Tag Archives: work

Do you have to change your entire life to become a writer?

2017-08-17

Becoming a writer tends to be a gradual process. Usually, it takes time to learn the craft, decide what kind of writing is the most attractive, find a way to publish the works, and see if writing can be the one and only work to make a living. Because it is a gradual process, the method of working, the tools, and the working environment are typically discovered along the way.
Woman leaning on pile of books
An excellent article by Ayodeji Awosika suggests that aspiring writers must give up 7 things in order to become published and successful.

He makes valid points on what it generally requires from an aspiring writer to develop into a published writer. Here are the 7 points Awosika makes.

You have to give up your:
1. Entitlement. Especially, in the beginning, you are not entitled to anything. You have to fight for everything.
2. Romanticism. There are plenty of romantic stories of authors and how they have achieved their success, but they are never the full story.
3. Fear of marketing. No matter which publishing path you choose, you will have to market yourself and your work.
4. Time. Becoming a writer can take years.
5. Need for approval. In the beginning, genuine approval is difficult to get.
6. Laziness. Writing means a lot of work.
7. Excuses. If you want to become a writer, there are no excuses for doing something else.

If I had to list only 3 things that are required to developing into a writer, they would be the following:

Time. You have to allocate plenty of time for writing. It means you must give up something else, like watching television, playing video games, hanging out at cafés, shopping, or anything else that doesn’t add value to writing.
Perseverance. Writing is a long-term decision. Learning the craft, getting a work published, achieving sales never happens overnight. It is really amazing how disciplined most writers are when it comes to their work.
Continuous learning. No one can say that he or she completely masters the craft and business of writing. It is not only the techniques of writing that require continuous learning, but also work methods, processes, marketing, business, and tools.

So, many things in an aspiring writer’s lifestyle should change in order to make room for everything that writing requires.

This is why digital nomads, remote workers and everyone who travels must rely on offline tools

2017-03-02

Traveling professionals, digital nomads and remote workers rely on their computing devices to get the work done. One key thing workers take for granted in an office – Internet access – is not always available on the road. Once a nomadic worker realizes what it really means to be disconnected for a few critical hours or even for days, it becomes clear that the whole computer setup must be prepared for travel. It is a setup that relies on offline tools.
laptop on office desk, woman reads newspaper
If you stop for a moment and review all the applications and online services you are using, you may discover that being without an Internet connection makes up to 90% of your tools redundant. A vital application to get a job done becomes completely useless if you can’t access the Internet. This is a common situation for everyone who is traveling, settling into a new place, or is having problems with telecommunication connections.

I learned all this the hard way. I can still remember how it felt to land in a city where I had never been before, hire a car (without a navigator), and drive to a nearby city where a hotel room was waiting for us. Finding the right direction on the highway was easy by following the street signs, but when it was time to open the navigation application on the smartphone and get detailed instructions for finding the hotel, it didn’t work. The smartphone navigation app didn’t work because it required Internet connection. It was night already, and we were completely lost. In the end, helpful police officers showed us the way to the hotel.

Another painful lesson was during a customer project that I had started before traveling to another country. I had saved the project documents in Google Drive because I had used Google Docs for taking notes and drafting the material. I had reserved two days for finishing the project. I had the time, the tools, but no documents. Internet connection in the place I had rented for a month didn’t work. I contacted the agent who hired the place to me, but because it was weekend, she was off duty. No help. Those two days were lost in frantic search for cafés with Internet connection and prepaid SIM cards. In the end, I managed to buy a prepaid SIM card. Two days were completely lost, but the acquired SIM card proved valuable: it saved me from the same problem later.

So, perhaps contrary to the popular opinion, I am arguing that digital nomads, remote workers and anyone who needs to travel must give up Google Docs, Office 365 and similar cloud services if they are using those services for work. People on the move must rely on offline tools.

Essential offline apps

Here is a brief list of common apps that you must be able to run without Internet connection.

Word processor (for instance, Libreoffice Writer, Word or Pages)
Spreadsheet (for instance, Libreoffice Calc, Excel, or Numbers)
Notes / Journal / Editor application
Maps (Maps.me which runs on tablets and smartphones, but not on PCs is a good choice)
Navigation (Maps.me has been designed to run offline, which is why it is far more reliable and faster than running an online navigation app, like Google Maps in offline mode)
Password manager
Contacts
Calendar
Ereading software and ebook library (for instance, Bluefire Reader or Fbreader)
Photo editor
Dictionary

How to test that your key applications run without an Internet connection?

1. Disable Wi-Fi and mobile data on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
2. Start every application, one app at a time, that you absolutely need on the road, and try out if you can use it without hindrances.

Using a smartphone for communications even when there is no Internet access

compose text message on Android smartphone
Just a reminder that even when you are offline, you probably have a smartphone that can connect to a mobile network. You should activate roaming for phone calls before leaving your home country. If you don’t’ answer phone calls or make phone calls yourself, you don’t have to pay any extra (to be sure, check with your telco). When roaming for phone calls is activated, you can also send and receive text messages (SMS) that are a low-cost way to communicate even overseas.

Do not activate overseas data roaming for your smartphone, unless you are absolutely sure what you are doing. Usually, it means that either you have a special overseas data package, or you have a EU mobile subscription and you are roaming in the EU region.

Minimum set of cloud services

Once you have secured Internet access, it is time to connect with the employer, clients, audiences, friends and family. The minimum set of online services a traveling professional needs:

Email
Cloud Backup
Social media
Skype or other teleconferencing and messaging service

What does the sharp separation of offline and online tools mean in practice?

Having a large selection of offline tools always available means that it has been possible for you to be productive during those periods without Internet connection. Once you manage to get your computing devices online, you have text documents, messages, photos, spreadsheets and presentations ready to be shared with your employer, clients or audiences.

Which online services are the best for a traveling professional?

The best ones are those cloud services that let you have full control over the access and access rights of your account. It may mean you have to pay for your email service and backup space in the cloud to ensure you truly own full control over the account and the data you have stored into the account.

Popular free services, like Gmail and other Google and Yahoo services are extremely risky for travelers. These services have full control over your account and data. It is their decision if they let you access your data or not. A login attempt – even with the correct credentials – from a new place is a red flag for the services, and they may lock you out from your account. Read more about the risks of Google and Yahoo services for nomadic workers in the article Why I quit Yahoo and Gmail when I started traveling.

Being offline isn’t the end of the world for a traveling professional who relies on computers and the Internet to get the work done. When you are prepared, you can keep working offline until you manage to secure access to the Internet. The fruits of those productive offline hours – or even days – can then be shared with the world.

Top destinations for digital nomads 2016

2016-09-07

The only way to really experience world’s amazing destinations is to go those places by yourself. Digital nomads are people who work while they travel across the world. The new lifestyle has inspired many new businesses and services that aim at assisting mobile workers on their journey.

To save you the hassle of weighing up the pros and cons of popular destinations across the world, here is a list that introduces the world’s top 7 nomad destinations in 2016.

Top 7 Nomad Destinations 2016

Infographic by Blogtrepreneur.

Since we have visited the top 7 cities, here are a few personal remarks on them.

1. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is an affordable city with a food culture that you’ll never forget. Tropical climate and difficult traffic may not please everyone.

2. Prague, Czech Republic
The old town is one of the most magnificent places to stroll for hours. Living in Prague is affordable. Continental climate with warm/hot summers and cold winters.

3. Hong Kong
Everything is business and trade in Hong Kong, so jump on board. Very busy, but well functioning city where you can find anything and everything the world has to offer.

4. Porto, Portugal
Portugal second largest city, the home of delicious Port wine. Mild climate that is rather pleasant through the year with most rain in winter. Porto, and Portugal in general, is an affordable destination.

5. Budapest, Hungary
The cost of living is a delight in Budapest for a nomad who has to work to pay the rent and the food. Summers can be very hot and winters mild.

6. Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei is becoming a megacity where everything under the sun is available. City center can be expensive and not that welcoming, but outside the city beautiful, lush sceneries await.

7. London, UK
A digital nomad who wants to stay in London has to have clients that pay well because the city is one of the most expensive in Europe and the world. As a megacity it is one of the most pleasant ones where people still are friendly and everything (mostly) works (apart from the old underground network that is constantly being repaired).

The best European cities for digital nomads

2016-05-06

People who are unfamiliar with realities of the lifestyle of modern workers who live a mobile life, may think that these digital nomads roam the world staying where they like to stay, doing what they like to do. In reality, the modern nomads tend to carefully plan ahead where they stay for the next work period and where they get work to support their roaming life.
berlin, branderburger gateBerlin, Germany.

Which place is the best to live and work naturally depends on personal preferences. Someone appreciates safety, another wants to have the great outdoors nearby, someone wants to be near surfing opportunities, and low living costs is a must for someone else. Choosing a right place to stay and work for a few weeks or for a months is not easy, but there are many people out there who already have experienced it. Why not ask their opinion?

These cities digital nomads have ranked the best to live and work in Europe in May 2016 (by Nomad List, a dynamic ranking that changes according to votes cast by members):

1. Berlin, Germany
2. Lille, France
3. Gothenburg, Sweden. Download a travel guide to Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast here.
4. Bristol, UK
5. Nice, France. Here is a travel guide to Nice and the French Riviera.
6. Munich, Germany
7. Leiden, Netherlands
8. Leicester, UK
9. Leeds, UK
10. Aveiro, Portugal

gothenburg, sweden

Gothenburg, Sweden.

The ranking is based on quality of life, fun stuff to do, cost of living, safety and air quality. It was published at Nomad List that doesn’t specify how many votes have been cast for the cities, so we are not sure how representative the ranking is, but it surely gives pointers to anyone planning for the next destination.

In many other quality of living rankings and the best European cities to live in reports, places like Copenhagen (Denmark), Lisbon (Portugal), Zurich (Switzerland), Barcelona (Spain), Dublin (Ireland), and Bordeaux (France) have been ranked high. Many of these rankings have been produced by sitting behind a desk in an office somewhere in London or New York and applying statistics data to calculate the results. The ranking by Nomad List is produced by people who live the mobile life, so it is not surprising that the results are different.

A remarkable thing in this top 10 list is that there are small and medium-size cities in the list. For instance, Aveiro and Lille are rather small cities compared to truly big cities like Barcelona or Berlin that often rank high.

If you are looking for a place to stay in your next destination, here are tips and services that can help you.

Nice, France.

Nice, France.


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