I’ve just had a message from WordPress thanking me for renewing and saying “so your site has all its great tools and features for another year”. This is ironic, to say the least, when you consider I’m having to use a version which seems to have been developed by James Watt and has, as a result of WordPress “improvements” noticeably fewer great tools and features than it did this time last week. Having said that, James Watt would probably have made a better job of it.
They then add “Until then, have fun with your site!”. Fun? I had so much fun last week that I nearly cancelled my subscription and gave up blogging. It would have been more fun to insert broken glass into my nostrils.
One thing I’ve noticed on the plug-in Classic Editor is that when I have comments waiting I rarely get a red spot on the bell icon. If it was always absent, I could understand it, but to have it appear once in every ten times I look seems peculiar.
Same goes for my replies. It no longer tells me I have replied. Before I realised this I actually replied twice to something Derrick had said. It was bad enough looking like I am losing my marbles, but he now has the moral high ground in the question of which of us is blogging with fewer marbles. Having said that, his post today, with photographs from his Assistant Photographer, Head Gardener, Driver and Wife (that’s one hard-working multi-tasking person rather than an entourage) indicate that she’s planning an early claim on his life insurance as he plummets to his death whilst photographing storms from cliff tops. That sort of peril just to get a few photographs for a blog is beyond the call of duty.
Anyway, enough of my adventures with WordPress, it’s time to write a thoughtful examination of my blogging career so far. That’s what I call it anyway. Others may consider it a series of disjointed rants about things I can’t change and things that don’t matter. That is probably fair, but it wasn’t meant to be like that.
Six years ago I dreamed of writing things that mattered and would change the world to be a better place. I wanted to crusade, to be revered as a master of witty and elegant prose and, some months after starting, to be offered jobs writing columns for top London papers. I thought “months” was realistic, whereas “weeks” would have been an impractical daydream. It has proved to be so – seventy months, to be accurate and the London Editors are playing hard to get.
When the call came, I told Julia, despite my probable membership of the Groucho Club, I would try to remain the ordinary, grounded sort of person I had always been. The cocaine fuelled binges, the women, the wads of cash and the free holidays on the yachts of Russian oligarchs, would not change me. So far, I can say that this has been the case. I am unchanged from the idealistic youth of fifty-something that set off to be a famous blogger, with my dignity and integrity in tact. Actually that may not be true. My integrity is still in tact but having written more than once on the subject of the National Health Service inserting a camera into my bladder in a very undignified manner, I feel my dignity may have suffered.
So that, at least has gone, mainly, to plan.
As for the rest, I rattle on about trivia in a style that relies heavily on a spellchecker, and has only a nodding acquaintance with good writing practice (too many commas and Too Many capitals, for a start) and no longer expect an email from the Editor of The Times.
Looking on the bright side, at least I have not had to employ an accountant to sort out my tax affairs.
Having just checked the membership details for the Groucho Club so I could add a link, it seems unlikely I’d be able to join anyway, and, as several of you are probably thinking, would I want to join a club that would have me as a member?
I think I should end Part 1 here, as it has gone on long enough and I have to cook tea.
Having disposed of the show-biz element of blogging, with the orgies and the oligarchs, I will continue tomorrow with further discussion of the rewards of sitting down at the dining room table and bashing away on a computer that can, like me, no longer cope with the demands of modern life.
Thanks for stopping by, I think I originally found you on Haibun Today a few years ago – it never occurred to me until recently that I could actually search for haibun on WP. I really do treat my computer more like a glorified typewriter than a window onto the world.
I enjoyed your first “Why Blog” piece and will soon read part 2. And likely I’ll register for your site and help make you the star you once aspired to be. More seriously, after being involved in designing my own webpages using html for many years, I’m much better at creating a website than WP tools allow me to be. Why put up with it. You’d never have found my html haiku and haibun website on raysweb.com with search engines, but you found it for some reason on my https://rays-blog.ca/ WP site. Simply put, the linking seems to be more powerful. Thus, I will soon be one of your loyal followers.
We may be few in number and not making as much as big news columnists, but there is a sense of spirit and even joy in finding bits of wisdon and artistic beauty here an there in this chaotic world.
p.s. Given what you’ve said (and what I’ve experienced) you may never see this note.
I, too, had had high hopes from my blogging ‘career’ but you know most artists seem only to become famous after their deaths. Anyway, it is better to enjoy the writing than the company of oligarchs, I’m sure. Just don’t let WP wear you down.
I like the company I keep on eBay, even if you are deficient in the matter of yachts.
Who needs a yacht anyway!
I just upgrade my WordPress account because I was starting to get concerned about running out of space. Now I am relieved I don’t see the 92% of my space used. I had been using the premium plan for years but lack of funds forced me to use the free WordPress for a while. Now I am using the personal account which is better space wise. I also hated those annoying ads which are now gone. I always get frustrated reading something online and have the page jump around as ads load and change. As far as the ew editor is concerned, I am glad to say I haven’t had to switch yet. I was getting prompted a while back to try it so I did with one post. I quickly deleted the post and went back to using the classic editor. My dashboard is still in classic which I am very thankful for… When I started blogging again I got in a chat with support and they gave me a link to use the classic dashboard. I’m still using it and if I have to change I suppose I will learn. So many things are being updated these days that is confusing. I think some of these people like the way they do it so they want everyone else to change. My theory is if it isn’t broke and works fine, leave it alone. Upgrades can be made without us seasoned bloggers having to change the way we write our posts, upload photos, make comments, etc.
I use a particular website a lot that recently tried to change things a bit. We had an option to use it the old way and could switch. Then members were prompted to tell them why we preferred the old way. They must have gotten a lot of negative feedback because now when I get on the site it is back to the old way without having to switch every time.
Facebook is changing and they wanted everyone to try the new version. I tried it for a few minutes but was insanely lost so I switched back. We are being told that one day we won’t have a choice… Life is full of choices as we all know when we go to the grocery store, although COVID-19 has limited many of our choices.
Well, I better stop writing or this comment will become a post. Take care! As always I love reading your posts!
Thank you, always good to hear other views – glad it’s not just me that belongs to the school of not fixing things that aren’t broken.
I think we are level on the marbles count, Quercus. So nice of you to concede , though. 🙂
🙂 Age before beauty is a phrase that springs to mind for some reason…
Blog on, Quercus! Always look forward to reading your posts.
You are too kind, as usual. 🙂
The editors of major publications are totally banging down my door….
It must be difficult keeping track of all the offers…
I was using a spreadsheet but then WordPress took over the company…now it’s a block pie chart
In my search for a witty riposte I keep stopping to think about the apple pie and custard I am planning for our evening meal tonight…
I still have the Pies and Prejudice blog title, maybe I should relaunch that.
We’re having strawberry key lime pie tonight (I did not make it though)
No law says yuo can’t buy them. That’s just a hangover from Victorian times… H
Hope it’s good.
I like the view of Nottinghamshire. Is that a wheat field?
Yes, it was about two weeks ago. We went out for a drive yesterday and they have started the harvest – probably just the barley so far. Yields are likely to be poor and things have not been improved by the current wet weather, However, I’d rather be here than on the Gulf of Mexico.
I am sorry that your career has not been quite as meteoric as you hoped but if you keep blogging, you may well outlast all the printed news media anyway.
I will just have to learn to live with my failure. To be honest the women and wild parties would have been a bit of a chore, but the money would have been handy.
I have signally failed to set the world on fire so I share that sense on unfulfillment.
I don’t even have a bicycle…
That is a defect, no doubt about it.
Yes, that’s what I thought as I queued in traffic tonight as the rain whistled round and I turned the heater up – “I wish I was balancing on two wheels and being squeezed by lycra.”
You’ve no idea how much fun that is.
You’re right – I don’t!
You can’t have too much fun on a bike in my view.
You can’t, but I suspect I can.
I wish I’d found your blog sooner, I’m enjoying it.
Have you tried clicking on the screen options menu at the top of the editor (and any other wp-admin) window? You’ll see a lot of different options including comment visibility. Let me know you want any help with the Classic Editor, I’ve been using it for years.
I wish you’d found it earlier too – I’ve learned more in the last week than the previous six years. 🙂
I didn’t, for instance, know there was something called a screen options menu. I’m off for a look now. In my mind’s eye all the unknown buttons have dragons on them as a warning not to push…
Yep. I think the majority of people are afraid to click things just in case a dragon jumps out at them! Unfortunately, you often have to take a chance on that… (and it’s very unlikely to happen. Well, maybe a baby dragon, occasionally!)
Go to the post editor in the wp-admin dashboard, go to All Posts – Add New and make like you’re going to write a new post. Look at or scroll up to the top right of the screen. Below the notifications bar, you’ll see a little down arrow and the words ‘Screen Options. Click that and it will reveal a lot of different options. These control what modules and columns you see. Oh and you can click and drag the modules around to where you want.