Jaime Tung, originally an American suburbanite, now lives the expat dream in London, by way of Oxford and York. She shares the story of her adventures on her wonderful and inspired blog, Angloyankophile.
Jaime's Take 5 is a glimpse at the things that help her day-to-day as a creative, inspire and motivate her, make her work life a little bit easier, and some just-for-fun stuff that brings her joy...
This trick of the trade.
Since I'm always on the go (I work a demanding, full-time job in book publishing alongside my freelance writing and blogging duties) my phone is essentially my computer and my lifeline when it comes to responding to emails and promoting my posts. I edit photos on the bus on my way to work using apps like VSCOCam and post them to social media before I jump on the tube. When I emerge from underground on the escalator and have signal again, I immediately check my phone for comments and messages and respond to them—being careful to look both ways before I cross the busy streets of London!
But... what I love the most is a good old notebook and pen. I know it's so boring, but I love planning my content—whether it's for myself or for a client—in a spiral-bound notebook. Ideas flow more naturally and organically this way. It's so much more inspiring than staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen!
London, where I've lived since 2007, continues to amaze and inspire me. I've got a favorite spot on Waterloo Bridge where, if you stand in the middle, you've got the view of Southbank, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament to your right and the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, and Tower Bridge to your left. That spot is also not far from where I started my publishing career at Little, Brown Books at their former office directly across from Somerset House and it also offers a great view of where I then continued my journey in publishing at Penguin Books on the Strand.
There are always so many incredible restaurants to try, plays to see, museums to visit, and concerts to attend in London—I can't keep up with it all. But it's often those quiet moments I find when the rain's pouring down and I'm sitting on the upper deck of a red, double-decker bus that ideas for content come to me and I think: this is a wonderful city to live in!
This new perspective on my work.
I've been blogging and writing content for others for a few years now but I only recently submitted a piece to a magazine, which was published a few months ago. Until then, I hadn't realized how... lazy my writing had become. When I blog, I write as if I'm writing an email to my best friend i.e. a lot of superfluous words and very chatty tone. When the first draft of my piece came back from the magazine editor with his remarks, I read his suggestions carefully and realized how little thought I'd given to a particular sentence I'd written and incongruous it was with the rest of the paragraph. Normally, when I write for my blog, I type quickly and scan the piece maybe once or twice to check for any grammar or spelling errors. The experience of writing for a magazine and having my piece actually edited made me think a lot harder about the way I write and how I can refine my writing.
I don't have one answer to this! I will say that I read as much online as possible: whether it's personal blogs or news pieces on NYTimes online. If I don't read other peoples' writing often, then my own writing becomes static and uninspired.
Restaurant. I know how pretentious it sounds to say, "I know this little place ..." but I do know this little Japanese restaurant in Islington, London called Zen Mondo and it's hands down my favorite Japanese restaurant in London. There are so many flashy, upscale, and eye-wateringly expensive sushi restaurants in London, but I always return to Zen Mondo to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. The restaurant is on a very busy, trendy street in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it location in North London, but it's like an oasis of calm whenever I step inside! The lovely Chef Akaymi knows us by name now, and her loyal customers rush to the back of the restaurant to greet her as soon as they walk in. As silly as it sounds, it's also one of the few places in London I can escape to after work with my husband to feel "grounded" again. It doesn't matter what we're eating or talking about, but being in that calm, wonderfully cozy environment makes me feel like myself!
Take Five with Creatives is a short-format glimpse into the lives of makers, artists, crafters, bloggers, writers, designers and female entrepreneurs who are paving their own creative way. Photos courtesy of Jaime Tung.