Hey all! Rosie here, writing from back home in bed, propped up with loads of cushions and dosed up on paracetamol!
I wanted to write a blog about my experience with the hospital, my surgery and my lump - I was quite embarrassed when I found it due to the personal nature of the area I had it, but having loved and lost someone to cancer around this time four years ago, I know that any lumps are worth seeking answers about pronto!
So - onto the lump. I’m going to be sharing some quite personal pictures which I don’t really feel comfortable putting on social media, so hoping anyone that’s clicked through to this link will be kind about them! I’d like to help anyone else who gets one of these badboys in the future feel a little more armoured and ready should they find one. Personally, I’ve never had anything like this before, so I was very worried at first.
I found the lump towards the end of April while having a shower. It was somewhere between my bum and my lady bits - and it seemed a bit odd. At first, I wondered if it was some kind of Transformer Mega Hemorrhoid, as it felt about the size of a conker. I made my boyfriend feel it (as you do) and since it didn’t hurt me at all, I thought it might resolve on it’s own after a day or two.
Spoiler: It didn’t!
Here in Exhibit A, you can see visual imagery of my now non-existent internet dignity :-) What a sight. But as you can see, the lump was pretty prominent. It was tender to touch, but didn’t cause me any pain sitting, standing, and I didn’t feel unwell within myself.
I took this picture the day I called the doctors, 3/4 days after I found the lump. With everything going on with Corona, I was dreading having to facetime my privates to someone, but they said a picture was fine, and I managed to take one which didn’t make me feel too exposed. Not that they made me feel in anyway uncomfortable, had I needed to, I should add :-)
The doctor had a look and called me back. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a personal email address, so I did have to send this beauty of a photo to the entire GP surgery, but I’m sure no one blinked an eyelid at it.
My Dr told me it looked like a perianal abscess, and that he was going to prescribe me a week of Flucloxacillin antibiotics, in hope that it would respond and clear up. I went to the pharmacy for a socially distant collection, and made sure to wipe the packaging etc down when I got home. I could not wait to take them. I had to take 4 per day, on an empty stomach, which made me feel unkeen on eating, so I felt weak and hungry a lot throughout the first week. Before I started the antibiotics, I’d say the lump felt somewhere between a conker and an egg. The abscess seemed to get smaller each day, until it got down to around the size of “a big grape” at the end of the week.
Here it is at it’s smallest! I felt really relieved at the end of week one, and called my Dr back on the Monday morning, explaining that the lump seemed smaller and wasn’t giving me any trouble. He prescribed another week of Fluclox, which by the way, smells like cat wee. REALLY STRONGLY.
The lump didn’t change much in size the first few days, still a grape. A couple of days before my antibiotics ran out though, it started to swell. I felt awful, really exhausted and poorly. I spent a lot of the day in bed. The next morning, it felt the size of a tennis ball, and being the weekend I wasn’t sure they Drs would be open, so I called up. Instead of sending me straight to surgery (another Dr has since said that this should have really happened straight away if it weren’t for COVID), I was prescribed some new antibiotics - Metrodiazole. AKA The Hard Stuff. These didn’t smell of cat wee, and I again hoped the thing would go away after the swelling seemed to go down a lot overnight.
^ My cat wee pills and The Hard Stuff.
At this point I started googling other people’s perianal abscess stories, and almost immediately succeeded in freaking myself out. Surgery seemed like the only course of action unless the abscess was small, so my tennis ball-egg-conker-grape shaped thing suddenly made me take it a lot more seriously. Towards the end of my 3rd week of antibiotics (two days ago), I felt seriously exhausted again and called my GP. I spoke to a lady Dr this time, who told me I needed urgent surgery and that she’d get me booked into the hospital ASAP. With everything going on with COVID, I thought that might mean waiting another week, but no - within 30mins she called back and said to go down to the hospital NOW.
I hurriedly packed a bag (this is my Tog LDN fancy camera bag - turns out, it also works brilliantly for hospital emergencies) as I wasn’t sure whether I’d be in over night. I started to get freaked out about being in a hospital whilst COVID was going on. I’ve been severely anxious about it since it started to spread in China in Jan - my Dad has Microscopic Polyangitis, which is something COVID would just feast on, so I’d been extra careful about using hand gel between touching surfaces for many months.
I masked up, walked up to the hospital and promptly got lost and couldn’t find the entrance for 30mins. I eventually found the right place, and was amazed when I was shown to a waiting room all by myself. The staff could see I was nervous and I noticed that 99% of them were social distancing with/for me, which helped me feel better. I washed my hands right away in the waiting room, and waited.
Within 15mins I had a surgeon come and assess me. He agreed that it looked like a perianal abscess which was a relief (in my head, since this was the first time anyone else had seen it, I was thinking it might have been all sorts of sinister stuff). Since I had last eaten a few hours before, my options were to stay in overnight and have surgery at some point that evening, or come back at 7.30am the next day. I chose the latter, I think it freaked me out being in there for too long.
What followed was a night of no sleep, tossing and turning, hoping the damn thing would just go away overnight. I got so worked up about the unknown - was I gonna die from the anaesthesia? Would I go in with my legs all propped up like childbirth? Would they find a fistula (something which causes the abscess to return), would they miss a fistula if there was one? Would they accidentally make a fistula with the op? So I did more googling, BAD ROSIE. Turns out they actually leave you with an open or “packed” wound, which essentially meant a hole in my bottom stuffed with (what looks like) cotton wool. Delightful. So then I began worrying about that being generally nightmarish. Then my period decided to start, and I had no idea what the hell to do, and wondered if they would cancel the surgery, as surely that’s pretty gross for the surgeon. Turns out, that’s ridiculous, and Surgeons are super cool people who DGAF. They just want to help you feel better.
And just when I thought things couldn’t get much worse, they did. I had to have a COVID swab before anything happened, which meant a swab at the back of my throat (grim) and a swap RIGHT UP MY NOSE to what felt like the back of my skull (super super grim). It look me a few minutes to gear myself up for it. I told Fraser, my nurse, that I was gonna do it for him, and I REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO. He laughed and was an all around 10/10 guy.
Once that was over and done with, I was called almost straight away to surgery. Fraser was equally surprised it was happening so fast too, and chucked me a gown, a thing to wee in and told me wee in it pronto. Fraser and I had become pretty close at this point, so I harnessed my emergency urination powers and he confirmed in minutes that I wasn’t pregnant - great! I mean, I could tell that from all the period, but great!
Then, I was wheeled through to the theatre by a lovely guy called Michael, and Fraser came along for the ride because clearly I’m just so fun to be around, and also I was crying my eyes out and shaking quite hard.
The surgeons came and say hello in their Chernobyl Reactor masks, and told me I’d have a tube put down my throat (another unexpected bonus) and that they’d be putting me to sleep in a few minutes. My legs were shaking badly, but I tried to concentrate on the nice view outside the window, the fact that the female surgeon had kind eyes, and that this anaesthesia was starting to feel pretty good…..
Aaand then I woke up! The first words out of my mouth: “I feel like I’m writing a facebook status!” Followed by: “Can I get a shot of tequila?!”
The nurses were so great, they were playing some cool tunes when I woke up, so I assume I thought I was drunk in a bar or something! Either way, it was a great time, we had a bit of a party dance and they told me everything had gone fine, there was no fistula found, I’d been out for 45mins, and how did I feel?
I felt frigging awesome. I have absolutely no idea what position they’d put me in to operate on, I had a slight sore throat from the tube, and I was told I’d be discharged following good blood pressure readings over the next couple hours.
In total, I was in the hospital for 5hrs. I felt so safe, so cared for, it was like I’d finally got to hang out with my pals after 2 months of lockdown. There was only one other girl in my ward, we chatted the whole time and swapped fun stories. The nurses let me keep me “gown” for a photo, too :-)
So there we have it - my lovely lumpy story. I’m currently at home, with Jim, in bed and wondering how horrendous it will be to have my incision re-packed tomorrow by my GP. BUT, that said, I now have the courage to know I can do it!
I hope my story raises a little awareness about perianal abscesses, I hope if you ever find one, that you don’t feel embarrassed, and feel more relaxed about what to expect than I did. Even in a pandemic!
And also - I think I received about 800 messages from people - thank you to every single person who sent me something! A story, a loveheart, a virtual hug - it made such a massive difference to my mindset at the scary points, and I am ever so grateful to have such a loving community around me. Including these guys - all the way over in Germany!!! Thank you so much to Kim for sending this picture!! *more weeping*
Over and out -
One Lumpless Rosie
Rosie here - Photographer, Self portrait artist, (Reluctant) Instagram Influencer, Secret poet. I have absolutely none of the necessary skills available that anyone needs right now. If you’re reading this, you’re likely feeling similar things to me - fear, uncertainty, wondering how you will make it through this summer, unsure whether you will receive any protection from the Government. None of those feelings should be minimised, they are all valid, and all deserving of worry. What I would like to do is offer some ideas that we creatives can use to generate income during the Coronavirus Crisis.
(All ideas have been thought up with consideration to the current UK Government Advice as of 20.03.2020)
Let me start with Photographers.
1) Ask for instalments from your current wedding bookings. Right now, you’re dealing with postponements and cancellations. Your couples are worried and scared of losing their money, too. If couples need to postpone, ask them if they would be happy to pay a small instalment of the balance due over the next few months. This applies to clients who will not need to postpone, too - see if any of them can help by paying off an additional part of their balance early.
(Some photographers will likely charge a fee for the couple to change to a peak 2021 wedding date, for example, a weekend in July. A Saturday that may have been taken by another wedding - and would result in a loss - could be supplemented by requiring a small fee, couple allowing. Consider weekdays (non peak dates) to be free of charge to reschedule, and supply a calendar of availability, so your couples can make a choice which is right for them, and their circumstances).
2) Past Weddings. If you’ve done weddings and client shoots in the past, consider reaching out to those couples and asking whether they would like any extra images edited or retouched. People love to see images they haven’t seen before, and some people will be in a position where their income remains unaffected, and will want to help. Others may want to help regardless. Offering 20 new images from their wedding for £50, and having 5 couples ask for this, could mean an extra £250 in income.
3) Additionally, if you can - offer retouching on photographs. Now is a great time to practice your at-home editing skills, and this is a fantastic way of generating a little extra £££.
4) “Remote” Photoshoots. Offer to edit images that people take of their families at home. You can even send them directions on how to shoot it to achieve the best images. For example, explain why shooting pictures in your garden with the light behind you/in the shade might look better than in direct, afternoon light. Suggest poses - have your child hugging your leg, etc. Families will be stuck inside, and this is a great way of helping to create new memories.
5) Photography Tutoring. Plenty of people have cameras, and many do not know how to use them. Offer Tutoring Sessions online via Skype, talk people through the functions of the camera, and cool methods which can be achieved inside - like double exposures.
6) Editing tutorials. I will be doing this! Using software like Screen Record Pro, you can record your computer screen and microphone as you edit. Sell them online to people who want to help, but might not be able to pay lots of money for things. £5-20 per tutorial (dependent on what secrets you’re sharing!) is a good little earner.
7) Presets. Developing your own presets in Lightroom & Photoshop are other things you can sell online. Spend your newly acquired free time creating these, and share them online with other photographers for a small fee.
8) Upload your photos to Getty Images/Shutterstock. Stock Image photography is big business! Take a look at the kind of stock content which gets used frequently (and paid for!) by big companies. People drinking coffee on the sofa, couples looking angry next to each other in bed - there are plenty of images you can create and share for income.
9) Documentary/Press photography. One thing that certainly won’t be impacted by Coronavirus is the media. Next time you have to leave the house for a necessity, take your camera with you. There are plenty of bizarre and unusual things we will see unfolding in the next few months - the press are always interested in running stories and will pay for photos which illustrate them well.
10) Deposits and gift vouchers. Taking deposits for bookings in the future is a great way to remind us that this does have an end, eventually. Keep sharing your beautiful photos, offer extra images instead of having your prices take the hit in any special offers, which will make your packages look appealing. Just make sure anyone booking is aware of your postponement, transferral and cancellation policies - just incase!
Ok, 10 ideas for photographers! Who’s next? Musicians!
Ok, I’m now officially out of my profession so coming up with ideas for these industries will be tougher - but I’m up for the challenge!
11) SPOTIFY. Get streaming! Spotify earns you money each time someone streams your music. Consider creating a playlist with your friends (or the wider Musician community) to include songs of yours. Now, even though £ per stream is very little, if you were to share said playlist with feel good FB Pages like LADBible, a little viral help would go a very long way. Ask their platform to send said playlist out to the masses, so everyone out there can stream all your music non-stop for the following months. I would still stream this kind of playlist even if the music wasn’t my taste - I’d just keep the volume down and enjoy, knowing the people struggling were being paid!
12) Online Concerts. This is a lovely idea, and would especially be beneficial to those who are high risk, and confined to lonely places. It might be worth contacting a Care Home, for example, to see if they would be able to hook a projector up and stream your live concert for the people there. Or, if restrictions allow, playing a live concert a good distance away in their garden would be a delightful and safe idea, especially for a solo artist (keep it distant, guys!).
13) Wedding deposits - again, call out to your community and see whether you can attract some clients with weddings which are still a way off. Whether DJ’ing in the evening, or playing the violin to accompany the Bride down the aisle, racking those deposits up will be very useful.
14) Record your music and list it on websites like Musicbed.com and Soundstripe.com. Videographers & brands are always looking for that next soundtrack to their wedding video, ad or promo vid. The more diversity on these sorts of sites, the better!
15) Online lessons and sessions. People are going to use their free time to learn new skills - and parents will want their children to learn, too! Consider teaching a 10 year old how to play their sax via Skype, or offer to sing some Frozen for the 5 year old who can’t get enough. PSA: I happen to have an Elsa dress, if anyone needs it.
Actors and Entertainers.
You guys are the bedrock of our entertainment - from TV to Panto, our lives without you would be lacklustre. Here are some ideas for you lot:
16) Use your voice - audiobooks are going to be in high demand. Children’s books, teen fiction - people will be wanting to chill out and listen. We know you can deliver things in a way others’ can’t - this kind of work is a viable way of generating some extra cash.
17) Entertain on social media. There are pages on Facebook which are always looking for viral content, and will pay £250 for the rights to share it - and now more than ever people want to see it. Viral videos don’t always have to happen naturally - some of the most brilliant viral videos were planned and orchestrated - see what you can come up with.
18) Remote Acting Lessons for Drama Queens - offer Skype/Facetime drama lessons for enthusiastic kids who want to learn to act, but can’t attend their regular drama clubs. Set them challenges - to put on a play, talk them through characters, keep them entertained. Win-win for everyone.
19) Record your audition videos, put together a fresh show reel, and be ready to GO when this virus is eradicated. This might not earn you money immediately, but other creative teams and productions will be wanting to put the wheels in motion as soon as they possibly can. Make sure you’re as prepared as possible!
20) Create downloadable PDF acting/magic tricks/skills classes for kids. Schedule out plans and challenges, that take the workload off parents who are working from home and do not have the spare time to think up daily ideas. Their parents can use them to help give kids something to create/focus on while they work.
I should add that actors, good lord that was tricky to think up. I have a whole new level of respect for you guys! Pretty much every obvious thing involved other people. Everyone else - show your actor friends lots of love right now!
Hair Stylists and MUAs.
21) I’m gonna call this one THE DAD FACTOR. A lovely thing happening in the world right now is that more Dads than ever are becoming close with their daughters - helping do their hair, giving and receiving manicures, things like that. With more Dads being home, this is a great chance to offer classes to parents (of all genders) who want to learn how to give their child nice hair styles, little treatments that help with dress up fun. One of my favourite childhood memories is my Mum braiding my hair. OFFER THESE.
22) Reach out to the brands that supply your favourite products, and see if you can create any content for them. Brands will be looking for creative content whilst shoots are postponed, so this is a great way to show of your skills. And if you don’t like the idea of practising on your own face, don’t forget - someone managed to give a glow-up to an egg.
23) The tough part is being in hair & makeup during the Coronavirus Crisis is that your job involves being close to others - social distancing becomes very tricky. Consider online 1-1 sessions with people who want to learn new skills. There will be people looking to build up experience in a new field over the next year months, some industries will not bounce back, and even though practising beauty on customers might be less likely - training others will your skills is definitely a viable way of generating income.
24) Offer gift vouchers for autumn and winter. People. Gonna. Need. Em. A lot of people are not going to trust their partners with their haircuts, and a lot of people will want to blow off steam on nights out when all this is over. Offer “Night Out” Glam Packages for people who can’t commit to a date, but can redeem over a year or two. Ask them to pay in small instalments over the months, to keep some money trickling in.
25) Youtube. Now is a great time to build up your social media presence - more than ever people will be looking for content to watch as they sit at home. Record videos and tips - if the video is longer than 10minutes, you can monetise it (once you hit 1k+ followers).
26) If you’re into your arts and crafts, NOW is the time to put an e-book together of crafting ideas for families. Whether it’s how to make sock puppets, turn clothes that don’t fit into new ones that do, write them all done! 100 DIY Craft Projects would be VERY useful to many a household in the coming weeks and months.
27) Offer to fix peoples’ clothes which they never got around to taking to the tailor. Assuming the postal services are still running, this is a great way to keep busy and generate some £.
28) Create a new line of products to release. If there’s a style or project you’ve always thought might be out of reach due to time restrictions - now’s the time to take them up.
29) Consider rentals to other creatives who have limited access to props and costumes.
30) Take orders for customs products. Ask your customer base to get in touch with a pinterest board of ideas they love, and create something bespoke for them. It might take a few months to create and ship, but you’ll have had payments in advance and work to keep you focused.
Painters & Illustrators.
31) Offer personalised portraits (or whatever you’re talented at!) for birthday presents. There won’t be shops open for people to buy them at over the coming months, and a lot of people will be feeling sentimental. Pets, family homes, landscapes that hold significance, a favourite quote surrounded by pressed flowers - all lovely, personal presents.
32) Create a topical series on your experience of COVID-19, and submit it to different outlets who pay for content.
33) Create a personalised calendar for families of those who will be isolated - like the elderly. Have each day be something to lift their spirits, a familiar face etc. Offer these to those who cannot have contact with them right now.
34) Logo design - a lot of creatives will be updating their websites with all the work they’ve suddenly had time to catch up on.
35) Create “colouring in” images for children as downloadable/printable pdfs. Again - shops won’t be open to buy them, so having an online resource to help keep kids busy is a great way of helping parents manage the chaos.
Writers & Poets.
36) Write personalised bedtime stories for parents who are exhausted of reading the same books, over and over to their kids.
37) Poems for birthday/isolation gifts can be a lovely way of reminding people how loved they are when we cannot be around in person!
38) Resume & CV writing services will (sadly) be in high demand as the crisis worsens. 39) Speech writing. As the world looks to leaders to pick up our spirits, offer your services to those who have to choose their words carefully, by choosing the words for them!
40) Wedding speeches. There are going to be a lot of re-written speeches in 2021! Take the opportunity to help out Best Men and Women everywhere by offering speech-writing services!
10 More Creative Earning Ideas For Those Not Willing To Throw In The Towel
41) Join websites like Fiverr. These online marketplaces are a great places for potential clients to find YOU.
42) Use your language - offer classes to children who’s parents cannot homeschool them in French, German, Spanish, Italian etc.
43) Run someone’s Social Media pages for them, no close contact needed! You could even charge extra for including content creation if possible.
44) Offer portfolio review sessions for beginners in your field.
45) Translate books to other languages
46) Offer your voice for voice over work. Adverts will still need you!
47) Teach the kids. Tutor the teens. Can’t stress this enough. TEACH THEM EVERYTHING YOU KNOW (via skype of course)
48) Content Creation for products. Have a look around your house for brands - see if you can create unique content for them from your home, and pitch it via their linkedin email addresses!
49) Design an app for your field, or to bridge a gap that this crisis opens up. There aren’t any apps out there to monitor which supermarket has bog roll in stock, just sayin’.
50) If you live in an apartment complex, post a flyer in the entrance advertising your skills, and explaining your situation. People are kinder than you think and might have ideas of their own!
50-100: Slightly Less Creative Ways To Earn an Income:
51) Supermarkets are hiring to feed the nation. Supermarket staff don’t get the recognition they deserve. They are in the front-line - they will serve almost every single person in their area, making the chances of coming into contact with COVID-19 very high. This means supermarkets will need plenty of staff to cover when team members need to self-isolate - if you work for a supermarket right now, you are a fucking hero.
(Please do not do this if you live with anyone high risk)
52) Counsel people online, via phone or text. Offer an on-call counselling service for those who may be really struggling. Often, speaking to a friendly voice and knowing they are not troubling you (because damn right, you’re being paid to be on call for them) can be a really reassuring thing for a lot of people who feel like a burden (even though they aren’t).
53) Become an outdoor odd-jobs person for your neighbourhood. Post (disinfected) notes under peoples’ doors and see if they need their gardening doing, hedges trimming or guttering cleaning. Practice hygiene at all times, whilst remaining at a distance!
54) Offer to walk peoples’ dogs for them. Working from home + kids is stressful enough for some without the addition of dog walks, so ask around to see if anyone can lend a furry pal (some of you might not wanna charge for this one!)
55) Fill in surveys online. You can bag a few quid for each one!
56) Review websites and apps - www.savethestudent.org/out/usertesting is a great website that pays around £6.50 per review (takes around 20mins).
57) Recycle your old mobile phone - a quick google search will reveal companies who will pay for your old mobiles, and recycle them!
58) Sign up to eBay! Have a good clear out of your wardrobe, and sell anything that doesn’t “spark joy”.
59) Sell a happy story to a newspaper. The world needs some good ones, so keep your eyes peeled for acts of kindness around you.
60) Ask your 2021 clients if any of them can pay an instalment of their wedding/booking early. This helps increase and manage your cash flow without booking any new jobs!
61) Consider photographing your pet and uploading the photos to Getty Images. Who doesn’t need more cat photos?
62) Speaking of cats - if you can, offer to look after the cats and pets of owners who are hospitalised by COVID-19. Again, many of us would do this one for free…
63) Consider becoming a personal tutor for a child/teen at home.
64) Apply for a job with the 111 Helpline, there are plenty going across the UK, and you’ll be doing your part to help with the crisis.
65) If you can drive, consider a delivery driver job. Delivering food and supplies will help ease the burden on the high-risk, can minimise likelihood of infection via reducing the risk to surface touch only.
66) Ads. If you have a social media following/blog/website, consider offering ad space to companies temporarily (enable Google Adsense/sign up to websites like Whalar).
67) Consider ways you can save money by just signing up to new deals on your outgoings - swapping energy suppliers, turning off lights more often, having a shower instead of a bath.
68) Same applies to those with mortgages - now is a great time to remortgage, especially if your home has undergone improvements. Remortgaging changes your LTV (Loan To Value ratio, this is how the bank calculates how much in interest you pay), so having a 60/40 LTV will mean you pay less than an 80/20 LTV. Learn more here
69) Renters face a trickier situation, but if you have a private landlord, see if they are able to relax your rental payments temporarily, even reducing it by £50 pcm could make a big difference. Whilst it’s nice to ask, do not expect, and remember they may be facing their own issues with income right now, too.
70) Sell your wedding dress. Eek, I nearly didn’t include this, but sometimes needs must! There will be plenty of brides-to-be looking for bargains over the next year, so listing something like a wedding dress could give someone an immeasurable item at a good price, and give you a cash injection.
71) Another way to cut the bills drastically is to team up with a quarantine partner, AKA a lodger. If you can find someone to split the rental/mortgage costs with 50/50, whilst maintaining your sanity, this might actually be quite a nice way to feel less alone. People with kids also have the benefit of extra childcare. Rule: You Gotta Self Isolate.
72) Inspired by the idea above, consider becoming a temporary live-in nanny. I’m not sure what the qualifications necessary for this are, but you could either save money (free rent) or earn money (if someone has the means to pay for it) by living and tutoring their kids over the next few months. Your local community may be able to help find someone.
73) Become a PA. Whilst some businesses are about to get quiet, others are going to become very loud. Offering to help answer emails, schedule phone-calls and video-meetings is a very necessary job in the times.
74) Rent out your parking space - especially valid if you live near somewhere there are likely to still be workers. *side note: don’t use this as an opportunity to rip people off, use it to give people a good deal!*
75) Reclaim money if you had Geek Squad mobile phone insurance with the Carphone Warehouse. If you were missold this (i.e you already had phone insurance, but were pressured to buy it anyway) you could be eligible to reclaim this. I actually did this myself last year. You should contact Team Know How to start your claim.
76) Are you a problem solver? Companies like Innocentive pay for people to come up with ideas to solve problems for other businesses. Head over to their website to see a list of current challenges.
77) Metal detectors… I mean.. it’s gotta be worth a go out in the fields?! Right? Anyone?
78) Write subtitles for TV and video!
79) Become a Bin Person! Another key worker role in keeping the country ticking along safely. As workers need time to self isolate, you can join the likes of the brilliant Bob Mortimer and take a temp collection job.
80) 365 Days Idea Jar. Put ideas into a jar for families to open each day, each one providing an activity or idea to keep the household entertained. This would be useful for creatives in the children’s entertainment sectors. Put business cards for jars through peoples’ letterboxes, and sell them for £15 each. It’s an easy way for parents to get some rest from thinking up ideas all the time, just make sure you disinfect the jar!
81) Chefs - if you’re already operating a takeaway delivery service, consider offering a frozen meal service locally. I can’t cook to save my life, and would pay for tasty frozen meals right now.
82) Become an online Agony Aunt. If you’re great at listening and helping people with their problems, there is a sector for you! Check out the Relationship Advice section on Fiverr.
83) Team up with someone with a professional printer, and sell prints of your work. In the past, I have used PRINT.WORK, who are still operating as usual.
84) Offer to choose photos and write a bio for someone on their dating site profile. Again, websites like Fiverr are great for offering these types of services.
85) If you have an accountancy background, consider selling your services to businesses looking to do their taxes early with their free time.
86) Join the Amazon workforce as online sales soar.
87) Call up your local Farms, and see if they are in need of workers to keep the food industry producing to Feed the Nation.
88) Get paid to lose weight - companies like HealthyWage allow users to set a time frame and a weight-loss goal, and bet against themselves on their weight-loss. Yes, this is a real thing!
89) Medical trials will pay individuals to test new drugs for pay. See the NHS Clinical Trials page. Please think very carefully before signing up to something so major such as this.
90) Since your kids are now home with plenty of time, encourage them to earn some pocket money by washing your neighbours’ cars. In times like these, we need to teach the younger generation the value of a job and working hard. Plus, car washing is a great way of keeping those hands clean.
91) Bakers - make samples of delicious goods to send out to your clients! TinySarahCakes does this and I’m already drooling, despite having no immediate need for cake. SOLD!
92) Ask companies to send you stock to photograph at home. Here’s a great youtube video on how to set up your own photography studio!
93) Collaborate with other artists and split the profits. Thanks to @moth.on.the.wall for this one! (P.S - her etsy shop is amazing!)
94) If you have an allotment or garden, sell your own seasonal veg!
95) Start a podcast. Personally, I love murder ones, but feel free to podcast about whatever makes you happiest. If you can find a sponsor, you will generate some income by mentioning them at the beginning of each episode, and generate some income from streaming, too.
96) List your e-book on Amazon! Remember not to rip off a photographer’s pictures on the cover, though ;)
97) Enter online contests with your work. Thank you @Ellebelle331 for this great idea!
98) Make a game plan. I tried to make all the ideas on here generate cash in a direct way, but it’s also important to remember that the world will bounce back from this. Putting a game plan in place for a few months time, building a portfolio and learning new skills are all ways of preparing for a long term career.
99) An important one - see if you can join the NHS and help in the very front line of this crisis. You can also sign up to become a Red Cross Volunteer for your local community.
100) Lastly, add a “donate” button to your online shop, so people can donate if they want to. I almost didn’t include this, but yesterday I received a message from a beautiful soul, a lady named Kyle. She told me she just wanted to bless me with a little extra income for the tough times ahead, we shared our stories with each other, and told me that “When you refuse or feel embarrassed about donations, you’re taking away the chance for someone to bless you with their help.” A lot of people are very giving, and a lot of creatives feel uncomfortable accepting help “just because”.
So I want to thank this lady for giving me the courage to go outside my own comfort zone and do this, if things get tough.
For so many of us this is a heart-breaking, life changing, and tragic time. Please remember that we must also give when we can, donate our skills and time when we can, lift each other up and keep creating until this passes. Please tag and share with any friends who might be feeling low, I know not all of these ideas will work for people, but if I can help give people hope and something to keep them going right now, then it’s damn worth a go.
Lots of love,
If I had a pound for every time my images were used without my consent, I’d be a very rich person indeed.
I am a photographer, a creator, an artist - I haven’t studied law, I scrape by each tax year with the help of an accountant, I’m only good at what I’m good at - creating. But as each year goes by, I find an increasing amount of photographers (just like myself) wording up on Copyright Law, after countless misuses of our work.
Last night, a DM landed in my inbox. “Hey! I just spent some time looking through your work. I saw that I used one of your images as a sticker on PicsArt some time ago - I just wanted to apologise, I didn’t realise it was yours. I wanted to let you know. Really sorry again.”
A sticker?! I have never heard of stickers. I thought stickers came on apples. I thanked the user for their heads up, and asked them if they happened to have the link to my mysterious “sticker”. I had a quick browse through the PicsArt website, and immediately saw art which featured someone with very, very, similar hair to my own. “Here we go!” I thought. It was late, so I put my phone away, and went to bed.
This morning, the helpful user replied with a link to my sticker.
There I am. I remember this photo - the first in my Alphabet Challenge in 2017, A is for Adventure. It brings me fond memories of my dearly departed feline companion. I shared it on Instagram - a platform which doesn’t allow users to download others’ images. It must have been screen-grabbed, and re-uploaded. I scrolled down further.
My image has 20 “Remixes” - which (translated into Non-PicsArt-User talk), means this “sticker” has been used by 20 users, into 20 new pieces of work. Weird. I thought I’d have a look and see if I could find any more of my images, so I searched the most basic term I could think of: Girl.
*I should add - I haven’t even searched the “image” section yet. Even at this point, writing, I’ve been looking at the sticker section.*
There are a LOT of results! Illustration, anime, celebrities, photography… this is going to be a lot of work. I scroll for a few seconds, and immediately start to recognise some of the images - I can’t place the photographers, though. I’ve seen them on the days I’ve scrolled pinterest, but not lodged who created them. I’m not as familiar with my illustrators, but I’d imagine these sweet drawings have not been drawn by the PicsArt users who are uploading them.
Maybe they are royalty free. Maybe mine is a one-off.
Bingo. I added the term “sitting” to “girl” - and there I was. Another Alphabet challenge photo - C is for Calm.
I’m starting to feel a lot less calm than I did when I first learned about PicsArt, that’s for sure. I scroll.
HOLD ON A MINUTE. 846 REMIXES?! My image, my likeness, my art has been churned into 846 new pieces of “art” - without my consent?!
Don’t get me wrong - I LOVE young people who want to learn to edit. I LOVE editing. I remember the thrill of creating something new, sharing it, and being proud of it. When I was 16, I copied ideas from the internet left, right and center, and paid the price when it got frowned upon by the people I respected and looked up to. But these aren’t just ideas - these are my actual pictures! How is this website not filtering these out?
Not gonna lie, this one hurt. My previously rolling eyes felt a bit more stingy. I took this image to mark a year since my boyfriend had passed away. It wasn’t the best work I’d ever created, but it sure was meaningful, and I didn’t like seeing all the ways it had been stuck onto different backgrounds with no thought or intent. I remember feeling totally broken, sat on that swing, and it felt quite hurtful to see my past, fragile self being passed around for in-app entertainment. Hanging from a broccoli.
I found a further two pictures of mine in 10 minutes, and along the way, saw some recognisable figures from my own Instagram Feed. We’re a nice little community, us fairytale-ish-surrealists, and I’d know their work a mile off. I expected to see plenty of ballgown rip-offs from brilliant artists like Hobopeeba (I have found 4 images of hers uploaded from one single PicsArt account)
But I did NOT expect to see pictures of children taken from my friends @Alexandriaslens, @The_Life_Of_Aivax, and @ShilahSirois.
PicsArt charge a membership fee of 3.99 a month, or 47.99 a year. I have no idea, as a non-user, how many more of mine (our) images that gives you access to. They had a user-ship of over “90M users” in Oct 2017 - who knows how many now.
I know this because when I went to contact them about this issue, it turns out, they already knew about my work. I hadn’t seen or responded to their message, but hey, I was glad the messages I intended to send would at least get noticed by a member of their customer support.
I started with an email, first, as I believe it’s always more professional than the olde DM.
(Their auto response is included above my email.)
Nothing. I left a couple of comments on their instagram, which seemed to be updated a few times a day. Nothing. I sent a DM. Nothing.
Well, you know what? I’m self isolating right now, I thought, I may as well spend a day fighting this instead of hopelessly reading the news.
Here’s my problem. PicsArt is a HUGE community. 2.2million followers on Instagram, and in their own words “millions of images” uploaded to their distribution platform. For an app so high up in the ranks, why are there no measures in place to filter copyright content? Why is there no simple checkbox upon uploading, to remind users of their duty to ONLY share images to which they hold the copyright? Why are their terms and conditions hidden away at the bottom of their website? I went to have a look.
It seems that if you see intellectual copyright violations of your work on PicsArt, you get the satisfaction of reporting it, and having it removed. If you’ve even heard of them. If, like me, someone gets in touch and says “this doesn’t feel right that I’ve used your image thinking it was royalty free.” Otherwise, sorry, you’re just gonna have to deal with the fact that your images will be illegally distributed. Even if it’s pictures of your kids.
It doesn’t help that PicsArt also displays a banner for “Free To Edit Images” above the shared work. Slightly misleading, wouldn’t you say?
It is even more disturbing, that when asked and confronted with these examples, I am told:
We do not have sufficient time for our team to scroll through all these millions of images to check they are being used properly. You can do that.
Because it is exactly what every photographer needs - to add to their list of chasing clients for money, editing shoots, shooting, travelling for weddings, buying props and dresses at their own expense, spending countless hours editing and replying to emails, it it exactly what every creative needs to do. Spend another hour a day making sure YOUR business is not violating MY copyright. A business that is built around content sharing should have copyright protection at the top of it’s list.
I should also add - I use stock images in my work now and again. I avoid it wherever possible, for the simple reason that it. is. expensive.
I have a Shutterstock account, and have paid them approximately £1700 in stock images over the years. For images I have not profited from.
I’ve been paying for stock images since 2010. I won’t post my entire history for the sake of scrolling, but you get the point.
And, after I’ve spent my last hour of free time searching and reporting PicsArt for multiple copyright violations - what do I get to show for it? Nothing. I get to wait for them to remove it.
I get no compensation, despite my hours of detective work. I get no compensation, despite the fact that they have profited immensely in membership fees, during the years and months that MY work has been enjoyed on THEIR app, by THEIR users.
No - it’s my own problem that it was screen-shotted and uploaded, bypassing the systems of the app I originally shared it on. It’s my own responsibility to police.
I am so disappointed that PicsArt considers themselves part of the Art Community, because they are anything but For Artists. If they were, they would pay my invoices for the image usage, remove the images and apologise.
After one afternoon of searching PicsArt, I calculated the images of mine that I found were used 1547 times.
If I had a pound for every time my images were used without my consent, I would be a very rich person indeed.