My New Favorite Places #2


I finished Gretchen Rubin’s ‘The Happiness Project’ a couple of weeks ago and one of the  suggestions she makes on living a more meaningful life is: leave trails. If you like a place, a book or an experience, write about it and share it with others.

This way you nail down why exactly you enjoyed it so much and that way it makes you contemplate more intense on positive things in your life. You also literally leave a trail of good experiences for others to follow when you share what kind of places or things made you feel happy.

Yesterday I worked at the lovely co-workings space VanBovenEvery Friday you can climb up the stairs of a beautiful Amsterdamse School church building in the Baarsjes neighbourhood and find the perfect quiet place to get some serious work done. It’s only 5 euro’s for the whole day and coffee, tea, fruit, cookies, chocolate are complementary.

During the rest of the week they organise little indie-concerts, exhibitions and courses. Love this concept, definitely plan to go there more often.


Blend Your Own Background Noise


Outside it was bloody hot today but I got most of my work done while listening to a storm. My perfect and very personal noise-blend-recipe of the day; lots of rain, bit of thunder and wind. All thanks to the amazing site Noisli that generates background sounds that keep you creative.

For a lot of people, me included, a little background noise is helpful to calm down and focus. As I wrote in this post about the Coffice-trend, a certain level of sound also boosts your productivity. It’s why a lot of people love to get things done with their laptops in a coffee place.

I loved Coffitivity a coffee-shop-noise simulator but Noisli is way cooler, it allows you to create your own set of background sounds by combining clips of rain, water and wind, but you can also listen to a forrest by night a campfire or sounds of the sea. And naturally the sound of a descent coffee shop is also part of the collection. Highly recommended! (via Hacker News)


Trends For Freelance Writers


Will we all be freelancing soon? It was this question, asked in a radio-show, that got to me. People and companies increasingly opt for project-based relationships instead of more permanent ones. An area changing fast in that direction, is the writing industry. I’m a freelance writer myself and I work with a lot of journalists/writers in my graphic jobs. Below some trends that got people talking and will definitely influence freelance writers in 2014.

1. Data-journalism: Journalists will shift from hunter/gatherer style to a mode of interpreting big data. Before, when information was scarce, most efforts were devoted to finding the actual story. That is changing rapidly since data-sets become available to anyone now. Getting the information is not the problem anymore, but processing it is more important than ever. The role of writers? They are interpreters, who are able to give the, much needed, sense an structure in the never ending flow of data.

2. Visual storytelling: We can help people process data not only by making interpretations, but also by focussing more on presentation. Visual tools are must-haves these days in communicating what’s important and relevant to the consumer. More infographics and data visualizations are shown in traditional media and on the web. Very useful to update your skills in that area or… work closely together with designers.

3. Content is King: Companies are becoming publishers. They are creating news websites and other online content as part of their marketing strategies and… they are hiring freelancers to do the work. Whether you call it brand journalism or content marketing the opportunities this trend poses for freelance writers, have never been better.

4. Niche Magazines: Are magazines dead? According to , they’re more alive than ever. He launched 870 new titles last year only. Many new titles are niche publications. His advice for writers: specialize as much as you can in certain topics.

5. Writers going Indie: Freelance pay rates are getting lower and lower. Given these conditions, it’s not surprising that journalists are becoming entrepreneurs by launching startups or writer communities, that they write crowdfunded articles instead of selling to a publisher, monetize a blog by charging readers, or give self-publishing a shot. Lots of alternative possibilities out there.