The Difference of One

It is hard, sometimes, to not realize that you are only a single voice in a large crowd and not many, if any, will ever hear you.

There are many other analogies for this:

One light in the sky.

One grain of sand on the beach.

One flower in the garden.

What you say or how you say it will not make it very far, in most cases.  Your message gets lost before you can finish thinking about it.

Everyone wants to be heard / seen/ felt… sensed in some way.  Some people shout, some talk softer, some band together under one cause and their voices become much louder.

However you do it you just want to reach people.  If you goal is to reach 10 people and shouting works, great.  If you want to reach 100 people and speaking quietly works, go for it.  If you want to reach a country or make an impact on the world, joining a group is usually the way to go.  It does not matter how you do it, you want to reach and connect with others.

I think the thing that depresses me the most, is that all the shouting, shining, and growing, will probably not make a difference in the world.  Not even in your own garden, beach or sky. Everything will be the same as it ever was, had you not existed.

Everything we do is for naught but our own self-importance. Meaningless…

Then…

You talk to a friend (or a fan, or family, perhaps) and your view point changes.  You realize that you made a difference to someone.  That their life is less without you in it.

Even being able to effect one life is worth all the shouting, shining, and growing you can do.

Be the best light you can, shine your brightest.  Be the best grain of sand, best flower, best voice you can be.  Do what you can to make one life better.

One life that benefits from anything you do, is all one needs to keep going.

Proof that one voice, one light, one grain or one flower can improve the world.

Thank you friend.

BirthdayPeacock

My birthday greeting for my friend. You may not feel like it, but you are amazing just the way you are.

And Happy Birthday J

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Something You have Always Done

There are things that I have “always” done. Creating art is one.  As soon as I could I started creating art in the dirt, in the sand, in the mud, pretty much anyway I could.  When I was a kid the local news paper did a coloring and drawing contest.  I got quite a few McDonald’s meals for the family with my incessant drawing.  My mother sent me a photo album with some of the clippings (gotta love moms.)

Red and blue Dancers

Red Dancer and Blue Dancer. Acrylic on canvas.

As I grew up I chose to focus on drawing.  It was cheap and easy to carry around.  I moved from pencil drawings to colored drawings. I love color and crayons and colored pencils soon became more important than pens and pencils.  I still keep a few boxes of each around the house.  It is cheaper to use and they do not warp the sketch book.  When I was in my teens my parents got me into paints and I took off from there.

I love to paint.  It is something I have “always” done.  Even when I am doodling with crayons I am envisioning the way the picture will look in vibrant acrylic paints (I never got the hang of water colors and dislike the effects, oil takes to long to dry and I never really liked the way it looks – on my art.)

I have to say I was not the “best” in my art classes.  I live in my head to much to really appreciate what the teachers were trying to impress upon us art students.  I did learn to love all forms of art from art class.  If I could not paint I would be a potter, I think, that is my next favorite type of art. Pottery is far more useful that painting.  Or maybe weaving.  You can make images just like a painter, only in fabric.

If I was suddenly not able to create I am not sure what I would do.  It has been such a part of my being, that I would be at a loss.  I can image making art if I was blind, lost my hands and a variety of other things that could happen.  I have never considered life without art.  It is such a part of my being, that I just cannot do it.

I do take it for granted some times.  The ability to draw out what is in your head to share it with others.  Not everyone has it, and it is easy to forget that.

What is something that you have always done?

Moving into a New Year

MerryChristmasSeattleBannerMerry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

I hope that it is Merry and Bright for everyone.  If it is not looking like it will be for you, I hope that something stands out as good.  Focus on that and you will make it.

ChangeRoadSignWhen I graduated from University I was not prepared for the career I paid (lots) to learn about.  That is my fault for choosing the wrong school, wrong course and not questioning things as much as I should have. That left this year as a quest to get over my fear of change and failure.  Fear of not being “good enough” to graduate (some how I did,) not being able to get a job (still at my old one,) and not being able to do what I want to do (Web Designer!)  This year I failed to do a lot of things that would have made it easier to do what I wanted to do.  I got the wrong internship, I did not keep up with my studies, and I did not ask questions or look hard at what was going on.  Only when I got frustrated and angry did I start making changes.

I am not saying that this year was a waste or all bad.  I had tons of great things happen.  I DID graduate from a reputable University.  I DID get an internship.  I DID create some websites (no matter how basic.)  I DID quite my internship when I realized that it was not going where I needed it to.  My spouse and I made the move to home ownership (that was stressful.)  I have a new internship lined up and I have plans on making next year good.  All in all the good outweighs the bad since I learned things that enabled me to move on.

One of the tools I used to get over my fears is Planning. I find that making a rough outline helps keep me on track and keeps the fear of change at bay.  Whenever I HAVE to do anything (that I don’t want to do or am afraid to do) I plan.  I actually plan the fun out of it and cover pretty much every contingency (I have no idea why I did not go into project management.)  Plans allow for the greatest amount of light to shine on something that you are afraid of.  Especially if it is something new.

My rough plan for 2014 is pretty basic right now.  Do some follow up education so I can understand Web Design and Development better.  There are many things that make no sense to me and in order to get a job I feel that I should understand them and be able to work with them. As I learn more I want to rebuild my website (down for financial purposes – darn house) and the others I have built, practice, practice.  I also want to start building demo sites and templates for some of the various content managers out there.  I think if I can learn enough about those I can secure a decent internship (paying?) or start charging for my services (freelance.)  This means reducing the number of hours I spend on graphic design.  While it is fun I need to spend that time coding and expanding my Web Designer skills.

I have other personal plans too.  I plan on spending more time off my butt and walking around.  Exercise is important and I can use the time to plan out other things.  I can also increase my collection of photos so I have things to use when I need to make a graphic for a site.  I plan on encouraging my spouse to blog and finish his degree.  I plan on seeing a doctor on a regular basis (that is really scary in my mind.) I also plan on taking a vacation this year.  I has been a while and I am feeling the need to take a break.  That means saving up some green and paid time off.  I should probably spend some time with my friends too.

OtherSideOfFearFear is natural.  I think almost everyone is afraid of new things.  Things that they cannot fathom or understand.  I find planning helps reduce the fear.  Fear will never go away until you deal with its cause, but you can lessen it to the point where you can deal with it.  All it takes is some planning and research.  I need to research my medical plan and learn about finding a provider and paying the bills.  I need to learn how to use my insurance and so many other things.  I am worried that I will put it off again this year (it was a goal for 2012.)  I know that if I do research and ask questions I can over come this and help other co-workers figure it out. Once I figure it out I know the fear of it will be gone and I can spend that energy fearing something new.  The process repeats.

Have a great holiday season! 

Do what you need to do, even if it is scary.  The fear will go away once you do it.

 

 

Motivation!? Where Have You Gone?

My Motivation to do has gone missing again.  Usually it comes back when I have fun projects to do.  Not this time.  Like a child looking for it’s favorite toy, I search for my Motivation.

MotivationMatrix

Lately I have been bouncing around “Minimum Engagement” and “Unhappy.” I am usually at “Work with Passion” and “New Ideas.” I don’t like being unhappy. I need my Motivation BACK!

Has the warmer than pleasant weather made it go into hiding?  I think so.  Then again there is the waiting.  The waiting on other people to do their part in things.  My Motivation may have gotten bored and went for a stroll some place far away.

I look around my office at my unfinished painting(s), boxes that need packing and papers that need filing.  I poke around my computer and see the projects I should be working on.  The small chores the usually get done as I move around the house are also piling up.

I have become something of a potato, suck in one spot staring into space, or sleeping. I have not even been planning my next paintings, dreams, books to read, games to play.  All good past times that require little effort.  Instead of DOing, I lamenting over my missing Motivation.

Perhaps my Motivation went on a holiday.  Was I over working it? I want to go on a holiday!  Lazing around the beach or better, a nice lake with lots of shade.  Make my Motivation wait on me for a change.

OfficeSpaceDemod

Of course, I could not really care. Maybe I am trying to fake it? Interesting thought. Office Space, you are such a good movie.

Motivation, Please come back!  I miss you.

Missing

Deep. To bad I am not motivated to think about it to hard.

 

So, What do you do?

Image

After my higher education, I interpret Web Developing to be more inclined to the back end development of websites. Back end usually includes databases and the code that makes the site work.  The code that processes payments, logs events and keeps track of your email address book.

I just graduated and am already stumped on how to answer this question.  What exactly do Web designers do?  I have looked up the definition a few times and there are quite a few different and often conflicting ideas about what we do.  To fill out my job search and help remove a lot of the back end development stuff I have even started using the term User Experience or User Interface Designer.  A much clearer term for what I enjoy doing.

It still leaves the question what is a Web Designer.  That really depends on what side of the server you are on.  Front end designers focus on the stuff the user sees and interacts with and back end designers focus on things like the databases and code that make the site actually function.  As John Waters puts it in his book The real business of web design (I posted about this amazing book in the previous post,) “…what designers do is the verb – the process, ‘the making,’ that results in the product. (pg113)” This totally makes sense! 

He goes on to say that we all design things all the time.  A lot of it is practical, like how to get to and from work, or what to wear that day, but there are people who take that to new levels and plan how to make furniture, images, and houses. Designers are the “Doers” and we are all “Doers” in certain areas of life.

Image

This is closer to how I interpret a Web designers job. We act all cool and creative, but in the end we usually use products that already exist and put them together in a way that is visually pleasing and easy to use. The interior designers of the internet! If you ask me we are sorely needed in some of the rooms and houses.

Some people are born seeing the world differently (talent) and some have trained (skill) to understand the world and how it can be changed to be more user friendly to people.  These people are going to have a different way they go about designing things (intuitive vs wrote).  This may be part of the reason why no one really understands what a designer does.  There are so many different methodologies for each specialty, we may never be able to get a set answer.  Mr. Waters does a really good job of simplifying what we designers do.  We do! 

 Even though design is the root of designer, it has a longer definition and explanation. “Design is about intent.  It is the plan, the method, the plot, the often wandering path that will be followed to accomplish something. ‘This is a great design.’ The reference is to the plan, not the product.  Design is all the planning activity that brings the product to life (Waters, J 2003, p114.)”  Design is still doing, but it is more about the path that you take.  Artists all have a “design” or path that they prefer to take when creating a piece (I will speak more to painters, since that is what I know.)  Some painters start with the foreground and move backwards, others start with a specific color and work with that then move to the next color, and still more start on one side and work across the canvas (board or paper.)  The path can change with the art piece and materials being used.  The path might change during the process, but it is still the design, the intent, you have to create the piece that allows you to create something amazing.

That was kind of long.  I will summarize.

Web Designer?  I am the person that makes websites usable by people.

Web developer?  I am the person that makes websites work the way users (and designers) expect.

What is Design? The path people take to accomplish something.

Many Thanks to Mr. Waters and his awesome book The real business of web design.  I am sure I will have a few more posts and revelations to share as I finish off the last third.  (I am totally buying a copy when I have some $$.)