On Writing and Bloggery

Sometimes I have bonkers story ideas. And sometimes those bonkers ideas need to… germinate.

In July I had one of those ideas. It was a neat hook, but where does one go with it? I batted it around, I tried a couple of different angles, and earlier this week I figured out how to crack it.

I put a thousand words down on the story this morning and afternoon. I’m the worst judge of these things, but I feel that I’m over the halfway point. I reached a good stopping point. I’ll look at it again in the morning.

Then, I took a look at something I’d scribbled on the subway yesterday morning. Instead of reading VALIS, I sketched out a website design.

It’s not for me. Well, not exactly.

At work earlier in the week one of my coworkers said, “How would you feel about picking up a blog for work?” It was a throwaway thought, a “What if we did this?” sort of thing, and I filed the thought away in the back of my mind.

What occurred to me Thursday night on the commute home was the idea was good, but not a great idea. I mean, it had potential, but blogging on its own — particularly the suggested topic — wouldn’t actually draw anyone. There are people already blogging that particular topid — and doing it better than I probably could, to be honest.

What I came up with, on that subway ride home, was how to make the idea great.

I wrote down the three things that I felt a potential work blog should accomplish:

  1. It has to promote the business.
  2. It has to promote the business’ partners.
  3. It has to serve as a portal — draw readers in, and then offer them routes of entry into the corporate website.

In short, it shouldn’t exist simply for the sake of existing.

What I realized was that a traditional blog structure wouldn’t work for this. This was more of a content-management project with the trappings of a blog. More like a magazine, less like a blog. But still with blog-like features.

Friday morning, I sketched out on the subway a design. I liked it. It had featured articles. It had subarticles. It was divided up in an easy-to-understand fashion.

This afternoon, with the words down on the short story, I decided to switch gears and work on this project some more.

I found a free CSS template that was almost what I wanted. I spent some time reworking the HTML the template worked with to give me something closer to what I had sketched out. I’d sketched out four columns at the bottom. This had three columns at the bottom. I was okay with the three columns.

Then, when I was mostly happy, I began turning this HTML/CSS template combo into a WordPress theme.

It’s mostly finished. I have still to write the page.php file, and then I’ll upload it to my server and see if it works. I think it will. I’m feeling confident.

It’s a tech demo. Proof of concept. Other buzzwords, too.

And then we’ll see if my idea works. 🙂

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