wordpress and the art of theme updating

Changing themes in WordPress used to be a hassle.

Once you found a theme you liked – if you found a theme you liked – you’d have to make the change, upload your custom header (if you used one), and reset all your widgets. It used to be a good time to update your blogroll and any other outdated thing in your collection of craptastic.

It was also tedious and a particular pain in the rear.

So, when I finally found a theme I really, really liked, it gave me pause before I decided to change it. Normally, I test those things on my fiction blog, because it’s more static than this one. It also gives me some idea of how much work it will be to do the updating after converting.

My loving spouse has done all the tedium for me for the last couple of years. She’s very, very good at it, and seemed to enjoy the process. (She didn’t cull dead links though.) So while I was under the weather the last couple of days, I decided I’d update my blog with a new theme and see how it went.

It went swimmingly, frankly. It was awesome. WordPress did all the hard work for me. The widgets from my sidebar automatically migrated to their corresponding locations in the footer area. My wife didn’t have to do a thing.

I took the time early to make the banner ahead of time. Then I discovered it worked on my former theme, so I put it in place to see how it’d look. Unfortunately, as good and easy as the migration algorithm is, it didn’t pick up the header image and I had to re-upload it. Interesting note, the preview page for my blog didn’t accurately reflect the position of the new header either.

So, I took my wife’s advice and made a background image of a star field, uploaded it along with my header, and voila! What you have before you is what I’ve come up with. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

I’m also considering buying my domain name (again) and just…using this site for my web page. (My author site as well, because with just a couple of extra steps, I can actually allow downloads of my books.) Any thoughts on that from you all?

Have a great weekend everybody, and I’ll see ya on the other side.

-jdt-

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Since I published my results on my fiction blog yesterday, and since I really wanted that 140th post before the end of the year, I’m using this as an excuse for a post.

Please, feel free to enjoy my stats. They’re going to be far, far lower next year, because for some reason, Google has revoked my status as The Sandwich King.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 63,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Weekend Stuff

Well, I had an interesting and restful weekend. Of course, I spent more of it than I’d like on the potty being a touch ill, but I feel much better today, thanks for asking.

On top of that yummy goodness, I also got my two short story collections (which I incorrectly referenced as anthologies in prior posts and stuff — very embarrassing) published up on the KoboBooks.com site. So, if your eReader requires an .epub format (although I believe the Kindle will consume/convert them to its native format), you can get my stuff there.

Right now, I’m just testing the site to see what sort of results I get from it. If there’s some interest, I’ll continue to publish there and see about making some stuff free (which is easy to do on places like Smashwords, but SW is a PITA to publish to, frankly, and their “meat grinder” conversion software SUX), which will also make it free on Amazon. But… you know. I don’t hold out a lot of hope. J. A. Konrath or Amanda Hocking I’m not. (Especially Amanda Hocking. At least I have all the right plumbing to be J. A. Konrath.)

Meanwhile, I have a busy day of reporting ahead of me at work, so I’m sending this post as an email to disguise it. (Aren’t I all Jason Bourne-y and stuff?) Covert posting; it’s kinda fun.

My thoughtful and extremely wonderful wife got me a set of index cards, so I can try my new outlining method. It’s gonna be tricky, because I’ve never — not even in grade- or high-school — used index cards for notes. It’s something new to me, and something I’ll have to get used to. Technology has done most of those things for me, but I want to use this successfully because of how it works, and the artifacts it leaves behind.

Think about it: I put the sequence objective on one side of the card. I put the events (likely four of them) on the back. I place them on a table or the floor with the sequence objectives up. I can shuffle and re-shuffle the sequences all over the place, building tension, getting things in the order I’d like, and then when I’m settled, the events I need for that sequence have already been migrated with it.

Truth be told, I won’t abandon Scrivener’s card-like outline process for this. I will, however, do this before migrating into Scrivener, since it leaves me the hard copies to work with in the future. Having been a victim of many computer crashes, and loss of revisions, I’m happy to have something hard-copy I can use to recreate an outline or entire book if I’d like.

Strong stories are like strong buildings. They don’t just happen. They’re constructed, each piece building atop the last to form a cohesive whole. Without the foundational structure and anchoring the rest of the story isn’t strong, and will topple on itself. Some writers get their structure right through revisions and repeated drafting. Some get it through plotting and planning and outlining. Some never do get it, and never know why. But making sure each sequence is made up of meaningful events, each linking back to the main story’s spine, isn’t accidental. Using a visual way to do this is something I can definitely get behind.

I’m looking forward to blazing a new trail in my writing method with these tools in hand, when I can get the handle on them. I think it can only serve to enhance what I’m doing.

Late Post-yness

Well. Sorry, but until just now I really didn’t have much to say. Until now.

Remember that person I told you about who said I was too sensitive? Well, that individual came back to my office today for some help (I’m never “too sensitive” for that), and you know what? I asked about her, how she’s doing — and she almost broke down sobbing. I guess I’m not “too sensitive” when I ask how she’s dealing with her grief; only when I’m saying someone has a problem with ME.

*Eyeroll*

So, I struggled trying to update some of my ASP pages all week. I kept trying things and they’d fail. Then I tried other things and THEY’D fail, too. Then I’d give up and realize I hadn’t saved the original, unaltered (read: “Functional”) pages, and despair until I figured out some other things were the problem. And I went ’round and ’round like that most of the week. Today, I have almost nothing I can add to my list of accomplishments. NOTHING.

*Sigh*

I wish I knew what I was doing. Life has GOT to be easier when you do, doesn’t it? Anyone know for sure?

-JDT-

Copyright DarcKnyt 2011, all rights reserved.