WordPress has a lot of “hidden gem” features. Shortcodes are one of them. Simply put, shortcodes are little snippets of text that the WordPress engine uses as instructions for embedding content. There are shortcodes to insert anything from Spotify playlists to YouTube videos. Shortcodes can also make indexing your WordPress blog easier. One feature I wanted was an index page for reviews I’ve written or will write. I started out by creating a new page, and deciding on which headings to use.
Synopsis: A massive Martian dust storm forces the evacuation of the third NASA mission to Mars. As the crew attempts to keep their space ship from toppling from the launch pad, one astronaut is injured and lost. The crew launches and Mark Watney becomes the first permanent resident of Mars. All of Earth rallies to rescue him, but will he survive the harsh alien environment? What I liked: The pacing.
I have one goal for this blog in 2105: Poast moar! A post per day is unrealistic. I have other writing that takes priority. Since blogging doesn’t pay, it has to slip down a few rungs on the priority ladder. What would qualify as more posts? Looking back at my time in the blogging salt mine of 2104, I didn’t write much at all. I think I tried out more themes than I wrote posts.
Having a blog that’s more than a few posts might need some sort of organizing. I say “might” because it’s not really necessary to create categories and tags. It’s personal preference. All the blog platforms have some form of organization. Categories I see categories as a way of keeping different kinds of content away from each other. It’s like having a tour guide on my blog saying, “Look over here at this, but ignore that.
Today I didn’t use the Pomodoro Technique. It wasn’t so much a planned thing, but just how the morning worked out. I wanted to get right to work on an outline for a longer project. I dove right in and didn’t start my pomodoro timer. I had my other timer running, the one I use for tracking billable time1. So, there was a running counter in my menu bar. My first thought was to just look up at it, and take a break every half-hour or so.
Todays 10 days to a better blog assignment is about the writing environment. I found this to be surprisingly on target. I’ve recently made sweeping changes in the how and where I work. The Old My desk was in the corner of my bedroom, with a window facing westward. I had it set up with a laptop stand, wireless keyboard, a decently wide monitor, USB hub, desk lamp, and a Wacom tablet.
I’m beginning to define and explore the difficult question of why I write and why I want to become a better writer. Here are some of my initial and incomplete thoughts: Because stories; my head explodes with them. I want to tell them, and writing is the only way to share them. Even if I were to podcast or do readings, it all starts with a script. Now is the time for writing.
Dividing up my day can be the hardest part about being a work-from-home freelancer. It’s easy to get distracted, by all the things. The Pomodoro Technique I forgot where I first heard of this, but it’s really been a huge help is how I manage my day. Its creator, Francesco Cirillo, has a site that explains it in detail. He also sells the little tomato shaped kitchen timers that gave him the idea.