Navigating the Learning Curve

I love fiddling with shit. It’s pretty obvious when you look around my home and realize nearly everything is homemade, refurbished, refinished, or repurposed.  It’s also rare that I don’t at least try to muck around in the guts of every new toy that crosses my path. Learning by doing is one of my favourite ways to explore new interests, second only to researching the bejeesus out of things.

Which is why, when I decided to start a blog a few months ago, I was certain I could figure everything out on my own. Sure, the last time I did web programming was using HTML back in 2005 and my idea of quality photography is making sure I’m using the proper-facing cell phone camera, but how difficult could it be? The really hard stuff is finding the motivation to paint two-story stairwells and operate power tools, right???

Ho boy. Have I ever been learning since then! First, none of my projects look any good if I don’t take photos of them! To do that, I need to learn how to use a proper camera. I bought my camera a few years ago when I was (briefly) in journalism school, but I never really used it much outside of class or for occasional vacation photos. Interiors present completely different challenges (and equipment – ka-ching) than the portrait and action photography that I learned about in school.

Navigating the Learning Curve - Blog Business Personal And then there’s photo editing! That’s something I’ve never cared about before. Just figuring out which software to get is a real process for a chronic researcher like me. I ended up choosing Photoshop and Lightroom, but I’ve only gotten as far as installing the software.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? Before I can take photos, I need to clean! Usually, my home is in a constant state of mid-project madness. I grew up in households that were under constant renovation. When I was younger, it drove me bananas. Eighteen months living with a tacked up bed sheet as a bathroom door will do that to a teenager.

In retrospect, I totally get it. Have you ever sourced a custom-sized, hardwood door for a century farmhouse? It ain’t easy! Projects take time and they make messes and it’s often very, very far from pretty. I spend almost as much time cleaning, organizing, and shuffling about my various projects as I do making them!

Finding the words to go along with a project is yet another stumbling block. As much as I love the idea of writing, I find the practice incredibly difficult. There are a million and one reasons for this – inexperience, personal anxiety, indecisiveness, fear of failure – but it all boils down to one thing: learning that blogging is not as easy as I would have hoped!

I love being able to share the results, but I get frustrated that all that cleaning and documenting is cutting into the fun of making my projects in the first place. And this is without even dipping into the tech side of things!

(If you’re wondering why my posts have been photo-light despite my assurance that I’ve been practicing photography, it’s because I’m struggling with the uploader to actually upload my damn pictures! It was almost easier when everything was ftp and code and no one expected simple, gorgeous webpages… which makes me sound a billion years old, I know.)

Despite all those challenges, I’m still trying. I’m doing projects (backyard!), I’m taking pictures (entryway!), and I’m writing posts (you’re reading one right now!!) And in the background, I’m trying like hell to figure out a way to solve my WordPress woes, master Lightroom, and take care of myself on top of it all.

First and foremost, I’ve always been an explorer: my career in science, my interest in homemaking, my insatiable wanderlust. It’s all about discovery. It’s about learning what’s in this great big world around us, then figuring out how to make it into the best possible version for our best possible lives.

And that’s everything I want Pretty Nerdery to exemplify: curiosity, discovery, exploration, and innovation. In the prettiest ways possible, of course! I don’t want to see these challenges as roadblocks to my learning curve, but rather detour signs sending me down new paths that I wouldn’t otherwise have come across. And I’d love to have you along for the ride.

Navigating the Learning Curve - Blog Business Personal




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  1. I’m in!!
    PS – I’m terrible at commenting/ love to lurk…but just know I’m definitely stalking you via blog + Instagram!

  2. Learning by doing is also my favorite way of discovering things! I think that’s probably why I love DIY stuff so much. Keep up your awesome blog posts, Sarah! <3 (PS, you've got a lovely home! I can't wait to get my own apartment so I can start DIY-ing stuff too 🙂 )

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