I’m out of London for a few weeks to dog-sit for my parents back in my hometown of Southampton. It comes at a good time as I’m currently looking to put in some freelance groundwork and diversify the types of work I do and focus on environmental campaigns and themes. I find it valuable to take stock and compare the direction my works going in with where I want it to be. It’s all too easy to get comfortable and then before you know it, you lose sight of personal direction and lose control of the type of work you do.

It’s also a good opportunity to learn some new skills. Websites are the focus for me as I’m frequently asked to make them and would like to be able to deliver without the need for too much outside help. Clients frequently request websites based around CMS platforms like WordPress and Drupal. I’m fairly well versed in the basics (child themes and simple template modifications) but am currently much more at home with hand coding – not the most client friendly! I’ve picked up Volume 2 of the WordPress Genius Guide (book/mag) and hope to learn how to begin writing my own themes. I’ve also lugged a big Javascript book home, written by the same author of an excellent HTML/CSS book – Jon Duckett.

My weeks mission is to start to blog regularly – even if it’s just reflective like this one. It’s something that I’ve tried to get into the habit of for the last 10 years or so. I spend ages on the design, choose a pretentious title and then forget the log in. I’m sure this is the case for many designers like myself. Self-promotion doesn’t come easy – I struggle to show off my own design work, preferring to pick it apart and figure out how I can do better next time. This attitude isn’t conducive to winning new clients and it certainly doesn’t help my mental stability.

I’d love to know when/how often other freelancers find the time to learn new skills and reflect on their work, whether through blogging, planning or just thinking.