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how I'm choosing to live my best life

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Katherine Moon
Katherine Isabella Moon
Meow, hello there, my name is Katherine, but you can call me Kat; because I basically am a cat. Anyways, I am a 26-year-old, lifestyle blogger, with an INFP-T personality type, from the United States. I love fashion, the color pink, cats, dogs, and spending all my time on my computer. I'm often seen wearing cat ears headbands.
The Kat Life
The Kat Life

how I'm choosing to live my best life

Thursday, April 11, 2019

8 Tips For Teaching Yourself A New Skill

Photo courtesy of Moose Photos on Pexels

As someone who absolutely loves to create, and is rather particular on the small details, I am constantly trying to take up new skills so that I can figure out a way to create whatever it may be that I want to create on my own. Whether it's designing and coding my own layout for my blog, or creating graphics and artwork, I absolutely love being able to do it on my own (while also utilizing whatever tools and resources I have available of course). I suppose you could say I'm a little bit on the ambitious side; though I think all bloggers are in one way or another, and that ambition is a good thing!

The only thing is, taking up a new hobby or skill, especially one you know next to nothing about, can be rather overwhelming when you're doing it without any formal help. Not to mention if you're taking up something where even the smallest error could throw everything off such as with HTML/CSS and JavaScript coding. I could go on and on about the frustrations that can come along with taking up a new hobby, and being 100% self-taught because you don't really want to pay for formal training or classes, without knowing whether you'll really stick to it or not.

But even though taking up a new creative skill without any formal training or help can definitely make the process quite a bit more difficult, as well as frustrating or even stressful at times; it definitely can be done as long as you have passion.

Start finding (and saving) helpful resources before you even begin

Photo courtesy of Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash

If you're taking up something you know very little or even absolutely nothing about, it's never a bad idea to read up a little bit on it and gather some helpful resources before you even start; that way, you'll at least have an idea of where to begin. One of my absolute favorite places to look is Pinterest, as you'll easily be able to find helpful articles, guides, tutorials, and just about everything you'll need to help you out with just about anything; so it's a great place to look. I also like to look for helpful YouTube videos, online communities, and any websites that will be helpful. 

And don't forget to pin, save, and/or bookmark helpful content or websites you may want to come back to later so you can easily find it again. I personally also like to create boards, YouTube playlists, and folders specifically for saving these resources just to stay a little more organized as well. 

Tutorials and walkthroughs are your best friend

Photo courtesy of Hey Beauti Magazine on Unsplash

Okay, so I don't know if this is just me or not, or if it's a common thing, but for the longest time, I didn't particularly like working through tutorials or walkthroughs where I'm being told exactly what to do; as I just feel like I'm recreating someone else's work, not being creative. Which is true, but the point of following a tutorial or a walkthrough where you're recreating something specific is to just give you the feel of how to do it. Especially when it's something that requires everything to be structured in a certain way such as web design. You can always put your own little spin on it if you'd like, but remember, this is just practice for now and you don't have to show it to anyone else.

Start with small projects

Photo courtesy of Hey Beauti Magazine on Unsplash

I totally get it, you probably have some very grand ideas for things you want to create. I certainly didn't take up coding just to make a couple of edits to a pre-existing Tumblr or Blogger theme, or to just make a couple of small add-ons, but it was definitely a great place to start so I could get more comfortable with coding before I tried to make a full theme myself. Major projects can be a bit overwhelming at times, regardless of how comfortable you are in your skills, and can be even more overwhelming if you're brand new at something; so I highly recommend starting with something small and simple. 

But if you absolutely must take on that major project right away, I highly recommend breaking it down into small tasks (which I actually still recommend when you're fully comfortable with a skill), and starting with the easiest things first.  

When you struggle, Google, and Google hard

Photo courtesy of J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

We're extremely lucky to be living during a day of age where we can find answers, solutions, or help for just about anything at our fingertips. The only thing is, we don't always find the solution to our exact problem, or help with exactly what we're trying to accomplish right away. Sometimes you have to dig through pages and pages of results, read countless help threads, or even change up the wording of your search entirely (sometimes many times because you're not even sure how to even word your search, to begin with) before you find an answer. There are times where it may take hours or even all freaking day to find just what you're looking for, but when you finally find the answer, it makes it all worth it. 

...And don't forget to bookmark the page where you found the solution in case you need to refer to it again later; you really don't want to lose it. Trust me, you really don't. 

Don't be afraid to ask for help online

Photo courtesy of J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

If you've been searching all day, or especially if you've been searching for over a day, and still can't find anything helpful, then I'd suggest turning to an online community or help forum and ask for help there. Remember to always be polite, and try to follow all of the rules of the community or forum, and try to give as much detail as possible when stating the problem and what you're trying to accomplish. It's also a good idea to include things you have already tried, or even add in a snippet of your work, or an example of what you're trying to do. 

Please understand that while you probably won't get a response right away, you'll likely get one within a day or two, if not within a couple of hours, as long as you provided enough detail. You may also find that the first response you get may not solve your issue, and you may also need to rephrase some things. And always remember to thank those who respond for taking the time to help!

Seriously though, don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. The people responding to these help threads are there to help, and you never know, your question may just help out someone else who's having the same issue! 

Keep practicing, and never stop learning and improving

Photo courtesy of Eleni Koureas on Unsplash

I have been coding for three years, and I'm still learning new things with every coding project I work on! Seriously, never stop learning and looking to get better at something you're passionate about and enjoy doing. I am constantly finding new and better ways to do things when I'm coding, drawing, writing, or even building houses in The Sims! Progress is never a bad thing, and you never want to stop building onto your skills. 

Understand you don't have to become an expert in a day

Photo courtesy of Emma Matthews on Unsplash

As I just said, I've been coding for three years and I'm still learning, and while I'm at a level where I can confidently build layouts on my own and even play with JavaScript and jQuery, I still really wouldn't say I'm an expert yet! It takes time and a lot of practice to perfect your craft, and even when you reach "expert level" there's still often room for improvement and become even better at it. 

Seriously though, it takes time to even become comfortable with a new hobby or skill in a lot of cases. So be patient with yourself, and with the learning process.

Have fun with it!

Photo courtesy of Hey Beauti Magazine on Unsplash

This is honestly one of the best pieces of advice I was given when it comes to taking up a new hobby or skill, as well as when I first started working out; just have fun with it. Don't make it completely about the money you could make from it, or getting likes and followers on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc; otherwise, you may start to lose your passion for it or even start to hate it entirely. Take the time to create the things you want to create, even if they may seem silly, and may not fit the brand you may be building or don't fit your usual style. Even just playing around a little gives you the opportunity to build your skill, and the best part is, because it's only for fun, it doesn't necessarily have to be perfect. 

How often do you like to try taking up a new hobby or skill? Do you typically tend to go for things that you could potentially make money off of, or do you just do them purely for fun? And... are you a DIY kind of person, or do you prefer to have no hassle and just use a service and pay someone to do it for you? 

Do you have any additional advice for taking up a new hobby or skill on your own? I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Thank you for reading, and I hope the rest of your day is wonderful!
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