Do you know the one thing I miss from being in a ‘normal’ job? Well, one thing other than the social side of it all… it’s training. I know that might sound strange, but in a company it’s all that bit easier to have more formal learning set up for you. Need to brush up your presentation skills? There’s a course, just email HR and zip – there you are. Ready to learn.
But as a blogger or anyone who works for themselves – training then is all on you. To both organise and pay for it all. Or self teach yourself through You Tube videos or maybe even asking friends to give you a hand. It takes you being a bit more proactive and sometimes when you’re already juggling all the other bits and bobs of working for yourself – learning new skills and training can slip further and further down the priority list. So when I was invited to go along to ‘The Dell Session’ – series of talks and tutorials (of the tech kind…not how to do eyeliner) I was really keen. All hosted within an amazingly instagram-able location, that also happened to be filled with various models of Dell XPS laptop.
Post sponsored by Dell.
They were exactly what I needed – from learning some clever (but surprisingly simple) graphic design tricks to just having chance to meet and chat with some new faces. Time like that always leaves me buzzing with inspiration and keen to try something new. Which I think is really key to blogging in particular.
It’s all too easy to fall into that cookie cutter blogger mould where there’s a sort of ‘template’ you can follow if you want to. It’s a mould I sometimes feel myself slipping into – I certainly don’t think I’m ground breaking in my own blog style most of the time – but I do always want to try and refresh things, keep myself on my toes and keep trying to do something new and interesting. Mostly it’s for selfish reasons – as I find it really entertaining and rewarding to learn new things and challenge myself – but also because I think it keeps things interesting for people reading! Well, at least I hope it does… or else this is awkward and I’m sort of writing to myself…
What I’m trying to say, is that learning new skills, or just improving or tweaking existing ones – even putting those you have into practice rather than leaving them in the back corners of your brain. SO important, it’s those sorts of new challenged that will help you keep growing and developing. I can certainly say that from spending some time with Dell and a whole bunch of blogger and instagram people, I felt inspired to try and bring a little more personality and creativity into this blog. I love the tips from Shini on incorporating personal design elements like handwriting to photos – not just choosing a font that resembles hand writing, but how to actually take your own doodles and put them into photos. As someone who never got the chance to do anything like graphic design through school and beyond that was SO good to learn. I also just loved the process of doodling and getting creative.
So, spurred on by the fab sessions with Dell – I am going to vow to do the following, to keep learning and keep challenging myself:
- Make learning and training a priority: Blocking out two hours a week to dedicate to learning/practicing a skill. For me for the next couple of weeks it will be trying to re-create the handwriting over a photo tips I learn during The Dell Sessions
- Jump at any free learning opportunity: These Dell Sessions are the perfect example, but there are tonnes of other opportunities to learn you just need to spot them and be open. For example, I’m part of a Social Media London network and they have regular free sessions on various topics.
- Have brainstorms: I’ve always loved a brainstorm and think they’re such a good way to get thoughts going. But they rarely work on their own. So I want to try and maybe get together with a few fellow blogger buddies over coffee and chat ideas and plans. It can be so helpful to have people to bounce ideas off of.
- Doodle!: I find it really therapeutic to just put pen to paper and scribble and I love the idea of then taking these doodles and easily using some tech to bring them to life in a blog post. Even if they just fill a notebook and never make it on to a screen, it can be a good way to just get that creative side of the brain going and maybe spark something else ideas wise.
- Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something: I don’t know how to use photoshop, or do web design. But a little time and some practice and back in January I managed to single handedly redesign my blog plus create a new header/logo. There’s no shame in not knowing, but it’s only through taking the time to learn that you will be able to change it and pick up some new skills.
In the world of blogging where many are making their income based on that vision of perfection, it’s understandable that any sort of ‘admission’ you maybe don’t know something or have a certain skill – or even just need some help with something – can be seen as something to avoid. But I wholeheartedly don’t think that should be how it is. No one should ever think they’re too old to learn something new or try and challenge themselves. So thank to to Dell for the reminder and for holding an amazing series of sessions where not only did I learn some new things, but also came away feeling inspired. Anything that brings that spark gets a thumbs up in my books. Or should that be in my laptop…
For more information: Dell XPS Laptop
Post sponsored by Dell.