Using Blogger in Beta

Writer Way was created using the new version of Blogger, which seems to be known simply as Blogger in Beta. (You’d think it would be called something like “Blogger 2.0 in Beta,” wouldn’t you?)

Starting from scratch using Blogger in Beta is quite smooth. (It’s similar to setting up a lens in Squidoo.) Posting entries to your blog is pretty much the same as in the previous version, except you can now add labels (which appear to be Blogger’s version of Technorati’s tags). The big leap forward is the easy-to-customize pre-coded blocks for all the sidebar stuff — links, lists, archives. You select and customize blocks which can then be arranged in the order you want. The pop-up for previewing your sidebar work before saving and publishing is handy.

BTW, It’s possible to transition an existing Blogger blog to the beta system with relatively few glitches — I moved another blog, which features quite a bit of third-party HTML in the sidebar, and encountered only one, easily fixable, glitch.

Welcome to Writer Way

After three years of writing a personal rant-n-rave lifestyle blog and two years of “ghost blogging” for corporate clients, I decided it was time to create a blog for my professional life.

And just what is my professional life?

To paraphrase Mark Morris, “I’m a writer; I write!”

I sold my first article (to a New Haven alternative weekly) at 21, and have made my living as a writer since then. My BA is in psychology, but in my mid-20s I took the year-long Master’s program at the Columbia Journalism School. Since then I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, freelance travel writer, communications director, desktop publisher, developmental editor, communications consultant, newsletter editor, magazine managing editor, book reviewer, web content writer, and website managing editor. I currently write for a search engine optimization marketing company and edit ebooks for an online publishing house.

So, this blog will be about writing and editing, right?

Not exactly. It’ll be about being a professional writer/editor. As Mark Lewis of Painter Creativity points out, being great at what you do is only 25 percent of the creative person’s equation. The other 75 percent is about honing and applying business skills such as self-discipline, financial management, marketing, organization, decision-making, client communication, ethics, and common sense.

It was Lewis’ post “Top 10 Lies Told to Naive Artists and Designers” and his advice on protecting yourself from the liars that inspired me to start blogging about the writing life. This blog is where I’ll write about what’s working for me, what I’m struggling with, and the tools I discover along the way. I’ll get to say some of the things I want to say (but don’t) when newbies in my business networking group start chanting their blue-sky mantras, like the one about how you must bend over backwards to please prospective clients, no matter how flaky and unreasonable those clients are.

I’m hoping that wisdom such as Lewis’ (no doubt hard won) can save us all some pain; I’ll be posting more such stories, tips, and reviews as Writer Way evolves.

(Thanks to excellent writing blog Finding the Right Words for pointing out Lewis’ site.)

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