I am so glad that I did.
Last spring, I started to read my favorite blogs really closely. I tried to ask myself what it was that captivated me so much about their content. It wasn't just their design. No, it was their voice, above all else. I started thinking that if I wanted my blog to become something full of passion and accessible to more readers, I would have to commit myself first and foremost to my writing. My voice. What I was writing and why became the central focus of my work, and I grew more intentional in my craft. I imagined new editorial series that were creative and inspiring to me, ones that encouraged me to live my life with purpose. Only when I started to hit my stride with my content, some time around last April, did I begin to fiddle around with my web design.
I googled everything, and would work for hours trying to figure out what all the code meant. I started with simple changes, and slowly developed a whole new design for myself. What I have now is very close to what I imagined paying a professional to do a year ago. There are of course things that I could change and probably will change, but the point is that I have grown to trust my own abilities. I have taught myself how to do everything on this site. I have asked tons of questions of friends, and have spent hours in front of the screen. My husband can attest to the fact that I often stay up till one or two in the morning obsessing about margins around graphics, working tirelessly until they are in the right place. It has been so hard, but has brought such great rewards. I have loved designing this site, and love the pride that I have in my own abilities now.
It is easy to think that once we leave the formal education system in this country that we just don't have opportunities to learn anymore. We don't have teachers, right? Some of us hated school, and dread the idea of "studying" or "doing homework" again. But this whole experience of writing and working to make my blog something that represents who I am reveals to me once again that when I am passionate about something, learning and challenging myself is not only fun but extremely rewarding.
All of this leads me to ask the questions: What are you passionate about in life? What is it that you can spend hours doing? And how can you continue to grow that passion in your life? What can you learn or challenge yourself to do to become better at it? This all takes a great amount of time and purposeful action, and it is much easier to sit in front of the TV and zone out to episodes of The West Wing (it's my guilty pleasure too, people) but you can do it and you must do it.
Get up and go. Be passionate. Teach yo'self!