Twenty years ago (yikes!), if you had asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, you would have gotten a myriad of answers. On any given day, I wanted to be a pediatrician, an artist, a stay-at-home-mother (seriously), a graphic designer, a dancer, an animator….clearly, my interests ran the gamut, and my impulses reigned supreme. Shoot, why am I speaking in past tense?!
But despite this seemingly foggy image of my future being, my present self, this twenty-years-later self (it doesn’t get easier to say), she’s got goals. Personal goals, career goals, if you can believe it. Finally, after my thirtieth birthday, the whole of the person I’d like to be is becoming clearer. It sure took long enough.
But still, I’ve got a ways to go before I become that person.
While back in the states last Fall, I started delving into the world of online classes. To expand my horizons, to learn some new techniques, but also to become one step closer to the person I had in mind – because that person is wise to the ump-teenth power.
I signed up for a Braid Creative Course, titled Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do, hosted by blogger extraordinnaire Kathleen Shannon. I had been a follower of her blog for quite some time, which had evolved from a simple, home-improvement, soul-searching, travel-focused, newly-married lifestyle blog, into an ambitious and creative outlet for pursuing a life of, well, ambition and creativity. It was exactly the inspiration I needed, in my simple, soul-searching, travel-focused, newly-married lifestyle.
(It’s an inspiring place, if I’ve ever found one. And, her manifesto is killer.)
This Braid Course won’t tell you how to write a website, how to put text over an image, or how to make a desktop pattern. Instead, it will serve as a guide to help you create a creative manifesto. It will help you create a voice. Which, as I know for fact, can be some of the hardest things to put down on paper.
But such is the great thing about this course. You’re forced to put things down on paper, to make things sort-of-permanent. In the world of control+z and del-del-del buttons, it’s pretty remarkable. For me, the act of revisiting my writings, months later, was most rewarding. Somehow, seeing my own penmanship made me more accountable for my ambitions and my achievements, or in some cases, the lack thereof (womp womp).
The course talks about incorporating your own personality into your career, and your lifestyle into your work. It talks about the difference between corporate, large business and creative, small businesses. About project goals, about work and life balance. About personal style – which, though I hadn’t thought about it before, is very much a part of creative work these days. I liked that last one a lot. The idea of work, and life, of maybe combining and maybe separating the two, are important for me to consider as a writer working from home and blogging about my life and travels. The idea that there is a lot of overlap in life/work, and you can allow your own passions to dictate your career path – those are points that I remind myself every day.
If you’re working on your own blog, or starting your own business, or even just dreaming about an escape from your current work situation, I encourage you to check out the classes that the Braid Courses are offering. I think this course would also serve well to those in the spiritual arts : yoga, massage therapy, stuff like that. You don’t have to be a major blogger or a crazy-successful entrepreneur already. Heck, it’s better if you’re not. I started this class when I was unemployed and had like, 5 clicks on my blog a day. And look at me now! Just kidding. I’m still unemployed, doh!