I have a lot of travel coming up, but I hope that my schedule will sort itself out soon. Lately, when I stare at the blank blog post screen, I have no idea what to write. That's not a function of having run out of things to say; rather, it's a testament to how drained I am. I know I have a lot of cool concepts that I'd like to explore, but also that I don't have the energy to execute them.
Of course, in a world where you're supposed to post regularly, that lack of mental energy has become a source of stress in itself. However, I hope to turn the corner soon. I spent two hours yesterday researching travel plans and a lot of time brainstorming and writing this week's blog posts, only to come up empty on both fronts.
So, I hope your week is going better than mine, and that once I emerge from this mid-May madness, I can recapture my blogging pace.
I miss my Bengal cat, Tango, a lot. It's been nine months since he passed away. When I launched Sky Tango Freelance, the intent was to honor Tango by naming my company after him. Eventually, I would like to hire other freelancers, so I didn't want a company that was named after me.
I've redone the font scheme of my personal website because it's no longer a site about my trip to Uganda, but the marriage of my personal website with a blog that grew into my personal blog. I chose Weebly as my website builder because it impressed me with its range and usability of options, including full html editing and integration. I know it's not as popular as Wordpress, but I'm finding it a lot more intuitive. The goal is to develop regular content, and I can't do that if every little thing is a hassle.
Likewise, Weebly has some SEO advantages over Wordpress sites because it has native SEO integration and is doing a fair job with best practices without me having to do anything. I've set up Google Analytics to track the site with more tools than what my Weebly account gives me, and I'm hoping that good things will come as I continue to update the blog and site.
However, there's one final step that I haven't taken: updating my site's icon so that it no longer shows as the dorky blue W that Weebly has by default. I've commissioned someone to make an icon that fits what I've always envisioned: Tango's distinctive head markings in black and white. I hope to unveil this icon soon!
Please let me know how I'm doing with readability, ease of finding posts, site design, and social media updates to posts.
Last week, I streamlined my web presence, uniting this blog with my personal website. Because of domain host migration, my webpage and blog redirected to a blank page--completely beyond my control. I took the time as a needed rest period, and contemplated how I've learned so much in the past five years about the web, writing content, and making a successful page/blog.
I started out with a Wordpress/Godaddy site in 2010, the first time I knew I needed a personal webpage about me. I resolved to be a whole person rather than keeping some aspects of my life private. But, Wordpress wasn't as intuitive to me as it was marketed to be, and so I stopped updated and maintaining.
Once I knew that I would need a webpage, I rehabilitated my site, discovering Godaddy's native website builder application, and bought mariaspicone.com. I decided against having a blog, thinking that I would build one later if I wanted one. I tried to keep my page updated enough that people wouldn't see a dead, defunct, static site that never changed. However, there were long periods of silence.
One of the most useful processes that helps me in keeping my page updated is whether I think more people will be coming to it--that is, when I submit applications for grants, residencies, and the like, or when I query for publication. But I still struggled with the idea that a web page is like a portrait without a changing expression.
On the other hand, blogging has always been a process of fits and starts. I created a volunteer blog for my 2014 Cambodia trip, intending to blog my experience. However, the internet in Cambodia was sketchy, and I was tired and sick enough that I never finished blogging during the trip, and was too embarrassed to continue afterwards.
Likewise, I created a separate webpage and hub for my Uganda trip, Maria in Uganda, which since has morphed into this blog. (The earliest entries deal with Uganda). I did intend to talk about my experience while in country and afterwards. Again, the internet was unreliable, and I wrote copious longhand notes about my experiences, which I still want to present to you. However, some parts of the Uganda trip required an honesty that I felt I couldn't share without alienating my fellow YPs, our YP coordinator, and our wonderful trip leader. But I felt I needed this space to start writing on a consistent basis, so I don't regret what it's become.
I've written blog posts as a freelancer and as a volunteer for other organizations, so it's not that I'm incapable of producing content or a more 'focused' experience. But in this day of hashtags, categories, and the like, what I really want to have is a space to be honest with you. I don't care about people who will read this 'only' because I am one thing or another, and those people can certainly filter out whatever they want. So for now, this blog will continue being about the whole person.
I'll keep doing it until I do it right.