How To Stop Comparing To Others?

Good morning Sunday. 

Let’s together dive into the topic of today: How to stop comparing. I think it is very appropriate to think of right now, specifically when social media is everywhere and we seem to have some difficulties in general, to turn this off. 

I will have quite a busy spring as far as I can see. I listed things I need to do before fully developing this website, so I wanted to set a little bit of notice here. I will return in late June with more articles and continue writing posts about personal development, how to become a better person and how we can grow. It is a topic I have fallen in love with and I wish to continue this road. So, after this post – we will see more of each other in late June! 

Here comes however a moment where we can sit down and learn more of how to avoid comparing ourselves to other!  

How To Stop Comparing To Others? 

  • Realize that we are the ones responsible for ourselves. Another one’s success or failure does not affect us. 

I Get Perfection Spammed in My Face All the Time 

Yes, there is a lot of discussions about how we now today do not just simply compare ourselves to the hoard of people in our little fairy tale village. No, we get a “glimpse” of a “perfect” life across the world. Which means that if we had one so-called competitor in our village, we are nowadays competing against a hoard all over the world. There are some serious scientific articles about how this biologically works us within, and most debate with the fact that we are put in a more stressful mode. The importance is to learn how to head our focus to the right things, also known as to what brings us a positive day. 

Let’s together share a few advice on how we can change our focus from comparing ourselves. Important to note is that trying to push down another life with negativity in some way of lifting ourselves up is a way of comparing too. And certainly not a healthy one. Example of this is to like – saying that the instagram perfect woman probably is miserable behind the scenes. Because even if that might be so (as we have learned) that is not the point at all. The point is to learn that she can be happy or not happy – and still shrug our arms as we focus on our own life instead.

  • Creating a new Instagram. 

If we are addicted to this, or Pinterest, Youtube etc. we may be both following other accounts but an algorithm causes us to get similar images in our flow. This can of course change after a bit of effort and time given, liking and simply searching for something else. But if we like to start fresh and clean, which is the one I recommend with the slightest chance of a percentage failure in our discipline – it would be that we create a new account. A secret one. An account where we only embrace positiveness. We choose the accounts we follow thoughtfully. We carefully pick the images or pictures we deliver, and we are simply more aware of what we do, always with positiveness in the back of our minds. This will lead to a little golden chamber for us, where we always can pick up a bit of energy and motivate us, truly inspire us from within. 

I did this. As they very often say “We are a combination of the five closest people around us.” Of course we must think of whom we have around us, hopefully one that brings us up. But, choosing the five people we have around us on internet or social media is equally important. So that would be our first thing. To choose the ones we surround ourselves with is crucial. 

We can think of that perfect image we find somewhere on social media. And it will stick with us in the back of our heads. But really, why? We can of course think of this person probably taking 1000 pictures and simply uploading the single one that appears perfect, after editing it several times and putting hours of work behind. The thing is – it truly does not matter. In the end of the day, we have our lives no matter what. We are who are and we can “only” achieve being the best version of ourselves. There really is to no use comparing ourselves to others, if not making the difference of…

I Cannot Have That!/How Can I Have That? 

Do we see the difference here? One is inspired and truly believes within, that he or she can achieve something, grow and learn. While the other one with a fixed mindset has more of a victimized position. Everything lies within the power of the mind. Choose the second one in the title. It is such a more beautiful way of viewing the world. The images we face on social media and if they happen to trigger an emotion in us; make it be one that urges us to motivation. A sensation of growing and becoming a better version of ourselves. 

How Can We Become the Best Version of Ourselves? 

The paragraph above is a great advice. In general, we need to see how we constantly grow. Children blossoming into grown-ups are not just the ones growing as person. We do throughout life itself. Which means that tomorrow can always bring a better person that we are today. Think of this saying, which I for that matter probably have mentioned before: “What can I do today to make tomorrow a little better?” 

When it comes to comparing to others, a lot is maybe set in our self-love. That we need to start loving ourselves, taking care of ourselves. It goes hand in hand. The responsibility of ourselves needs to lay in our hands and we must realize that we are responsible of our lives. No one else. Even if we perhaps like to put it that way. Which is not hard to understand why. It lightens up the pressure on our shoulders. However it is not the way to go if we wish to improve. 

So, we need to take action, visualize how we are in our ideal self and carefully take baby steps into that direction. It may be hard to notice at first, but it will build up and at the end of the day – we certainly have made it a bit further. Also, when we are this focused on ourselves, we barely have time to sit down and compare ourselves to others. In that case, chances may  be better of us finally viewing with a mind like “How can we do that?” instead of crossing our arms and thinking we are a lost case. It all lays in improving inwardly as a person. 

Truly, when we are heading towards the best version of ourselves, is there really anything that can top that? We cannot possibly be anything less or more than ourselves, and being the best version – well, that is all we can do? Right?

To sum up this post about how to stop comparing ourselves to others, we have learned some smaller things on how we can think when facing challenges, but also how we can direct our instant life by removing, unfollowing and decide who can be in our outer circle. Most importantly, what we have learned is that we need to focus on our ourselves first and beforehand. To grow and become the best version of ourselves. This will lead to a much happier life, a life without a negative comparison. A free life true to ourselves. We do deserve it.

Love, Emelena  – see you guys in June! 🙂

WHO ELSE WANTS A LIFESTYLE RATHER THAN A JOB?

Happy Friday! Going against the trend of claiming one is not one’s job, we cannot deny how much time our day to day job preoccupies. For some less and for some more. However for the majority much energy and effort go to the job. Coming from Rome, strolling the streets and trying out the Italian culture, I thought about differences between how a day to day life could look like there. And how it looks like where I for the moment lives.

Siesta is for example not a part of the country’s schedule which it often is in southern Europe. While I like that idea, I cannot neglect the fun “rule” of having home office, every Friday. Even if I perhaps do not perform on this, it is very common here. Probably that little norm is not formed everywhere either. Of course, everything does not only go with what country we live in. But also what type of work and company we have chosen to work for. Or maybe we even have chosen an entrepreneur lifestyle? – “Choosing” our days as we like them to be.

A great thinking I like to remind people of, is that we choose every day. We choose to go to this job every day. We choose everything around us, who we have around us and what we occupy our time with. Drawing a harsh line perhaps, but I like this to be more motivating than discouraging. So, if we choose our job, which is a lifestyle, what shall we choose? And when do we know we have chosen correctly?

What Kind of Job Fits Me?

Before applying for jobs 2018 I decided to sit down an analyze my situation. Who am I and what do I want? I thought for a long time of what makes me happy. What kind of job fits me? So, let’s share this piece of mind together. 

Are we athletes, prefers being physical at work? Are we very keen on having a nice environment? Do we want to stroll to work, or take the bus? Do we want to be among nice coworkers or are we more for locking ourselves into an office room? Do we want to dress up for work, or do we prefer change into an overall inside the dressing room? Do we like typing on the computer all day or would we instead fancy spending time outside? 

What do we do in our spare time? What do we think of when our eyes are closed? What is fun for us? What do we picture ourselves doing? 

Eventually an image will form in our heads. If it is not clear enough, perhaps we need more thinking and analyzing. It is a lovely feeling to figure out what we want and wish for. I recommend a moment every day for a good reflection. A thoughtful moment.

How Do I Want to Spend My Days?

Going back to how a job is our lifestyle… when we choose a job we choose how we spend about (probably) eight hours Monday to Friday. The greatest question is how we like to spend them. Some may answer at home? Maybe because we have a certain hobby going on. Alright. How and what can we do to improve this hobby and make it a business? Do we want to become an entrepreneur? What do we need to do then? 

Do we want to spend our days with less pressure? Then perhaps we need to look for a position and company requiring less hectic days? Do we love mingling and talking, selling in concepts and going on business meetings? Then perhaps some kind of selling/negotiating position is for us. If we love spending time with animals and helping them out, there are jobs for that too. 

First of all before going out there and applying for jobs we may think we want, also known as what others’ want for us, we need to wrap our heads around this idea. A comment thrown from a parent, relative or close friend can make us rethink and believe we are looking for a specific type of job. Maybe because it works so well for this person. Here it is crucial to take a moment for ourselves and reflect deeply. We are all different after all and just because a sort of job works well for someone, it does not mean it is how WE want to spend our time. Right? 

Also a great thing to think about is the hours we choose. What time of the day do we want to work during? What benefits do we wish for? The more questions and the more answers we have, the better.

What Are My Strengths vs Weaknesses? 

Recon our strengths vs weaknesses is a thing I believe everyone should do. This helped me a lot. Firmly noting down what we are good at doing. Not only do we in many cases (but not all!) find out that things we are good at are also things we like doing. Let’s bring me as an example. 

I imagined myself as a mingling person. Laid back as I sit in my chair, pen spinning between my fingers as I lean on the backrest with my laptop on the desk, eyes going from the name of the company on the screen to examining the surroundings of a perfect and modern office. Kind of like a movie set from one of those Wall Street movies. I imagined myself as that successful businesswoman, pulling in six figures and dressing up like a queen. I am hyper as I close every single deal by phone and is the absolute best.

Did this happen? 

Not as I wanted it do. 

I knew from the beginning that my voice was not my strength. However, my eye for details are. I am way better off solving math problems, meeting people in real life and organize stuff – but behind a phone to pursue someone? Just no. Not for me. 

So when I instead chose to look for a social yet analytical role, I found success. (My definition). Doing what I do ‘best’ is according to me the definition of success, happiness and a fun life. 

How Does This Help Me for My Future Goals? 

Another thing we can look for is a path on our way for this dream job. When we see progress and growth at work, slowly moving ourselves towards this dream goal – we may feel a bit happier. A bit more excited and filled of life in general. Bring this together with things we are good at, hours we like to spend at work and a sensation of moving forward. What can be a more winning concept? 

Well, to sum up this matter I have now left Roma, Italia. For next time. What do we say? – Arrivederci! I do feel grateful, immensely thankful, for being able to have trips like that. Choosing my job in early 2018 with a cautious eye caused me to say no to many other offers. I was very firm on picking one I would be more than happy to spend time at. After all. Time is all we have, is it not? So, if I would spend a third of my life somewhere, it is definitely a part of my lifestyle. And this, should be chosen wisely with a loving heart. It is worth an extra thought. 

Have a nice weekend! We will hear more from me next week on Thursday. Until then I will be busy moving with my boyfriend. 

Love, Emelena 

A BOSS VS A LEADER

A Boss Vs a Leader

What does people really mean with this hanging question? Which one is the best, promising deserved title? Which one should we aim for and what are the characteristics as to let us define which one of those we are ourselves. Well, talking from both personal experience but also when talking among managers and other supervisors, this is what I came across. This is a post of differences and – let’s go for the leader role. It is definitely the win here. And let’s argument why.

It is quite simple to pin point if our boss, manager or supervisor is a boss or a leader. It usually takes barely a few seconds before I have discovered what kind of person I am handling and here we can be enlightened into a guidance of what we possibly are, or what managers we possible have. 

Hands down and I need to admit that my partner is an amazing branch manager. It does not seem as to how great amount of work and territory among employees he seems to become responsible for: he just nails it every single time. And greatly. One day years ago I asked about this phenomenon. How does this come? He would let me know that it may have to do with being a leader rather than a boss. That he does not only talk the talk, but he can also walk the walk. 

When we mention the word ”boss,” right away a mental picture of a person sitting behind its’ desk pops up in my mind. While when we talk of a ”leader,” immediately this picture transforms into a person engaging with the group. I suppose this is to shorten up what we are about to bring up here. Everybody gets to decide what kind of person we wants to be, but I think it is good to look over these statements. And again, I think I will always prefer a leader. Which kind do you prefer?

  • A boss drives people while a leader coaches them. 
  • A boss says ”I” while a leader says ”We”. 
  • A boss inspires fear while a leader inspires enthusiasm. 

When I was a Store Manager

Being the control freak I am, I found it hard eyeing in the corner of my eyes how an employee would let a costumer slip by bad sales technique. Very hard, actually. Many times I would join my employee’s side and help her out to close the sale. When she would hand me the box of shoes, silently thinking of me to steal the provision from her, I would hand them back and shake my head. Because, at least as to how I preferred to see myself; I wanted to be a leader rather than a boss. And I remember her genuine smile when she had her sale and got to write her own sales ID into the checkout register. 

Never ever did I sit there and command employees to do stuff. I tried to guide them, let us work as a team and me leading them into achieving the budget I had as a deal with the owners of the store. It was important for me that the employees knew that if something troubled them, we were in this together and that they always could lighten their heart to me regardless of what it was all about. That way, we could solve problems faster than if they would remain quiet about it. Also, they dared telling me if they did not agree to something. This could be a very good thing as if I happened to work with a fever, even they would save my butt from making a mistake. Now, of course a manager should be able to have the respect of an employee not thinking of her or him as a friend but an actual manager. I am not going to head against that direction. But I want to make a point out of the importance of being the leader in a team against passing the employees on my way to my office room with a latte, throwing a command over my shoulder while not really knowing of what this all is about.

Points

  • While a boss demands respect, a leader earns it. 
  • While a boss measures success on titles, a leader does it by the impact of people he or she influences. 

Another interesting phrase I have discussed many times with my partner was how a boss often wants to create followers, while a leader wants to create more leaders. This is also very a very typical habit I have witnessed many times at working locations. My partner has lift an awful amount of people into managing positions, while I know another guy who just wanted everybody to shut their mouths in his presence due to respect of him. He desperately wanted to create a team for himself, but it only resulted in people dropping off one by one. While on the other hand, people were almost fighting to be on my partner’s team. 

There was a moment when I asked my partner why he gave all his sales away. Right then and there, he showed me the way to go. While bosses would sit behind their phone, my team leader and now partner (yes, haha, that is another story), would come by and help me close the sale. So in other words; while other bosses would simply call their sellers and help them out through phone on a few lines – if my team leader realized it would not work out – he would physically drive over to where I, or another team member, would be and help us out right on the spot. 

These experiences were something I learnt from and brought it with me. Specifically to the store I eventually landed a managing role in, but also in general to know what kind of supervisor I chose to sign an employment contract with. I can say that it takes to overcome a cringing feeling to work for a boss when I prefer working for a leader (if working for anyone). A leader will help me out in more ways than a boss. 

  • A few more points to mention are: 
  • A boss knows how its done and a leader shows how its done. 
  • A boss uses people and a leader develops people. 
  • A boss says ”Go,” and a leader says ”Let’s go.” 

Which one are you? I think it is highly important to know what kind of person we are. What can we do better and is it working at the location I work at? If one fails in a managing position, perhaps we can look over these statements and find out if the group of people may need the other type of managing director. Even if I personally prefer a leader, there are a group of people out there totally favoring the bossy type. So even if I may like the leader, some would vote for the boss. 

Can a Person be Respected Who Cannot Execute the Task Her/Himself? 

A managing position should have respect. Actually, any employee at a workplace should have respect, regardless of position. What I mean to direct is that when a person pushes us hard to execute something and can do it him or herself, we may get eager to perform well and give the results. Although, if the person really cannot do this and yet pushes us far across the line of what would turn out to be humanly possible, how can consequences show here? Is it not a very interesting question? I find this topic very thrilling. But, if we are failing in our role as a manager, perhaps this can be a good thing to look over. 

I see everywhere this phenomenon. Many people apply for a managing position without really being able to walk the walk. They can just talk the talk. At least, if we decide to jump the ladder others usually find necessary to climb, the least we can do is to give a lot of effort into learning the company’s struggles and more specifically – the sellers’. I can tell that the greatest CEOs that I have seen, are the ones who have straight away asked to follow a seller during a whole day to simply and silently examine how a day looks like. To observe and analytically make a strategic move to make the company grow.

To share a bit of experience, after this trip I decided to really choose my manager. I wanted a clear leader. And I did get one.

Wrapping this up, I wish for a calm and peaceful evening. I am heading abroad in any moments to bake cookies with my family and some relatives. Big hug.

Love, Emelena

EMAIL PITCHING OR COLD CALLING?

Sharing a few photos from a late summer evening out with me in the old city of Genova, Italy. 

Email Pitching or Cold Calling?

Which alternative of these two is the ultimate one? Not so uncommonly, this is a question many sellers face when realizing they need to reach out to potential clients and set up either a meeting or sell right away. After my fair experience in different areas as a saleswoman, I think I am ready to share my opinions on this matter. 

Obviously there are cons and pros with both, with the ability to switch one of the cons into the other’s pros. So, here it goes. 

Email Pitching Pros

    • Timesaving. Reaching out to more in less time.
    • Better choice when scared of calling by phone.
    • Afraid of conflict.
    • We are better in written format than by speech.
    • Socially scared.
    • We can take our time in figuring out a decent reply to whatever they answer.
    • The prospect may read this when it suits the person.
    • We can get a positive respond a long time ahead when the potential client feels ready to meet us.
  • Chances are higher they snap up every little detail in our written format rather than hearing a salesperson’s voice through phone.

Email Pitching Cons

    • A no is harder to change.
    • When receiving a dismissing response, we may not know the reason why and how we can improve when reaching out to the next one on our list.
    • If sent out to a great mass and there is the slightest grammar mistake or typo of any kind, every single email may contain it. Also, requires much attention to write correct spelling in names and such matters we regard.
    • The email account can get marked as spam if used incorrectly. (Which is rather easy when sending out a massive amount of emails to different people. Annoy a few and it is marked).
    • Email pitching requires a certain mysterious yet informative talent when writing the pitch. (Perhaps we can get into that in another post?).
    • There is a risk that we will not get any kind of response back at all.
    • If our company has a bad reputation, it will be greatly shown when the curious prospect googles the company.
  • The prospect may forget about responding as it is busy and suddenly the email gets deleted by mistake.

Cold Calling Pros

    • We speak directly to the prospect and get an image of the person by its voice.
    • A chance to manage convincing the person when he or she tries to dismiss us.
    • In cases of dismissal, finding out when or how we can contact them again.
    • Letting us know who the person we shall contact is, if he or she is not the correct person. Perhaps even if someone is on vacation and when we can expect to be able to reach the person at work.
    • Sharing a friendly conversation and grow a ”personal” relationship – also known as, getting a like.
    • This is personal for me, but I get energy from speaking with people.
  • We are amazing speakers with a pleasant tone and voice, gaining attention. This is our call.

Cold Calling Cons

    • It is time consuming.
    • Every time we pick up the phone we inwardly cringe and literally hate it.
    • Simply we are not a good enough speaker.
    • Not quick enough to come up with spot on replies.
    • Not comfortable or have skills enough to turn the prospect’s nos into yeses.
    • The prospect might be totally busy and therefore do not listen to what great words we really tell them. They may have been interested on another day but are totally in a bad mood this particular moment when we called.
    • They forget who we are five seconds after hanging up and will not remember our services two days after when realizing it is precisely what they need for their company.
    • They mark us as a seller at once and do not want to continue hearing because of the bad reputation many sellers has dragged down into the mud. Therefore believing we only want to fool them.
    • They get no chance to regret their response by checking up what we really are about before agreeing to meeting us/buying from us.
  • Gatekeepers that refuse letting us pass.

Just a few mentioned in each category. Surely there are tons of positive views and negative views on each. Some people urge that cold calling is timeless. It always works and always will work. That it will remain the best way to reach out to new potential clients.

On another hand. Some bosses believe email pitching is the new revolutionary thing in technology and that cold calling is as good as dead. They think this is the kinder version to costumers and that every seller manages to get the word out to more costumers.

So really – what is my personal opinion?

Many buildings appear like coming straight out of a movie. 

My Story

I have worked as a door to door salesman. It was fun, I learned to become quick-witted and rather ballsy. Utterly daring and outgoing, totally crushing my reputation as a shy girl and I loved every moment spent on work. Interacting with clients was fun and every car ride out to a neighborhood left me with a rushing wave of happiness.

Back in my home country I figured out one thing. I quickly knew working within telemarketing would not be something for me. Sitting beside a phone in front of a computer or notebook, dialing calls every hour awake to talk, talk and talk. Because my voice has never been my greatest strength. I do not want to sit here and say my tone sucks, but rather that my writing skills and interacting face to face are two of my attributes I know give higher results. Thereof the analyzed decision to actually become a door to door salesman.

As I later chose my work at this commercial real estate firm, working for their database – my responsibility was to be ”head” responsible for expanding the department regarding all suppliers getting involved when a company moves. I never want to speak bad of an employment, so this was just a mere misunderstanding during our interviews. Probably because my boss was an amazing talker in the phone and that it never crossed his mind that everybody clearly is not. Me included. So when I brought up the question if I would work as a ”booker”, or had to pitch on phone, I got the reply no. Feeling relieved after the clear words ”You will simply head from meeting to meeting holding a business presentation,” I thought, ”This sounds too good to be true. How easy!”. Well, it was kind of too good to be true. – Also a note to why I will ask straight for what responses and expectations employers will have for me before signing contracts in the future.

Rather quickly it came out that those meetings would be appointments I would book for myself. Alright. With a twitched nose I examined the front-page of Google and realized I would have to find every single client myself. And contact them. My boss wanted me to call them. As I tried so, clearly outside my comfort zone, I was taken as a salesman the prospect absolutely did not want anything to do with. I tried, I tried and I tried. I got an appointment here and there but it was simply not working. I tried to find some coaching and eventually turned to my boyfriend for advice (as he literally is the best motivating coach with good inputs when it comes to sales as a person possibly can be).

Doing these calls over and over again, fearing dismissals (as I struggle with fearing failure…) I was yet determined I would make this, that I would succeed. That is how I work. Whatever mission I take under my arms is something I am determined to finish, following the saying “Don’t start what you can’t finish.” However this was not a working strategy from my part and I decided to send out a few emails. Just a few. I googled around for good information in how to shape the pitch email and eventually I got my first respond.

I remember the shock on my face as I returned from the office room surrounded by glass, completely silent to shut out any noise and any other chatting seller. This time my heart raced as I saw the notification and surely, a prospect wanted to set an appointment with me! Instead of jumping around the office yelling ”I told you so!” I was quick to analyze what I did right here. Why did this particular client answer and how can I repeat receiving yeses? Soon I found my perfect email pitch and sent it out, turning my rate of getting a yes by every 7th phone call to get a yes from 75-90% of all emails I sent out.

Soon I had gotten courage enough to even dial the rest 10-25% and wonder why they had not answered or why they said no, sometimes leading to another appointment anyhow. My confidence was on top and suddenly I began filling my calendar with meetings. Talk about feeling proud as I did right then and there.

The funniest part was a particular one. I had called him probably around five times by this time in late spring. I had tried so many times to tell him that I wanted to set up a business meeting with him. Rather rudely, he neglected me each time and rarely let me finish. When coming out from an appointment I see not only the response from him to my email, but that he had called me three times! He wanted an appointment with me that badly! The person who was rude to me, that I had begged to meet five times now suddenly almost took a cab straight to my office just to see me?!

One time later at the day we had planned on having a meeting, he showed me around the company. Which in fact most of the clients do when I am welcomed to their office, building or factory. The grand tour, so to speak, when they show everything and I get a few samples of coffee, furniture advice or office items to bring home with me. Not only was the appointment a true success, me totally clicking with the owners, the CEO and the head of marketing in this conference room. One of them even drove me back to my office in his private car. Right then when jumping out of it, I thought of how ironical the scenario turned from being unpleasant to a complete positive and happy success. Just because I actually tried a different way. The email pitch.

My Conclusion

My opinion is that every salesperson should take a few moments to think about which parts of us that are the strongest. Ask ourselves: What am I good at, and what am I less good at? The reason is not to never do what we are bad at, but simply knowing where to focus for ultimate result – if that is the goal. Another thing can be to try out both ways to see which fits the seller the best. It may not always be the one he or she thinks. Additionally I would like to say that an excellent coach may be to good help and make a seller confident in one of the areas if he or she feels unsure about emails/calling. A good coach is also crucial for success.

For me, it ended up with emails when reaching out to absolute new clients and phone calls when re-connecting with them. If I really needed a meeting quickly and I had no time to wait for a response, then I would just pick up the phone and dial until the hour I had free was set. Simple as that. My actual strong thinking is that we should not be conservative here and say that one way is the right way. Really, try both in each situation as to what fits us. Also, looking over what type of costumer we are contacting can be a good idea. An IT company may spend more time in front of a computer (making them look over emails more AND even prefer getting an email rather than a pushing seller on the phone) than a marketing boss of an event bureau who just loves to talk to people straight away. Do we see the point?

I hope this helped you out if you were this confused salesman or saleswoman wondering what your call was. Analyze your skills and try out both ways until you know what works for you!

Love, Emelena

5 AMAZING WAYS TO NAIL THAT PERFECT ONE SHOT

Snapping a few pictures outside the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. What a place!

Good afternoon! Today we can discuss the matter of how to write the perfect one shot. Let’s heaten up an afternoon tea or brew a hot cup of coffee. This winter weather, darkness and chilly air, definitely causes me to urge remaining inside, bunkered up in the couch with a fireplace in front of me. Together we can evolve and grow as writers as we dig into this topic of one shots. Welcome Thursday!

What is a One Shot?

A one shot in the fanfic world is often much shorter than a multichapter story (in words). It is one page/one chapter. Instead of being about a long journey, it is rather about a scene or event in that journey. Pick one moment and dig into it. A notable explanation of a one shot may not only tell in the two words, but also to call it a teaser. When being desperate for a movie or program on TV, we may find snippets of it on YT. This is a clip, a teaser, to attract us to the full story. A little bit towards this is what a one shot is. Except that a one shot is so much more – but it is good to head for this direction. It makes it clearer for us to understrand how to think when structuring and planning our one shots.

1. A-B

Of course, every story goes from A-B. However in a one shot, I suppose we can define it as clearer. It is easier to spot the A spot heading for B. A defined start and B destination. While naturally longer stories should have this too, a one shot really needs this. A good plan is useful. When we decide to write a one shot, the first thing we should do is to sit down and note what the event is. What do we want to achieve when writing this? What is the purpose? When we go from A to B, it is important to notice that there are only two letters here. We are not going from A to D and pass stops such as B and C. No, we simply go from A to B, meaning we shall know what is not necessary to have in our story.

One example when writing fanfics can be to avoid “unecessary” characters and OC ones. Further so, we should be very careful in how we write the summary (again). As the summary is the first impression, we shall avoid writing about OC’s there specifically.

The problem with bringing an OC into a one shot is that it usually requires us to give a bit of information about the person. It can put the reader on a sidetrack and a one shot does not really give room for a sidetrack. Not that wide at least. A one shot should be as concise as possible. Only bringing up the most important things. If there is a line we can delete and still get to the point, then we should. While this is a rule for longer stories it is extra crucial in a short story such as a one shot. There is simply no room to confuse a reader. While we must not misunderstand that for keeping the readers on an edge and on the thrill, there is a difference as to babble about irrelevant stuff.

We can sum this up by comparing a wide picture being a muli chapter story, and as we zoom in to investigate a tiny part of the picture – we find the one shot.

2.Can This be a One Shot?

This is a question of both our ability to prioritize and what kind of potential a story has. If we have an idea and really feel the many elements we want to devour, then perhaps we should try our wings on a longer story. If we have this grand idea to a story and a partly additional one, but not enough ideas to a fullenght multichapter story – then we can consider writing two one shots instead. Like a followup or something of the first one. But trying to force a story out of a one shot may not work, and we can have that in mind.

The best one shots that I have read have made sense. I have seen that either way there is a real great deal of planning to lay the story out like that, or, the author has a great talent of connecting elements in its head. To increase our chances of achieving this effect, I think we should put a bit more time to actually plan our story. To structure it and maybe note down the dialogue as well. If there is no dialogue, write the important elements that we want in this piece of moment.

I would say that one of the hardest things we face here is definitely to learn to prioritize. Is it worth it to write a partly well multichapter story because we think the idea has potential of a one shot+ rather than cutting it down into an amazing plain one shot? I have several times set aside ideas of a multichapter story as I have realized that having it down to a one shot would result in a much better and entertaining story. It would give more to the readers compared to expanding it into a longer one.

3.Read Other One Shots

By reading other one shots we will gain experience. We will grow and learn as readers. What is good, what works and what does not work that well? It will make it partly easier for us to spot dos and don’ts when we write our own stories. We will notice further what one shots we remember, those who leave a trace of a mark within us. To learn a rhythm through this type of text. What we like and what we like less. We may get inspiration as well, but most of all I think reading other one shots is one of the greatest lessons when it comes to learn writing our own. That is to come after writing one shots, of course.

We can compare those we read to our own. If they are about the same lenght, is there any unneccessary written, etc? By observng others mistakes and successes, we may learn a bit ourselves.

4.Lacking That Little It

To create a memorable one shot we really must have that one little it. In a multichapter story we are grateful for many thrilling events, but a one shot is… a one shot. One shot. One chance. We do not really have the time to build up like in a multichapter. We can create this make a grand ending, but it definitely requires a bit more of us, or simply in a different way, than the requirements would have been in a longer story.

As the one shot is one chapter, we do only have one chapter in giving the setup, opportunity, change of plans, point of no return, major setback and climax. Everything goes into a chapter and it really says it all: Consise. This is probably the reason I am often left impressed by writers delivering many well written one shots. That they manage well to see what is important to keep and what can we afford to erase. What balance do we need in revealing information and what can we let remain untold. While in a longer story it is amazing to always think like this too, but there is a bit higher level of acceptance in wrong doings.

5. Sum Up – Deliver Emotionally

Most of all. Those stories that we do tend to remember are those which deliver emptionally. Those who leave us feeling something. It can be stress, relief, pain, love, sadness, hatred, happiness. But they do twist something in us and that is why we remember them. It is said that we remember people by how they made us feel. It is the same with stories. We remember them by how they made us feel. I can raise my hand to this myself, as I know I can return to stories only by the want of reliving the emotion I had when reading the story the first time. I suppose it is the same with music and movies as well. We seek what we want to experience emotionally. Really, a thoughtful saying from the bottom of my heart. My own words to you.

Love, Emelena

WHAT’S IN THE FUTURE FOR PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN?

This is one of those lovely evenings where I listen to Ennico Morricone – Once Upon a Time in the West (gah, what a piece of sound!). I am awaiting my amore’s arrival as he has been away in Poland with his job. I bunker up with a box of dark chocolate pralines I bought in Copenhagen (my boyfriend gave me a surprise weekend to the capital of Denmark), I put on the socks my maternal grandmother has knitted for my cold Norwegian winters, and, I am all set for watching my absolute favorite movie. From Pirates of the Caribbean. Is this not just such a fascinating bunch of movies?

What’s in the Future for Pirates of the Caribbean?

Being the die hard Pirates of the Caribbean fan I am, I thought it would be suitable with a review. Even if it happens to be almost a year after Dead Men Tell No Tales/Salazar’s Revenge. When browsing internet it seems as if fans are quite parted regarding opinions of the followups. Everyone appears to be on the same page about The Curse of the Black Pearl, the first one. This is a clear favorite. But when we go over to the second, third, fourth and even fifth, the audience is quite divided.

Some prefer the first, fourth and fifth – and the other half seems to enjoy more of the first, second and third. Maybe the fifth as well. I do love all movies, and can watch them several times. Anyhow, instead of dwelling which movie is better than the other one, I thought about considering what’s in for the future. It seems as if Carina Smyth/Barbossa’s actress has signed contract for the sixth installment (from Wikipedia and IMDB sources). An interesting input and her character is very much in time. Being an astronomer and horologist, a woman with her own willpower, it seems fitting for 2018/19. A trend going and a trend I hope will stay forever.

Then again, I think Elizabeth Swann’s character alongside Angelica Teach are quite modern too, in this sense. Elizabeth Swann has the apparent character development of growing from a wealthy and proper Daddy’s girl into a pirate captain. Kind of gentle but with a decisive tone. Angelica Teach is fighting off Jack in most parts, and even though she decides to give up her life for her father, I find her modern as well. She does locate herself at edges and has her own character development of going from becoming a nun into – sĂ­ – a pirate. A person who has obeyed to a person who rules.

But now, we discuss the last installment, Salazar’s Revenge or as I know it – Dead Men Tell No Tales. How it ended and what we can expect in the future. Do you have any ideas? I have some theories. So far I have not found a storyline for the sixth movie, therefore I dare taking wild shots in guessing the following outcome. However, I have heard a funny rumor of the main character being the son of Jack and Angelica. Who knows.

Storyline

Dead Men Tell No Tales has a plot with Captain Jack Sparrow (would I be a fan if I forgot the title?). Now, Henry Turner, son of Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner is a grown man, still missing his cursed father. As we know from At World’s End (III) Will is doomed to run a ghost ship, pretty much. And Henry wants his father ”to come home.” He knows of Poseidon’s Trident, which is hidden somewhere and he needs this to be able to break the curse. In the triangle Jack has sunken Captain Salazar’s ship ages ago. Now when Jack trades his compass for (what else?!) a bottle of rum – the compass releases the mountain walls and Captain Salazar is no longer trapped in there. He obviously wants to avenge Jack (when is Jack not hunted to pieces?).

So Jack wants to find the trident too, to break this curse. Alongside all of this, Jack and Henry are in search for the trident. They pretty much side with Carina with them who wants to find it too, mostly for her father’s sake. She is an orphan and wants to honor her father. Now all three share this matter in a wish of finding the trident. All the while Salazar specifically wants to take Jack down.

Fun Facts

  • Apparently the faces Jack sees when facing the guillotine and is about to be executed are the Norwegian directions Espen and Joachim. Personal opinion: Yes, I find it too cool that I happen to not only live in Norway where they come from, but live literally two streets away from their office. Is this bragging or just extreme fangirling?
  • Mullroy and Murtogg are back! Yay, the funny men guarding the harbor in The Curse of the Black Pearl. If we remember those two gullible men Jack easily talks out of watching his every move. Loved those two and they were equally in character in this movie. I am totally giving points to whoever suggested and accepted having these two back. They surely have their place in the movie series and bring a bit of comedy to the film.
  • Elizabeth Swann is the mother of Henry. But in real life, the age difference between the actress and actor is merely four years! Henry is a perfect fit though. I dare to say I think he even looks like a possible offspring from a blend between Mrs and Mr Turner. He does look a bit like Elizabeth.

What’s In For the Future? 

Clearly when checking on reddit and diverse forums, people have their ideas. So far I have yet not come across an idea that actually works. As a result of seeing After Credits, where we see a shadow of what seems to be Davy Jones visiting Will and Elizabeth at night, people discuss his return. At first we think it was all a dream, as Will wakes up. But there are barnacles on the floor, revealing that surely someone was indeed there.

Some people also consider a fact of Barbossa returning, once again coming back from the dead. I wondered about this idea and had to google it. It seems as if the actor neglects the idea somewhat, commenting that it would be more true and honest if his character actually died this time. Mostly because it makes a stronger impact on the fact that this first antagonist character actually has a heart, as he died for the cause of his newfound daughter. And I agree to this. Even if I would love to have him return, as his character is totally EPIC. In a way, his legacy does live on. Carina is an interesting character and I am glad she got as much room in Dead Men Tell No Tales as she actually did. It was perfect.

In the ending scene Jack sees Will and Elizabeth’s reunion. Something which seems to bother his ego and he gets slightly upset over the fact that a lady has not been swept off her feet for him, he refocuses his attention forward and says that he has a ”rendezvous beyond my beloved horizon.” According to IMDB this means a meeting, ”usually prearranged with a friend.” Some think this hints him encountering Barbossa again, saving his butt from the locker. Some also point out a true translation and definition is that this refers a romantic encounter.

I wonder if that can be though. Not only letting Barbossa Mister Actor’s thoughts in consideration, but to think of the storyline. Would it be too repetitive if we brought him back? In a sense, I would be delighted to have him back. And for me, a Pirates of the Caribbean movie cannot really be bad. Unless they kill off Angelica, that is to say. I love and sympathize too much with her to accept her leaving the franchise.

Many Willabeth fans (aye, I checked the ff network), obviously wants more of Will and Elizabeth. Elizabeth with her cameo in this previous movie and Will both having scenes in the first and third act. But I wonder what storyline possibly could bring them back in? What shall happen in case to throw these two lovebirds back into the game? Theories are infinite, but I cannot really come up with many ideas myself. Some wonder if now the curses are all broken, then so is Davy Jones and that is why he is back. But does this still really work? Can we truthfully support this theory?

A lot of movie franchises though seem to forget about small details making the storylines not work perfectly well together. In fact, now when I think about it, it appears to be more of a rule than exception that something quite is not following up in the storyline. Often, there is this trouble with math. How old is this character if he was five in the last movie and now five years has passed in the movie. Can he be sixteen then? Oh, yes, he can. We will go with that one!

So, in how many routes I try to draw in my notebook, I still cannot come up with a reasonable excuse to rightfully bring Barbossa back. However, there may be a genius out there thinking of ideas I have not come across. I will never close the door. Right now, it remains ajar. I will wait until I sit in the movie theatre enjoying the sixth installment, for sure. One can never know, right?

What is My Personal Idea of What Happens in the Following Movie? 

Well, we should of course consider this after credits scene. After all, someone was visiting Will and Elizabeth. And it did, in fact, look like Davy Jones.

Then there is this with Syrena and Philip. Will this French actress return or did they have a happy ending in the fourth movie, On Stranger Tides? Is there more of them in the future, or are we settled and happy with how their story so far has ended?

Carina, which actress has signed a contract for one more movie, I do wonder what she has in mind. Will she now try to take over Barbossa’s fleet? Maybe? She seemed proud to be a Barbossa in the end after all. Perhaps she is off out on the oceans to discover treasures or following maps. But then, how does this work with Henry?

Henry has accomplished what seems to have been a very dedicated life goal. He has brought his father back home. Now what? He was a sailor before, but quite a troublemaker. Fortunately that, or else he may not have had such an adventure he indeed did have. The question I muse on is what we can see of him in the future. Is he by blood a true pirate or is he a good noble man? Or both, like Will Turner?

There is good old Jack. Now with a compass not working. Oh, my apologies, now it actually works. But like a normal one and it does not point into the heading of what we want the most. So, as the ending words declared he is off to meet a friend. Which friend? In Tortuga? It cannot be Gibbs right? Since Gibbs was behind him on the Pearl. I can be Barbossa, after all. And it can be Angelica. I mean, yes, Jack knows a lot of people but he does not seem to be a friend to all. More likely that he has upset an awful amount of people trying to chop his head off. Therefore I only find two possible friends if not regarding his father, uncle or unknown friend we have not met yet.

And then, there is Angelica. Voodoo queen on a deserted island claiming she was pregnant before Jack left. What can we see in a future movie? She has a voodoo doll of Jack. Will she do anything with it? Can we expect a return with this character? I sure hope so, because she if any character does put Jack in its’ place. I think her character causes a development in Jack’s character. Jack actually puts another one’s needs in front of his own. Think of that. Narcissistic Jack is putting someone else as prior.

So, the interesting part is this fact of the curses broken. Are they broken? In that case, how come we got to see a glimpse of Davy Jones returning? How does this puzzle work out? And if they are broken, does that mean Angelica’s voodoo doll does not work too? All curses? Will a sixth installment be about non-fantasy piracy or have the developers come up with an idea to walk around this information of ”no working curses”?
What do you think?

Another interesting quest; what will the new villain be like? Who will he or she be? A made up character or based on myth? I see popularity go among fans to see Captain Hook. But, would that not be to involve Peter Pan’s fairytale into Pirates of the Caribbean? Like a crossover? Or have I missed something here? So many questions and unfortunately not too many answers. The only thing I do know so far is that I will see more of Captain Jack Sparrow and Carina Barbossa. Surely I would bet my money to see Henry Turner, Joshamee Gibbs and Scrum as well. Then I could only hope to see more of Angelica Teach, maybe Hector Barbossa and Willabeth.

Regardless, I look forward to the sixth one no matter what.

Love, Emelena

Come September Villa – Villa Delle Palme – Santa Margherita Ligure

The fantastic house in where Gina Lollobrigida and Rock Hudson’s movie Come September took place, back in 1962. Since seeing the movie years ago, I fell in love with the villa right away. A google search away, I quickly noticed that I am not the only one.

Talk about coincidence when I was in Genova with my love and we decided to head south. Right between Rapallo and Portofino is this beautiful costal beauty – Santa Margherita. Absolutely stunning and wonderful! An Italian fairytale.

When leaving the train station behind, this is what we faced. It resembles of a painted picture that I could just as well hang onto the wall in my home. An absolutely stunning view. Quite behind us is Rapallo (can I imagine my parents vacationing there years ago when they were my age?). Straight ahead of us past St. Margherita is Portofino. This is such a beautiful costal line.

The train station and grand finale of the movie Come September. I absolutely adore this scene. From start to finish I think it is a truly eventful movie that always leaves me entertained. I feel so lucky to be able to see these locations at where they filmed it.

I have, hands down, never seen a more beautiful house. This villa is beyond a fairytale. When seeing the movie, repeating – I fell in love with the villa. Seeing it in real life did certainly not lessen that love at all. It looks like a shimmering pearl at this sort of edge on top of this hill. Whoever owns this must feel so grateful for being able to reside there. It would really be a dream.

Have I mentioned that I literally dragged my boyfriend up this hill, along zig zag roads upwards in this major heat in the middle of the day? Later we would eat gelato to thank our legs which surprisingly agreed on this grand tour. The cars we met on this popular road must have thought we were crazy tourists. Which may be true. Who else would hike in that heat? I like to point out my great fan-girl heart to La Lollo and specifically to this movie.

The roundabout where the boys had their tent. My GOD, can you believe we sat there on a bench they now have placed in the middle of it? It was amazing just to imagine Rock Hudson and Gina Lollobrigida moving around the area. While my Amore tried to catch his breath, I strolled around back and forth, checking out every single dust in the nearby area. When we think of those tiny toddlers where everything catches their attention, we can bring that imagination to how I appeared during this moment.

And here Rock Hudson drove his  Rolls Royce in the movie. How he rounded the corner and drove to…

The gate.

Down on the Santa Margherita beach walk, we promenaded happily and quickly fell in love with the town. What a wonderful piece of jewel. I will definitely return to this place. Hopefully one day with my family if we ever have children. Most people around seemed very relaxed and there was a very peaceful aura over the town. 

This is definitely one of my favorite locations that I have been at in Europe. We would return another time again during our stay in Genova, that time for a day at the beach. The water is clear (perhaps not as clear as around the coast of Sardinia) but definitely alright. At the beach I brought up a screenplay I was reading during the summer. At points when I looked up from under Amore’s cap I borrowed, I really took in every moment. To fully grasp a moment as it happens is something I am quite good at doing. The best of both worlds: a dazzling beach in Italy and a fantastic screenplay to devour – you have got the definition of me. 🙂 

A Margherita in (Santa) Margherita! This pizza was AMAZING. When I saw it on the menu it was a must. I always choose Margherita anyhow regardless of where in the world I order the pizza on a regular basis. So when spotting it on the menu here, it was just no way that I would not eat it here.

During a cloudy moment, we had a little siesta at the corner of the bay. A hotel had a wonderful terrace where we ate snacks and drank cold drinks. As the partly Southern European young woman I am, I have grown up with “siesta” and prefer having this nap/resting moment in the middle of a hot day.

Such a colorful and fine town. Being this huge fan of Sophia Loren as well, I sometimes wonder what a specific life she must have had doing all these movies in Italy’s beautiful towns. I love all of her movies.

The local boutiques offer different cheeses, wines and ham. Cute fashion stores as well. We bought bread from a bakery along with cheeses and ham, some nuts and dried papaya. As we sat on a bench eating it, in the shadows of a covering palm tree, I reminded myself how fortunate I was to experience such with my boyfriend.

Arriverdverci, Santa Margherita!

/Love, E

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