Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Building a Better Blog

For the last few evenings I've settled down in front of my computer to try to learn how to build a blog that will do what I've tried to get my website to do. A good friend and even better writer has managed my site, but this is something that nags at me. I should figure this out. So I have. But make no mistake, my site does look like I created it. It does not look like I paid anyone to do this.

Having an amateurish touch on a blog is fine. Having that same appearance in a book is not. We are becoming very used to being able to have everything we want when we want it--websites, books, blogs, vacations, new clothes. I'm still not used to ordering something on the Internet at eleven thirty at night, but I do it.

Writing and publishing a book will probably never be easy in my lifetime. Writers will still have to sit at a desk (or stand or slouch on a sofa) and compose words on a page or a computer or for a voice recorder (notice I didn't say tape recorder) and then review and edit those words. It will take time and physical effort. Shepherding a manuscript through the press will also take time because many of us will want to see our books printed and bound, and many readers will want books to hold in their hands. I'm one of them. I enjoy blogs and learn from them, but I want to hold that book, feel the paper between my fingers, smell the ink and glue and, yes, sometimes even cloth. Even an eBook takes time, for preparing the manuscript, developing a cover, composing the copy that sells the book to the person browsing around looking for something interesting to read.

We can learn to do lots of things. This blog is one example. But I learned to do this by looking at a lot of other blogs, trying out simple ideas, and revising and fixing. It is a very modest effort. And I'm fine with that. But I would not want my books to be on quite this level. For the books I write I want to rely on other professionals to do the job they know how to do, the job I don't know how to do.


  1. I like the blog, Susan. If you go look at mine (, and I think you already have), you'll see why. Nothing wrong with simple, especially when it's free!


  2. Edith, I did look at yours along with some others. I've wanted to be able to manage my own blog for quite a while and decided now was the time. I hate having to make a list of things for the web maven to do, and then wait. I tend to procrastinate on those things, but now I'm hoping it will be much easier.

  3. We have the same template, obviously. I like its clean look, and the sans-serif font is easier to read online. I use my blog as my web site, at least for now. It has everything I need, and I can easily do all the editing. You can track the stats on visitors, too, by going to your dashboard, clicking Design, and then clicking Stats. Fun stuff.

  4. In theory, I like having both a website and a blog because the website can be used to hold reviews, a newsroom page, etc. The problem, just as Susan says, is regular maintenance. I don't maintain my website and have to pay someone to do this for me. If there was a way to do everything on my blog, I would. My website is very siimple, like my blog. It's an iWeb template and I could learn to update it myself. I don't because it's a bit more time-consuming. I've got four blogs at the moment! The only one I use regularly right now is freefallrae. I love blogs and could spend my life in blogland.

  5. I'm trying to set up something that I can keep up to date myself, so I wont' have little slips of paper with things to add or change on my website floating around my desk until I get around to sending them to my web maven, who has better things to do than my website. She's a successful writer in her own right. I've enjoyed the process of setting up this one, but I'm not as enthusiastic as you are, Rae. I'll check out your site again.

  6. I like your blog especially its title, blog bits. That might sound insulting as I like your content too, but it's the fit. Every bit counts. Have shied away from website because I don't care at this point if I learn to do it, conquer its technology. And I certainly am not ready to pay anyone. So my blog is my website for now. Thanks for your insights and thoughts on writing Susan. Lyn