THE MONTHS OF BER: Once More, With FEELING.

And out of nowhere, like a dreaded cold that chills your bones, The Months of Ber have fallen upon us, signalling the time to check on our affairs and tie up loose ends wherever we can.

With the summer gone, it’s time to cherish the memories, but prepare for an entirely new season ahead with entirely new challenges. Photo Credit: Justin Baisden

With summer wrapped up but a wealth of work still sitting on my plate, I looked at my desk and didn’t even know where to start. When I added cleaning my desk to The 2014 100 back in January, it was no joke — the pressed wood of my 2% stake in my home has long vanished under piles of unfinished ideas, half-read books, and a plethora of resources I got with good intentions, but ultimately used them so seldom that all they do is take up space.

It’s time to figure out what really needs doing in my life, and with luck, I can enter 2015 much farther ahead than I was a mere 9 months ago.

DO ALL THE THINGS: Monthly Wrap-Up — The January Thaw

When I became a father, many thought I’d have to give up blogging, too busy and tired to bother with social media and my life associated with it. Through 2013, I worried over everything I was giving up with a kid in tow — the parties, the swag, the food — everything that was part of “the scene”. I thought I’d fade into obscurity, becoming an urban legend of Toronto’s social media scene — a precautionary tale to those trying to mix family and Twitter, to show it’s impossible.

But January seemed determined to prove me completely wrong.

10 Random Things, Volume 2

I’m… too sexy for this throne. Too sexy for this throne…
  1. Looks like you’ll be able to catch me on Tech Tuesday on the CTV News sometime between 6:45 – 7 PM tonight! Hope you’ll be able to catch it — if you don’t, I’ll be sure to post it here later!
  2. …and I’m in the audience for CityLine with my Mom on April 1st (which will satisfy The 2013 100 #69: Help my Mom get tickets to CityLine and the Marilyn Denis show)
  3. Clients from Hell is my new favourite website.
  4. After winning a spot in Brandgasm 101, I’m hoping to make all my design dreams come true for my site!
  5. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so anal retentive about metadata, or else putting up a post (or three) together about my Vegas trip wouldn’t be as painful as I know it’ll be. (Same goes for last week’s Buytopia.ca $100 Million Celebration, The Movie Network’s Game of Thrones celebration and MDeeCubed — let’s put it this way; the more photos you plan to post, the more data you’ll have to tag!)
  6. Ingress is my new time-suck when I’m out and about.
  7. Mixed-race kids are taking Toronto by storm! I’m not adding to the count yet, but it’s good to know that I’m in the right city to raise a mixed-race family!
  8. I’m not the biggest fan of Microsoft or Bing, but their Farecast travel cost predictor is pretty damn awesome!
  9. I finally got my Toronto Library Card last week! Now I just need to get through my existing list of stuff to read so I can actually use it.
  10. Might make an infographic based on MTV’s Annual Hottest MC List for practice. We’ll see!

–case p.

 

Becoming a Better Blogger

I need to remember to repeat this to myself all the time.

Every time I write; every time I come up with new ideas and spend hours putting them together into the most coherent and compelling stories that I can muster, one core thought runs through my head:

“I want to be a better blogger.”

We are our brand. We are the sum of the things we’ve done in life, what we’ve learned from them, and how other people see us because of these things. The sum total of these is the personal brand that’s associated with us individually.

But if our brands are so precious and define how people see us, isn’t it our duty to make sure we do all that we can to make them stunning?

The Importance of the Personal Brand

When I was young, my parents wanted me to be a professional — a doctor, a lawyer, or even an actuary — but there was an underlying lesson they were always teaching me:

Be the best there is at what you do.

Being the best means constant learning. It means improving your craft with every new thing you learn and never truly being satisfied with what you offer to the world. Just as the world never stops progressing, neither should you.

It’s ignorant to think that you’ll always be the best — it takes all types to make the world work, and eventually someone will come along who’s faster, stronger, smarter, or just plain better than you are.

But you never stop trying. Never.

If you’re passionate about something — if you’ve got the drive to keep wanting to put the very best that you can out in the world — whatever that is at any given time — then it’s a feeling that’ll never leave you alone. It’s an itch that you’ll never truly scratch, but it’s that very itch that keeps you going.

And it’s because of that itch that I want to take advantage of opportunities like Bloggers in Sin City and Brandgasm 101.

What IS “A Better Blogger?”

But what is “a better blogger”?

Does it mean increasing my Alexa ranking? Does it mean getting more shares and retweets on Facebook and Twitter? Or having your audience show you love through a flood of comments when you post something new?

It means different things to different people.

Me? I want my blog to mean something. I want to know when I shuffle off of the mortal coil at some point in the future that my blog somehow made the world a better place.

So that’s why I grind. That’s why I hustle away, trying to make this blog better and better when I can work on it.

And that’s why I want to join Brandgasm 101.

Brandgasm 101 — How to take your design and copywriting game to the next level

Much like making sure the clothes on my back are as fly as I can get ’em, who’s gonna remember a blog that fails to make an impact on them?

You can buy all the tools in the world to become a better designer, but they won’t do you any good if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why I’d love to join Brandgasm 101 — to go back to basics, unlearn bad habits and build something I’ll be proud of. Something that’ll stand the test of time.

While the pricing hasn’t been revealed for Brandgasm 101, I think that anyone who’s serious about taking their presence anywhere — both digitally and physically — should consider making the investment in learning great design!

Hopefully I’ll see you there!

–case p.

[disclaimer: this reflection’s inspired by a call for entries in a Brandgasm 101 contest which I hope to win so I can kick my design game up a few levels]