Next Lisbon speaker
It’s no shame to need to stop and restart.
On our last talk, Rita Fazenda, a literary agent, told us that, at some point in her life, she felt the need to restart and how she did it. In her case the death of her father was the event that made her stop and re-think. This event made her allow herself time and space to reflect. It was through this reflexion that Rita also allowed herself the change that she needed.
Do we need such dramatic events to allow ourselves to restart? This talk gave us the answer: no. All we needed was to ear Rita. By the end of the talk, someone told me: “This was the kick in the ass I was needing”.
Rita told us her story. How her professional life started and how it evolved for what she always loved: books.
Today, after working as an agent for actors, comedians and screenwriters and for two different publishing houses, Rita works as an independent literary agent. She founded Storyspell, where she helps several authors to improve their work, to get published and to advertise their books.
She had her own restart to help others restart.
While sharing her inspiring
story, Rita also shared new words, old expressions, motivational quotes. Things
that, at some point, resonate with her.
By the end, while people were relating to different things from her talk, I believe we all had the same feeling. We arrived there with a dream, we left with a goal.
Thank you, Rita.
Text by Elisa Baltazar (CreativeMornings Lisbon host)
The idea of working as a freelancer sounds great. In theory, you will earn as much money as the amount of time you dedicate yourself to work, you have the freedom of working your own schedule, you can choose your clients and most of all you have the freedom to do what you love.
So, if it is this great, why are not more people doing it?
Truth is, working as a freelancer means way more than doing what you love. You need to do all the marketing stuff, get yourself out there, pursue new clients (or just clients, as a matter of fact), you need to negotiate prices. You also need to understand your finances. You don’t have a fixed salary by the end of the month, so you need to plan and learn how to do it. As a self-employed person you need to understand taxes. And how tricky those can be in Portugal?
You need to be disciplined. One of the biggest challenges for most of the freelancers I know is to be disciplined. Keep doing your stuff to showcase potential clients, getting out there to get new clients, doing your own schedule as you are supposed to.
Working from home is great. Until it isn’t.
When I started working as a freelancer, I loved the fact that I was less than a minute away from my so-called office, another room by the end of a corridor. I love the fact that I could remain cosy and warm in my pyjamas. Having the dog by my feet. Doing pauses whenever I feel to and working at my own rhythm (and expense). So, what is the downside of this?
To start, although it can be comfortable, wearing pyjamas all day every day does not make wonders to your self-esteem. Having that kind of routine to get outside is also a way of taking care of yourself the same way that getting out of the house, breathe some fresh air, seeing people is one of the best ways to spark your creativity.
When you know that no one is watching you tend to procrastinate more. You do more pauses. Even when you’re doing what you love, you still get distracted. There are so many interesting things around the house. Your dog who wants to play, the TV you turn on only for 5 minutes that easily turns to 5 hours, and social media buzzing on your phone.
For some reason, when people around you know you work from home, they tend to think you are much more available. You get way more calls and texts.
Finally, there’s the discipline of getting out of bed. When your office is just next to it, it’s way harder to get out of it. Who doesn’t love sleeping? No commute, no clock in. It’s way too easy to stay just for 5 more minutes. That turn easily into an hour.
Since I started working as a freelancer, I have tried many things. From apps to manage my time, to coffee shops to force me to go outside. For 6 months, I worked in a coworking space. It was great, I have to say. I was seeing people, getting out of the house and keeping still at my desk as much as I needed. But there were also a few disadvantages. The place forced me to sign a contract for a certain amount of time. This means that I ended up paying for 2 months without using it, as I got a project where I needed to stay at the client’s office most of the time. Then, once that project was done, my freelance work did not allow me to have the financial obligation of having a full-time place for an extended period. Also, it was not allowing me the flexibility of a coffee shop, as it was a fixed location and I wanted to be able to move according to my client’s locations. Or even just for personal reasons. Finally, it was breaking my heart to leave my dog alone for so many hours.
That’s when I found out about Croissant. Croissant is an app that allows you to choose where you work, when you work.
Any member of Croissant can choose their subscription, depending on the number of hours needed per month. No obligations regarding how much you really use. If you don’t work all hours subscribed those will roll over to the next month. No obligations regarding location. In Lisbon, through Croissant, you have available 18 different co-working spaces.
This is the best of two worlds.
This means you can work two hours in the morning in one place, three hours in the afternoon in a different one. You can choose your spot by location or any other features. This allows me to meet other people, who are likeminded, who have the same struggles, who give me advice. It also allows me to meet in other places, drink loads of free coffee, and to have a knock out WiFi every time I have a deadline, or I just need to meet a client. And the best part is that there are so many dog friendly coworking spaces in this platform, so I can even bring my dog.
I am so delighted how this works for my productivity and creativity that I got us a discount. All members of CreativeMornings Lisbon get a 7-day free trial and a 15 euro discount off your first month by using CreativeMornings link. Give it a try and let us know how it goes.
Text by Elisa Baltazar (CreativeMornings Host)
This book surprised me. The first statement of the book is that we should not follow our passion. Precisely the reverse of what we are being told every day, nowadays.
Why shouldn’t we follow our passion? According to the
author searching for a job related to a pre-existing passion will only lead to frustration,
anxiety and job hopping.
“Ryan did not follow his passion into farming. Instead, like many people who end up loving what they do, he stumbled into his profession, and then found that his passion for the work increased along with his expertise.”
Organic farmers, venture capitalists, screenwriters,
freelance computer programmers, etc. these ae who admitted to deriving great
satisfaction from their work and whom the author talked with. From their experience
described in this book, we can conclude that the answer is to find way to excel
at something. Passion comes after you become good at something valuable. And that’s
how you end up loving what you do. The focus is not so much on what you do but
how you do it.
Newport also challenges the idea of time spent at
something to be good at it. By analyzing the examples of two people who spent
the same amount of time practicing guitar playing. How using the same amount of
time, lead to so different results and why. The big difference is how you spend
that time. What do you do to really challenge yourself? The difficulties you
give yourself and got out of your comfort zone.
I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to know what
to do about his/her life, who want a change, who believe in the follow-your-passion
theory or anyone who wants to develop further their current career.
I would also recommend this book to anyone managing people. I’m a big believer that people are the secret to make any business successful. In this book you can read about the benefits of ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment) and its impact on atmosphere, happiness at work and productivity.
done. “No results, no job: It’s that simple”; “Giving people more control over what they do and how they do it increases their happiness, engagement, and sense of fulfilment.”.
September’s theme for CreativeMornings was Chaos and there was no better person to tell us about Chaos than Pedro Saavedra. Listing Saavedra’s activities, it’s already a little bit chaotic. He is one man in many different jobs. An actor, an art director, a magazine director, a festival organizer, and so on.
Pedro claims Chaos is a part of any creative process. A needed part of that process, really.
Pedro Saavedra never thought he would be an artist. Growing up, being creative was not an option, as that was not what his family believed could be a job. Today, he believes that all the situations that lead him to what he does now were situations of chaos and a result of the way he dealt with it.
He believes chaos can be ordered. Or he believes he can do anything if we believe we can. He chooses to believe he can order chaos.
To better explain how he organises chaos, Pedro went into the details of his most chaotic project, being the editor of a magazine, Gerador. Pedro had never worked for a magazine before. When he was invited to create one, he had no clue where to start, what goes into a magazine, which people work in magazine, etc.
So, how did he manage to publish the first magazine? By making mistakes. The first magazine took 6 months to be issued. Did you know that you must work in a magazine even before issuing the previous one? Pedro didn’t.
In his case, Pedro found a way to order his chaos by going backwards and making a calendar of all his needs. Today, it takes him 2 months to get a number ready. He has now published 23 trimestral magazines.
But then chaos is still a constant in his life. He keeps getting involved in other projects, even if he has never done anything similar. Exquisite Festival is another example.
This shows how things can be transversal. To order his chaos, Pedro started using the same skills he uses when directing theatre. He just went from the three-dimensional to bidimensional, using the magazine to tell a story.
“We are never ready when opportunities knock at our door. Think about the list of missing opportunities you would have, or have, for waiting to be ready.” Opportunities might be chaotic when we first grab them, until we get no choice but to order the chaos.
2 years. It has been 2 years since CreativeMornings Lisbon had it’s first event.
So much has changed since then. We have a different host, a different team, different partnerships.
Still, a few things remain the same.
Our mission is the same. To inspire creativity, our manifesto remains “everyone is creative, everyone is welcome”. Some of our attendees remained faithful, one of our partners never stopped supporting us. Impossible has been our partner since the beginning. In fact, many might not know, but Impossible pulled the trigger to have CreativeMornings in Lisbon. Having an office in London, the company’s staff was already a big advocate to CreativeMornings. Then they found Victoria, an employee who was as passionate about creativity as them. And that’s how we were born.
Since then, it has been a journey to meet to most inspiring people in Lisbon. The speakers, the volunteers who sacrifice their free time to put all the event together and the audience, who wake up so earlier to come listen to our talks. We are people with so different backgrounds, different jobs, different ideas, but we are people who think alike and share the same values. And we are remarkable people. Freelancers, people changing careers, people trying to get in touch with their creative side, morning people. Together we have became what we can call a true community, together we became so much stronger.
So, we are taking this opportunity to get a little bit cheesy and thank all the people that have been helping this project to grow and most of all that help us prove our own statement. Everyone is creative. Everyone is welcome.
This being said, in September there will be three great reasons to come to our next event:
1. The speaker: Pedro Saavedra. Pedro is one in many. He is an actor, an art director, a magazine editor and so many other things. Who else could come to talk about Chaos?
2. Our venue: Farfetch Office. I’m sure you are very curious to get to the office of one of the most successful start-ups in Portugal. If you are not, you should. You will be wishing that was your office. I did. And I work at home, which can be a little bit more problematic.
3. Our 2nd anniversary. We want to thank you, we want to celebrate, we want to party. This means there will be cakes and, who knows, maybe a few goodies?
Save the date, it will happen on the 28th September. Stay tuned, we will be sending out all the info and opening tickets registration very soon. We are looking forward to see you there.
Did you know Fernando Pessoa was a copywriter?
“Primeiro estranha-se, depois entranha-se” (a phonetic game that only works in Portuguese but that would translate as “at first is weird, then bows in”). This is a sentence widely used in Portugal by Portuguese people. This was written by Fernando Pessoa as an ad for Coca-Cola.
To give a little bit of context, for many tourists Fernando Pessoa might be known as the iconic statue at Brasileira, a coffee shop at Chiado. For Portuguese people he is one of the greatest poets of Portugal. He is one of the most quoted authors on social media. What many don’t know is that, even though there is so much of his work published, only one of his books was published while he was alive. Therefore, he was holding many jobs, one of them as a copywriter, and he was a good one, too. He worked for two different agencies, writing advertising but also demonstrating the importance of advertising in the marketing context and suggesting rules to determine the conception of the ads and, therefore, developing new forms of advertising.
He is also well known for his heteronyms. Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos, Ricardo Reis. He was many writers in one, each one with a different name, a different personality and even a different horoscope. Doesn’t this make more sense once you know he was copywriter? He definitely could adapt to his audience.
As a creative writer myself, Fernando Pessoa is one of the writers I look up to. One of my sources for inspiration is his book “The book of disquiet”. There are many theories about this book and Pessoa’s intention with it. For me, it looks like his note book, with notes and excerpts of texts, not really connecting with each other but where you can really feel his sadness, his happiness, his dreams. No one expresses feelings as Fernando Pessoa.
There are no doubts that Fernando Pessoa work can be very inspiring and creative. For those looking to boost their creativity, you can now find some of his work translated to many languages by lisbon poets & co. If you are willing to get to know more about Lisbon culture and other poets, I would highly recommend the book with the same name of the publisher, which includes poems by Fernando Pessoa, Florbela Espanca, Cesario Verde. English, French, Spanish, Japanese, you can find this book translated to many languages and enjoy the written part of Lisbon’s magic.
I had just joined the 3rd different company in my career. Still Finance. It was what you could call a good position. I thought I’d have better hours. I didn’t. I thought the job would be fun. It wasn’t. I thought I’d like it better. I was wrong.
8 weeks was the time between deciding to quit and actually have the courage to do it. There were too many questions in my head, one of them being, “what I am going to do?”. This was what I had been doing for 14 years.
I had just become a certified Life Coach and had been intensively coached, so I was somehow feeling fearless. I had a few coaching clients, a growing page on Facebook and I was writing. I wasn’t quite ready to tell the world (or myself) that that’s what I wanted to be doing. Writing. So, I just started having a few coaching clients here and there. I did start writing about coaching and one thing led to the other. At first, a few texts for a startup. Then, volunteering as a blogger to CreativeMornings Lisbon. Then, another client. Things started happening without me really looking for it. It just happened.
On our last event, Nuno Mesquita told us a little bit of his own journey and how he quit his job to pursue something more fulfilling. Many people asked him “So, would you tell anyone who is unhappy at his/her job to quit?”. And that is such a hard question to answer. There are so many stories and they can be all so different. So, I’m telling you mine.
I might not be perceived as successful as Nuno’s. It has now been a year and half and I am far from the results Nuno told us regarding his own businesses. I am currently what you would say “between jobs”. I have had clients who paid me poorly, I have had clients who never paid on time or never paid at all, my texts have been edited, my subjects have not been chosen by me, clients have dropped my service to get it from someone doing it for free. Doing what I like made me lose the perks I was having at a corporate job. I no longer have a salary at the end of the month, health insurance or an air conditioned place to work. I still have frustrations, but I have been resilient. More than I knew I could be. Every time I send a CV out I feel as scared as when I quit. “Would they find me too old, too bold or too inexperienced? Would they like my writing style? Am I really talented for this?”
On the other hand, I have my own schedule. I have the time to dedicate to a beautiful project as this one, CreativeMornings Lisbon. I am learning every day, more than I ever did in Finance and definitely more passionately. I’m meeting new people every day. And most of all, I have been writing. Sometimes getting paid to do it.
I don’t know what the exact definition of success is. Is it money, is it happiness, is it freedom?
All I know is that from time to time I receive a message, a comment or a mail from someone telling me how my text resonates with them. And that’s when I’m sure. I might not know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.
CreativeMornings Lisbon Host
A brilliant journalist that she is, Catarina prepared this video snippet to welcome you to her lecture this Friday.
28 July, 8:30 - 10:00 AM at ONDACITY - looking forward to seeing you at our lecture on Equality!
May’s topic for CreativeMornings was Serendipity. Who would be better to take us through this topic than Mariana Duarte Silva, the Serendipity herself.
Mariana Duarte Silva is a mother of 3 boys and founder of Village Underground - a co-working and events space housed located in Alcantara, Lisbon. Village Underground is known for its unique architectural structure made of shipping containers and double decker buses, recycled into office spaces.
Very recently Village Underground celebrated its 10 year anniversary in Lisbon, and Mariana started her talk by playing the video they made to celebrate the remarkable date. Village Underground appeared to be all about community - events, parties, creativity, activities for children, and much more than a co-working space.
Serendipity is not an easy topic. Not even an easy word. Mariana shared her struggles on how she was looking for a right format of her talk, and how she searched for help. Finally it was her dear friend, Paul Bay, from London who offered a helping hand. So, that´s where we started - what serendipity is and how it has showed up in Mariana’s life:
“Serendipity is the opposite of Predictability. If we get comfortable with routine, we condition ourselves not to see the happy accidents when they come along..”
“Serendipity is about seeing opportunities where others see problems. We thus make connections that others don’t.”
“Serendipity is about making connections that “normal thinking” doesn’t make. So it can uncover wrong assumptions in life.”
So, what were the happy accidents Mariana’s life that brought her to where she is now?
We can start by her father getting divorce while her mother got a job in his building. It was love that happened by a lucky chance, and led to Mariana’s birth.
Another happy accident, another moment of serendipity, the one that completely changed her life was the job she got in London - in a very small media company, right in the street where Village Underground London is located.
So that’s how it all started. In 2007, Mariana started working for this small media company and every day she would pass this weird scenery of four tube carriages piled on top of each other, with people going in and out. One day, Mariana and her friend, Joana, quit their jobs and moved their office to one those carriages. That’s when Mariana felt her life was about to change.
Her new office was shivering cold in the winter and scorching hot in the summer. But Mariana believed this was the coolest office in the world and decided to open the same concept in Lisbon. “Let’s do it” was the response of Village Underground in London.
It’s worth remembering that this was at a time Lisbon was very different from what it is now. There was very little room for creativity, co-working spaces were a foreign concept and there was Mariana, trying to create a co-working space out of shipping containers. After 3 years of knocking at closed doors, Mariana finally got a meeting with Carris (Portuguese company for bus public transports) who gave her three old buses. Once the location was found at the Museum of Carris, Village Underground Lisboa was born.
How to transcend moments? That’s the question highly linked to art, that we got the opportunity to tackle last Friday with Creative Mornings Lisbon.
How to honor the glory of the past, while subliming the present? How to balance the history of a neighborhood with its call for change?
That’s the challenge Camilla Watson made its own when she fell in love with Lisbon in 2007. As a photographer, she realised that old neighborhoods such as Mouraria were evolving so fast, that something had to be done with the elder people representing the last decades, its moments of fado and its history.
Through her “Tribute to Mouraria”, Camilla Watson focused on communities and their local histories. She used photography as a way to cover an area, represent the people who belong to it and reach out to the people who are passing by.
“I want to bring the past into the present in a way that is visual, creative and accessible to all; especially in historic neighbourhoods and in areas in a process of change.”
While she was walking in the narrow streets of Mouraria, she understood that art will happen through the walls. They will be the support of their memories, especially as they are intrinsically a lively testimonial spanning generations.
Her mission was to turn the stories of the neighbourhood into photographies. To subtly integrate these pictures into the DNA of the area. But to do so, she had to experiment how to reveal the photographies on the old walls; and this was true art. She went from images turning into black to lasting pieces, now sticked to different parts of the streets.
As the project was evolving, and the photographies integrating the daily path of the inhabitants, Camilla started to change the face of abandoned walls. Instead of leaving these areas as dead parts of the city, she added photographies of trees, interiors or authentic moments shared within the community. A whole new perspective.
Really, it’s fascinating to see how such a project can stimulate the memory of places, enhance a culture and sublimate moments; allowing history to carry on.