This one can also be called, how to make the transition from saying that you are starting a blog into actually trying to run one. I started this one with the idea to write as often as possible. Offline there are numerous hardcover, leather (or pleather) wrapped notebooks and journals that I use to document various musings, dilemmas, and ideas for general improvements. Some of the time, I brought that into my computer and started just typing 3-5 page papers to nobody in particular. As most people brought up these days, my thoughts can be translated into readable forms much quicker with a keyboard than a pen and paper. At the insistence of a few people and my own self-nudging, I decided to take the first step and make a free website. The domain was free, as was access to the tools needed to blast my obscure thoughts out into the internet.
Mind you that jump from people insisting that I should do this, and my actually doing so was not an immediate process. As with any project, research must be done to understand what is it that needs to be done. There’s also a fair bit of dilly-dallying, getting distracted, deciding that maybe a podcast would be a better format, more rambling into my voice memos, and typing more letters to myself that would all probably make decent blog posts but they remain locked away on my computer. Mind you, this isn’t my sole career function. I work in a warehouse for my primary income, and believe me I have plenty to say about that experience. This is something new for me. And some of the things that I have to say might cut across the grain for some people in person, but in person that doesn’t typically hold me back. There’s something about branching out into this vast cyberspace that both excites and frightens me. This is coming from someone who grew up with it as it developed into what we see now. At some point though, as I have said, I’ve got things to say. The graphic artist who married me would say that is an understatement. So here we are, typing away and just hoping that someone will stick around through all these meandering trails. I swear, it all leads somewhere.
So, research. There are definitely times were just looking stuff up is way more entertaining than actually doing anything. There’s so much redundant information available that you can spend weeks looking through other blogs trying to find out what exactly you should do to start one and always feel like you are finding some new twist along the way that keeps you from taking any definitive action. At the same time, discerning helpful information from advertisements disguised as help articles becomes a challenge. Which, to be fair, if the intent of the author is to create useful information to direct people towards a website-based income stream dependent on people who visit the site or click on through links then ultimately they can’t be faulted. I’d be a hypocrite to do so. The difference comes in the content itself. Most of the websites about trying to start a blog that one encounters are just an instruction manual for navigating the wordpress.com site with a casual suggestion to use one of about 4 hosting services. All of the time I spent looking up how to start a blog just put off the actual doing so. Every time I got into the math of trying to put thoughts on a website so that people could read it, I eventually lost interest and just moved on to something more rewarding than trying to figure out whether you really need domain information privacy or why someone would pay for that when others are just including it.
Eventually, I took a step. That’s the key point in anything. Once you have information, make an action. You can’t really have too much information, but you can also simply have enough. I had fallen into a loop of thinking there was something I was missing, some secret that hadn’t been uncovered, and the secret was that I was telling myself that looking all of that up was doing what I needed to do. And so I figured out the common first step and I downloaded wordpress. And then I found out that I misunderstood how that worked, and I went to the .com and started a free blog. And now I’m telling you this without being paid for it. I just wanted a thing to type out thoughts and hit enter and make them appear on a screen that wasn’t my own. All that was required was a typing interface, and a url of my choosing. Simple and straight forward. And it helps to have something to write about which all of the how to start a blog websites did not have much to say about other than “Use your imagination!” The first blog was launched under a URL that I did not look up as to whether anyone had the .com for it. In all my due diligence, actual research was overlooked. This is the danger of searching for the wrong information when starting a project. Lost in the process of just getting the website established, the idea of the website itself was left to atrophy. My lens had gone stray and for a brief period it caused me to just give up on this entirely while I was left trying to rename the website.
That held up my progress here because it happened at a critical step. After the first few posts, the lack of control over the site itself had become irksome. When the blog was first published, an email was sent that suggested not to delay a proper subscription because statistically people that waited simply never would. Marketing tactic that it was, there was no reason to take the step. Free access afforded me the trial needed to determine if this was something worth pursuing. Would it be something that I could routinely stick to? Or would I find myself drifting away from it and begrudging the notion of sitting down to write something? That happens when I write code. I tell myself and others that I’m learning to write code. And I am. I’m just learning code really, really slowly. And most of that is discipline, which is something that I am working on. That’s part of why I’ve tasked myself with learning code. It’s something I want to do, but don’t possess the drive to commitment required. All that can be overcome it is just a matter of my holding myself to it. Fortunately, blogging doesn’t seem to require that dogged forced behavioral adjustment process. This is just something that I do, maybe that means it plays to a strength of mine. Finding out that my url was taken threw a wrench in the works and really forced me to decide if this was something I wanted to keep doing. And it was. Everyone emphasized how crucial it is to have a good name. There’s probably more wisdom in that camp than the newly established, just get a url and start writing because otherwise you are wasting time camp, but really. If you are trying to figure out how to game traffic onto the site then you should revisit your intent. Unless that’s your thing. I’m not here to kink-shame.
At the end of the day most of the options were comparable within a few bucks, and rather than learn how to migrate my site, I just decided to proceed with the .com I started with. The interface is clean and usable for as much as I know what I’m doing. I didn’t need to back anything up or transfer anything. And I got my own .com url which is now my primary domain name. Faced with roadblocks I find myself taking the time to overcome them without having to force it. Things like this aren’t always easy to see, especially when you aren’t looking for them. This entry at least mentioned code, so I’m on topic as well, but I did say it was mostly about nothing. I guess I meant nothing in particular. Now that I have some more options available the look of this site might change, so if any of you are really committed to this aesthetic I apologize out of formality. Anyone new joining will have no idea what they were missing out on, enjoy being part of an incredibly exclusive club.