What am I doing right now...seriously? You really want to know? The truth? Right this minute I'm having a frozen Milky Way bar with my morning coffee, the TV show Hoarding: Buried Alive playing in the background.
Well, you asked!
If you are around my age, you remember The Ed Sullivan Show. At least once a year Ed would have a plate-spinning act...a bunch of guys balancing multiple tall poles with plates twirling at the ends. Every now and then someone would lose a plate, catch it in mid-air, then toss it back to its pole top...and keep on spinning, without missing a beat.
Every time the spinners came on, my mom would elbow me and say, "Don't even think about trying that." (I already had...just long enough to learn that you can't spin Melamac plates on a yard stick, the closest thing I had to a pole.)
I've thought about the plate-spinners a lot lately. Those plates whirling high in the air, remind me of my own life. Not to get into my personal melodrama, but just keeping my family going on all cylinders is tough enough. Writing projects are extra poles to juggle, but I've run out of space. Maybe balance the poles on a foot?
In addition, there is the current national climate. Some people can tune out all the tumult and turmoil. I can't. I try to keep it from creeping out of my chest (where it sits like a sullen four-year-old) and into my head (where the four-year-old goes into total tantrum mode.) Doing anything at all these days is like slogging through molasses. Everything.....goes....so....slowly.
Now that you have all the excuses for my low/slow output, here's what I'm doing.
I'm building a new website.
Once upon a time--2009--I took down my old website, intending to have a professional design a new one for me. It's not so easy to design a website when you write in multiple genres for all age groups. I queried a few designers, didn't like their work...and then came the Big Money Crisis of 2009. Suddenly I didn't have the money for a professional designer. At the same time, I had already taken down my old website (what was I thinking?) And so it has been for the last eight years. And some purveyor of questionable material snatched up my domain name.
A couple of years ago, I started seeing ads for DIY sites. I wasn't at all sure I could handle what ever amount of DIY was involved. (You wouldn't believe how long it has taken me to maneuver around Blogger for TA every two weeks.) I am tech-impaired.
Then a good friend put up her in new website and I was blown away. Clean, simple, professional looking. A couple of emails back and forth and I learned that she had used one of the DYI sites. She alerted me to the quirks and pitfalls of this particular company. For a business that is supposed to help you build a site, they're own isn't particularly well organized. With this in mind, I went to work.
After a week of experimenting with the controls and images, I've finished the first page (ta da!) and downloaded the images I plan to use on the other page. Right now (like right this minute) I'm working on the pages of text. As you know, it's tough for me to "write short." I'll have to get myself in my old journalistic mode, no more than 150 words per paragraph. (My very first job was working for a local weekly paper when I was 14.)
I don't know what I expected from a DIY. A couple of magic right clicks and I'd have a website?
DIY means you have to remember every single thing that goes on a page. If you don't put it in....it isn't there. I could've used one of the ready-to-go templates, but none of them said "children's writer" let alone Mary Ann Rodman, children's author. So, always looking for a way to make a task twice as hard, I started with a blank template and added my own images and design. If nothing else, it will look like ME. And when I goes up (hopefully next week), you guys will be the first to know. At www.maryannrodman.net
Posted by Mary Ann Rodman