I told a couple of classmates that I might “take the night off.” I deserve it. I’ve been working hard for a week-and-a-half and been getting about four hours of sleep a night. I’m not complaining about that, because I love what I’ve been doing. Wednesday night, I finally took the final exam for my online masters course. That coursework had been a huge burden, overlapping with my Iron Yard work. I had fully immersed myself in that course and the winter quarter course prior to that, or at least as much as I could while dividing my attention between that and my full-time job. As recently as six weeks ago, my inclination was to leave my job to pursue that degree full-time. But then I found about Iron Yard, and, well, I decided this would put me on a path to a fulfilling career doing something I’d truly enjoy, whereas the grad program…who knows. I’m being purposely vague. I don’t want to slam this particular grad program here, nor do I want to get into the merits of online education versus face-to-face instruction, let alone the merits of a graduate program offering access to a wide body of knowledge but no explicit career benefit versus a an intensive non-degree program of learning that guarantees employment in one’s desired field. (Yeah, I know I’m on the cusp of launching into something lengthy, but I told myself I’d just blog for a few minutes.)
Anyway, tomorrow, I’ll attend a talk on “Personal Branding & Blogging”, which is quite timely given my conundrum over what exactly to do with this blog. All of us at The Iron Yard are potential free-lancers who will need to market ourselves and build “our brand”. To be quite blunt, I’ve always become queasy over the mere mention of personal branding. I’m queasy as I type this. Why? Because I know that what I was doing on The Old Blog was most definitely not appropriate for building a marketable brand in the real world. Furthermore, I strongly suspect that my blogging “style”, even if somewhat moderated from what I did on The Old Blog, isn’t appropriate either. I have lots of presumptions about what constitutes proper personal branding and blogging, and I’m not sure I’m cut out for it. Overall, I’d say I’ll have a hard time doing any sort of blogging that compromises my authenticity.
What I am doing right now, that extemporaneous thing, that could veer from point A to point X, is what I’d rather do.
Anyway (and I’m fond of the “anyway” transition, though it does seem like sloppy writing), I am not “taking the night off”. I would say it’s the first somewhat light night for me since Monday of Week 1. To be clear, just because I am not overwhelmed by the homework assignment I am working on, there is always a mountain of work I can be doing. There are dozens of articles that have been suggested that I should and that I do want to read. My future success depends on how deep I’m willing to dig on my own time. I admit that, for tonight, I’m needing to watch a little Orange Is The New Black. But I still can do, and want to do, some map and reduce work at the same time.
A note on WordPress…I have been using the full WordPress package from WordPress.org for over 7 years, and that’s given me the freedom to explore and customize to my heart’s content. I like being able to go into the file system and underlying database. I’ve used WordPress.com for a private blog for a couple of years (which is a bit ironic, I know), and now I’m using WordPress.com for this, and I find the experience jarring compared to the “full” experience. I hate how if I attempt to create a post from the top menu (“New Post”), I’m presented with this simple interface that I realize is geared towards the millions who don’t care what’s “under the hood”. What would like to post? Text, Photo, Video, Quote, or Link? Um, I don’t know yet, WordPress. I probably want to reserve the right to decide later if I’m going to embed photos and videos and links into my post. Let me figure it out for myself! And then I’ve got to remember to go to the full dashboard’s “Add New” link.
In other words, I so much prefer to have the power to write a post using HTML and styling, and I don’t like to be steered towards a particular workflow.
This is an excellent reminder of why what I’m doing now is right up my alley. I care about how content looks, not just the getting it up there, and I prefer to have complete control. That’s why I loved working on my own webpage back in 1995 that was just plain-old HTML coding. There was no Frontpage, no Dreamweaver, no WordPress. Pico. That’s right. Telnet to godzilla.acpub.duke.edu and pico. (I took a few years to learn vi.) Such tangents…
And I could get into a whole spiel about why a self-hosted blog is so much better than a hosted blog, which is better than merely tossing thoughts out via Facebook or Google+, or, ugh, Twitter. (Ironically, I just dusted off my two-old-year unused @bullcitydave Twitter account.) And that gets me full-circle back to my earlier point about figuring out how to put forth my social media self. To be continued.
Oh, and I should absolutely put a picture in every blog entry. If I have nothing off the top of my head that’s relevant to my writing, a pet photo will do.
Oh, and I must spend some time getting a better theme. I can’t stand that I’m using a default theme.