Do these voices sound familiar? I hear the chorus of agreement! It’s not that I haven’t been writing. I have! Just not blog posts. I’ve been writing web page source code. I can do basic HTML tables with my eyes shut, but go much beyond that, and I’m swimming in deep water with no life preserver.
I’m writing this source code for the new Heart and Craft of Life Writing site that will appear online, surely by the end of the weekend. I’ve dreamed of having my own website for years, and did set up Ritergal's Story Site on ThirdAge.com in 2001. That was fun, but I became overly ambitious on page design, and didn’t continue to feed it. Now, with the books ready to hit the shelves, it’s definitely time.
During this time of tedium, Stephanie West Allen, a fellow writer and blogger, sent me this cartoon, which she also posted on her blog. I can definitely relate. This is how I've been feeling much of the time for the past few days, while trying to find the missing > or whatever is keeping my page from displaying properly.
Web Code Writer -- well, dang! The animation isn't working. Go see it on Idealawg.
All told, writing code is not so different from writing stories. I began with a clear purpose and a sense of what I want the page to look like. I even sketched a layout, to make it easier to keep track of the tables, much as you might write an outline for a complicated story. After much wheel spinning with presumably user-friendly web editor programs, I backed out to a simple text editor and typed it all in. For me, in the long run, that’s simpler and gives clean, lean, fast-loading code. That was my initial draft. Then came the endless changes and tweaks and flipping through references to get it to the point I want it to be.
Even the trial and error with the web editors is similar to writing stories. For some difficult stories, I start on the keyboard, then try writing by hand, and maybe move out to the sun porch (in the summer) or scrub a floor to get the words flowing, or something similar.
I’ve learned a lot. I have a lot more to learn. All writing is like that. Until the day I die, I expect to be finding new and innovative ways to thread ideas and memories together and get them on paper. I hope they’ll delight, inspire or enlighten others, but if not, I’ll enjoy the trip. That’s what I also hope for from my web adventure.
Meanwhile, back to the initial topic of blog posts: Yes, I did get behind. Sooner or alter, we all do. Were this not in a public forum, I’d probably let it slip and not beat myself up. As things stand, blogs and writing groups are the two most powerful ways I know to keep the words flowing. I highly recommend both, and I thank you readers for the comments that let me know you are there and relating. You make it all worthwhile!
And now, two minutes before midnight, here we are: a finished blog. I did it!
Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal
Countdown: Seven more days until Shelf Time. Get involved: Urge your bookstore to stock The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing. Request it at your library, and tell your friends.>