Making the most of your learning capabilities.

My latest blog links a little bit with previous one. Sometimes, I’m not very sure of myself. Usually when I find myself faced with a complex task. Something to wrap my head around. And then I think I’m spending far too much time thinking about “can’t do’s” instead of “can do if I try hard enough”.
This afternoon I wrapped up the technical part of a very tricky course for making a WordPress plugin.  It was very hard to follow and required all of my concentration.  I’d like to say I “aced” but in fact, in the end I’d completely broken it. I  can’t access the whole WordPress website from the back end or the front end. I’ve not the time or the motivation. to put it right.
I’ve have however learned a lot from my efforts and it was really interesting to get an insight into how WordPress plugins are put together. This is all okay.  It’s experience.  It gives me more ideas about what I might get into in the future.  Plugins are likely not a part of my journey but never say never.
But when I’m at my lowest, I can find myself thinking like this…

Sometimes I wonder… why do I bother with web development? Not Web Design, I get that. I love design and building interfaces.

But with Development I always get blown away like this is all too much for my brain to handle. My latest stumbling block is developing plugins for WordPress. I mean even if I did remember all of the code… I WILL end up forgetting it in the future… and not because I neglect the subject necessarily, but because I’ve already moved onto my next subject to tackle.

I think it’s because of my learning difficulties that I’ve gained that appetite for constant learning. I want to look at these things to see what is out there and how it is all done, even if I don’t pick up the skills for myself.

WordPress themes, I think that could be a goer. WordPress plugins? I wish but perhaps not.

The result of this was an interesting chat with a client about memory management.  There was no magic wand to make me memorise complex code but i thought it was a good template to help me memorise important points or note down places to look for the solutions I need.

Well some aspects of this will always have a certain truth.  My Dyspraxia will always be there.  It’s not going to go away.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not capable of learning.

We all do get overwhelmed at times. It will happen to me again in the future.  But we’re all equally capable of learning.  We all can and will learn if we have the right motivation, confidence, time and effort. I believe that’s the real secret to following your dreams, and mine involve learning to make great things happen with code.


Dealing with feelings of inadequacy.

After what’s so far been a positive week where I’ve been pressing ahead with a WordPress project, my confidence took a battering. It has been, as they say, one of those days.

I’ve been juggling a couple of jobs, one in which I was attempting to migrate a WordPress website from localhost (a web hosting server on my own computer) to a host server on the internet.

This involved having to memorise a few steps, write various login details down, upload lots of files to my server and hope that the transfer was successful; which meant that there was something to look at when I was finished.

After more time than I’d care to admit I eventually got something working. The theme I wanted to use for showed up.  But it was the “out of the box” version of the theme, without all the edits and customisations I made on the local version of the site.

And if that wasn’t enough, my web host suffered a DOS (Denial of Service) attack and I couldn’t do anything further.  When it did come back I got a database error which must have meant somewhere along the line, the changes I made to the MySQL database behind the scenes didn’t work.

Frustrating as you can imagine.

Earlier on in the day one of those rare but beautiful moments happened when I received a telephone enquiry for my services.

I was asked to provide a quote for a website linked to an app used for the HMP service. An app that would involve the transfer of electronic transactions.  They wanted a quote and perhaps to meet.

But I wasn’t pulling any punches. I was happy to create a design but I had to be honest and tell them I wasn’t a skilled developer who could produce the functionality. I had visions of how long (or not) such a meeting would have lasted.

I have secured work in the past on the back of that caveat before but this time it didn’t get off the ground.  Apart from forgetting to ask them where they found me and how they thought to contact me, which was all great, I began to muse over whether my current skill level was enough to get me sustained work.  My skills just weren’t enough for that job at that time so I knew I’d made the right decision.

Regardless, I began to feel a little inadequate.

In terms of what that potential customer wanted from me, I guess I was. I didn’t have the skills, the confidence or drive to take on the job. But I’ve never made any promises throughout my business life. I’ve never made myself out to be something I’m not.

I am a one man band and I can’t afford to have a team behind me who’s strengths can make up for my weaknesses.  So until such a time as I can build my skills and my confidence in certain areas this will always be a factor when it comes to determining if I’m the right person for a project.

I think also for self employed people like myself in the web world “Imposter syndrome” comes into play. I get this feeling a lot during my learning process with WordPress and other technologies. The reality is though when you’re in a creative industry like this one, the learning never stops.

So this was one of those times where I reflect on my skills in the web design and tech world. But I think the biggest thing to take from these moments is that it’s important to remember we’re all inadequate at something and it’s at these times we need to focus on what we do best and build from there.