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Regular blogging

The purpose of having a website is to attract visitors, right? And websites thrive with good quality, dynamic, changing content. Who wants to read the same pages, the same thing, over and over? Regular blogging can help with that.

I will freely admit that I’m not the best at keeping my blog regular, and I don;t plan posts as well as I should. But I try to update the blog a couple of times each week, as a minimum. There’s usually a mid-week post, and another at the weekend.

Bear in mind I am balancing running a small website, with some e-commerce in a very small shop, with working 3 days a week, and family responsibilities. There is only me, not a team, so there is a limit to what I can accomplish. I think that a minimum of twice a week is regular blogging, is enough, and it’s what I can comfortably fit in.

It always helps with visitor numbers. Every blog post produces a spike in numbers. It’s small, but it’s there. When I had the time to blog almost every day, the spikes just grew and built on one another. It’s worth the time.

My advice to you today, is to focus some regular time, every day, or every week, to add content to your site. It can be a blog, a new page, something. Make it varied, make it interesting. Watch your stats, see what is working for your site. Do people look at pictures? Are they looking for information?

regular blogging

If you feel confident, you could try a podcast, or a v-log instead. It all adds dynamic and varied content. And this is what google loves, and your visitors will have plenty to browse and find what they like.

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WordPress 5, that’s different

When the website asks for updates, I tend to just do them. It asks all the time, usually plug ins and themes, but this time it was a whole wordpress update! I just installed it, and wow, WordPress 5, that’s different…

Instead of one big space to add all your post elements, I have to add blocks? So, there’s a block for paragraphs, and you can’t put images in that. Then a block for galleries, and another for single images, and you can’t write in those.

Wordpress 5, that's different

Then yet another for headings, and a different one for quotes…

I’m not sure I’m convinced… But it looks like it’ll be ok.

And my Yoast has vanished?

Oh hang on, it’s there, in a box to the side, that I can open and close as needed. That’ll be handy, better than having to scroll up and down to fill in all the different parts.

Oh, and I can move those blocks up and down, changing the order of content, paragraphs, images. I like that!

Change is constant, and it is our choice how we react. I tend to be a bit guarded, reserving my views until I get used to something. I like to think I can see the positive. It’s not always possible.

Christmas is rapidly approaching, and some of you won’t be coping well with the upheaval, the changes in routine.

I have no real sage advice, but it’s up to you. Try to work out what’s unsettling you, ask if you can change it? How long will it last?

This update will last until the next big one, and until then my choice is to live with it, decommission the website, or switch to a different platform.

I like wordpress, so I’ll be working with it, finding out how I can make these changes work for me. No, where are my blog categories, and post tags…


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Making maps

When you’re writing, inventing worlds, exploring new places, you will need to map your world. Making maps means you have an idea of where things are. You can keep track of what’s going on.

If, like me, your drawing skills are sadly lacking, then Photoshop, or an equivalent image manipulation program is your new best friend for making maps!

I’ve been using this page as a guide, and this is the result so far…

making maps

Yes, I know, it needs work, and it’s not finished. But, that gap in the trees on the left? That’s where Fin crashes, lands, the ship. That beach on the bottom left corner, that’s where Sean and Joss end up.

Probably. I might make a different one at some stage, when I work out what needs to be on the map.

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A hopeless vigil – NaNoWriMo 2018 finished.

With A hopeless vigil – NaNoWriMo 2018 finished and won a day early. This is never the end though. NaNo starts the process, and now I have to decide if the story is good enough to carry on, to work on it and finish the book, and then edit. The story, as always, is only half told, with gaps and plot problems. That is the very nature of NaNoWriMo.

I just finished, and won, NaNoWriMo 2018! Woohoo!

Spaceship - The Last of Humanity
Phase:NaNoWriMo 2018
Due:1 year ago
100%

Here is a sample of

A hopeless vigil – NaNoWriMo 2018 finished

A soft knock on her door woke Fin. She’d dozed off in her chair, still going over reports and data.

“Come in.” She called.

The door opened, Scout Reynolds filled the doorway. “We’ve found the signal from a pod.” His voice was laced with doom, but he looked her straight in the eye. She stared back, unblinking, asking the question.

“But?”

“There are life readings, someone is alive in there.”

“But?” She asked again. “I know there’s a but, I can see it on your face.”

He took a breath. “It’s pod 36, and it ditched in the sea. They’re underwater, and we can’t get to them.”

They ran for the control room they’d been setting up with as much sensor equipment as they could get working.

“Scout?” Fin had her back to him, gripping the edge of the desk so hard with her one good hand, her knuckles were white. “Update,” she demanded. She stared into nothing, hoping the news would change.

“No further update. No change.” His voice soft behind her as he surveyed the information relayed to him through the monitors in front of him.

She swore, low and hard. Her hand balled into a fist, hit the desk, making the keyboard jump. “There has to be something we can do.”

He leaned back in his chair. His face was pale, his eyes dark shadows and filled with sharp knowledge. “If there was then we haven’t found it. We can’t get to them. We don’t even know where they are exactly.”

The door to the control room burst open. “I have a comms link. It’s audio only, no visual. It’s patchy and keeps dropping out, but I have them.” Corban held out an earpiece. “Remote link for you, already patched in.”

“Them?” Fin dared to hope, brushed her short grey hair back and forth with her good hand as she pushed the link into her ear. “Pod 36? Can you hear me? It’s Captain Finley Beck.” Her eyes lost focus as she concentrated in the crackle in her ear. She sagged, leaning on the desk, face twisting as the voice she heard confirmed her fears. Gareth Stanton, the only man she would ever have considered.

 

A hopeless vigil - NaNoWriMo 2018 finished

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NaNoWriMo 2018 is almost over

NaNoWriMo 2018 is almost over. November is dying, December is rapidly approaching. Work is chaos, family life is a little more turbulent than usual. And I’m not quite on target. I have 3 days left.

The story so far, has crashed a ship full of colonists, on the wrong planet, separated them and scattered them across an unknown land mass, killed a main character in a freak weather event… I think Fin will be fine, by the way, I like Fin.

The ship ripped a path across the forest, tearing up trees, sending birds flying in flocks, scattering everything in its wake. Rock melted and wood burned from the super heated metal, and the stink of burning flesh filled the smoke.

Torn apart and scorched, the ship creaked as it began to cool. Metal found new, twisted, shapes as it settled. Resting mostly on the lower decks, the dome was still on the top. Shattered and open to the new world, chickens and bees rose through the steam coming from the many holes.

There was no other sign of life outside the twisted wreck.

Inside, on the bridge, Fin slumped in the captain’s chair, blood oozing from her cheek. Eyes closed, still breathing, but her lungs wheezed painfully as she slowly came back to fuzzy awareness. She blinked.

88% complete for NaNoWriMo 2018. Only Three days remain until the deadline.

Spaceship - The Last of Humanity
Phase:NaNoWriMo 2018
Due:1 year ago
87.5%