We spend a fair bit of time around here talking about what skills we need to develop, hone, etc., to continue to serve our clients best.
I used to be a photographer. Oh, I still shoot all the time, but mostly for fun. Lately, though, I've been getting back into a more documentary/photojournalism mindset about my shots. Do I get a lot of calls to shoot professionally? No. But there are some projects I'd like to do for the business that would benefit from some images, and Steve and I are both investigating ways of upgrading our presentations and proposals. Art is one way.
Another way is straight graphics -- composition, layout, design. I used to do this work some -- I got an A in commercial design in high school and was accepted to the prestigious design school at NC State -- but gave it up to work with words. I rely on those skills as a project manager and creative director. In today's world, Steve's my go-to guy for design (after all, he's a famous font designer!). Today he registered for a one-day intensive workshop with Edward Tufte to make his design skills even sharper.
I'm also stretching my creative writing muscles again, something I haven't really done much of since handing off the writers group I formed in Los Angeles. The return's spurred by the selection of my short story, "Them That Gots Shall Get" in Intrepid Media's upcoming short story anthology. I'm revisiting some older pieces, and trying to get into a groove to create some new ones. My motivation isn't getting published, though that's a great outcome. Rather, I'm interested in toning my writing and working some techniques and voices that I don't/can't in my work-related verbiage.
Live & Learn
Carolyn and Claire are getting into the act, too. Claire's revisiting her design capabilities. Back in the day when she was interning for me, she was the go-to gal for ad design and illustration. She's mostly been writing in the intervening years, but the other day we were talking about those old skills and the spark was fanned! Carolyn's been taking some classes to develop new styles/genres of writing, including humorous essays.
What's the point? Here at The Word Factory, we think it's important to stretch, to condition, to stay in shape for work. The landscape isn't getting less competitive and we're not getting younger. This is one way to make sure we stay in the game.
What are you doing to hone your skills or develop new ones? Are you keeping up with what your business and your clients need?