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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Getting Technical

Get It In Writing! was the first website I ever created; it was made from scratch. I jumped into HTML long before Google was invented.  It probably helped that I had taken computer programming years before and kept up on computer literacy over the years, but only in that I knew it was going to involve math somehow and appear complicated.

I remember the first few months with smiles, I had asked everyone I knew who owned a computer and had the Internet to click as much as possible on the link so I could watch my counter move.

It worked, though. Before you knew it, I merged with Writing Corner and ran them both through It Is Written, Ink, our corporation.  We enjoyed being celebrated in the covers of Writer's Digest Magazine and being asked to talk at writer's conferences. Our paper newsletter for unpublished and newly published writers was still free and being distributed in four countries. All good things come to an end; a couple of years later, my family lost our home and all the contents - including the business and computers - due to toxic mold.

It's been a decade now and I've gotten our lives back on track best I can.  The last thing I could afford to replace, a bed for myself, was bought last year and I couldn't be happier.  With the bed.

The website, now True Crime Fanatic, is bugging me.  Where I used to be able to crank out an entire 20 page website in  a weekend, it's taken me over a year to figure out how to make the front page look decent (forget about keeping it current, sheesh!).

I can plan the website (and I do) on paper, but I cannot get it to look that way on the computer.  Not even close.  That's how I used to do it and it worked beautifully. I could picture it, write it down, recreate it.

To make things easier (really?), last year, after purchasing the bed, I researched, then spent a huge chunk of money on Adobe's Dreamweaver, figuring what could be easier than a website program with what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) action?

Thank God for tutorials online, Dummies Books, and nothing else, because it's been a year and I barely get it!  I understand CSS and what it's for, and it SEEMS like I get it... until I try to move forward.

Here I am, for the upteenth million time, trying to redesign something I can live with and will function up to its needs.

I'm reading everything, again and again, and it's nearly Greek to me.  And then I saw it.  I saw one thing and I'm hoping it will lead to other little things I overlooked. This thing is so silly and obvious, I'm not sure how I missed it.

Typeface and font size do NOT refer to the same things. WHAT?  In word processing, the tool I use far more than any other, you don't care about either because you simply change it to what you want and you can immediately see it. They can call it anything (a rose by any other name...) and you could still do it.

CSS is not like word processing.  In theory, it's EXCELLENT, but when you're as ignorant as I am, you wonder what the heck they were thinking changing all this technology on us.

Check it out, I can barely get past what the words look like.  If I go to change one letter, they all change!  If i want to center an image or a title but not the rest of the story, no way. I mean, there's a way, but not the way you used to do it.

I'm not going into that (for great information, go to the Site Wizard and pick up the Dreamweaver for Dummies I mentioned earlier), because as I mentioned, you will never learn how to build a website by me. But I will say that such a little thing, typeface and font size being explained so I understand CSS is an amazing thing.

Size does matter!  Well, when you are speaking of font size vs. typeface.  Okay, I'm rambling and not making sense. The whole point is this is one small tiny thing, but is enough to get in my way for a year. I read and reread, created and recreated (from scratch all the time, oh boy), and just this one little thing has slipped me up.

I'm laughing now, having gone from doing all hand coding and making it all work great to a beautifully set-up program and getting lost.  It's funny. Mostly.  Unless. You consider how much I was unable to help absolutely no one during this time (and if your website is a business and you were me, you can imagine this in dollar amounts) and I was so frustrated I was seriously depressed.  A year.

It never occurred to me that I might be misusing a term and it's worming it's way into everything I do (or am not doing), keeping me stuck in a rut...

Little things do count and often, in big ways.  Maybe you don't file (right away, correct?). Perhaps you let your bank account go unchecked.  These things are small enough, you assume you can "get to it" when the "feeling" comes over you.

I hate to get technical, but don't you have five minutes? Isn't that little thing little, because if it is, then that's all the more reason to take care of it right away.

In my defense, I couldn't do what I didn't know, but on the other hand, I never considered such a little thing being a downfall; I never looked.

Look, be aware, and stay on top of the little things.

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