I think one of the issues with being self taught is that when it comes to getting professional training, it can be really hard to hear the truth. It can turn out that we're wrong about something, or that we're not doing our job properly. The professional distance between those who do and those who try, can be quite a large leap. Getting everything in ship shape order can be an awesome challenge, however I am not one to shy away from a challenge, if I feel there is something for me in it anyway.
When it came to taking on some courses with Shaw Academy, I knew that I was in for a rough ride. Having been writing online content for over ten years, and maintaining a healthy community of readers and friends, pressure from the tax man meant that I had to up my game or go back to washing dishes. Of course I would wash them, if I had to, but I decided it was only fair to give myself the best shot at getting into a professional career I could. So I started my own business in social media and digital marketing, alongside my writing services, and then went about looking for the relevant qualifications to help me on my way.
Learning new skills can be like applying disinfectant to our shoddy self taught knowledge. When our livelihood is resting on the fact that we must be good at getting results, learning how to get them is the only thing to do. Restraining my emotions - be it fear, panic, disbelief, or anger, and actually paying attention to the tutor is one thing, and then applying it in my work is another. Once I finish each lecture I feel almost like a shaken up bottle of pop, ready to adjust everything all at once. However, what I know is best, is to wait a while, absorb the information and slowly consider my changes.
It is clear I have to make some changes, my attitude towards social media is something that needs work on, taking a social and street attitude to a professional page is only creating gossip, and so when confronted with trolls and bullies, people who like to complain about their own life and insist you have responsibility just for being there, etc, they are going to have to be silently removed from now on. It's good to be loud and confident, but when there's a business involved, any police tape is a bad sign. Also it became clear that there are so many more things to think about when posting and creating things for digital media. The computerised social universe is very complex, evolving daily and is a hub for all sorts of ingenuity and inspiration.
The battle is on, my advice is to go and take some education for yourself, do something you love and find a way of turning it into a daily activity that pays. It will keep you out of the kitchen for longer anyway.
Rowan Blair Colver
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