Procrastination by ‘Research’

Blaugust 2019 is almost upon us! The Annual Blogging event to welcome brand new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise the old with a month of focused posting. You can still sign-up to participate and jump into the Blaugust Discord!

And so Blaugust Preparation week begins.1 Over this week the Mentors will be offering advice and tips for the official kick-off, August 1st. Now, I am not a mentor but I might still throw in the odd tidbit from the perspective one who has recently gotten started themselves.

First, a story.

Some years ago I had it in my head to give writing an honest to God, full-fledged fantasy novel a shot. Still riding the high of a successful NaNoWriMo with a bit over 50k words already in the bag. I had even adjusted my sleep schedule to allow for dedicated time in the morning before work. I was pretty serious about it.

So serious, that I had to know everything about it. E v e r y t h i n g. I followed numerous writing blogs. Podcasts. I had a particular penchant for blogs by publishing agents too actually, now that I think about it.

Even gaming time fell off a cliff, as every waking moment was doing some form of research on the art and craft of writing and getting published.

But you know what I wasn’t doing?

Writing.

Not a single word. Blog form, novel form, editing? Not a jot.

Over the years I’ve had the odd similar experience although nothing quite that extreme. Recently I wanted to learn how to digitally paint. Having Alli do some work for me had inspired me to dust off the ol’ Wacom again. I spent a day or two looking through Youtube tutorials before recognising the pattern of procrastination in the name of ‘research’ emerging again.

Research is a valuable tool, but don’t beat your passion to death with it.

Which is to say, looking into your subject and learning from those who have gone before can be a valuable use of time. But it needs to be balanced with actual doing. Don’t allow yourself to get caught in a state of inaction.

The desire to get it ‘right’ out of the gate is understandable, but also debilitating.

Blogger or WordPress? WordPress.com or .org? What about Medium? Here’s a truth for you. It doesn’t matter. There are many hugely successful blogs on all blog platforms, free and paid.

Just go to WordPress.com and get started!

You don’t need to be perfect out of the gate. You don’t need to know everything before you start. Tags vs. Categories? Who cares. There’s nothing here that you can’t fix later when you know better. And don’t even get started on SEO.

Just write. Write how you want, about what you want. Do.

Nothing else matters if you don’t. And I think that’s the most important thing to remember. Use research as a means to improve what you’re doing, not as a way to avoid doing it.

There is nothing to be gained in understanding how to write the perfect agent query letter if you have nothing to query. There is nothing to be gained in knowing how to optimise for SEO like a boss if you don’t have a blog with single post yet.

Worse yet, carry it on for too long and you could kill your passion before you even give it a chance to breathe.

Blog Redesign, Polls and even Facebook

Blog Redesign

Depending on how you typically view Time to Loot, you may or may not be aware of a rather significant change in appearance since yesterday. Not just appearance, but function too. The archives now show excerpts with thumbnails rather than entire posts. Posts have hero images. I even flirted with the idea of infinite scroll for the index, but have since turned that off again. For now.

I was running the Genesis Framework and Magazine child-theme, a pair I bought access to waaaaaay back in the day for my old blogging efforts. There is a great deal to love about the Genesis Framework, some parts I’m already missing even — but even the newly released themes seem so… outdated.

Both are screenshots the main index page. But before entire posts were displayed, now using an excerpt display.
There are some differences shown in the ‘old’ from what was actually present though. e.g., the Social icons didn’t wrap (there was one less! More on that soon), and I had a ‘Featured Posts’ carousel.

I’m possibly far from done, but I’ve setup my new theme (OceanWP if you’re wondering) enough that I’m happy with it for the time being. It has been something of a revelation how many more components and areas of configuration it adds to the WordPress ‘customiser’ compared to the old Genesis themes though. To change typographic elements before I had to find their reference in the CSS files and edit by hand. Now it’s all menu driven!

I’ve been researching Divi and Elementor rather extensively. I’m talking multiple 2-3 hour videos of tutorials to see how things are constructed and end results. Answer so far? Inconclusive. Elementor does have a free basic version which is pretty powerful for pages, but adjusting how blog archives and posts work is locked into the Pro edition.

Both of them are more aimed at complete site design rather than ‘just’ a blog, so they’re very likely overkill for what I want… But… I haven’t quite shaken the desire to grab them entirely yet. ;)

Polls! As a Blog Reader…

…Do you like ‘Infinite Scrolling‘? How about Excerpts vs. Full Posts? Or do you not care how a blog presents on the web, because you use WP Reader, Feedly or some other off-site solution?

Those are the questions I pose, and I would love your input! Click through below to add your voice to the poll.

I’ll give this a few days or so then share the results for everyone. :)

Suddenly a Wild Facebook Appears

…I don’t yet know if it will be super effective.

I’m not expecting too much though, as I don’t plan on expending a lot of effort on it. I created the page, and linked the blog to it to auto-crosspost, but that’s it.

I’m also still a little uneasy that the page belongs to my actual Facebook account, being honest. But we’ll see how it goes. Twitter will still absolutely be my preferred social communication channel, and I could stand to be more active there as it is. ;)

If you’re curious though, the Facebook page is here!1.

I’ve followed a few other blogs that I could spot with Facebook pages, but I know I’ve missed people.

Probably a great many people. So let me know! :)