Moving Forward in my Career

I’m glad to announce that I haven’t exactly been doing nothing the last few months while I haven’t been posting to this blog. In fact, I’ve been quite busy testing out a lot of skills and trying to figure myself out and unravel my passions more. I thought it would be useful bring to light some of the awesome tools that have been so important and helpful these past few months.

So, what have I been doing ?

Learning to code

First, I started taking coding classes with Treehouse and so far I have taken two CSS courses, an HTML refresher, and a JavaScript course. I originally started taking these courses to get ahead at work; so that if a minor bug arises on a site I am working on I can go into the code and fix it. However, I always thought I could never get really good at code, because I was never a maths/science person. Sure, I knew that the internet and computer science is sort of this weird clash of art and creativity with math and science, two fields that, up until now, have been binary and mutually exclusive in my mind.

It took only a few sessions in Treehouse for me to realize that I, as a creative type, could and should code, and maybe even one day code well. I took a few classes in web design and “computers for communications” while in college, but I don’t remember having as much fun with them as I did with Treehouse. The interactive quizzes and the follow-along video format made learning so interactive and interesting that I didn’t realize hours had gone by.

On Treehouse, it was suggested that I practice coding as frequently as I can , and that Codepen was a great place to practice. Of course, my pens are not too good compared to the amazing works of art featured across the homepage of the website daily, which never fail to amaze me. But most of them are functional and are made from templates that I practiced through Treehouse. Be sure to check in every once in a while here. I’m particularly excited about the mini JavaScript games I created – I never in my life thought I would have been capable of programming.

Practicing Design

Recently a friend reached out to me, asking for a graphic for a new initiative they want to put out. I have previously designed for this friend, though had gotten out of touch. When they reached out to me, the first thought that ran through my head was “I’m not a graphic designer”, followed by panic. Luckily , something stood out in my head – a brand had followed me on Twitter, and it said it was graphic design software for non-designers. I didn’t want to use Photoshop on this one (Illustrator would have been much better , but I’m not familiar with it – yet) , so I decided to check out the website my new Twitter follower was promoting. Turns out that follower was Canva and I fell in love on my first use. Not only is it so much fun, but also inspiring and empowering to create graphic art when I never really considered myself talented at visual art. On top of that, I now have the massive benefit of being able to create graphics for websites and social media for my web clients. Here are just a few of the designs I’ve played around with so far:

Facebook Business Cover (1)
This is a Facebook header for my professional page featuring my own photography.

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These are practice Facebook ads for my mom’s business. Photography is not mine, layout is. For photographer information contact Gabriele’s Hand Designs.
Sample1
Practice Logo fonts I’m working on.

About to set up a new blog

I’ve gotten completely off track with blogging with everything else going on, but I really want to separate personal and professional blog articles and be able to share both. One site, this one, I want to focus on content that I would use to promote myself to clients – web design, social media, digital marketing, photography, and writing – Both creative writing and marketing writing. That’s a vast enough approach already, but I’ve realized I need a place to channel more personal creative projects. Thus , I am working on starting a new personal blog by the end of the month.

Getting really into Twitter

I’ve never really gotten hooked on Twitter before the way that I had been hooked on Facebook, until recently. It’s a really incredible tool for connecting with people outside of your every day social life. I reserve my personal Facebook for people I know in real life, but on Twitter it’s pretty cool because you can follow, and be followed by, people in the fields that you want to go into. Sometimes even very well known people. I market myself mainly as a writer and a creative, and am followed by a lot of authors and some digital marketing people. Lately I’ve been tweeting about bands I like, and have subsequently been followed by a lot of bands and found tons of new music to listen to. Since I’m really into the art world- writing and music, in particular, it’s got me thinking that digital promotion for bands, authors, actors etc., is something I really want to explore in my future career. I’d love to work with people doing the things I’d love. And aside from a day job, I’d love to do those things too ! Although, while I work on writing, I’ve got to improve my voice a bit ;). But I’ve always daydreamed about singing in a punk band. I can dream, right? And, using a few well placed hashtags and handles, I can connect on Twitter ! Follow me @LivDWriter.

Re-designing client websites

I’ve got a major re-design project coming up for my mom’s website, which I built when I first started getting into all this web stuff when I was 17 and just out of high school. It’s gone through many updates during the years, but this is the first transition to an entirely new website through WordPress. WordPress is my area of expertise and it’s the CMS that most of the websites I do at work are managed through (that and Drupal) and I think I could really go places in terms of adding more interactivity, better tracking, and a more unique design through a WordPress business account. I’m also finishing that logo for another friend that I mentioned earlier, and that has the potential to become a new project in and of itself. It looks like I’m going to be super busy with work the next few months, but I also want to try some new things , and have some super rad summer plans.

..and listening to a LOT of music and thinking about going into entertainment

There are two things that have helped me get through the hardest parts of my life, that inspire me daily, and that I wouldn’t be me without. Those two things are writing and music. Music, in particular, is what drives a lot of my creative work. I constantly have my headphones in while I work and it’s all I can do to stop myself singing along to my favorite songs at work. I’m particularly into punk, pop punk, and folk punk, as well as some acoustic. I’ve recently met a lot of singer songwriters, bands, and authors on Twitter just via tweeting about my interests, and it’s got me thinking – wouldn’t it be a really cool thing to one day, maybe after getting a master’s, go into digital media and online marketing for artists – musicians, writers, authors, and actors? I’d love to work within that industry – while maybe even trying a hand at some things myself.

Right now, I’m working to a solid foundation of skills at a job I love, and thinking a lot about the future. The one thing about me is that I don’t want to stay stuck at the same level – I strive to constantly be learning, advancing, and finding out more about the world and myself, and honing my skill set. That’s what this blog post was all about – though it feels like things might be going along slowly (“where’s my big break?”) , upon reflection I realize that slow and steady wins the race, and that these new skills I’m acquiring will help propel me forward. I hope that anyone reading this post feels equally inspired to keep moving forward, no matter how slow or fast, and to try out some of the awesome tools and suggestions in this post, because they have really made a difference for me !

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