Being a mum at Inkpact, by Nicola Willoughby

Being a mum at Inkpact

How I balance being a mum with writing and reviewing for inkpact! - by Nicola Willoughby

I started writing for Inkpact in Autumn 2017. My little girl had just turned one and I’d seen a post on Facebook where someone was asking how they could make a living out of their lovely handwriting, and in the replies, someone had recommended Inkpact. I decided to have a look online, applied, and that was that! I was a writer.

In those early days, the jobs were very different – I remember my first job was 10 A4 letters which seemed to be so long and have so many words – nothing like the jobs of today with thousands of cards to write!

I found it quite difficult at first to find a good time to write – having a small person to entertain and the risk of having freshly written letters spoilt took up most of my day! I also worked 4 days a week as a radiographer in our local NHS hospital. Eventually I started writing when she had her nap, and in the evenings as she went to bed. I once read a post on the Scribe Tribe that a mum sat in the car writing whilst her little ones slept, but I bow down to that mum, as I could never quite manage to get the hang of that skill!

In 2018, I fell pregnant again. I wrote throughout my pregnancy until December when I found my bump was just too big to carry on writing comfortably! My twin girls were born in January 2019 and the fun began.

I picked up the writing again in June with the arrival of the WaterBabies campaign and continued to pick up jobs here and there, still writing during the girls’ naps and in the evenings – made slightly more difficult with having 3 little girls under the age of 3!

I have always loved reading, and found that I pick up spelling and grammatical errors in books and written works, and always fancied myself as a bit of a proofreader! When the opportunity arose to become part of the Inkpact QA team in early 2020, I was so pleased! Balancing the quality checking in life is much easier than I thought and I just love being part of team ‘Reviewing Army’!

Although it can be hard at times to find a good balance between my family, work and Inkpact, I do enjoy the challenge. I still love posting my handwritten letters and imagining the happiness that the recipient feels. I’m so pleased I’m a part of this lovely company 😊

Nicola Willoughby - Scribe Tribe, Reviewer

My pens and my devotion

My pens and my devotion

From Parker to Bic, what do I write with?

The one thing that all of us at the Scribe Tribe have in common is definitely our love for stationery and handwriting. We may have been told we have nice handwriting, and feel good about it, but the real kicker in the feels is when we get a new pen/set of stationery.

I think we were all that kid that dreaded the end of Summer holidays but craved the trip to get new supplies for the new school year, and no matter how high or low we were in the economic bracket, a new pen/pencil/notebook was just something we needed. And let’s be honest, craved.

So, my love for pens and stationery started young. I never really got why a free pen would be something someone wanted, because, to me, buying a pen is a special moment. Selecting which type to go for. Roller tip, gel, fountain. The size of the writing we will do with it (my personal favourite are pens 0.5 or 0.7 even, but funnily enough the one I use now is 0.3!). The colour. Apart from being 9yo and NEEDING every colour on the rainbow, we all know there’s more to ink colour than black vs blue. The list is endless.

Sure, we need practical pens to keep around the house, bags, backpacks, etc, for when we need to scribble something at the last minute. But all the times we purposely sit down to write are all the more pleasurable if we have our favourite pen between our fingers.

I’ve always had a soft spot for gel pens. But some papers can’t take it and will smudge faster than a Fox Terrier will lift their head at the word “ball”! And I only use my Parker pen for Inkpact jobs, anyway. So, here’s my go to personal collection at the moment:

 

Platinum Preppy Fountainpen

This baby is translucent, you can see the ink cartridge inside, you can see the discs where the ink rolls to the metal tip. It glides effortlessly. I have a Sepia colour cartridge in. Is there a more satisfying thing on a fountain pen? My everyday notes are written with it. Not the scribbles. The actual notes. The addresses on non-Inkpact jobs’ envelopes. The letters to my friends and family.

It was gifted to me last year by my boyfriend and even though it’s a 0.3 instead of my preferred thicker line, I can’t get enough of it, and am dreading this last Sepia cartridge finishes!

 

Kaweco Sport Fountainpen

Another gift from boyfriend from a couple of years back, that I enjoyed so much, I went out and bought another of the same model, in a different colour!

I now own 2, a baby blue with blue ink and a grey with dark grey ink. Both of which are used for journaling and letter writing.

Talk about feeling love for a pen! These ones are so nice to hold, the ink is constant, no drips or smudges, the detail on the tips are magical, and I really think I will add more of these to my collection.

 

Frixion Ball Slim 0.38

Stolen from boyfriend’s bag, these pens are magical! They are erasable, and perfect for fast writing and note taking. Since he bought these for himself, they are a little too slim for me, but nothing beats the way they write and how fast you can erase if you need to change something. I have one in black, red and sepia. Not enough!

These are not great for postcards or official anything, as the ink is also heat sensitive, so easily erased by leaving the paper in the sun. But for my acting classes, or other classes, where I need to scribble down fast and make sure I can touch the paper right after? Perfect!

 

BIC Velocity Gel 0.7

Oh my. These have been on my pen case for decades. My go to pen and preferred for comfort writing. I have said it before, I have a soft spot for gel pens, and BIC knows how to do the most amazing everyday pen. Speaking of which, I’m down to my last one: must. Buy. More.

 

BIC Orange Original Fine Ballpoint Pens Fine Point

Another staple that has been a part of my life, and I believe (at least) every (Portuguese) child! Simple. Reliable. Effective. Don’t change what’s already working, am I right? These pens have been around for decades! And nothing beats the easy writing you can do with them. All my postcards for postcrossing are done with these. That’s how reliable I know they are.

Phew, now that’s a list! And it’s ever changing. I do enjoy trying new pens, seeing what my hand prefers at that moment, and always give a nice test drive to any new pen bought, gifted, found or borrowed!

I’d love to know more about your favourite pens, and what writing you do with them, so let me know! I’d say write a comment, but I’d also be willing to get a nice handwritten note *wink*.

Tania, Community Manager

I love GIFs

I. Love. GIFs

Hello, I am Tania and I love GIFs. It’s been about 2 minutes since I used one to communicate how I feel.

Now I know it’s odd in a community dedicated to writing that I am devoting and expressing my love to a single looped moving image. But how can I not! There’s a GIF for every single thing/emotion you want to say or transmit. And even though I am devoted to the written word, sometimes it is true that an image speaks for a thousand words.

Forgetting the debate behind its pronouncement, with a soft j (like in jam, as the creator meant it to be) or a hard almost glottal g (like the word gift without the t, which I, for some reason, prefer and use), the GIF is here to stay! Sure, it’s not deemed scholarly enough to use in professional and serious communications (I can only imagine if written discussions on the next bill to pass in parliament were exchanged resorting to GIFs!), but it will be the best way to express your banter, approval, excitement, sadness, disappointment or even incredulity over a certain topic on a more relaxed manner.

I even have friends who are “GIF famous” (yes, I am making that a thing):

The GIF was created over 30 years ago, believe it or not! Before the world wide web was a common thing. When techies needed to find a way to share images but found those to be incredibly space consuming, a compression algorithm was invented, and the Graphics Interchange Format was born! Well, the GIF as we know it was still on its way, as the first ones were dedicated to still images, and let’s face it, not as fun or mockery filled. But still, the base exists since 1987.

In recent years though, the fame and rate of sharing GIFs has increased astronomically and there’s very little trouble in finding the perfect GIF to portray accurately a moment.

Could that moment be described with use of well thought and combined words? Of course it could! But the giggle you let out when you see the most perfect looped video describe how you’re feeling, is irreplaceable, in my opinion.

And now, here are some of my favourite GIFs of all time.

(Bonus points, did you know this is not Zach Galifianakis, but the one and only heartthrob of the 20th century, Robert Redford? I know!!! My mind was blown by that too)

Tania, Community Manager

Letters are the present, not the past

Letters represent the present, not the past

Domizia, our very own Business Development Representative shares why she is in love with handwritten letters. After reading, you will fall in love too.

I hear many people say that letters are something of the past – something my grandparents were using to share their love in times of war. We are so fed with the thought that technology today is the new sole way of communication between people or a community.

Well, you will then be surprised that I’m 24 and I still use letters to write and communicate with my family, some friends, and my lover. In a way, I feel like the world has gone back to my grandparents’ time. People used to leave their families, leave their partners to find a job in a faraway country.

Well, now it’s same. Most people from my generation have to leave their family to study or find a job abroad. We find a partner coming from the other side of the world. And in such a distance online messages do not really convey how much you care for that person. And they are definitely not something you can keep in a memory box.

The letter from Domizia’s mom

I have one with so, so many letters! My mum sending me money abroad with a little message. My friend sending me a letter to apologise and express how much she values our friendship after a big fight. My partner sending me a letter for Valentine’s day.

You see, letters are not a mean of the past. They are the present. They are the best way to express your emotions and convey your feelings to the reader. They are a true human mean of communication.

The look of the card, the smell of the paper, the handwriting style, the thumbprints on the envelope. These are “parts” of the sender that will stay with the receiver forever and make the relationship special. We don’t write letters only for the message itself, but for all the human factors and senses that it involves. The creation of a correspondence of amorous senses.

When was the last time you wrote a personal letter to a beloved one?

Domizia Di Maggio - Business Development Representative at Inkpact

Connecting the world with writing

Postcard and stamps

Connecting the world with writing

Postcrossing. Bookcrossing. And the old fashioned handwritten letter.

POSTCROSSING

I have been living in the UK since 2013, and in my life I have been fortunate enough to have visited many countries in 4 different continents (still need to get more travelling under my belt and increase that to all continents!). And one thing that I’ve always done, when I am visiting a new country, is send back home to my family and/or friends, a written postcard.

I’ve always felt it’s a nice gesture, that you are remembering and taking the time from your adventures/holidays to write to the ones you love. And I know how great it feels to receive one in the post too! So, I want to share the same smile and heart warmth as much as possible.

Back in 2016, my sister in law introduced me to postcrossing. Now you may already know what this is, but in case you don’t, here it goes: Postcrossing is a worldwide community of people that share postcards! It’s so simple and yet, so effective!

You create your account online, at https://www.postcrossing.com/ and request your first address. Once you do, you’ll get to see the bio and “requests”/likes of your first recipient, and from there, it’s handwritten love and sharing!

Since 2016 I have sent postcards to all over the world and received them too. On the latest ones I’ve written you could find in the post box of a 74yo man from Germany, a 55yo woman from rural Russia, a 20yo girl from Japan and so many others in between London and there!

It’s always nice to read about their favourite postcards, what they’d like to add to their collection and check the nice messages left upon receiving a thoughtful 10.5cm x 10.5cm piece of card. And I also love selecting the perfect card for each individual. It makes me smile and discover super cool postcards!

If you’re not registered yet, I highly recommend doing it. You can send one postcard a year, if that’s your style, or you can get in a groove and write a handful a week, and see as many arriving with your post and imagining the life of the person who lives in a faraway country that took the time to write to YOU.

I am hooked on writing these and would love to know if there are any postcrossers amongst our lovely Scribe Tribe!

 

BOOKCROSSING

If you live in London or a city with an underground transport system, you may have come across one of these random acts of kindness on the Tube, or at a park. A stranger leaves a loved booked purposely behind, so another can pick it up and be immersed in the world created between those 2 covers. But did you know this is a community and not counting the actual leaving-the-book-for-a-stranger-to-pick-up part you can also exchange books, or send a book to another person directly?

You can see a book’s journey, if it’s one of the tracked items. You can swap books with people who have similar reading taste. You can send your favourite book to many people.

And all you need to do is log in to https://www.bookcrossing.com/ to find out more.

 

OLD FASHIONED HANDWRITTEN LETTER

If none of these seems appropriate to you, but you still want to bring a smile to someone’s face, I’d suggest the old-fashioned handwritten letter to a family member! Yes, you may talk to them on the phone every day, FaceTime/Zoom as much as you can, but imagine how loved they will feel by receiving a letter in the post! I know my boyfriend has received a letter from his sister and kept it safe in the back of his Kobo (a kind of kindle). Now I have not read the letter, nor want to, but the fact he has kept it safe and not thrown it away after reading shows how much he appreciated the gesture! And they do speak every single day on the phone.

Or, if you’re feeling a bit bolder, write to a neighbour of yours, or a local coffee place just sharing a nice moment/memory you have with them. I bet you’d make a friend for life.

Let me know if you get this posted and the reaction!

 

In the next weeks, I will share more ways you can use your gift of beautiful handwriting and love of words to spread joy, but in the meantime, let me know if you try any of these 3!

Tania, Community Manager

What not to do during a pandemic

What not to do during a pandemic

From the 18th to the 24th of May it’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. And what a time to remind ourselves to check up on our mental health!

In the midst of a pandemic we are surrounded by rules, and expectations we sometimes have no idea where they came from or even who set them.

We know, or at least are trying to understand, government guidelines. We stayed at home. We washed our hands. We had the unbelievable gift of time bestowed upon (most of) us. But what does all that mean in reality?

And then, the “outside” expectations. Social media connecting us all, and making us all feel so incredibly useless and like we’re failing. And keeping us so busy all the time, most of us are not processing our feelings and thoughts about the state of the world.

How? Well, read on…

Early on, it started with all these online free classes that started to take place. Gym owners, PTs, dancers, gym aficionados, all left out of jobs, decided to take their gifts online, and a new form of exercise came to be: Zoom classes and Instagram lives of all sorts. From Yoga to HIIT, boxing and ballet, you name it! And we enrolled them all.

Then came the bread-making. It turns out sourdough is not that hard to bake, and there’s something lovely about eating bread you made yourself. Not to speak of the wonders of watching dough rise. Yep, we have time, don’t we? Anything but staying alone with our thoughts.

Soon after, haircuts, new gardening skills, books checked out of the to-read lists (even if we can’t remember the storyline all that well), and creative writing. All the plays, poems, stories, we felt we needed to start and perhaps didn’t really want to finish. I mean, art comes from the heart, and that little honey is a bit mangled right now.

Not to mention, we are probably feeling like we watched ALL of Netflix by now.

And still… at the end of the day, we are still left feeling overwhelmed, afraid and unbalanced. We have not processed all of this. And you know what? That is ALRIGHT!

The sooner you realise you have NOTHING to prove to anyone, not now, not when the pandemic is over, the better it is for you and your mental health.

So, don’t feel like you need to declutter your closet and be all Marie Kondo. Or learn a new language, read all the books you own plus the ones you can afford to get delivered. Or write a novel. Also, and this may come as a shock to you, you don’t need to participate in yet another Zoom quiz night!

You can take things at your pace. You can read, if you feel like it, or listen to some amazing audiobooks if you can’t concentrate on the pages, or even, ditch the book and try meditating for the first time in over 50 years of living (there are some gorgeous apps and Youtube videos to help you get started).

You can have a cup of tea by the window, getting some sun (and vitamin D! Just please, wear sunscreen. Seriously, I could do a whole other post on how much you ALWAYS need sunscreen!), listen to your favourite song paying attention to instruments you may not even know are there (I recently found a little cymbal in Bohemian Rapsody I SWEAR has never been there before) or you can simply call your mom and have a nice chat or share recipes and funny stories from growing up.

Just take time. To be with who you choose to be with. To be with you. To be.

And now that we are slowly easing out into some sort of normalcy, please remember to check in on anxiety levels. More people outside can be a trigger, and a concern and we should all, as much as possible, still be inside. I won’t stop hammering this: it’s ok to not be as productive as you think everyone else is being. It’s ok to take things at your own pace. As the famous saying goes: You do you, boo.

And just as a closer, and to remind you to be forgiving and keep your mental health in check, here’s some advice I picked up from this article:

  1. Asking for help isn’t weakness
  2. Forgive yourself
  3. Hard work isn’t a cure
  4. Processing takes time
  5. Shame doesn’t get the final word
  6. We’re ALL adjusting

We are all adjusting. We are all together. We all are.

Tania, Community Manager

Remedial Handwriting, by Yvonne Hedges

JustWrite classroom a

Just Write - Remedial Handwriting, by Yvonne Hedges

Our first guest blog post comes from one of our own Scribes. And it's all about Remedial Writing. If you want to know more about Yvonne's school, read below or head to http://www.justwritenow.co.uk.

I am a SEN teacher of 25+ years, now specialising in helping people improve their handwriting. I am qualified to teach handwriting specifically through the National Handwriting Association and the Helen Arkell Centre for Dyslexia.

So what do I do and why? Well, I am passionate about handwriting – that is my motivation. Handwriting is a life skill. I find those most in need tend to be children struggling with schoolwork but equally, adults and professionals like doctors have also benefitted from my support and help.

In 2011, I decided to leave school and become a private handwriting tutor, founding Just Write to focus exclusively on handwriting. With those tutoring the normal subjects, handwriting is often offered as a 5 minute add-on at the end of a lesson, if requested. This is just not good enough. In spite of technology, school work is still centred around pen and paper, because it is still the most appropriate medium for young minds to use to commit their thoughts, ideas and creativity, which can then immediately be shared. Without the ability to express themselves in writing, they can become frustrated, lose confidence and ultimately fail to realise their full potential. School life marches on and you keep up or fall behind. This is what I saw happening and decided to do something about it.

I love teaching but found during my career that whilst writing is one of the foundations of a good education, it is rarely given the curriculum time it deserves; and different schools never have the same standards or teach the same style of handwriting. There is lack of time, knowledge and human resources. We now live in a world that has lots of left- handed writers, so no longer should this be a problem as there are so many writing tools to help them. Definitely no longer smudging of their writing as was the common belief!  It is no wonder then that many schoolchildren fail to achieve a reasonable style and speed, and uncorrected bad habits and poor letter formation follows them into adulthood. How many of your friends and relatives have you heard saying that their handwriting is awful when the subject is raised? How many of them can remember being taught writing skills? I am sure you will have a variety of answers which will not be consistent between them.

The good news is that handwriting can be improved whatever your age. The trick is not to think of it as a finite skill that you are either good at or not, like maths! Handwriting is a skill like playing a musical instrument.  To become good at it requires 2 things

1. a good understanding of technique and 2. the desire to practice and teach the hand muscles how to work!

Technique

This is about how you sit, hold your pencil, position your paper, how your writing area is lit and how much you press on the paper whilst writing. These are all correctable and will naturally give you the best opportunity to form letters and sentences in a legible and consistent style. In other words, all the practical things that will support a good practice writing session.

Practice

This is more complex. If we try really hard, we can often write sentences very slowly, but beautifully! What is required ultimately, is for us to be able to write beautifully, legibly and fast!

If you don’t already play the piano, imagine putting your hands and fingers onto the keys for the first time. There are a lot of questions. What does each note sound like? Which finger plays each note? How do you translate a piece of music on paper to the keys on the keyboard?  How is it possible to stretch your fingers to cover an octave or more with one hand?  How can your fingers hit the correct note every time, without fail?

Practice in this context is the activity of repetitive movement and applies equally to handwriting as it does to playing a musical instrument. With practice, you are creating ‘muscle memory’. That is, the muscles in your hands and fingers learn the movements and positions required to play a sequence of notes or to write a sequence of letters. However, humans are inherently lazy and if we can find a quicker way of doing this which doesn’t make your muscles ache as much, or require as much stretching or effort, we will do it. If the end result is OK rather than beautiful, we may be happy with that.

This is how bad habits are formed and they become your muscle memory. With handwriting, the difficulty comes when you try to read your ‘quick’ writing sometime later, or someone else does – like a teacher reading homework, or a nurse reading a Doctor’s notes. It might have been fully understandable when it was written, but not at some time later. University lecture notes, as an example, spring to mind here!

JustWrite classroom aRemedial handwriting lessons with the right techniques reset the hand’s muscle memory to recover the situation by practising handwriting using the basic principles outlined above, in a motivational way. There is a crossover between some elements of occupational health and an individual’s level of fine motor skills that are addressed on an individual basis.

By this, I mean trying to remedy this yourself by writing “The quick brown fox…” etc. over and over again might have some benefit, but it is pretty repetitive and boring and misses out on techniques that underpin good handwriting. Getting children to do this can create a resistance to handwriting which is counterproductive and takes time and patience to rebuild their confidence.

In my experience, it is only a very few focussed people whose handwriting will improve through online exercises and printable sheets, without having prior knowledge of how the elements of physiology and psychology combine to achieve better handwriting. Most end up with an achy wrist, and convince themselves there isn’t really much wrong with their handwriting after all! As a teacher, I incorporate different activities and games as well as physical exercises into lessons to achieve the muscle changes required without the obvious but boring repetitive writing tasks, (or achy wrists!), making practice in between more enjoyable too. In just the same way, a piano teacher will deliver greater benefit over a shorter period of time than a self-learner can.

My success as a handwriting teacher is based on a one-to-one relationship with the student with a variety of tasks and exercises to keep interest and practice alive! I enjoy handwriting so much and love to see the written word, I even write as a Scribe for Inkpact 😊 

Yvonne Hedges - Scribe Tribe, Super Scribe

What I’ve learned working nomadically for 6 months

What I've learned working nomadically for 6 months

Is it all the rage? Do I work in my pyjamas? Is the coffee lady my best friend by now? Or am I going crazy not speaking to another human being for days on end (slight exaggeration, but how else am I going to make my point?). In this post I talk to you about how it was to run the Scribe Tribe since July, without a physical office to go to. And what changed since then!

As you know, Inkpact went through major changes last year deciding to stop having a physical office space and reducing the core team back to basics: Sales, Tech, Community and Costumer Success.

We started the “experiment” with a whopping 2 week trip to Bali, Indonesia, building bonds as a team as well as learning the new demands of our nomad roles, and then we returned home. Alone. No office buddies, and definitely no sunny days in sight. And here’s what I learned about the so called joys of working from home (or anywhere you want!).

What I love:

  1.  Not having to commute! Seriously, not having to be on a packed tube at rush hour, with sweaty and grumpy people who clearly would love to be anywhere else in the world but there, is THE dream!
  2. Eating home cooked meals, even at lunch time. Now, you must know, I always bring a packed lunch with me to work, even if I’m at the office. But the fact you can eat your food from an actual plate, instead of the container you brought from home and just reheated in the microwave leaving your food piping hot around but freezing cold in the middle, and (because I eat like a mammoth) having no way to mix it, is a blessing. Seriously. A good plate of home-cooked-evenly-warm food is a God send.
  3. Listening to my own music, not wondering if my headphones are too loud for the person sitting next to me, because there’s no one else there!!! I can listen to Musical Theatre original soundtracks or my beloved Indie bands without feeling the judgement! Oh, and spontaneously turning a bathroom break into a dance off whilst “Everybody” from the Backstreet Boys is playing may have happened. Twice.
  4. I can work wearing WHATEVER I want. Do I want to keep my pyjamas on until 12pm? I certainly can. Gym wear is perfectly acceptable. But also, if I end up waking up at 6am to film a self tape (yes, I’m still an actress, so it has happened), and want to wear a full face of make up and a nice outfit, I can! Oh, the joys! Although I suspect the post man has now seen me in such disgraceful outfits he may not look me in the eye next time he rings.
  5. I can actually. Work. From. ANYWHERE. Like, I book a trip to see my mom, and I can work from the same sofa I watched “10 Things I Hate About You” every day for a year when I was 17! I can work AND be with my mom. How can life get any better?

Now, it can’t all be roses, right? So here’s what I could do without:

  1. No work/home separation. I am not one to go regularly to coffee shops to work from, as I get super guilty being there for 3h with a single cappuccino in front of me, and dislike the anxiousness it gives me, thinking I am not consuming enough, etc etc. Also, who gets paid enough to spend days on end at coffee shops!? So I end up spending most of my week inside my house. In my living room. And I do have a desk and all, but if I sit on my sofa, I see the desk. Which means I see the work. It’s not like leaving the office and leaving it all behind. You live where you work. And sometimes it’s a bit much. Which leads to…
  2. No schedule. I’ve fixed this now. But for months I had no work/life balance whatsoever. A Scribe emailed at 11pm? I’d check the email. Probably reply. A campaign was running over the weekend? I’d stay home checking everything was running smoothly instead of going out and enjoying the weekend. My working hours went from officially being 9h-17h30 to being 9h-whenever I went to sleep. It did start to take a toll, and what I’ve done about it I’ll tell you in a bit!
  3. The loneliness. Yeah, it’s cool to only speak to who you love/want, instead of having to do small talk by the water cooler with someone you have little in common. But spending days on end alone was not fun either. I sometimes spend a couple of minutes more in the post office talking to Charles (the post office man) just so I can have a human interaction with someone else than my beloved boyfriend. Plus, he has spent his day in an office, surrounded by people, so having me nagging him incessantly in the evening is not what he needs wither. Poor guy.
My "office"

With likes and dislikes out of the way, what have I actually learned?

  1. I found out I am definitely an outgoing introvert. The difference between introvert and extrovert is the way you “recharge” your internal battery. If you’re full to the brim in social interactions and feel depleted when alone for long periods, congratulations, you’re an extrovert. If, like me, you do love social interactions but it’s when you’re alone that you feel yourself recharging, then you’re an introvert. I am a crazy person, and super friendly and outgoing, but I do need my alone time. Working nomadically has done wonders for my energy levels! I can be social all I want, when I want, but I also have my own space and time to fill up.
  2. I had to be told off by an actual doctor to start having boundaries. I now have all notifications off from my phone after 21h, and really don’t look at work related messages after 18h, unless they’re somewhat urgent (sorry if you message after 18h… I’ll reply, but only next day). I have put in place a plan to delegate tasks so I can actually have days and times off from work. Your life should never be your work, and I had to learn that the hard way.

It has definitely been a learning curve, but overall, I am absolutely loving working nomadically! I guess being able to put a load on in the middle of the day, and being there for when your online grocery shopping is delivered is great and all. But what I really love is the freedom you have to schedule your to do list the way it works best for you and go through it uninterrupted. Now, I don’t make my own schedule, I still work for a company with definite opening hours, so it’s not like I can be “my own boss” and decide to schedule a coffee meet up in the middle of the day. But I can travel. I can work from anywhere where wifi is good and available, and I can snack all I want (dangerous, I know, but I’ve been actually pretty great with food snacks!*). Also knowing someone trusts you to be independent and still deliver is an amazing feeling.

You must also know, that since the beginning of February, Inkpact has once again gone back to having a physical office, of sorts. We have some desks of our own in a co working space, in a pretty neat central London location (Piccadilly Circus), where you’re all welcome to come visit. But I am only there once, maximum twice every week. So I still get the best of both worlds!

Have you worked nomadically before? What did you think? And how many times do you raid your pantry a day?

* (Certified tip for not raiding pantries/fridges: don’t have junk food in the house! If you snack on a clementine, you’ll be doing good, instead of that pack of gummy bears!)
Tania, Community Manager

Why Bullet Journaling is not for me

Why Bullet Journaling is not for me

I have now started this organisation method 3 times. 3!!! And "gave up" a grand total of said 3 times (but actually it feels like about 857). So now I think it's time to rest my colourful pens, retire my Leuchtturm diary and call it day. And this is why.

When I roam the interwebs I always fawn a bit at beautiful layouts, spreads and overall talent from most Bullet Journals (or Creative Journals). I have pages saved on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and even Youtube videos of gorgeously gifted and quill genius people. And I know, I know! You have to make the BJ work for you, mould it to your needs and wants, and just have a functional diary management, brain dump thing that is yours. No need to photograph and share anything! But I just couldn’t even make that!

Let’s start from the top, and admit (as I believe most of us) I grew up with an almost unhealthy obsession with stationery. The best time of the year was end of August, because all the supermarkets would be filled with rows and rows of school supplies and I’d just go crazy! I mean, as crazy as my mom’s bank would allow in practical terms, but theoretically and spiritually I was in heaven!

Most pretty notebooks would remain untouched -they were just too pretty to be written on – but that didn’t keep me from adding them to my Christmas and Birthday lists, to which my family obliged and my collection grew! And I think that’s where the problem started. So many untouched books. I didn’t learn HOW to make them mine. They were just like a piece of artwork, to be seen and not touched.

Things got a bit worst when after taking one of them and using it as a journal for years (I mean, years!!!) my car was mugged and they took my beloved guitar and backpack which, alongside many other valuable (some only emotionally, but nonetheless valuable) items like my grandmother’s rosary or one of my mother’s rings, had said diary, and I just felt so violated, like some stranger would know all of my hearts desires, emotions and soul unburdens (realistically I know they just dumped it somewhere and kept only what they could make money out of…).

So maimed-Tania-sharing-time over, I think both these experiences contributed for my inability to keep an actual BJ! That and the fact I have some sort of undiagnosed mild attention deficit disorder, combined with an actresses’ impossible-to-pin-down-actual-dates-until-the-actual-date but also have a rehearsal process and tour starting in x months schedule.

So, if only for now, I have a regular diary. And a half used Leuchtturm notebook for sporadic brain dumps. None of which I would actually photograph and share online on a pretty flat lay. But mine, and they kinda work.

Do you use the Bullet Journal method? Are you interested in starting one? 

Tania, Community Manager

Being a Scribe

Being a Scribe

For the first proper blog post I thought I'd speak a bit about what it is to be a Scribe, and why we choose to be part of this community. I was inspired by a Facebook post on our group, where I asked the question and was blown away with the replies. I then, of course, also thought of my own reasons, and now I'm just compiling all these feelings into a stream of words. I hope you feel inspired and proud to belong to the Scribe Tribe after reading this!​

When I came across Inkpact, back at the end of 2016, I could not believe my luck: someone would actually pay me to hand write notes, cards and letters!? How could that be a thing??? Sign me up!

I submitted my sample and waited. I could say I even resorted to biting my nails, but I do that even when not waiting for important news, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say I was anxiously awaiting the result of my application.

My yes soon came (talk about good news to begin 2017 with) and with it the lovely writer pack with my own new fountain pen and light pad! I loved all of it and when my first job came along I gladly started to write.

Now, my first job was super stressful, don’t get me wrong! An A4 letter jam-packed with information and I admit, I stayed up until almost 3am the night before my deadline to finish the job. This could’ve been reason enough for me to just call it a day and quit. Believe me, you mess with my sleep and I’ll resent you for life! (Well, maybe not for life, but I’ll certainly almost growl at you the following day).

But something made me stay. I couldn’t pin point what it was until my second job came along. Not only my personal joy in writing, the almost egotistical joy of seeing my pretty hand writing embellish a card (oh, Tania, cut it out! So full of yourself!!!), but also the message, the knowing someone would smile when they’d receive the acceptance card, or feel motivated to work harder, when the beautiful copy of the rejection messages inspired instead of demotivate them. I was hooked. That was it! I was a writer. I was a Scribe.

I started to dig deeper into the company, I met Charlotte, Andrew, and the office team. I enjoyed the banter and ease of the company. The inspiration of pursuing a passion until you succeed. 

I was lucky enough to start working in the office early/mid 2018 and by the end of the year I was also given the chance to manage the actual community. And that’s when I started to meet more of the other Scribes. And man, are we a great bunch! We have moms, freelancers, lovers of Nature, sippers of tea, curious, ingenious, smart and silly and overall “good eggs” everywhere you look! And I am so happy to be part of this group.

As for why YOU are a Scribe, well, I asked, and you all pointed out the obvious love for fountain pens, stationery and beautiful handwriting, the inspirational CEO (gooooo Charlotte!), the opportunities and passions, the challenges, the collaborations with charities, the freedom to work from home and on your own time, the talented people all around, and most importantly, the sense of community. Anything else I missed or you’d like to add? Leave a comment!

So now, our path continues, and we can continue to go on, not hand in hand, but hand in pen. Together. Being part of the Scribe Tribe.

Tania, Community Manager