Why are there always so many other things to do?

8.29.21

Are you ever frustrated by distractions? Well, I suppose the frustration would depend a lot on the distraction, and on what you’re being distracted from.

I’ve determined that I’m going to learn SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, since so many of the writing jobs on Upwork calls for it. In doing so, I’m trying to apply what I learn to my own website, experimenting on myself, so to speak. But it’s been a long, meandering road.

First of all, the SEO itself is, at times, somewhat technical. Or, at least, it seems like it to me. For a right-brain person like myself, the technical stuff comes a little harder. (I know, the right brain/left brain theory has been debunked years ago, but I still like the labels. It makes it sound like I at least use part of my brain!)

So, when I encounter something I’m not familiar with, or that needs clarification, I need to look it up. Research is something I do a lot of. As a writer, I’ve become an expert on a lot of things during the course of writing a novel. I became an expert on the Sand Creek Massacre when writing Spirit Breather. I became an expert on wormholes when writing JackSimile and the Phantom Fury. I became an expert on the Trail of Tears when I was working on All We Hold Dear.

Alas, the expertise doesn’t last very long. Since I haven’t had the need for that information since finishing the books, the information occupying the limited confines of my brain has since been replaced by other things I’ve become a temporary expert on, the Pied Piper of Hamelin, for example. I remember a few details about the Sand Creek Massacre and the Trail of Tears, but nothing near expertise. And don’t even bother asking me about wormholes. That information fled my brain almost as quickly as it got there.

But the potentially frustrating thing about research is that one thing inevitably leads to another. And sometimes, the thing it leads to has nothing to do with what I’m writing about. It’s just something cool I found that I want to know more about. And before you know it, an hour or more has passed and I haven’t written anything about the original research subject.

That’s kind of the way it’s been with SEO. Granted, there’s not that much cool stuff (to me, at least) that one thing leads to, but there are still distractions. For example, my home page has no actual text on it. There are words, descriptions, labels on the buttons, etc., but it’s not text, but rather they’re flattened into the graphic images. They're now pixels, not fonts. Not a lot of opportunities for using SEO keywords there.

So I decided that I could make a headline of sorts to go above the large main graphic. But as a writer and a designer, I’ve made certain that my website has a particular look to it, one that complements my writing style and subject matter. One that wouldn’t be served well by Times New Roman, or Ariel, or Comic Sans. (Okay, not many sites would be served well by Comic Sans, which further underscores my point!)

Since I’m not an experienced web designer, I had to look up how to upload and use specific fonts on my site. This way, I could make sure that the headline is in the same typeface as the text embedded in the graphic.

During my research on that, I found something about random graphics, an image that would change each time the page is loaded or reloaded. I thought that something like a banner ad might be good for that space above the main graphic, advertising my novels, and with a link to the page where my novels are shown and sold.

So, I went into Photoshop and created four different ads, the size and proportion I want them for that space above my main graphic. Then, I just needed to find out how to make it random, so that a different one shows whenever the page loads. That required some research.

Adobe Dreamweaver, the software I use for my web page construction, doesn’t do random graphics, or at least there’s no obvious button or link for it. It has to be written into the code. I’m no web coder, so I’ve spent a few hours researching how to do that, finding multiple different ways to do it, none of which has worked for mine, yet.

When I realized that I hadn’t yet written a blog post for this week, I thought that this might make a good topic – SEO or distractions, take your pick.

Meanwhile, I still don’t have anything above the main graphic in my website, no random banner ad, no headline, no SEO of any kind.

And I suspect that whatever knowledge I had gained about SEO has since been replaced in my cranium by the information about web fonts and banner ads and Javascript coding.

Maybe I should research self-discipline and staying on task!