A while ago, a visitor posted a comment asking me “Where is your post for this year?”. I deserved that. I appreciate my visitor’s sense of humor, thank you! It made me giggle. I can’t let him down, though, so here’s my post for this year..
Seriously, though… It’s not that I am unaware of the fact that I never post here, trust me. I am so aware it’s embarrassing. So let me tell you about how I got to this point and where this is going. Does that sound like a good idea for the yearly post on Vanilla Mist? Ok, lets go:
I registered this domain back in June 2003. Yes, it was a long time ago. It used to be a personal blog, period (running on Movable Type at the time). When I switched over to WordPress not very long after that and pretty much (re)started from scratch, I went looking for themes (they weren’t even called themes back then). But as a designer, I wanted to have my own designed themes, so I ended up teaming up with Sadish and becoming a co-partner at wpthemes.info. Sadish and I started working on themes: I designed them, he would code them. This was a very good partnership because we complemented each other’s skills. That’s when the Alex King’s WordPress theme competition came along and Sadish and I decided to work on a theme to submit it to the competition. The theme was Connections.
Well, as some of you know, Connections won first prize as best design and all of a sudden my little personal blog was getting a lot of attention. A whole lot more than I was used to and I started feeling uncomfortable writing the more personal posts.
Meanwhile, Sadish and I were getting lots of requests for commercial work (for personal, professional and corporate blogs). So besides the free themes that were being offered there (not all partnered, mind you – in fact all the themes currently offered at wpthemes.info are his work alone), we started taking these commercial projects too. This went on for a while, but while I was available for this full time, Sadish wasn’t (he has a job in the real world) so as much as we tried our best to keep up with the increasing requests, at some point he needed to prioritize his job and the partnership had to be put on hold, unfortunately. On my side, I kept on taking commercial projects, working with other coders – at first as an independent professional, later on under Essentia Interactive. I was really busy during this period and because I still didn’t feel comfortable with the personal nature this blog used to have prior to Connections (while not knowing what to blog about instead), posting on Vanilla Mist slowed down. Admittedly, the fact that English is not my first language didn’t exactly help either.
That’s when my personal life took a huge shift: I got divorced. It was a good thing and I was fine, but this was a big life change at the time. This kind of event tends to make you question a lot of things and in this process I decided to put my career as a designer on hold until I could figure out where exactly I wanted both my personal and my professional life to go – and this blog, for that matter. I don’t regret doing this a single bit. It was the right thing to do back then, it allowed me to put things in perspective very clearly. As a result of this soul searching process, I closed Essentia Interactive. Back in February 2006, I was invited by a web development firm in São Paulo to build their corporate blogs department as a partner. I almost moved back to São Paulo (my home city) to do that, but after negotiating back and forth, I finally decided against it. Instead, I chose to concentrate on the online projects I already owned – blogs and a community oriented website – and expanding my network of websites. And writing. Also, whenever I received requests for consulting work, I took those too. I started monetizing all of my projects and found myself back on track and in tune with what I really wanted to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love to design and I do it all the time for my own projects, but after about 4 years doing that for clients pretty much exclusively, I felt like I needed a breath of fresh air and to do something that would allow me to use a broader range of skills and knowledge. I felt like by only designing I was restricting myself to exploring just one of my skills and that made me feel confined. Something else I was absolutely sure about was that I still wanted to work for myself, to have flexibility and creative freedom. Not to mention diversity. So, focusing on my own projects was definitely the right choice and it’s been working very well for me ever since.
Sadly, Vanilla Mist was the only blog I was really confused about. If it was no longer a personal blog, I didn’t know what to make of it. The strange thing is that despite the poor content in this blog, the page rank still went sky high because of the popularity of Connections. This is almost embarrassing, but I believe that success is a result of providing value in whatever shape or form and Connections does that to this day, hence the high PR.
(All) that said, it’s now time to finally make the much needed changes around here. I have been thinking about this a lot and I still have some lose ends to tie, but here’s what I can share with you as of now:
- Connections 2.0 is on its way – for real. Sadish sent me a new version (code wise) a few months ago that was already very, very good (good enough for release), but I decided I wanted to make cosmetic changes and add some extra functionalities, so as of next week I will start working on what I have in mind for Connections V2 – which will actually have another name, but I’ll keep it to myself for the time being. I’m not ready to announce a release date at this point because I don’t have this information myself yet, but what I can say is that I will make it a priority.
- In the following days I will decide on what exactly I want this blog to be about and once this is done, I will go back to posting regularly. There will be all kinds of changes here, from design to content. I’ll delete all the posts that don’t match the new purpose of the blog, with the exception of those posts mentioning Connections for the sake of reference.
- I have been entertaining the idea of designing and releasing some new free themes. This will depend on my time availability and some other factors (both personal and professional), but no matter what, this is something I will only be able to start doing in the beginning of 2008. I will post updates about this in the blog as soon as I know myself.
I hope my “yearly update post” has helped clear some things up. Thanks to those of you who stayed around, keeping this blog in your feeds, paying it a visit every once in a while and leaving your comments despite the lack of updates. I promise I will do my best to reward your loyalty in the form of quality content and, hopefully, new themes too.
Meanwhile, those of you who use Twitter can follow me here if you like: http://www.twitter.com/patriciamuller