Six months ago I finally decided to get off my butt and record the first season of Breaking Walls. I knew that my friend Lina Gonzalez had just been to London on a half-work, half-play adventure, and I knew she was working a day job that wasn’t the direction best-suited for her passions. That’s not to say it was a poor job, she was just a poor fit for the role. Lina was a perfect interviewee for S:01E:02’s topic “How to Stay Creative When Your Surroundings Limit it.” I reached out to her and she was very into the idea of the podcast. Throughout the course of the interview it became apparent to both of us that not only do our parallel yet perpendicular passions and personalities make for great friendship, they also make for a great creative partnership. Life is all about proper balance and we are naturally the yin to each other’s yang. After we were finished recording we spoke about the things we wanted in life and what we thought The WallBreakers could become. Sparks flew and a partnership was born.
Looking Back to Look Ahead
Let’s face it, the previous version of The WallBreakers was dying a slow death. The internet is saturated with Tumblr and WordPress sites like Booooooom, This is Colossal, and Design Milk that eloquently write about other people’s creations. I love those sites, and they had established a voice long before The WallBreakers existed. As the person behind The WallBreakers, my voice was drowning. That wasn’t what I wanted. I was trying to keep The WallBreakers at status quo for as long as possible until I could figure out where to take it next. The Breaking Walls podcast series was the first big step in that direction. This community needed to evolve. Lina walked in like a breath of fresh air and our synergy was so immediately evident that we got to work a few days after our interview recording.
What could this new version of The WallBreakers be? What would make you want to come to The WallBreakers 2.0? After much brainstorming (and post-it notes!) we decided the community needed to help give its members “tools for a breakthrough career.” We came to this because so many professional creatives leave college having no idea who they are and what they want to do next. For most that really only changes with trial and error. Many people get sucked into jobs that are ill-suited for them because they need the money, and in the end it hurts their levels of personal satisfaction and happiness. If we don’t know what we want or how to get it, how can we improve our situation? It’s like staying in a dead-end relationship because it’s all we’ve ever known. There’s no amazing end that can come of it. We have all worked a dead-end job or two and while we all learned something from it, if there was a way that Lina and I could help educate people as to what their passions were and how to find them, we could in turn create a more mobile, directed, inspired creative community.
Laying the Groundwork
The new community has a few lynch pins. One of my struggles with writing for the previous version of the community was the kind of content I was publishing. There was no rhyme or reason to it. That’s not a recipe for holding your attention, nor mine. Lina and I sat down and thought about how we could have our community content evolve organically. Did you know that every month has a major event built into the calendar? These calendar events also mirror the passage of time. We begin the year anew and end with taking stock and looking ahead. As the seasons change, so to do our interests and how we feel in the world that surrounds us. What if we got to the heart of each event? For instance, February’s major event is Valentine’s Day. Sure, that’s a commercial holiday, but at its core it isn’t. Valentine’s Day is about love, and love is about vulnerability. You can’t love if you’re not willing to be vulnerable. There’s our topic for the month: Vulnerability. All of the content we produce this month will center around ways to improve our comfort with being vulnerable. The best part about all of this is that because Lina and I are taking part in the content our own lives will mirror the calendar we have for the year. We basically set up key frames that will guarantee personal growth. How awesome is that? We’re all in this together.
A huge part of the new WallBreakers is our mentor interview series. On the first of each month we’ll bring you an interview tied into the monthly topic, with which we hope to provide actionable, real-world advice. This month’s interview is with dancer, actress, and performer Chelsea Bonosky, who recently finished up a run at New York’s renowned interactive theater experience Sleep No More. Chelsea, Lina, and myself talk about the importance of becoming vulnerable in life, and how doing so has allowed Chelsea to live the kind of life she wants to live. It’s fantastic.
Another key part to the new community is our WallBreaking Weeklies. In this series, Lina and I will do something centered around the monthly topic and ask you to join in. For example, this week’s challenge is to send a well-crafted, personal email to one or two of your heroes who you’d like to meet, and share with them how they’ve inspired you and how they’ve touched you. We’d like you to inquire whether they have time to chat and give you some tips. Remember these heroes of yours are people, just like you and I. They’re attainable and real!
The Breaking Walls podcast series is also back. We’re going to release two podcasts per month. The first will be available on the first Monday of the month, and the second will be available on the third Monday. The first podcast of the month will be the audio-only version of our mentor interview series. This way, if you aren’t able to watch the video you can still listen to the audio. The second podcast will be with a peer, centered around a helpful topic that ties into the month. You can get these podcasts by searching for “The WallBreakers” on iTunes (here’s the link), going to our Soundcloud page, or listening in the righthand rail module here at the top of the site.
Where We Go From Here
As you can see the site has an entirely new look and feel. If you want to access your gallery articles you can do so by going to Community > Gallery, or by searching the site at the top. All of the new content here will be produced under The WallBreakers’ header. It will be rich, with a lot of thought put into it. Lina and I want to be heavily involved, but we also need to be conduits so that you want to get involved as well. If you’ve been going through something important and are dying to write an op-ed about it, we’d love to hear from you. If you’ve got something you’ve mastered and want to share it with the community, we want to know. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to tell us. Lina and I are the people behind the community, but the community isn’t for us, it’s for all of us. We’re a collective consciousness.
This is just the beginning. We’re going to take this one step at a time and listen to everything you have to say. We have ideas for additional content that Lina and I would like to implement, but we want this community to grow and we need to learn more about what essentials we all want first. There’s no need to worry about what The WallBreakers will be down the line because it has to be this in the present first. To think, all this happened because I decided to get off my butt. It goes to show you that there’s no greater elixir than a little elbow grease.
Welcome to the new WallBreakers.