Rendered Fat Content


Edouard Vuillard: Orchard (1897)

"I seem to need to work in stone tablets."

I blog, and therefore, am. Am what? Well, a blogger for starters and by extension I suppose that I become a writer, though blogging isn't precisely what one might call writing, for blogging's pickier than simply writing. It requires considerable classification and codifying in order for the finished product to properly display and organize. I blog in series, relating all my production into quarterly segments, my current Againing Series, an example of this convention in action. Each addition, each fresh post, must satisfy a few qualifications before it can be published by posting. Each must have a unique title, for the blog software goes a little crazy when it encounters two identical titles, even when those titles belong to different series. Title must be unique, so, once I've decided upon a topic, which first often amounts to little more than a proposed title, I search both my blog archives and its Resource file to ensure that the proposed title has never been used before. I often find that I need to adjust what I thought would be the title to work around this uniqueness convention.

Molly or Max, my cats, might show up just about then, seeking breakfast and reassurance, providing distraction.
I'll quickly fill out the other classifying information in my blog software's entry template: Title, Category, Tags, Permalink, Brief Description, and Copyright Notice, which I've stored in a "snippet", which allows me to easily copy its content into the entry's body. Then it's time to go find an image suitable for this posting. My coffee, which was too hot to drink when I started this process, has cooled enough to allow me to take an initial sip. It will be cold by the time I find a suitable image and start actually writing.

I exclusively use images in the public domain. I prefer fine art, of which an infinite amount is accessible on the Web. I've recently taken to using the
Museo app, which searches several large museum holdings using a user-provided search argument. I found this morning's image by searching using "journal" as the argument, since "blog" was not a word when now public domain art work was created. I received dozens of candidate images, which I browse through until one catches my eye. The connection isn't always obvious. I copy the work's title, artist, and date information to my blog, format it (artist, title, date), and create hot links to more information about the artist (I usually link to a wikipedia page) and the work, a description of which often exists on the museum's site. I'll carry these links onto my Facebook PureSchmaltz Group introductory post as "About This Artist" and "About This Image" links. I then save the image to my BlogPictures folder, renaming it to match the unique blog entry title, because otherwise I'd never be able to keep the images straight. I then condition the image using Graphic Converter 11, to ensure that it's displayable on the web. A simple Save For Web command usually does the trick. Then, I copy the image to my blog entry template and center it with the hot-linked caption beneath. I shrink the caption a couple of font points, center and italicize it. Then, I view it on a preview display to ensure that it will look okay once published and displayed. Now my coffee's stone cold and I'm ready to start writing, at least a half hour after starting.

I compose my entries directly in the blog software's text entry template, which is not very much of a word processor. I could write in some writing software, then copy and paste, but I do not want or need all the complicated formatting tools a word processor might offer. I'm creating unadorned paragraphs with the occasional imbedded link, and the blog software (RapidWeaver®) seems perfectly adequate.

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Blog entry in process, before posting

I might spend an additional hour creating a single posting, usually clocking in at something like seven hundred words, two or even three times that on Friday, when I produce my weekly writing summary. I try to time creation so that I post by six am local time. I often miss that deadline on Friday because those postings can get complicated, with hot links back to every posting of the period and a representative sentence copied from each day's posting. When I feel as if I'm finished writing, then the editing begins. I read the entry for the first time then, typically finding enough errors to convince me that I'm not much of a writer. I try to correct dangling modifiers and sentences ending in sneaky prepositions. I proofread twice, once in preview mode so I'm proofing as the posting will appear when published because context matters. I always find additional errors when I edit displaying the final form.

Once I'm confident that I've corrected the bulk of the gross copy errors, I'm almost ready to post. I copy the image and caption, first paragraph and first sentence of the second paragraph to a summary page, which will be displayed with a link to the rest of the entry on my blog's home page. I can then "publish," which in this case means uploading via FTP to my blog's server. I also paste the summary to my FaceBook PureSchmaltz Group, where I'll write an introduction with a link to the whole posting, and links to info about the artist and the illustration. I proof that copy while waiting for the full entry to load out to my blog. Once loaded, I can copy the link to the posting into the Facebook Group introduction (a step I often forget, which causes me to reedit the fresh Facebook Introduction after posting.) The earliest readers are often subjected to initial errors. Once I post the intro to Facebook, I follow the link to the whole blog entry and proofread it again, almost always finding more errors, correcting as I find them. I've also taken to, since the start of this current Againing Series, posting the introduction to LinkedIn, which slightly broadens the posting's reach. (I'm still a LinkedIn virgin. I find it almost impossible to navigate, but I'm learning.)

Then, I'm finished, a couple of hours after I started. I usually reread the entry again after I'm confident it's perfect. The Muse will point our additional errors once she finds time in her busy schedule to finally read through it. That's my morning routine, how I've spent every early morning for the last five years. Some have counseled me to use some different software. WordPress is often mentioned, but I find WordPress even less usable than LinkedIn, which is really saying something. Some say I shouldn't be using an FTP upload, that I need a real-time updated system, but I feel as though the built-in delays in FTP slow down my process enough that I can actually properly proofread and classify my stuff before posting it. I need to be careful that I do not overwhelm myself with content, that it's properly conditioned. Efficiency's not even a distant issue. I seem to need to work in stone tablets.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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