signs. First, she tried to rush through writing to complete the project. Second, she cleaned instead of writing (which is always a bad sign). Third, Sally argued with clients more often than normal. If freelance writers experience one or all three of these signs, they are probably feeling writing burnout. After addressing the telltale signs of burnout, what can freelance writers do about the lack of inspiration?

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The Responses: How to Resolve Writing Burnout

If freelance writers begin to feel exhausted from writing, they should find options to resolve the problem. On the LinkedIn group page, David K. William’s question was how to deal with writing burnout. In the comments section of this post, freelance writers offered their ideas they use in their own work. Their suggestions fall under two main categories: take a break or continue working. These two ideas could appear contradictory; however, freelance writers must determine which suggestion works best for them.

First: Take a break.

On the LinkedIn page, many freelance writers suggested taking time away from projects. For example, freelance writers could stop writing and start reading. Ronald Joseph Kule, a contributor to the LinkedIn discussion, explains, “When facing burnout, I realize this phenomenon as a stuck, one-way flow: too much outflow. So, I pick up one of my books written by another author and sit and read it in a different physical space from where I work.” Reading books may not only help freelance writers clear their minds but also help inspire them to write like other talented authors. In another comment, Roger Livesey explains that after reading blogs, he not only becomes more motivated to write again but also learns something new from what he read. After reading, the new information freelance writers learn could inspire their writing. Taking a break can help freelance writers beat burnout.

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Of course, there are other options of what a freelance writer could do to beat burnout. Creative options—away from the writing arena, of course—should help freelance writers. For example, freelance writer Susan Shuman explains that she takes a break by finger painting or coloring. Being artsy instead of wordy could be a good way to get out of a funk. Another option for some freelance writers is drinking. As David Cooper, another contributor to the LinkedIn discussion, explains, “[G]o to the nearest bar like Ernest Hemingway did,” or as Frank Cagno describes, have a drink and have fun to “clear your mind.” Religious and/or non-alcoholic freelance writers will not take this suggestion for moral reasons. However, having fun and clearing your mind—even when drinking is not involved—can help beat burnout.

Second: Continue working.

On the other hand, rather than taking time off from writing, the second suggestion is to continue working. This process can involve continuing to write the current piece or focusing on other tasks, such as editing or writing something else. Elizabeth Haynes explains on the LinkedIn comments section, “Mostly I just have to force myself to write, albeit in smaller chunks than usual. No writing = no paycheck.” Money is always a motivating factor, especially for freelance writers. Freelance writers could feel more motivated by pushing through and working in smaller chunks at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the whole project. Haynes continues, “[S]ometimes getting an influx of new work gets me moving again. Sometimes if things are slow I have a harder time writing than when I’m really busy.” Although constantly pushing work out will certainly lead to burnout, staying busy is beneficial for freelance writers.

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Another way freelance writers can feel motivated is by editing or rewriting other parts of their work. Editing is an essential part of the writing process, but editing can also help freelance writers feel motivated again. In the LinkedIn post, another freelance writer, Matt Duncan, claims that “editing my work helps me get over a block. Editing [is] the part of writing that is the least creative and I find that the creative side of my brain [will] fight to work when I’m not using it.” Editing may not seem creative for some freelance writers; therefore, working that part of the brain—the supposedly less creative side—could motivate a freelance writer. Additionally, freelance writers could try rewriting previous sections of their work. In the LinkedIn post, Vicki Roth describes her process: she likes to “take something [she has] written before and rewrite or correct it.” By rewriting, freelance writers could not only dispel burnout but also create better writing.

Although taking time off or continuing work may seem like contradictory options, both are valid for freelancer writers to try if they feel unmotivated. What works for one writer may not work for another. For freelancer writers, what is important is to be aware of how their bodies are responding, mentally and emotionally. However, if these options do not dispel burnout, what else can freelance writers try?

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Additional Ideas of How to Resolve Writing Burnout

There are many ways to resolve writing burnout. The opposite of burnout is to stay inspired. Elsie Larson is the creator and writer of the blog A Beautiful Mess, a company that hinges on inspiration, imagination, and creativity. Her success story is based on her ability to avoid burnout. When working on different projects, she suggests five tips to stay inspired: first, “carry a journal”; second, “find a new muse”; third, “develop a creative playlist”; fourth, “refresh your workspace”; and finally, “prove yourself wrong” by making a list of “the impossible” and then accomplishing those goals. When freelance writers evaluate how they are feeling about a project, they can try these ideas to continue staying inspired.

Maybe freelancer writers need to get away. Where should freelancer writers go to find inspiration? As Elsie Larson suggests, freelance writers could try a flea market, the library, a local historic district, or a bookstore. Perhaps they would prefer to go outdoors: have a picnic, take a country drive, or check out a flower shop. These ideas are just a few places for freelance writers to go to avoid writing burnout and to become more inspired.

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Conclusion

Freelance writers must recognize their career goals and work hard. As wealthy freelance writers, the reality of writing burnout is important to be aware of and to recognize. Freelance writers should be conscious of how they are feeling about work. Then freelance writers can adapt to their needs easier. As a result, wealthy freelance writers may be emotionally and mentally fit—in the workforce and in life.

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 Works Cited

One Year Anniversary

Exactly one year ago, I started my blog! What started out as a class assignment has turned into a beautiful blog! ❤ Thank you for your support. Celebrate with me! Do something beautiful, for yourself, for someone you love, for a stranger, whatever! Then post in the comments below. What did you do? I wanna know!

Thanks! 🙂  I hope you all have had a beautiful year.

xoxo,

the bbb blogger

5 Things to Know about Virtual Assistants

1. Why hire a high-level virtual assistant

Business owners use virtual assistants not only to reduce workload but also to increase revenue. Business owners accomplish more by outsourcing “or delegat[ing] the non-revenue generating or moneymaking tasks to a Virtual Assistant or ‘VA.’”[1]

2. How much to pay a virtual assistant

How much a business owner pays a VA will vary. The cost can range as widely as $5.50 to $30. However, the difference in cost can depend on skill level, reliability, whether the project is for short term or long term, and where the virtual assistant lives.[2]

3. Where to find a virtual assistant

Here are 20 websites to find a VA:

  1. Twitter
  2. Assistant Match
  3. Office Details
  4. Craigslist
  5. VA Networking
  6. Resource Nation
  7. Virtual Assistants
  8. International Virtual Assistants Association
  9. Virtual Assistance U
  10. Tasks EveryDay
  11. Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce
  12. Team Double Click
  13. AssistU
  14. Staff Centrix
  15. Elance
  16. Find Virtual
  17. Get Friday
  18. Longer Days
  19. Hire My Mom
  20. Guru[3]

4. What qualities to look for in a virtual assistant

Smart business owners do not hire just anyone. Of course, business owners want to hire high-level VA, who will charge higher prices probably. The VA needs to have certain qualities, such as the following:

  1. “Their own office space and equipment”
  2. “A flexible schedule”
  3. “Multiple communication options”
  4. “Internet experience”
  5. “Excellent written and verbal communication skills”
  6. “Independent critical-thinking ability”
  7. “Native English speaking”
  8. “Someone who can suggest a better way of accomplishing a task”[4]

5. What to outsource to a virtual assistant

Here are 10 things to outsource to a VA:

  1. Bookkeeping
  2. Online research
  3. Database entries
  4. Data presentations
  5. Managing email
  6. Social tasks
  7. Travel research
  8. Scheduling
  9. Chasing business
  10. Industry knowledge[5]

 

Key terminology

  • Virtual assistant: “A virtual assistant(typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office.”[6]
  • Outsource: “To send out (work, for example) to an outside provider or manufacturer in order to cut costs.”[7]

Questions

  1. Is hiring a virtual assistant right for me as a business owner?
  • You should hire a virtual assistant if you believe that it will save you time and money, especially when you look at the long-term outcomes.
  1. Why should I hire a high-level virtual assistant?
  • High-level virtual assistants may cost more. However, they will think independently, work faster, and communicate clearly when writing and speaking. As a result, you will be less stressed and worried.
  1. What is outsourcing? What are the benefits?
  • Outsourcing occurs when a business owner delegates assignments to a virtual assistant. If a business owner hires a high-quality assistant, not just the person who offers the lowest bid, the virtual assistant can help reduce business costs and stress on the company.

end notes:

[1] See http://www.myevpllc.com/top-10-reasons-to-hire-a-high-level-virtual-assistant/.

[2] See http://www.hireyourvirtualassistant.com/blog/deciding-how-much-to-pay-a-virtual-assistant-rate-hourly-wage-salary-fees/.

[3] See http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/12/20-places-to-find-top-notch-virtual.html.

[4] See http://www.myevpllc.com/top-10-reasons-to-hire-a-high-level-virtual-assistant/.

[5] http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225318

[6] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_assistant.

[7] See http://www.thefreedictionary.com/outsource.

Written Wednesday: “Why a Man Should Never Object to a Woman Splitting the Bill”

Carl Holsoe, “At the Breakfast Table,” date unknown. Oil on canvas.


If a woman ever suggests paying for her dinner when she is on a date with a man,

he is quick to object.

Why even dare propose such a thought?

Of course not.

No.

Never!

Yet why does this protestation occur?

Cultural obedience.

Money dost rule.

Chivalry is dead.

God save the queen—she cannot save herself!

’Tis a cost too high.

My paying for dinner does not transform you,

does not change your gender,

does not change your biology.

You are still a man,

Even if I split the bill.

There are kindnesses;

There are actions, of course.

But that does not mean that they should be demanded, by either side.

You will not woo me by buying me

a six cent sweet or

a sixty dollar six-course meal

at a quarter past six.

Owe you I not;

Therefore, expect you not anything.

You woo me when you

Entreat me to be your

Equal.

So let me be.

And you talk with me—

intellectually and politely—

push me and argue with me—

think about what I have to say

   and who I am.

Many men have bought my bill,

but I have not bought theirs.

’Tis too high a cost.

Tuesday Tunes: Lucy Rose, “Lines”

 

lyrics

If you can’t see through it all

If you can’t see that I’m here
Did the moment pass you by
Are the words there out to try
Cause you were what i thought you thought I knew
I followed you so fast
Made me run and then I learned that taking time will make us lastTell me if you love someone
she tells you how to live your life
looking for something more
Don’t wanna be nobody else
and you let them know that
It’s not you
you’re not afraid
Lines around your eyes will disappear

If you don’t know where you go
If you won’t leave til it’s done
Tell me if there can’t be won
I don’t know where we should run
Watch and hear the noise it makes you smile
but it will make you burned
We’re all rushing in around
let’s make it work and see what we have learned

Tell me if you love someone
she told you how to live your life
looking for something more
Don’t wanna be nobody else
and you let them know that
It’s not you
you’re not afraid
Lines around your eyes will disappear

All of this falls down
All of this falls down
Words that will fall out
faster than your running oh
and i heard that
Did you let them go to waste
The words they will fall out
Faster than your running oh
and I heard that
Did you let them

Tell me if you love someone
Do you love them all
She tells you how to live your life
Looking for something more
Don’t wanna be nobody else
And you let them know that
It’s not you
You’re not afraid
Lines around your eyes will disappear

Heartbeat

madera-contrachapada-ocre

Last night when I lay down sickly,

Resting my tired head on the table,

My ear against that smooth surface,

I heard thu-thump, thu-thump,

And for a yielding second,

I truly believed that I was listening to

The wood’s heartbeat—

Its soul connecting with mine.

Of course, it was only my own quick heart,

Thumping loudly in my tiring ears.

But there was a connection, spiritual and soft

Between the ancient, stricken tree and me.

V i c t o r i e s

I feel like this has become my life motto. Or it should be. Or I should be better at making it my life motto.

Plus . . . BALLOONS!

What a sweet, sweet surprise. ❤

What small victories are you celebrating today? Please comment below. 😀

Hope you are having a beautiful day.

xoxo,

the bbb blogger