Thursday, June 27, 2013

Are you a hand-writter or a typer?

I started working through The Artist's Way this week, part of which involves doing what is called "Morning Pages". Basically what you do is, first thing every morning, you hand-write three pages. No more, no less. It's supposed to like... unblock your creativity... or something.

Although... as a card-carrying night owl, this totally terrifies me. How can I do anything first thing in the morning before my coffee, let alone write three pages long-hand? While I appreciate the novelty of such things, it's been awhile since I've actually hand-written anything.

(Thank you, Internet).

I thought maybe doing my Morning Pages on the computer instead of hand-writing might work better for me. I made the mistake of mentioning this idea to someone who's been doing Artist's Way off and on for decades. Apparently this is NOT the way "real" Artist's Way students are supposed to do their Morning Pages. It's like... a rule... or something. Which got me thinking... does it really matter to the creative process whether you hand-write or type?

After discussing this with one of my blog friends, I'm starting to think that maybe it really does matter. Maybe that's the whole point... getting in touch with physically creating something again, even if it's just three pages of pre-coffee scribbles. So I'm going to try it. At least for a week.

I know, I know, I'm supposed to commit to it for the full 12-weeks that the book outlines, but I need to trick my Internet-shortened attention span. Lol. Chances are it'll be awesome and I'll keep doing it. ;)

*****
What about you - are you a hand-writer or a typer? Have you ever worked through The Artist's Way? Did it help your creative process?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What I've Learned in my First Two Weeks of Freelancing

A snippet of what I've been working on lately.

1). It's good to put on real clothes once in awhile.

I love being able to work in my pajamas, but doing that too many days in a row can mess with your head. Putting on real clothes in the morning definitely helps get my mind in the working mode!

2). Naps are awesome.

I love the make-your-own-schedule part of freelancing. It feels good to be able to take a nap when I need it and then work late into the night when my brain is actually more awake (I'm a night owl).

3). It really is all in who you know.

It has been said that the best way to get new clients is through word-of-mouth from the old ones... and repeat clients are even better! I'm currently working on a blog re-design for one of my previous clients, which I never would've gotten if I hadn't reached out to her to let her know about my new design portfolio! Don't be obnoxious when you're promoting yourself, but it definitely does your business good to remind people once in awhile that you're available for work.

4). My TiVo missed me.

My poor TiVo got so neglected in the last month or two while I was working hard finishing school. It's been nice to have down-time again and catch up on some of my stories!

5). There are a lot of learning resources online.

I've also spent a lot of time this week watching web coding and Photoshop videos. Those are two areas I don't feel entirely competent (we mainly used Illustrator and InDesign for my school projects), so beefing up on my skills, even when I'm not working a lot can only help me in the future. A few awesome video tutorial sites I've found are here: 1, 2, 3.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Welcome, Summer!


Sorry to be so MIA this month. I've officially finished school and begun my freelance life. So far that consists of adding to my portfolio website, sprucing up my Etsy graphics shop, and also hunting for "real" jobs. I love the idea of freelancing, but also know that it might take awhile to get traction in that area. Hopefully I can do both for awhile!

We're also a bit in limbo about moving, which is why I haven't mentioned it much. You could pray about that, if you like, that all goes well in that department. Long story short, my dad is trying to sell his distributorship so he can start his new area selling down in Northern LA area, but the upper-ups in his company seem to be dragging their feet on approving our buyer. We think we finally have all the i's dotted and the t's crossed though, so hopefully things should fall into place this week so we can make definitely plans. This whole thing has been hanging in the works for about a year now, so we're definitely praying that it will go through quickly and smoothly!

And in honor of the first day of summer... here are some things I've been pinning lately:

Friday, June 14, 2013

An Introvert's Guide to Speech-Giving

Having just given a speech myself this week, the subject of speech-giving has been on my mind. Despite my being one of the most introverted people I know, I was actually the least-nervous-looking person presenting that day (according to my dad). Yes, I definitely was nervous, but here are some of my tricks as to how to not appear so:

fear of public speaking

#1 - Pretend You're Not Nervous

This is probably the best tip I have. It sounds too good to be true, but it really works. I got the idea awhile back when I was pondering how actors act. Basically, I just pretend that I'm someone who doesn't get nervous. The butterflies in my stomach try to disagree with me, but I try not to listen to them (much).

#2 - Stare at the Back of the Room

This tip I learned in my many years of high school and college choir, back in the day. Instead of actually looking into the crowd of people staring at you... look just above their heads at the back wall. They'll feel like you're looking at them, but you won't get the deer-in-the-headlights feeling that happens when you make eye contact with an audience member while you're nervous.

#3 - Take Care of Your Bodily Necessities

It's common to feel like you have to pee right as you're about to go onstage. I make sure I use the facilities before I even enter the room so that I can tell myself that that's only a psychosomatic reaction and not a physical one.

I also eat about 1/2 hour before a speech to make sure that I won't faint from low blood sugar (which hasn't actually happened to me in years, but it's a common fear I have when anticipating the worst that could happen while I'm onstage).

Above all, don't forget to breathe (both on stage and off), and definitely don't lock your knees. If you have to remind yourself of these things while you're talking, that's okay.

#4 - Pretend You're Only Talking to One or Two People

This is another great tip I like to employ. I tell myself that I'm just explaining something to my roommate, my parents, my cat, instead of the hundred or more people that I'm actually speaking to. That helps me brain slow down and stop panicking long enough to formulate actual cohesive thoughts.

#5 - Imagine How You'll Feel an Hour From Now

Sometimes I like to play mind-games with myself, "Just think... in one hour, this will all be over!" (Substitute "one hour" for however long you have until your dreaded thing is actually over). For some reason this quells some of the pre-speech panic quite well.

#6 - Don't Practice Too Much

This may not work for everyone, but for me it works quite well. I basically practice the night before until I have a general gist of what I want to say. Then I stop practicing. Over-practicing, at least for me, tends to cause more panic in me, which can lead to forgetting what I'm going to say.

*****
What about you? Do you get nervous while giving a speech? What tricks do you use to get yourself through?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Be the first to "Like" my new Facebook page!

So in my push to get my website done, I figured it was probably also a good idea to have a Facebook page! Right now you'll see basically the same projects that are on my website, but I hope to soon include helpful links and tutorials on there as well. Basically if you love graphic design, you should "Like" this page!

Monday, June 3, 2013

What's on my iPhone: App Edition

I always find it interesting to hear what other people have on their iPhones, so thought you might be interested to hear what's on mine! Here are a few of my favorite apps.

Solar

This app is pretty fun - it gives you a visual color representation of what the weather for the day will be like. You can scroll up with your thumb to view up to 24 hours of weather data, or pull down with your thumb to view the 3-day forecast. You can have it set to your current location and also store other locations that you like to keep track of. The color of the weather changes based on what the weather is at that time during the day as well as what time of day it is (darker blues for nighttime, etc).
(Available on iTunes)



Google Maps

If you ever wanted turn-by-turn directions but didn't want to buy a TomTom or other GPS device, then this is the app for you. It's oddly accurate (as I'm sure you would expect if you've ever used Google Maps) and I love that it doesn't yell at me when I miss the road it tells me to turn on (it just quietly re-routes itself and gives you the next road that you need to take to get you to where you want to go). You can use it with the screen off or on - either way works well. With the screen on, you can see in advance where you're needing to turn, which can be nice. Screen on or off, you can hear what the directions are, so there's really no need to be distracted by looking at something (unless you want to be distracted). And as you might expect, you can also use this app to locate places, view Street View, etc (although probably not something you'd want to do while driving).
(Available on iTunes)



Trism

If you want a complete time-waster puzzle game, this is a great one! You're basically matching tiles by color. That's it. Occasionally there are locked tiles or bombs that you have to defuse, but basically it's the same basic premise throughout the game (it just gets harder to find matches as the levels go on). I could literally play this for hours - it's pretty mesmerizing - and is a great thing to keep your fingers busy when you're listening to podcasts!
(Available on iTunes)



Goodreads

I love this site in general and this app is a great addition to it. You can quickly search books, read reviews, and manage your read/to-read queues. I've been recording my reading habits on Goodreads for a couple years now and this app makes that all a bit easier.
(Available on iTunes)



Songza

I think I've mentioned this website before, but the app is also just as awesome. It is a lot like Pandora except a little more mood-driven. You can use it logged in or not (logging in just allows you to save your favorite stations). Basically it just asks you something like, "It's Monday morning. Are you: driving? studying? working?" and you then pick one and it'll ask you more specifically, "Did you want to be inspired? listen to songs without lyrics? rock out?". It's a great way to get a quick Pandora-like playlist going to fit the day/time/mood you happen to be in at the time. I believe you can also search playlists by genre or artist if you want, though I rarely use it that way.
(Available on iTunes)



Dreamer

If you ever had the inclination to record your dreams, this is a very simple app that works well. It has a black background so won't break your eyeballs when you're trying to enter stuff upon just waking up, and it also has a lock on it so you don't have to worry about someone stumbling upon your dream journal. You can record many dreams a day (for example once when you wake up and maybe another one later in the day when you take a nap) and can easily go back and re-read or edit your entries later. As far as options and tags go, you can mark dreams as lucid or not, but there aren't any other ways to categorize or tag dreams, which could be a drawback for you (although I kind of like the simplicity of it since my brain isn't always up to categorizing and analyzing first thing in the morning).
(Available on iTunes)
(Note: these are images from Google - not my real dreams - sorry, I don't share everything with you! lol)




StitchMinder

I think I may have mentioned this one before too, but it's still a great app for counting things (I use it to count knitting rows, but you could probably count just about anything with it). I love that it can keep track of 4 counters at once, so you can keep track of rows + pattern repeats + whatever else you're trying to keep track of, or just 4 different projects if you wanted.
(Available on iTunes)



*****
Do you have any favorite apps? Do tell!
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