Dabbling in Web Design

If you read my professional bio, you’ll notice that I once worked as a web designer. It wasn’t anything I ever did full time. Instead it was a hobby that I dabbled in on and off while I was in graduate school. It was a good side gig and I made a few bucks here and there, but it was never something I want to do for a living.

I got out of web design around the time Anna was born, but lately I’m getting the itch just a bit. Maybe it’s because I’m done with the book and I’m not quite decided on the next one yet. All I know is that I redesigned my professional site over the weekend, and I’m very happy with it and wanting to do a little more.

And just in time too, because I have my first client. A colleague and line editor who’s swapping a final edit of my manuscript for a web page.

After that, I have an idea for a photo site. Perhaps a project for April?

And then, come May, I’ll have a few examples to start a portfolio—a freelance writing page, a blog and a photo gallery—and get some more clients. It’s still not something I want to do full-time, but it might make a good side gig until I get some more paid writing work.

We’ll see how it goes.

One Year Later

Christmas Cookies

Photo: Julia Ozab (December 17, 2010)

A year ago today, I began writing the current version of this blog on WordPress.com. A year later, it is still a work-in-progress, but then again aren’t all blogs like that?

The first post had the predictable title “Welcome:”

For those of you new to the site, welcome to Fatherhood Etc, a stay-at-home dad’s thoughts on parenting and life. I will strive to make it entertaining, enlightening, and only occasionally aggravating. I understand that few people will agree with everything I post, but I hope that everyone will find something of value here.

And then I had to write something. Ah, the blank screen staring at me and demanding to be filled with . . .

What?

Anything and everything. Over the last year, I have written 120 posts (including this one) on a wide variety of topics. Over the course of a year that averages out to about a post every three days, yet it never seems like enough. Every day I don’t post something I feel guilty about it. What’s worse: every day I do post something I find myself thinking “OK, that’s fine but what am I going to write tomorrow?”

Sometimes I just give up and post a funny picture. Other times I cross post something I wrote elsewhere. But eventually I have to write something original.

And that blank screen keeps taunting me until I type something just to shut it up.

It doesn’t get any easier. The more I write, the more demanding my inner critic gets. Yet I keep going, and after a year I look back and see a total of about 30,000 words. Not a great word-count for a year, but I was writing other stuff (and I left out my writing page which has shared my attention the last three months.)

Oh and I just spent the last half-hour going back through my posts and totaling the word-counts with a calculator, which proves two points:

  1. WordPress should add an ongoing word-count to their statistics page.
  2. Writers will find any excuse to procrastinate.