Tag Archives: Wordpress

Patience, Gimme Patience!

So…one reason such slow progress is being made in cranking out Ella’s Story is elucidated by the task of posting 18 sections of Fire-Rider here at P&S Press and scheduling them to go online once a week. It’s this: I have no patience with ditz.

I am a writer. I am not a page designer. I am not a graphic artist. I am not a computer programmer.

What I want to do is write, dammit. Not design pages, not come up with and manipulate images, and (believe me!) not fiddle with code.

But for today’s writer — especially the DIY variety, but in fact (because of the need for every author to market, market, market) for everyone who writes books and publishes through any venue — page design, graphics, and (barf!) computer design are part of the game. You have no choice but to engage in these activities. And they are complicated, ditzy, annoying, and time-consuming.

Case in point: the deceptively simple-looking task of copying and pasting the several chapters of any given section into a post in the series that will go up weekly.

Seems like all you ought to have to do is highlight the chapters, copy, and paste, no?

Well. No.

The Word file I’m copying from was formatted for print publication. That means, among other things, that first lines of chapters and major subsections begin with drop caps. For example, the T in “The two armies” here is a drop cap.

WordPress can’t do a drop cap. Nothing you try to do will insert or ape a credible drop cap in a WordPress page. Well: if there is any such thing I don’t know what it is and haven’t the patience to spend an hour or two trying to figure out what a computer programmer would call a drop cap, finding instructions for how to do it, learning such instructions (if they exist), and applying them.

When I paste copy that contains a drop cap into a WordPress post or page, what you see in “Visual” view is this:

See that box with the dashed line around it? You can’t delete it. You have to go into the text view and delete all the code. Turns out it’s some kind of table. This is what you see in “text” view:

Now you have to figure out what part of this is doing what behind the scenes, delete all the junk down to the first line of the paragraph, and then go back to the “visual” view. If you’ve done it right, then “all you have to do” is pull up a passel of blank line spaces And type a capital letter in the first word.

Like…I have nothing else to do with my time?

Anything that you put into a WordPress post, no matter how plain-vanilla you think it ought to be, is fraught with this kind of crap. Endlessly time-consuming ditzy crap.

This is not what I think of as creative work.

And it is not at all how I want to spend the creative time I have left in my life. It wastes my time and sucks my creative energy. By the time I’m finished putting up a post, I’m clenching my teeth with annoyance and frustration, I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing very constructive, and…what energy I had for the writing projects has been consumed.

Hence, the writing that I want to do doesn’t get done. How, exactly, is this an improvement over the typewriter? Or over the manuscript sent off to a printer to set in hot type?

Really?

Why does WordPress.com make it so effing impossible to post comments???

Have you noticed that on some websites you can’t post comments unless you’re a WordPress member, or unless you jump through a series of complicated hoops to force the comments function to let you post?

This happened to me twice the other day, at David Gaughran’s extremely interesting site, Let’s Get Visible, where I wanted to comment on his excellent, detailed post that argues self-publishing will be the savior, not the destruction, of the publishing industry. Also, I wished to leave a comment at Reclusive Rachel’s most recent post.

At Reclusive Rachel, when I tried to post WP wanted me to sign in under a different e-mail address than the one I used to set up Writers Plain & Simple. This, experience has shown, causes me to appear under the username for three websites I set up for my community college courses, back when the district was using the endlessly annoying and infuriatingly unreliable Blackboard online course management software. First, I do not WANT to post as Eng102pvcc [not the real username]; I want to post under the name of this blog, which I intend to use to publicize the three books I expect to publish by the end of 2014. Second, those sites are defunct anyway, since with the advent of the Canvas course management system I no longer need an off-campus site for my online students to fall back on when the district’s system crashes, because Canvas doesn’t crash.        .

I tried to change my email/username. Typed in all the BS to get recognized. And EVERY TIME, when I hit “post comment,” the damm thing reverted to the old email/username.

Gave up.

Went over to the Gaughran site. There, the system did see me as my current username. But again, it would NOT let me post a comment. It seemed to accept all the data, which I believe to be current and correct. But when I hit “post comment,” nothing happened.

I gave up again.

This kind of thing keeps happening at WordPress.com sites. Funny about Money, my main site, is large and venerable. (It also is hosted elsewhere!). It has a nice readership, and I correspond with a lot of personal finance and lifestyle bloggers, most of whom make it easy to post comments. But by golly, every time I stumble on a good WordPress.com blog, it wants me to sign in as eng102pvcc. Here, too: log out, sign back in as plain&simplepress, and the comments function won’t work.

So next I went to WordPress’s “support,” which is just like all huge faceless e-corporations’ support: instead of hiring a few techs to troubleshoot users’ problems and answer questions, they refer you to an annoying forum, where you’re supposed to post your question to which NO ONE knows the answer. I did find an e-mail function; when you e-mail your question (which does not seem to appear among the myriad FAQs they’ve posted), all that happens is the person on the other end POSTS YOUR QUESTION TO A USELESS FORUM!

Eventually an answer of sorts came back: delete all WordPress-related cookies.

Okay. Done.

Know what that does?

It blocks you from getting back into your own website! And no, it does NOT let you post comments as anything other than Eng102pvcc, even though you do have a different username and password to sign in to the website you want to use.

Did you know that WordPress.com will not LET you delete a username? Any username you create exists forever, even if you delete the sites associated with that username. So you’re stuck with it. You can’t get rid of it.

I guess WP has decided to make its little empire a closed club. But…why? If that’s what you’re going to do, dear WordPress.com, why publish sites on the Internet at large? Why not make them visible ONLY to WordPress.com members?