Blog: Our Reality Show

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  • From Blob to Blog and Other Parts, Too

    Maintaining a website is like being caught in “Groundhog Day: Home Improvement Version.” No matter how hard you try, the job is never done, and on most days you feel like you’re stuck with a never-ending pile of laundry.

    As someone who juggles writing and photography and tries to give equal weight to both, I’ve spent a great deal of time debating the effectiveness of this website. Should the blog just feature my writing, or should it showcase both? Are the photos being presented in the most effective manner? Does the navigation make sense? Does the visitor have to click in too many places?

    Of course, I usually ask these questions at times when I don’t have Internet access, such as last night when I was on an airplane coming back from a quick trip to see Ben and Kate in Florida and do a job for a client. Given my ADD nature, time sans Internet is not necessarily a bad thing, because when I reboot I’ve often forgotten about that brief moment of panic and can let things "be" most of the time. (Just ask Jill, who’s always after me, rightly so, to pick up my mess of a life.)

    The problem with having ADD, though, is that you occasionally get meta-focused to the point where you can’t let something go. And that has happened more than once right where your eyes are now.

    Earlier this year, while trying to link back to something I had done several years ago, I discovered the blog had been poorly imported from its previous space. When I started this site in July 2013, I wanted to merge the things that represented both my love (family, writing, photography) and my profession (also family, writing, photography), so I brought “Our Reality Show” over into this space.

    I looked at the first few entries, thought they looked OK, and moved on to other things, figuring that someday I’d return and spruce them up a bit. Two years later, after a lot of lessons about linking, tagging, and categorizing, I realized what I had brought over was a mess. A rotting wood in the basement mess.

    So I fixed it, a job that took far more time than it should but one that now presents the blog in an easy-to-read manner. I added photos and a few videos — the previous site was not friendly to either of those formats — that represented the family and events of the time, giving you a more well-rounded picture and not just gobs and gobs of text.

    It looked good … until I found something else.

    Again, I was thinking about how my work is presented and whether anyone bothers to read or visit even for a moment (thanks for sticking with me, Jill and Mom). Given that I had not posted several freelance pieces I’ve written over the past several months (such as the one below), I decided to look at the writing section — "Words" in the site map — with fresh eyes.

    And those eyes again saw a blob. So I started tinkering again.

    The just-completed result is a new and (I hope) improved section showcasing my feature writing. If you have a minute, go over to the “Words” section and take a look. At the top, you’ll see a section devoted to new features such as the one I posted below. Then you’ll see several new categories, including sections devoted to stories that featuring both writing and photos, various features written for education and nonprofit/association clients, a few award winners, and some selected because I just happen to like them.

    I hope you like the changes. I’m sure at some point there’ll be more. But right now I have a number of other things to do for work and — certainly — at home. I think it’s time to get started on them now, before something else catches my eye.