Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Learning New Things

I have been dragging my feet on learning the finer points of Web design, but it seems the handwriting is on the wall: learn or perish. That is a little dramatic, I know. But I am in an information industry, and information is now dominantly dispersed on the Web. I am starting to feel the limitations of not being familiar or competant (enough) with this medium.

This is something I have been dragging my feet on because Web design (particularly that involving code) does not use the strongest side of my brain. I am decidedly right brained: creative, intuitive and big picture. I have never excelled in math, mechanics or musical theory — disciplines which require use of the left brain.

When I was in high school and college, I was forced to continue exercising my left brain. I took piano lessons for seven years and plugged away on those Saxon math lessons. Since I entered an industry where I write every day, I am afraid I have allowed my left brain to atrophy. This manifests itself in my frustration with HTML and anything code-related. Navigating tables and code to create a Web page leaves me drained and cranky. Thus, my aversion to embarking on the world of Web design.

But someone said insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. The result I want is competance in Web design and implementation. My desire for this result has grown to the point that I am willing to push through my left brain deficiencies and force myself to learn. I will ease myself in by reading: "Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?" by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg (How bad could it be? It has a cat on the cover — the pet preferred by right-brainers); and "Please Don't Make Me Think," by Steve Krug. Both books cover the theory of good Web design, which should appease my right brain while providing me additional motivation to exercise my left.

Is there a pursuit you're avoiding because you've written yourself off as not cut out for it? I'd love some moral support here. Also, which side of your brain do you use most? Let's not be old dogs (new tricks, get it?).


At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are creative, half the battle is won.


At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm right brained too. It's funny, I've never liked math or been very good at it, yet in grad school I studied film and television producing. A huge part of that is learning how to budget. And these budgets are so detailed. I actually ended up enjoying it and doing well in the class. So I wonder if things like math, mechanics, music theory, etc. simply need to be in the right context for us "right brained" people to take to them?

Anyway, best of luck on learning web design! Ted might be able to recommend some other books or resources.

At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Alicia said...

Hey friend!
It's not so hard as it looks - web design and code - if you have the right tools anyway - hey it's my whole job and I have no idea what I am doing really - but it's work out :-)

At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Jared said...

Accolades to you for realizing where you want to grow, and then pursuing that. Often times we discover what side of brain we are (or talents, gifts, skills, etc) and then let the other half go to waste. God gave us the whole thing, so he must want us to use it.
I would write a poem about it, but I'm a lefty (brain that is). Well, maybe I'll write one anyway so to work out the muscle on both sides of my head.

At 12:27 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Don't Make Me Think is a quality book.

I'm sure I'm mostly right brained, but I do enjoy science and put up with math.

With some practice and a good How To book you can learn to do about anything. You're all over it!

Note: Although in my case web design also requires a copious amount yelling. =P


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