Lesson Learned

Earlier this year, I set out with a goal in mind to have a new domain to call my own. And last weekend, I did just that, and updated my blog. I had wanted to try a few things, so I started looking around and asking others questions about how to do things.

That’s when I realized that I spent last weekend wasting my time and this wasn’t going to work the way I wanted it to. Lesson learned. Time for plan B.

The previous version of this site was on WP.com. And while it’s good for most people, I really wanted to tweak a few key things to have it fit the personality of my writing. I wanted the formatting of the site to come from my voice, as if you could hear me writing it.

In my daily conversations, I have small asides that are relevant[1] and add to the conversation. They don’t take away from the conversation when talking[2], but that is hard to convey in written form. Using footnotes is a great way of doing them, but for how I speak, they generally aren’t good for my own use.

Enter Bigfoot. No, not the mysterious creature pictured in hundreds of blurry images around the world[3], but the popular footnote format used most famously in Instapaper.

This is exactly what I wanted to use to convey how I speak. And that is simply not available on WP.com; I checked with a Happiness Engineer (seriously, this is what they are called) and he confirmed that was indeed the case. So it looked like I was giving up on that convention on my site.

I’ve been told a number of times that if I’m going to write, I need to write for myself and write in my own voice. I need to have that as part of of my style with my blog. Sure, I could get by with the footnotes, or changing my writing style. But that wouldn’t be me. That wouldn’t be my voice. That wouldn’t make me happy.

So that’s when it hit me: I wasted my time last weekend setting this up all wrong. Is a WP.com site easier to manage? Yes. But does it do/look/feel like what I want? No.

So after some research — and admittedly not enough of it — I decided to try to a self-hosted install of WordPress. The install was smooth,and installing the necessary plugins was a breeze. I chose a new theme and published.

I decided to stick to this for a bit until I started reading up on installing the footnotes I want. Reading code is like reading another language for me.[4] I couldn’t find a helpful post to save my life: everything was verbose in the language of CSS, PHP, JS, jQuery, etc. But thanks to this plugin, it was a breeze.[5]

And so now that the site has been revamped again, I’ve learned my lesson. Hopefully now I can settle into the rhythm of writing.

The upkeep of the site will be different, and there’s sure to be a learning curve[6], but at the end of the day, this is what is good for me. And while you don’t have to live with me on a daily basis, it’s going to be better for all of us going forward.[7] This writing style is better suited to sharing my voice, and makes me feel just a bit more human.


  1. Debatable  ↩
  2. Oh look, a bird!!!  ↩
  3. Seriously, why the hell are they always blurry?  ↩
  4. And I suck at English enough.  ↩
  5. Do you know how long it took me to find this? So out of my league here…  ↩
  6. I still have to figure out removing the footnotes from the bottom of the page. If you know how, get in touch. (Update: I figured it out.)  ↩
  7. Kudos to my family and friends for putting up with my shit. I don’t know how they do it, because I can’t stand it.  ↩