I’ve recently been chatting with Just Write about the techwriting industry, and thought I should finally take the advice I’ve been giving other people about career stuff for awhile: make a portfolio site. Someone in my grad program recently did a presentation about online portfolio creation that I recommend as a place to get started, should you ever consider this effort yourself (assuming it makes sense for the kind of work you do or want to do). Anyway, here’s my site. There is nothing on it as of this writing, but it’s up, and that’s something.
Last night I tackled the installation of WordPress on my web host, which I’ve always been a little intimidated by, but it wasn’t so bad – a lot of hosts these days have “1-click install” that doesn’t require you to edit any files or fool with FTP. Installing WordPress has always seemed to me to be senselessly complicated, the sort of thing that requires trudging through forums to troubleshoot when something inevitably goes sideways, which is why I’ve used Blogger (which has the bonus feature of not requiring a web host), although tech snobs look down their noses at Blogger, and wouldn’t be caught dead using a blogging platform that’s actually easy to use.
Ironically as a techwriter I am not a fan of technology, just for the sake of complexity. Technical people, I say from some experience, often celebrate the mastery of needlessly complicated processes as a mark of their intelligence. Perhaps it is, but it’s the needlessly complicated part that always gets me – software and web apps are often poorly designed and explained because they are created by people with no concept (or sympathy) for people who aren’t technical for sport. I think I’ve had this chip on my shoulder about WordPress, although I know it’s supposed to be the mark of a “serious blogger.”
All of this was somewhat confusing for me, but I made it work. This was in the days before blogging software existed at all, and I just edited and FTP’d each post by hand on tiny-dog (my second web site, which for the record lasted much longer and had a lot more content than Strikethru.net). After a long while I realized blogging software might work to my advantage, and somehow hacked my existing HTML template to include Blogger posts, all without a firm handle on exactly what I was doing.
So. When I decided to start Strikethru, I was pretty worn out. Just picking an existing Blogger template and fooling with that a little bit seemed all right with me (all the more time to spend on scanning typecasts). That was the official end of my tinkering with some of the more complex aspects of running a site, since tech gets easier over time. Right?
So you can imagine I was not amused by the general suggestion in the mid 2000’s that, although Blogger offered a no-hassle and no-cost way to run a blog that you could even use with a custom domain, “serious” bloggers needed to move on to something more complex and time consuming. Sigh. I admit I have fallen for the hype nonetheless, and plan to use WordPress for hosting my portfolio site. Do you have a portfolio site? Would you make one? Do you think writers need one? I’ve spent a bit of time at work trying to convince other writers that promoting oneself online is a necessity, and now it’s time for me to walk the talk.
Whew, that was a long post. I bet you’re not even reading anymore. I could say any old crazy ass thing at this point, and NO ONE WOULD KNOW…