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New blog, new many things

The blog upgrade proceeds apace. I won’t show you the staging blog, as I plan to kill it tonight, but after much grinding and thinking, WordPress imported all 1100+ entries and bazillion comments, and pointed correctly to images and other media. Most delightfully, WordPress only imported published comments, leaving behind thousands of bits of junk. I have a new .htaccess file ready to put into place to ensure internal links and feed files work correctly.

So what theme should I use? I have zero design sense, so any and all input welcome.

Interesting how saying things out loud can make a difference: I’ve had some very strong interest in the class I proposed. I really like the idea of offering it as a short online CE class–a good way to start it in the “short form” and work out issues.

I got my start in ‘net-related training in the early 1990s, first with classes taught to droves of staff at Queens Borough Public Library, and then with short CE courses for various institutes and libraries.

At first I was a dreadful instructor who wadded her classes with far too much background material and not enough cut-to-the-chase, show-me-the-money demos and hands-on instruction. I had good class presence, but had no idea what was important to teach and, more significantly, what was NOT important to teach. One institute in particular was very patient with me, sharing feedback, encouraging me to return to teach more classes, working with me to build a training style that now follows the classic writing advice, “In late, out early.”

It struck me this morning how that parallels the challenges I have faced in my writing. “Great voice,” I would be told, “but you’ve got way too much stuff up front. This material isn’t necessary. These gems are buried amid stuff you don’t need. That section is pretty, but it doesn’t fit. Try opening in scene. Chop that goop bolluxing your ending.”

To the extent that my writing has improved, it is because I have been taught to be ruthless with my editorial machete. My motto: “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” Some writers get all weepy about chopping out deathless prose, but I have never had that problem. It’s not so much that I feel desperately attached to every single word springing from the grey stuff between my ears (those words never go away, anyway, as long as there are backup drives and GMail), as I struggle to know what is not needed.

My writing self, then, is not some alien being. She’s logically related to the rest of me. The same me that needs to chug her morning cuppa and get in the shower so she can go help with the sound check at the 9 a.m. service, which begins, I was pointedly advised last night, at 9 a.m., not 9:05 or 9:15. (N.b.: “In late” does not apply to church attendance.)

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