Reminder: The Orchard has Grown!

You know when a forest has a vibrant outer layer of new and mid-sized trees, and then further back there’s the old, mighty, and dying trees? And possibly a witch’s hut?

Well, this blog is that old section of trees. Lots of good stuff in here, but all the new growth is over at my new website and blog. With juicy cherries and springtime blossoms:

Break Out the Champagne, I’m Launching a Website!

…and it has a handy web address that’s so easy to remember, you won’t even need to copy and paste:

colewardell.com

If you subscribe to this blog or follow it via RSS, don’t forget to change your subscription over to this page on the new website. That’s where I’ll be blogging from now on :)

After some deliberation I decided not to import my blog posts from The Orchard over to the new site. I might even continue to update over here every once in a while, for more personal thoughts. In any case, I’m not sure how this will all be organized in the end but I do know that I want to keep the blog on the new site a bit more professional and polished because it’ll be seen by potential employers and clients.

“Gosh, that’s a bit boring, design-wise, Cole” –well, yes, it does kind of walk the line between minimalist and… empty. My priority right now is getting it up and functioning for employers, so I’m using a handy WordPress portfolio template. But I have visions of organic wood textures and stainless steel dancing in my head… and my goal is to build a custom design later this year that better reflects my personality.

I think that the headshot on my bio page is probably the most professional I’ve looked in the last four years. The glasses help. Writing my bio page was an exercise in ego, and here’s a few lessons that I learned that I think might be helpful for others.

If you commit to having a portfolio website, you have to commit to selling yourself. Unless you’re already an established writer or artist, your website does not serve as a mere informational resource. It needs to draw people in, and inspire them to contact or hire you. For a lot of creative people, marketing yourself feels kind of dirty, and really fake. But if you really want to avoid this, then don’t make a website. And if you do make one, embrace your appeal!

Designers’ websites need good text, and writers’ website need good design. Actually, designers can sometimes get away with having very little text on their portfolio websites, sometimes just a sentence or two on their bio. But writers especially need to acknowledge the power of visual appeal when it comes to portfolio websites. Designers too need to find a clear way to articulate their personality and what they offer.

Show only your best. This is true of any type of portfolio, but I think we need to hear it especially with web portfolios. Don’t post every doodle and piece of art you’ve ever done on your portfolio page – that’s what your blog is for. Your portfolio page should trick people into thinking that you only produce stunning, finished pieces that have been fully cleaned up in photoshop (if they’re visual works) or edited (if they’re articles) and are ready for publication.

How to Get Through A Day (& Even Function) Without Sleep

A Manual

Wake up at your usual time… or only slightly later. Basically, don’t sleep all day and mess with your long-term  sleep schedule.

Make a cup of good, strong coffee and an easy breakfast, i.e. nothing where you could easily burn or cut yourself. Protein is crucial, but avoid bacon and sausage because digestive systems freak out without sleep. I like avocado and melted cheese on toast.

If you don’t have a desk or a table because, say, you haven’t quite moved into your new apartment yet, at least make the bed. Don’t lie around in the sheets all day.

Also, put on real clothes as soon as possible. You must trick your body into thinking that it’s adequately prepared to act like a functional person today.

This also might require putting on makeup. Possibly with bright eyeliner, but definitely with under-eye concealer. If you can see yourself as bright-eyed and awake in the mirror, you can trick your brain is thinking you actually are awake. This tactic also helps avoid the shock of seeing your sleepless-zombie self in a mirror later today.

N.B. If you’re a dude, this step still applies.

Pack a bag. Don’t forget obvious things, like a cell phone or house key.

Head out door. Don’t forget shoes or pants.

Amtrak Moments

1. Sunrise in Nebraska 2. Lonely farms 3. New reading 4. Knitting to Impress 5. Chicago Station 6. West Virginia 7. Knitting at Sunset 8. Delayed in Virginia 9. Delayed at Sunset

Perhaps “Transmogrification”?

A Sleeping Orchard

I can’t believe how many music artists/musicians have produced albums with names like “Metamorphosis” and “Rebirth” and “The Comeback.” I suppose their livelihood does depend on reinvention, but even us regular kids need to be renewed and re-imagined.

…Anyways, if I were a pop star, this post would be named something like that. This week I purchased a domain name and signed up with a web server, and I’m going to step back from blogging for a bit in order to spend time designing the new website. It will serve primarily as an online portfolio that I can use for job interviews, but I’ll be stepping my posts up in quality as well when I get back. Back with a brand new look, of course.

I do have a few posts up my sleeve that I’ll post here and there, so stick around!

Pick Your Own

When I gather articles to share it sometimes feels a lot like wandering through one of those Pick Your Own orchards. When I was a kid we used to visit the strawberry fields, and later blueberries, and towards October, the apple orchards. (For sunny childhood memories, I highly recommend letting your kid stain her or his hands in berry fields)

But oh boy, the internet is like everything in season all at once. And not just berries and apples, but also mangos and starfruit and Cava. The infinite choices, and the enormous wealth of apples–er, articles–give me two contradictory instincts: I want to grab every single article worth sharing--totally unrealistic, and pretty greedy as well–but I also want to search every single tree and find only the ripest, roundest, juiciest articles.

So I’m going with secret method 3, which is the various interesting fruits I’ve picked up along the side of the road from Colorado to Columbus.

Only The Juiciest Links

The Return of The Printed Blog via Cision Navigator

Time to Let Go of Social Clutter via Leigh Reyes

10 Best books of 2010 from the New York Times. Except–wait–the Early Word blog has been collecting all of the “Best Books 2010″ lists. Like literally, every one that has been published. So if you need reading recommendations, they’ve got the motherload.

I love this list of the 10 Happiest Jobs from Mint.com blog, and their commentary.

Side Note: I really love the Mint.com blog. I always hesitate to follow financial blogs because all they write about is, well, money. They leave out all of the subtle non-monetary things that affect the economy and one’s finances. And yeah, I get that money is the bread and butter of a capitalist society, but frequently financial writers/bloggers/journalists just seem to have blinders on. Money doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and I like that Mint’s financial blog is thoughtful, ethical, and culturally conscious. Plus they always have great infographics.

Gender Analysis predicts the gender of any homepage, using… some sort of data, I’m sure. If I had the free time, I’d contact this website to see what their method for analysis is. (P.S. Thanks to FPNOkami for the tweet that eventually lead to me this!)

Hooray for inspiration! Slide show review of 2010 watercolor artists (via Brush – Paper – Water)

It’s never too early for wish-lists. In this case, from the new Exaclair catalogue (via Rhodia Drive)

The best articles from 2010 on art, marketing, and social media (via FineArtTips.com)

Why You Learn More Effectively by Writing than Typing (via Lifehacker)

A post on Fearless Creativity from the Etsy Storque. I could use a little fearlessness right now.

Psycho-technical Updates

Sure, my train may have been delayed six hours due to engine trouble, and we may have finally rolled into Charlottesville at 30mph. And sure, it’s scary as hell to drive through icy back roads in West Virginia with only front-wheel drive… but eventually, finally, I’m here in Columbus, securing an apartment and pumping up my ego to search for jobs.*

I won’t have time to get back to posting for another week or so, but in the meantime I’ve been updating some of my other online presences**, so check them out!

My Goodreads Bookshelf


* Any assistance with the ego-pumping is more than welcome.
** Okay, I admit that these might be time-wasting excuses to procrastinate the job search.

Art adventures, literary hangovers, rural politics and other songs worth sharing.

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