What is personal development?
Personal development is ‘the process of improving your skills and increasing the amount of experience that you have in your job,’1 but I misunderstood that terminology for many years. I equated it to mental health well-being, mostly because I am always trying to improve my outlook in life, so it made sense to me to call it personal development. After all, my continuous journey (and sometimes struggles!) for a positive state of mind is always a personal pursuit, unrelated to external factors such as status, position, or money.
Having said that, I cannot say that I have not pursued personal development in its new definition! In fact, I have been trying to improve and increase my work experience and knowledge for many years. Learning new skills in various fields of work has definitely helped me in my different job roles, whether volunteering, teaching, and now writing!
What is personal development for writers?
I have always loved to write, first, as a child when I wrote in my diary, venting my frustrations and gushing about my crushes :)! I later moved on to personal essay writing and then to personal blogging but eventually, it was only after studying writing and journalism did I build the confidence to explore more public subjects. I studied a diploma in Mass Communications, and while I struggled immensely in many of the subjects, I excelled in writing and journalism. What I now realise is that that course was my introduction to personal development as a writer!
So what is personal development for writers? Personal development is finding your passion and skill and then working hard to increase your knowledge in that field. I now work as a content writer and nonfiction writer.
Personal development is a journey of discovery.
I really believe in personal development (some may know it as lifelong learning). For me, it’s not about getting ahead and outperforming your peers, but rather being informed in a continuously changing market. So how do you do that? Educate yourself. Read the latest news on the industry, signup for useful courses, or find a mentor who can guide you. To me, my personal development is mentors who have experience in the subject and are willing to share their knowledge. I combine this with formal education, such as courses, certificates, and useful programs. For anyone who is interested in content writing and/or nonfiction writing, here are some suggestions to consider for your personal development journey!
There are hundreds if not thousands of distance learning courses available these days. As a result, they are great tools for learning new skills. On the downside, there may be too many choices to make an informed decision. After doing A LOT of research and making some mistakes in the process, I found some courses that might be useful.
As a nonfiction writer, it is not enough to write your books, essays, or opinion pieces. You also have to market it. This Social Media Marketing certificate was instrumental in learning new skills and applying them to my work.
As a content marketer, I am always looking to learn new information, so I plan to signup for this certificate this year. Though I have not taken this specific course, my good experience with the Social Media Marketing certificate from Hubspot Academy has given me confidence in suggesting it to others.
(Please note that many (if not all) of HubSpot Academy certificates have an expiration date. I am particularly attracted to this. As information and technology are rapidly changing, it makes sense to continuously upgrade your new knowledge regularly and which HubSpot Academy does by adding new information.)
Google Digital Garage.
The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing from Google is a great introduction to the subject and helped me narrow my focus on content writing.
Google Analytics Academy.
If you are a nonfiction writer or content writer, you have to market your work! You can do this by creating a website that showcases your work but you can also analyze how much traffic you get to your site. Google Analytics Academy is a great place to learn the analytics behind your website, such as how many people visit your website, where they found you (search engine, social media?), and what they do on the website.
I started working as a freelance content writer on the popular platform Upwork, and I was fortunate. I started getting work right away, but it was sporadic, and I was still unfamiliar with how to best use the site. That changed when I started attending Upwork webinars that guided me! If you are a freelance content writer on Upwork, I highly recommend checking out its Webinars.
When it comes to nonfiction writing, I love listening to podcasts as a form of personal development. I gain a wealth of knowledge when hearing various speakers sharing their knowledge, often opening doors to new opportunities! Here are my three favourite podcasts.
News and resources.
It’s always good to keep in touch with new developments in the world; however, it is equally important to keep in touch with your specific industry. That’s why I like to check out some blogs, read the opinions of experienced industry experts and online magazines that give valuable insights!
Start your personal development journey.
I really value personal development for job growth, and I hope some of these websites can help you learn and discover new opportunities as well!
1 Cambridge Dictionary, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/pt/dicionario/ingles/personal-development.
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