I spent most of this morning manically studying for my Life in the UK test (Friday morning – it loometh!) which in itself is not in the least bit creative. Quite the opposite, in fact, as it’s all kind of rote-learning stuff. Except that I’m absolute rubbish at rote learning and always have been. I still don’t know my times tables – have to add up smaller multiples in my head. So instead I’ve been forced to be super creative in how I look at the tedious statistics and dates and come up with things like:
7 out of 10 people who say they have a religion are Christian (in the UK, obv): If I take 7 away from 10, I get 3, which is of course the Holy Trinity
646 constituencies: All politicians are liars. Lying is bad. 666 is the number of the beast but there have to be a couple of politicians who at least are trying, so I’ll take a couple off the middle of the pack.
Insane, eh? But somehow it seems to be working, to some extent at least. I think the process of inventing the mnemonic is making it stick as much as the mnemonic itself. Certainly in the case of the constituencies… I’d have been stuffed if I thought politicians actually had our best interests at heart!
So that saw me through most of the day, including all the way to Euston and back, seeing Djelibeybi off again – this time to Manchester. He’s home tomorrow, but it was nice to get out and see something of the world, even if it was just an assortment of grotty tube stations.
This evening has been a riot of learning. I started out doing some listening when I got in (Arvo Pärt’s Tabula rasa and Vaughan Williams’ Sinfonia Antarctica) because I suddenly realised that I’ve got another composition lesson in 2 days’ time and I haven’t done any work at all – got a bit too comfy with the whole 3-weeks-between-lessons schedule and now need to pull myself together. Tabula rasa provided some rather nice minor revelations, especially structurally – hoping to pick up the score for that before Composer Workshop tomorrow, but the RVW left me a little unsettled. I’ve always liked that piece, but I guess I never really listened closely to it before and structurally it leaves me feeling rather adrift. Possibly the recording I was listening to, possibly seeing the score might make some sense of it, but at any rate, stuff was learned, I think.
Then after that I had booked myself in to sit in on a couple of live sessions from the Authority Rules conference I’ve signed up for. Djeli and I have a bit project going with a friend of ours that is going to require some proper promotion in a few months’ time so this conference on content marketing turned up at pretty much just the right time. The first of today’s sessions was on online lead generation and it was pretty interesting – some stuff I already knew, but also some I needed to be reminded of, some new takes on old concepts and so on. It was a good session and well worthwhile. But it was totally blown out of the water by the second session, which was on Search Engine Optimisation. Now, I do know a bit about SEO – I kind of have to because of my dayjob. I know quite a bit about how Google assesses the content in a page to determine if it’s a good fit for a given search query and I try to apply what I know in my sites (not so much in this one – mostly because I’m lazy, but also because I have more important and generally useful sites, I think, to focus on). What I hadn’t really considered in much detail at all though was the idea of SEO strategy, of developing content and working various channels to get stuff out there and actually circulating, as a way of building audience. That’s a very simplistic way of putting it, but safe to say, it was a bit of a revelation to me, the detail it went into and I have come away with all sorts of ideas and plans from both sessions. And a very tired brain that felt like Swiss cheese.