It's unlikely that you've ever witnessed the birth of a giraffe. Am I right? And only thru research might you come to know this tiny little (and unusual) aspect of the birth process. But it's one that I think applies to learning WordPress, which is why I'm sharing it.
When a mother births a baby giraffe, they do so standing up. So the very first thing that happens is that the baby drops (a couple of feet) to the ground. This is a bit like when I learned to swim. Unlike my children's lessons this past year, I was thrown into a deep pool and we started from there.
This baby giraffe starts life with a drop and hits the ground. And then, assuming that things are ok in that first minute, the mother checks to see if the baby has gotten up on their legs. Now, more often than not, they haven't. After all, they have long legs and are uncoordinated.
Andy you know what the mom does? She kicks her baby. Shoves it. And then watches to see if it can stand up on its legs. If it does, she nudges, but the kicking stops. If the baby doesn't stand, guess what? Another kick.
Why does she do this? Ultimately the answer is pretty simple. And no, it's not because all momma giraffes are mean. It's because it's the toughest lesson to learn – and an essential one – that it must learn to get on its feet quickly. The world around it won't stop for it.
It's the time of year for making resolutions
I already wrote yesterday that I don't really make resolutions or goals for each year. But you might. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Maybe your goal was to learn WordPress this year. And I don't mean learning how to use or navigate it. I'm talking about how to make it do things for you.
Maybe this is the year that you write a little bit of code. Or design a theme. Or work on a plugin. Maybe you're ready to contribute a bit of code via github.
And if this is your goal, I know the first question you're going to ask.
How do I learn WordPress the right way?
It's a common question, right? The logic goes that if you can find a tutorial, copy some steps, work thru a process, you might learn something.
But here's the reality I want to share with you (and I wrote about this in a free five-part email course on learning): most of us learn better when we've created a spot in our brains to stick a new piece of information. What I mean by that is that without a hook to hang our new knowledge on, it will fall and disappear. We can't learn if we're not prepped.
So before you rush off to find a few great tutorials (and I'll end with a handful of resources), do me a favor. Try a different approach.
Try something. Just try it. You'll fail. But you'll be creating the space to hang your next new piece of knowledge. Trust me, you'll learn better and faster that way.
It's harsh. It's painful. Knowing you're going to fail. And yes, I'm treating you a bit rough here.
But it's because I know the lesson of the baby giraffe. And I know the world won't stop for you. Things will continue to move and change, and trusting on a specific tutorial won't help you as much as learning how to learn.
Now, about those resources…
There are a lot of great folks out in the WordPress world that have written great articles. I'm only going to share a few with you today:
- Tom McFarlin has written over 100 articles to help you.
- Pippin Williamson has written a great plugin series.
- Buy Genesis and check out their theme tutorials.
- Carrie Dils & Bill Erickson write great Genesis stuff too.
There's more resources. But for now, download something. Try to tweak it. Nothing is irreversible. People will help you get there. But fail a bit. Get gently kicked a bit. Don't misunderstand it for meanness. Sometimes I'll send an answer back that points you in a direction instead of giving you the snippet you want. That's not me being a jerk (I know others that do the exact same thing). That's me giving you the baby giraffe nudge.
Then come back and let me know how it went!