Blogging Dissatisfaction and the Art of Self Teaching
You might have noticed the theme on here has changed twice recently. I'm feeling increasingly dissatisfied with the actual space of my site and so am searching for a layout that will best showcase my work, whilst being easy enough to use so that it won't absorb even more of my ever limited time. Luckily both themes came incredibly cheaply and I'm kind of happy with this latest one. I certainly love the spacing of my Instagram photographs at the top, which is something of an incentive to improve that side of social media.
Anyway, I'm coming to realise that it's not so much the themes as Blogger that I just can't quite get on with. It's simple to use but that comes with the cost of limitation, and when I pour so much time into my words I want to be able to show them off to the very best standard that I can. I have also had the idea of building a portfolio of my writing and video creation skills, from various internships over recent years, and in a brief lull inbetween assignments I actually started to do something about it. This is why you'll currently find me beavering away at the back end of Squarespace, trying to create a brand new site that will help me promote myself as I approach that fearful inevitability of (gulp) trying to find a job. Since I'll be investing time and money into that website, I mused upon the idea of transferring my entire blog over too. The task of migration is a daunting one and so I make no promises, but hopefully at some point I'll be making the grand switch to get the flexibility I so desire.
Moving to Squarespace, though, involves the overwhelming reality of learning an entire new system. Whilst it is very user friendly in it's basic design, merging both a portfolio and a blog in a more sophisticated way requires both creativity and a little bit of coding, something that even two years ago I would have said I didn't possess at all. But creating this blog has forced me to learn a thing or two, and my greatest realisation of late is that I'm usually only one Google step ahead of myself.
You never know what you can do until you try.
As I started to curate my portfolio, I realised that so many of the skills that I am trying to showcase are entirely self taught. I have taken few writing classes, no journalism ones, and I haven't so much as stepped inside the film department here at university; in fact I am about to enrol in my first ever film class in my last ever semester of school, just for the fun of it. Now I am no wizz kid at video creation, but with time and patience I have been able to create some pretty fun projects for my internship that are getting a good response with both students and staff. So much of this is because my boss (from both the summer and now) gave me an idea and then the freedom to run with it. When I embarked upon each project I had invariably never done it before, but I took a deep breath and dived into some helpful tutorials, trying each new thing until I figured out what I could do and what I couldn't. My skills are certainly finite right now, but the possibility of learning knows no bounds. In an internship some years ago I wrote some of the HTML for the website despite having no prior knowledge, because I was the only one in the office with the willingness – and, let's be realistic here: the time – to teach myself as I went along. So long as I didn't save each step until I knew it worked, then nothing could go too wrong but it just might go right, and it did.
Now I know time constraints are the enemy of this type of creativity. Hours upon hours of my life have been sucked into such pursuits, and since starting back at school I have had to be far more realistic about what I can undertake at my internship, because otherwise I spend all my allocated time learning and none creating. I am also not saying that I am good at any of this, because I know that compared to film students and journalism majors I am nothing special. But resourcefulness will pay off in every aspect of your life, as will having a diverse skill-set. I have noticed that some companies are increasingly more interested in what you can do and not where you learnt it – Buffer is a great example of this – and us bloggers certainly know how side hobbies can build into skills.
I guess what I'm saying is don't assume that you can't do something. As part of my most recent midterm I was writing about mental health, and what a difference self talk makes. The examples given in the research I was reading related to statements of: "I can't do ____" and the difference that made to thoughts and behaviours when compared with "I don't have to be perfect at _____". Try it before you assume that you can't. There are so many tutorials sitting on the internet just waiting for you to read them, and most of them are incredibly accessible even to absolute beginners. If you're wanting to do something new, give it go. So much of success starts with just trying.