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:

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!

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

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