Friday, April 3, 2015

Day 823: The Future Is Real

One of the scariest things, in my opinion, is the future. It's just out there in the great, wide unknown, taunting you every step of the way. Today was definitely one of those days when the future felt wide open and terrifying all at the same time, especially as I worked on my resume and cover letter for job applications as I head into the summer and upcoming school year. But the entire process has also made me think a bit more about Everyday Disney and what blogging has taught me about the future and how to approach it. After all, because of the success I've found with this blog and thanks to the skills I've learned developing it, I can list Everyday Disney on my resume, which is huge in my world. After all, this blog is pure proof of the things I've learned over the past two years, as Everyday Disney has been as much of a learning experience as anything else, and that only makes me more excited to continue moving forward and trying new things.

However, that's not all that Everyday Disney and daily blogging has taught me, so I figured I would make a post out of it. Planning for the future, in regards to my career, education and Everyday Disney itself, has been a huge part of my day today. Plus, just as in anything else, Disney plays an important role in what I've learned here.

1. Appreciate the Here and Now

I have a quote on my desk that reads "Don't Count the Days, Make the Days Count," something that I've sort of adopted as my motto for this school year. Megan and I occasionally talk about the depressing fact that in just over two years, I hope to leave Wisconsin and I will no longer be a simple five minute drive from my best friend, not to mention the fact that we currently live together at school. I'll be going out into the Great Wide Somewhere and, if everything works out, I won't be coming back. So I have to appreciate where I am right now. When you're a daily blogger, especially on a topic like finding Disney in everyday life, you have to really stop and think about each and everyday. It's not just a question of "What in my day involved Disney?" It's more complicated. It might be "What made me smile today?" or "What's going to be the most important connection for the blog post." When you do that, when you stop and reflect on your day, you're collecting memories of moments that you'll cherish when you are far away and alone. It's the same reason I keep a journal, because it allows me to come back and say "I remember that day! That was fun!" You get to do that with a daily blog too, and it all definitely helps you appreciate the happiness that currently surrounds you.

2. Keep it Positive

We all have bad days, and if you go back through the continuation of Everyday Disney, I'm sure you can pinpoint my own "Bad Days." There are plenty of them, moments where I'm frustrated, some where I'm just downright angry and some posts where I'm on the verge of tears. But ultimately, we can't focus on the bad things in our lives. We have to keep smiling, and that's one of the reasons I adored participating in Jennifer Morrison's 101 Smiles Campaign, where you posted a picture of something that made you smile every day for 101 days. It's not until a project like 101 Smiles that you really realize just how many opportunities you have to be happy, When you blog, you have to maintain that same positive atmosphere, because it's going to be more approachable for readers, and it's through happy moments that you're going to connect with your readers.

3. Look For the Little Things

Just like finding an appreciation for the here and now, Everyday Disney has certainly provided me with the ability to look for the little things. As huge as a company like Disney is, by day 823, there's only so many things left for you to talk about on a daily basis, and let me tell you, it only gets harder. You have to be relevant and original at the same time, all while sticking to your brand and connecting with an audience. As I said a while back, finding legitimate references to Disney that are different from the 800 other references you've already talked about is incredibly difficult, but the second you start looking at the little things that happen in your life, a new world opens up. Sometimes that means talking about the most random Disney Deja Vu, like a train whistle or the food you ate for lunch. Other times it might mean a new Disney-related project you're working on. And, if you're like me, it might include surprising your father and brother with a trip to Disney World in June. They all make for relevant topics, if only you figure out how to word them and relate them to the blog as a whole.

4. Organization is Key

I remember, earlier this year, sitting for around six hours in the basement of my college library on a giant computer table trying to record and organize every single day of Everyday Disney. If, at the end of the year, your blog post total is 363, you've obviously missed something, and that's ultimately going to reflect badly when a new visitor realizes that, since you're a daily blogger, there should be 365. So I found a new system, and I now keep a record of every post I write for a number of reasons. Beyond that, I constantly have a list of new goals I want to accomplish and improvements I wish to make, as well as a rough idea of topics that might appear in future posts. Without that system in place, everything would be absolutely chaotic, and I can tell you right now that nothing would get done, not by a long shot. After all, keeping 100 blog posts straight is difficult, much less 800.

5. Keep Moving Forward

Looking back at where you came from is great, and it can be really inspiring, but don't let it hold you down. If I go back to the early days of Everyday Disney, sometimes I cringe at my writing, a topic I wrote on, or my blatant unprofessionalism in those early days. However, back then Everyday Disney was definitely more of a personal blog, a quest to blog about Disney everyday for an entire year and find the little ways my favorite thing has woven its way into my life. Now, things have gotten much bigger. There's an Instagram Challenge going on, I'm listing Everyday Disney on my resume, and I'm writing a post about what daily blogging for the past two + years has taught me. If the things I've learned so far are any indication, Everyday Disney is going to keep growing, and I'll keep growing right along with it. I don't know what it will become, and I don't know where I will end up, but you can bet I'm going to keep blogging about it every step of the way.

Have a magical day!