An Interview With… Anna Kosmanovski

// Meet Anna Kosmanovski — storyteller, all-round lovely, and defender of the apostrophe. Having been published numerous times, she is a wealth of information when it comes to writing, living with vision, and simply going for it. Here is an interview with, Anna…

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Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became involved in freelance writing?

Hi, my name is Anna and I love writing, creativity, coffee, chocolate, Paris, daydreaming, (as well as night dreaming!) and cats. I would describe myself as both a writer and ‘all round creative’.

I became involved in freelance writing soon after finishing my university degree. I got a job in marketing and, when my contract was up, took time out to write my first novel. It was after that that I had the epiphany – “Hey! I write. And businesses need writing. They need words for their website, newsletter, annual report, media release, brochure, etc. I can do that!” Really, that’s the gist of it! I found as soon as I started to market myself as a professional writer, work started to come in.

What’s been your favourite piece to write so far, and why?

In my freelance writing work, my favourite piece to write was the 2012/2013 Diana Ferrari/Supersoft new season catalogue. I really enjoy writing about fashion, style and of course, pretty shoes!

In my other work, I’ve also really enjoyed writing some short stories too. They’re long enough to lose yourself in but not long enough to go on for ages like a bigger piece of work.

I love how you have listed on your website the vision and values you live by. Why do you think it’s so important to have vision and values?

I think it’s really valuable to be really clear about your vision, as well as values. As an artist, your values help identify your unique selling points – and this will appeal to the right employer/client. It also just saves time – yours and other peoples’ – to be upfront about what you’re comfortable with, if something comes up. I think it’s about just being true to yourself! Really, as writers, we need to have a sharp conscience and be sensitive because we need to pick up on things – sometimes things hard to pick – and communicate them to others.

As for vision – that’s important too! Without a vision which makes you feel sparkly inside, how can we do our best work? A vision is life-giving!! It is something grand, something honest and something you are definitely allowed to keep to yourself – not excepting mum, spouse and cat.

How can a writer write a book unless they have a vision for it? Unless they ‘see’ it and imagine it happening!? We need to believe in our work like a bird believes in building a nest. They don’t doubt that they have what it takes to build it, or stress that it’s not perfect – they just do it and it’s great! We should take a leaf from that bird.

Outside of writing, what else do you love to do to that keeps you refreshed and inspired?

A few things! I find being creative so refreshing and invigorating, and I enjoy just exploring that. I love drawing, painting – furniture, canvasses, jars, frames -, making things like paper flowers and cards for friends, sticking ribbons around things and doing any kind of tactile arts! I also love reading, and intentionally seek to devour books! I have a crazy, lofty goal of reading as many of the classics as I can. I love a good movie too, though! I’m also very into walks… especially in Autumn when it’s so pretty! Love the beach too.

And lastly, I am a café girl! I love catching up with a friend at a café, talking for way too long, and also am quite happy to go on my own too!

For those who are passionate about writing and interested in pursuing it professionally, what gems of wisdom or encouragement would you give them?

Study. Learn about the craft, write, get feedback, get experience, read + repeat.

Read. Stephen King says that if you don’t have time to read then you don’t have time to write and I agree with him. As writers, it’s our food and something irreplaceable which gives us strength to our work…ideas, inspiration and also knowledge.

Hang out with other writers. If you don’t know any, find some! As writing is a solitary process by nature, I’ve found it rejuvenating – and inspiring – to meet other creatives along the way who share a passion and love of writing.

Develop your online presence but don’t put ALL your work up. Save something to be published! Also, don’t spend all your time doing it, either. Also, get a basic understanding of the Adobe Creative Suite, photography skills, video skills too. The funny thing is a 21st century writer now needs to wear a designer’s hat, a marketer’s hat, a bit of a tech hat, etc. Yes, it’s about the words but it’s also about how it looks too… this is what I am learning. So considering that things are only going to become “more digital” in the years to come, if I was an emerging writer today I would be becoming comfortable with these tools and program because marketing is such an important part of what we do.

My last piece of advice and the most important – write, write, write. Aim for everyday! Write about everything and anything. The more you write, the better you will be! There’s this theory that if you do 10,000 hours in your field, you become an expert of sorts. Makes sense to me!

[QUICK THREE]

Favourite writer: C.S. Lewis… but I can’t help but mention Dickens too. With non-fiction and journalism writing, I really admire Helen Garner.

Can’t stop listening to: ‘Zion’ by Hillsong United.

Savoury or sweet tooth? Both, unfortunately! Potatoes are my favourite vegetables but chocolate has crept into my life as a “hard to get rid of” companion… trying to reign it in.

Connect with Anna on her website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Image provided by  Anna  Kosmanovski

Kindness Goes A Long Way

photo1-6ed[pic via Instagram @bethjae]

These days I try to live offline more than online. For me, part of this involves working in a coffee shop at least once a week instead of being cooped up in my home. Working outside of home also means no internet and time for more thinking and writing minus the distraction of, “ooo this YouTube video looks interesting” or “yay, so & so has a new blog post to read” or “I wonder what’s on Pinterest” type of thoughts (HA!).

The other part of this is the human interaction. Simply being in the presence of other humans does wonders for the soul – whether it’s with the waiter, barista, or people sitting at the table next to you.

Today’s coffee shop encounter was specifically notable.

While working away, sipping on latte and eating fruit toast, an older couple started chatting to me: “You’re such a lovely girl. We’ve been watching you working and being kind to the staff… it’s refreshing to see.” They’ve been married for nearly 50 years and were seriously cute.

Sitting on the table amongst my notebooks was an Adore Conference* brochure, which caught the lady’s eye. Upon looking through it she said, “this is something my granddaughters should go to!” So I told her to keep it and that “oh, you should definitely come too!”

They were warm, friendly, and when they left I was reminded that kindness goes a long way. It was through my kindness to the staff that had inspired and a opened a door for them to say a hello, leading to an invitation. I didn’t know that anyone was watching me, and yet they were.

You never really know who’s watching your example, or what seeds your sowing.

Kindness is always fashionable. Offline interaction is definitely more important than the online. And taking the time to talk and acknowledge another person is always valuable – to both people.

Kindness rules.

* Adore is an annual conference hosted by my local church for women. If you’re in Melbourne, definitely check it out! It’s a beauty and so much fun. Trust me, you’ll love it x

This Is It

starttoday“But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, for that adventure, that movie-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience.”

{Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines}

// personal image: taken somewhere between New Zealand and Australia

That’s What She Said

maxresdefaultThat’s What She Said: Ten women. Five topics. One table. Honest conversation about issues facing women today.

Darling Magazine and SoulPancake partnered up for a great little series called That’s What She Said. It’s been gathering momentum online for its meaningful, raw, encouraging, inspirational and empowering content. I personally love the raw beauty of it – in words, heart, and excellence. Natalie Patterson is also a major highlight as she so eloquently brings spoken word poetry to each.

Below are the episodes (email subscribers, click here to watch). Sit down with a cup of tea, some chocolate, and open yourself up to be illuminated, encouraged, and challenged. You may even shed some tears (happy ones, because someone understands and has walked a similar path as you). Enjoy x

- Beauty & Body Image -

- Perception & Confidence -

- Aging & Death -

- Power & Purpose -

- Parents & Parenting -

- 10 Things Every Female Should Know -

An Interview With… Jessika Garcia

// Meet Jessika-lyn Garcia – Beauty & Lifestyle Blogger at Jessyclassy. I first stumbled across her blog late last year. Since connecting, I so appreciate her warmness and love that she’s always refreshing the look of her blog. Here is an interview with Jess…

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Hi Jess! First of all, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became involved in blogging?

Hello! My name is Jessika-lyn and I live in Honolulu, Hawai`i. I started my blog, Jessclassy, a little over a year ago as another platform to share my beauty YouTube videos that I was posting at the time. Shortly after I realized that YouTube wasn’t for me, but I stuck with blogging because I enjoyed writing and (blog) design.

Beauty is a major passion and part of your life. What is your “beauty philosophy”? 

To be completely honest, I don’t really have a “beauty philosophy”. I just enjoy beauty (hair/makeup/skincare) because it’s fun to pamper myself and try out new products.

Do you have any favourite beauty go-to’s?

My favorite beauty go-to’s are my MAC Studio Fix Fluid+, Lorac Pro Palette, MAC Lipsticks (Angel/Rebel).

When it comes to blogging, how do you stay inspired, motivated, and even organised in posting regular content?

I make sure to read other people’s blogs with similar content to myself. I think it’s good to look at the way others create a voice or how they design their posts! I started a secret board on Pinterest and I pin blogger’s (post) graphics to get a feel of how I can create/organize future blog posts. I also always use my phone/note book to write down a blog post idea as soon as it enters my head! That way, when I get home, I can create an outline/web and plan out my post instead of trying to force content out of my brain (been there, not fun).

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What gems of wisdom would you give those who are interested in pursuing blogging?

I say if you’re even thinking of it, try it. But don’t get too “inspired”. I say that because it is real easy to confuse “inspiring” with comparing. You can be so inspired by something that when you try to re-create the content into how you would make it, you find yourself struggling because your post doesn’t match your expectations. Create a brand for yourself and know that it’s okay to re-brand over and over again. Re-branding is a great thing because you want to create an opportunity for you to grow not be stuck in the same place! Basically, go for it and in the words of Shameless Maya, “DO YOU BOO!”

[ QUICK THREE ]

1. Favourite quote: In 2005, my mom wrote me a letter before she saw me off to boarding school. In her letter she quoted this, “And above all, always remember to put God first in your life, for with out Him you are nothing. When you are sad and homesick, pray and He will give you comfort. When you are angry or upset, pray and He will give you peace. When you struggle with your studies and are confused, pray and He will give you clarity. When things are going well and you are happy, pray and give Him thanks and praise. Look to the Lord and He will guide you to be successful. Remember that success is not measured by the amount of friends we have or the amount of worldly possessions that we have; True success in the eyes of God is a kind, caring, giving, humble and thankful person.” It’s still my FAVORITE letter/quote to date, I still have it at my work desk for inspiration.

Can’t leave the house without: Chapstick | Cellphone | Bobby Pins | Wallet

Favourite Instagram account to follow@AubreyKinch

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Connect with Jess on: blog | Instagram @jessclassy | facebook | twitter

Image credit: Renee Kanney, Wild + AIR Photography | blog | facebook