First Quarter of 2013: Giving Up on Brevity (Once in a While)

I had a meeting this week where I was asked to break down what makes a good blog. My answers surprised me:

While brevity is certainly appreciated most of the time, I think pacing and spacing are much more important, but that’s just my personal opinion.

I came up with my list of blog-writing tips mostly from instinct and memory. What stuck from my internship? What lessons have I learned from blogging? But I did have a moment when my stomach started folding over. I am not a successful blogger, I thought. I have no business telling anyone anything ever. 

Yet there I was. It was a normal workday and, on the clock, I was being paid to give my opinion on what good blog-writing looks like. I got to spend a half-hour analyzing web content (blogs by managers, directors, and vice-presidents) with a colleague I admire. I left that room feeling like my diplomas were suddenly worth their weight in papyrus.

The opinion I gave to a communications professional? It’s not just what I think “blog experts” want. But I think there’s no one way to live life, writing imitates life, and there’s no one way to write either.

So I’m going to give longer blogs a fair shake. I think it fits my writing style a little better and will give me room to exercise judgement. It might even inspire me to post more often, but let’s walk before we run.

What’s been going on since January?

MARCH: good news!

I’m converting from part-time (3 days a week) to full-time (with benefits!) at my job. I’m communications support staff for the Language & Culture program, but I will also support other teams like the community service team and the board of learning advisers.

This is huge. There is a 100% shift in my feelings toward tasks. I’m under less pressure because it’s not hourly, but have more responsibility because I own my time. Instead of every hour being worth X amount, some hours are worth $10 and some hours are worth $100. I wake up ready to work, and I go home with a willingness to do more. 

Launch and Learning – received a little TLC this week

This week, I worked on my online portfolio. I gutted everything that didn’t work–besides, WordPress has had 2 billion updates since then–and made a new menu. Notably, I took out the editing tab. At best, I’m a good beta reader. I am available for freelance digital strategy and design work. But only for 2 projects or clients. 

Visitors to D.C. this month: my parents, Beth and Bernadette, and Jessie.

Also, I now have a sofa! Yes, I went 6 months without one. (I used an Aerobed.)

FEBRUARY / JANUARY: going from memory

  • I went to the Detroit Institute of Art — definitely didn’t make it to all the exhibits so I’m planning on going back for the photography exhibit. 
  • I saw Shen Yun at the Detroit Opera House — more political than I expected, but beautiful and sometimes surprisingly humorous dances.
  • Phase One of Travel Hacking is resulting in 70,000 miles from two credit cards. I’m also close to reaching two free nights from Starwood hotels. Phase Two involves signing up for the Travel Hacking Cartel.
  • Visited my girl Kayla in Richmond, VA
  • My dance instructor Chris came to DC for a week. I do believe that taxi driver learned a valuable lesson: take the money.

New Year’s Day Traditions

I feel so clean! A whole new year, free of mistakes and full of adventures, little and big.

There are a few things I like to do on the first day of the new year, which of course has been appropriately rung in with spirits, noise, and lights. I always try to have worn a new dress on NYE, but sometimes I just wear a new piece of jewelry or scarf. This signifies “abundance” to me, a hope that the year will be one of plenty.

And I gotta be clean. Shampooed, conditioned, shaved, lathered, and lotioned. Ready to greet the new year.

January 1st. I don’t like to rush. I feel a little giddy. I take stock of myself. I look over my resolutions, of course.

I write a little bit.

I start my thank you cards, to remind me to be grateful.

Small beginnings for each resolution: some stretches for flexibility, a smaller portion of leftovers from the party, a little prayer when inspired, an extra hug for brother, and a hundred emails deleted. Get the ball rolling for the next day and the next.

Then I relax. I use a little of the “expensive” coffee and sip slow. I start playing a game.

This year it’s Civilization 5.

Theme for 2013: Focus

As a young professional new to the workforce, I finally had to face the truth: I tend to overload myself and then underperform.

I really enjoy my job. I have a deep desire to really do my best. I’ve managed well so far, but tomorrow I hear some formal feedback as part of a six-month review. This has put me in that “what can I do better?” frame of mind.

learning addictions

My “failed” (in other words, never attended) Coursera Courses.

There will always be a part of me that wants to try everything. I have tried to learn piano, clarinet, guitar, flute, saxophone, and violin, with mixed results. I’ve always wanted to be able to write, draw, sew, cook, and design with equal skill – improbable. Just six months ago, I walked out of college with this transcript: two majors, science and arts; two minors, health promotion and bioethics; and three cognates in anthropology, natural science, and business.

It didn’t end there, of course.

I signed up and paid for a blogging club, a video tutorial site, concealed weapons training, and  a course on e-trading since then. I take on side projects like it’s my job, and I have a job.

I… need to… slow… down. Being busy doesn’t mean being productive. It is better to focus on mastering one thing at a time.

I admire my dad very much because he is always learning new things. It’s a never-ending dedication to improve. I’m like him, but a little too hungry all at once. I blame the gene pool. My mom went ahead and added a little too much artsy-fartsy to my blood, so I have twice as many interests and a quarter of his focus.

But I’m just as stubborn.

So 2013, here me firmly state while wearing my pajamas, that my New Year’s Resolution will dictate that I can’t focus on more than one instrument, technical skill, creative skill, class, or related project at once.

Pajama proclamations are pretty much as powerful as the Ring. This will be as easy as saving the Shire.