1 minute of reading / December 19, 2018 December 19, 2018
WordPress had a major upgrade last week to version 5. The latest version makes Gutenberg, the platform’s new drag and drop editor, the default way to post and create pages.
People hate it but they’ll find another change to dislike and other than the odd grumbling about the good old days it’ll all go back to normal.
The change makes sense for the platform which has lost market share to Wix, Squarespace and other drag and drop website builders. Gutenberg is the first step in WordPress winning over the non-techie crowd but still leaving enough under the hood for tinkerers to play with.
Meanwhile, the folks at user-friendly page builders, Beaver Builder, Elementor and Divi are telling everyone that it’s fine, WordPress will always need them while piling on new features to prove their worth.
I’ll stick with simple text posts written in markdown and avoid the tepid uprisings.
5 minutes of reading / December 16, 2018 December 20, 2018
No fanfare, no big announcements and there’s a good chance I won’t share this with anyone until it’s a habit because how many false starts writing a blog can you have?
I’ll let this be a thing I quietly do for a while. Besides who wants to read a blog from a writer that hasn’t written anything yet? I’m not a writer, I’m the bore in the corner talking about writing.
Speaking of which I have three firm projects on the board or at least I would if I ever put it on the wall and used it to organise myself, but at least it’s out of the box and leaning against the wall. So there’s that. If it were on the on the wall, it would say
Planet Killer. Sci-fi. 4th draft. Rewrite. Final draft due 31st Jan 19.
Constance and the sum of all things. Fantasy. 1st draft. Edit. Final draft due 30 Apr 19.
Patience. Crime. Outline. Final draft due 31st Aug 19.
The deadlines are estimates because I don’t have a repeatable writing process I can keep coming back to each time.
No process means I don’t know if the deadlines are real which is a problem I look at in two ways.
The first is I’ve royally fucked up the last three years by not getting at least three novels written and published, or I can look at the previous three years as the general arsing about before getting my head down to get the work done.
The first is harsh but true, and the second is a kinder truth. Reality is somewhere in the middle.
Either way, deadlines must be set and met to the detriment of everything else other than health and family because if I don’t, I’ll never know if I can.
What I’m reading
No one ever talks about how the importance of editing and rewriting. Well, they do, but no one talks about how to do it. I spent 3 years on a creative writing degree and not one class covered how to edit and rewrite. Of the last 3 years, those are the two skills I’ve spent the most time learning.
That’s been a valuable lesson for me to learn that editing and rewriting are two separate things.
Editing is tearing apart a manuscript looking for the slightest imperfection. Rewriting is fixing all those flaws.
Your editor personalty is harsh and unforgiving. Your writer personalty is a creative problem solver. Let one finish their job on the manuscript before putting the other one to work.
Stephen Wilbers ‘Keys to Great Writing’ helps both those skills. It’s a guide for your self-editor to where the script has gone wrong and a scalpel for your rewrite to make it better (UK) (USA).
What I’m listening to
When I’m working, I’m a toddler. The slightest thing will break me out of my flow. I’ve been doing a lot of brain.fm focus tracks. I’m into them but as the winter nights come in my non-writing life could do with some more tunes to push the darkness back.
What I’m watching
It’s impossible not too like Patton Oswald, but after watching his Annihilation set on Netflix, he’s ascended to an emotional God being who should be taught in every primary school about how to be a decent human.
In the set he talks about the loss of his wife, the impact on his daughter and the world still turning regardless. It’s funny, will most likely make you cry and definitely glad you watched it.
What I’m Eating
I am the walking dead. This is Buddy. (I am not eating Buddy)
Don’t be fooled. He demands at least eight to ten miles of walks a day otherwise he sulks, chews doors and leaps at you when you have a cup of tea in your hand like a canine Cato.
Here’s been here a couple of weeks and I’m wrecked. I wasn’t ready for him. I’m tired all the time, I ache and seem to live in wet clothes (It’s rained hard every day since we got him – like he’s a water sprite sent to punish me).
There’s not enough protein in my diet especially the start of the day. I am not a morning person and left to my own devices breakfast would be nothing or take a couple of hours in the making depending on my mood. This is not a good thing, so I’ve switched to Huel for breakfast.
What I’m doing next
Monday I start the fourth rewrite of Planet Killer. It won’t be the final draft before it goes to an editor, but it will be a major one with a readable manuscript when it’s done.
I’ve got a website project to finish for a friend and preparations for a new internet marketing service launching on January 19.
I’d love to be writing full time, and that was the plan when I quit my old job but what I really did was give myself the flexibility to write more.
Realistically I’m looking at 7 years from the first book sale to when there’ll be enough money coming in from royalties to force a decision with the freelance work.
I can live with that.
That’s it for the week. If you’re reading this, it’s a miracle because I’m telling no-one about it.
1 minute of reading / December 14, 2018 December 15, 2018
I’ve been looking at my website the last 12 months thinking what was I thinking?
I don’t have an eye for design. I can’t draw and my kids looked funny when I dressed them. The old website looked awful.
I was using X from Theme Co. It’s powerful, packed with features and all faults of the old website were mine and not the theme. I’ve switched to Oxygen Builder. It has a smaller code foot print, ideal for text focused sites and it’s fast, really fast.
Site speed counts. Any page that takes more than 3 seconds to load loses 40% of its visitors and after all the work I’ll do to get you here I don’t want to lose you because of slow loading.
Dull, dull, dull but the first posts are where to get the housekeeping out of the way and let me see where tweaks are needed.
We’ll get to the books, writing, and other stuff soon.