Change of Direction – Content Consumption to Content Creation

HeadFirst HTML

We have a lot of choices in our spare time these days. If we decide to spend it in front of a screen, we can generally either consume (e.g. watch YouTube, read blogs) or create (e.g. write blog posts, develop websites or themes, create mobile apps) or a bit of both (e.g. interact on Facebook or Reddit).

For the past 5 years, I’ve spent a fair bit of my spare time consuming blog posts in my RSS reader and then creating posts often passing on practical advice from what I’ve read. But I’ve got to the point where I feel my time might be better spent with a little less content consumption and a little more creation in other areas. Why? Well, I guess advancing years tends to focus your outlook a little. I’m realising that if I want to accomplish new things while I still have time and the ability to do them, I need to change now. But that’s easier said than done. Change is always difficult. It’s very easy to just sit back and consume on the sofa.

First thing is to cut back on my content consumption and get my reading down to just a few core blogs. Well I know which blogs I get the most from so I’ve already done that, and Reddit is still proving to be a great source of information for me. Next, try to identify what new things I want to achieve. I’ve got my list down to a few main items: website development, going paperless, explore Linux further and photography.

Website development

I have a hankering to progress my skills in website development. Not in any big way. I wouldn’t consider myself a designer and I’m certainly not a programmer but I did enjoy setting up this website a few years ago and modifying a WordPress theme until I got it just the way I wanted it. Trouble is, there was a lot of trial and error involved. So I need to improve my HTML and CSS skills initially. Depending how I get on I may move on to PHP and jQuery.

I do have a little knowledge of HTML and CSS but I’ve recently  bought a great book called Head First HTML and CSS and I’m working through that. It’s probably the first ever text book that I’ll end up reading from cover to cover! I want to replace the theme on this site and my business site and at the moment  I’m considering using Genesis Framework to do that. Hopefully if all goes well, I may try my hand at website development on a part-time basis.

Going paperless

The biggest decisions in going paperless are whether to use Evernote or something else and then how to structure the archive if at all, i.e. few or many notebooks. As you may know, there are proponents on both sides, i.e. don’t structure it, just use one or two notebooks and rely on search to find stuff in your archive. On the other hand, we’ve all come from a background with physical filing cabinets and organising data in folders on PCs, so you could instead use lots of notebooks to help organize and archive everything. If you do use Evernote and are considering going paperless, Jamie Todd Rubin has a great blog I can recommend.

Explore Linux further

I’ve already discussed this in a series of posts but basically my PC future may lie with Linux rather than Windows. Next thing I have to do here is assess Linux Mint and examine the different ways to edit MS Word doc and docx files. In my day job it’s important that I can track changes in Word documents.

Photography

Away from the PC, I enjoy walking and photography. I wouldn’t call myself a keen photographer but I do enjoy taking photos especially when they turn out right. I just have an old Canon PowerShot A570IS. Don’t know if I have the discipline to carry a DSLR and accessories round and I’m not sure if I can afford all this anyway. So photography is really work in progress for me at the moment.

Blogging

I’ll continue to blog because I enjoy passing on what I’ve learned, but you can expect a little change in direction here. Because I’m not moving to Windows 8, you can expect less Windows posts as time goes on. I’ll probably be blogging more about each of the above topics in future and occasionally on life in general so I hope you’ll continue to read the blog and please subscribe if you can.

What do you want to achieve in your spare time? Anyone have any advice on what I want to accomplish? I’d love to hear your comments.

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