A very happy 2018 to all my readers
A brand new look for One Man & His Blog.
14 years under the blog.
Commonplace Reading is a new e-mail newsletter offering a selection of curated weekend reads.
Over the last four years, journalism training has become a core part of how I make my living. Feedback on my course has always been very positive, and I have many repeat clients, happily. However, there’s always scope for more – especially with two growing daughters… 🙂
I’ve finally got around to building a page outlining the training courses that I’m offering right now.
Take a look. Let me know what you think. And if I can help you with consulting or training – just let me know.
Actually, that’s not quite true, but it makes a good opening line, so what the hell.
And the tweet looked like this:
One of my New Year “to-do”s – I don’t do resolutions – was to sort out and professionalise some aspects of my business. Now that it looks like I’m staying self-employed for the foreseeable future, I need to both upgrade my business admin (tax return done today!) and my online persona. For example, a set of pages on here describing the services I offer would be a good idea, wouldn’t they?
And I really, really wanted some decent headshots of myself. I’ve been shot by professionals twice, and I’ve not liked the results either time. The whole process was too “production line”. There was no attempt to express me. I was just corporate drone #1138. And that phase of my life is done.
I’ve been using what are, in essence, a succession of jumped-up selfies. But that couldn’t – shouldn’t – last. But I was a little stumped as to where to find the right photographer to get me some images.
Now, my friends over at Brilliant Noise had some excellent headshots done by lomokev in Brighton, which I’d always quietly envied. His work is great – but not quite what I wanted. And everyone else I saw was doing the standard corporate headshot.
So, basically, I took the easiest option. I procrastinated.
Mounting the stairs, in search of headshots
And then I saw Kristina’s tweet. She’s an ex-student; I did a few workshops with her and her cohort on their online presence. Her website blew me away – for someone who’d been seriously into photography for less than a year, her command of light and form was remarkable. £60 seemed like a reasonable gamble for some decent headshots. And, honestly, I was curious to see how her work had come along in the 9 months or so since I last saw her.
And so, last Monday I found myself climbing some narrow, offensively carpeted steps above a shop, a short walk from Clapham Junction station, to have my portrait made in a studio converted out of a kitchen/diner area. And, as I stared at a serious piece of glass, hearing about her commission to go to Sri Lanka, while desperately trying to remember to keep my chin down, I came to the conclusion I had made the right decision.
The results? They are… pleasing.
I’m busy rolling them out across my social presences – Facebook, Twitter, this site, Linkedin and Gravatar are done, and I’ll deal with others as I encounter them.
I’ve never really had a set of images I’ve been happy to send off for speaking gigs, or to go on course descriptions, or to accompany the occasion bits of writing elsewhere I do.
But now I do, and I’m very happy with them.
2015 is done, dust on the winds of history. But which of my posts grabbed people's attention during the year?
And if you’re thinking “hell, yes, sign me up!”, well, here’s the form:
It’s not been an easy move – and I’ll outline the process in another post – but it’s now complete, and this site is living on a new host, running new software in the background. And I’m excited to get blogging with the new setup.
Here’s why I moved.
Movable Type: big in Japan
Movable Type, contrary to popular belief, is not dead. It’s alive, well and still being developed by Six Apart – which is now a Japanese company. However, in the English-language world it’s largely being targeted at the corporate and professional market, with a price tag to match:
So, I’m not moving because it’s dead. But I am partially moving because I don’t want to pay more than £300 every couple of years for a new version of the software. The advantages MT offers don’t outweigh the price difference between free and £300.
The need to experiment
I’m also moving because my web host was getting more and more grumpy about me running it on their servers, and I came to the conclusion that if I was going to go to the bother of shifting hosts, I might as well shift platforms as well. Because, as alive as MT might be, it’s not well-supported. Try finding themes for it. Or new plugins. Or even other web services that support talking to its API. They’re becoming vanishingly rare.
Increasingly, being tied to MT was stopping me experimenting with new tools, and I don’t like that feeling. Part of the joy of blogging for me has always been in the experimental aspects of it – playing with new pieces of software, and figuring out how they might help me publish better. To keep that feeling, I needed to move on from the comfy familiarity of a blog platform I’d been using for over a decade.
Five years ago, much of my working life centered around MT. No more. I have no clients using it, and a whole bunch of them working on WordPress. I really need to understand it much more deeply than I do – which is why my most-used blog needs to be on it. If nothing else, that will force me to explore its quirks and advantages.
And I’m just one of many sites making the move.
My Ghost-ly future
That, incidentally, is why I’m on WordPress rather than the platform I suspect I’ll move to next – Ghost. Ghost is still very young, and needs some more development before I can switch. But I value this time getting to know WordPress, too.
So, there we are. New One Man & His Blog, living in WordPress and hosted on WPEngine.
What do you think?