[Sketches for “Stages”, longhand, February 2016]
Behind the scenes, I have organized a few changes on the blog in recent weeks.
Those of you who do not use an ad blocker may have seen that the ads have disappeared. Since I do have a job at the moment, I figured I could switch to a paid plan for the blog and finally kick the ads to the curb. This may change again when my current contract runs out come 2020, but for now, the ads are gone.
The upgrade also comes with the option to change the domain (take out the ‘wordpress’, basically), but I have decided against it for now, to not break links.
Those of you who access this site via a feedreader will have noticed that I un-truncated my feed, for easier reading . I am not entirely comfortable with it, but have decided to go through with it for now.
I have always used the truncate function (where you only get a blurb sent to your inbox, but need to stop by the blog for the full post) because I do write a lot of long posts. Also because I write a lot personal posts that I do not want sent out in an automated manner. And because I don’t want my fiction updates to automatically go out there in complete chapters in an invitation to bots and the shady alike to take a hold of it.
The truncation has always been a way of getting a better impression of who and how many people are actually reading what I write, and what readers are looking for when they come here – I see the numbers of hits a post gets, and I see in my stats what countries visitors arrive from (though not to what page).
Those who have manually subscribed to RSS, I don’t see either way; and those who use the official subscribe function don’t show up, either. But since one can work around a truncate function anyway, I decided to stop using it.
Linked to this is the next point: the blog feed will inform you about story updates. Every time there is a new chapter, there will be a post on it with a link. The actual story updates, however, will not be part of the feed; I will continue to post them as ‘pages’ – format a with a different, broader layout that offers more reading comfort (“Stages” is already published in this format).
On the issue of writing itself: This past weekend, I have sent the first pages of chapter 16 of “Stages” to the Duchess, and will hopefully be able to continue as I juggle my class load, research, and assorted (new) administrative duties.
It has been a couple of years already since I took my novels (“Campus”, “Jungle Fever”, “Small Steps”) offline to edit them for publication. It is a project I have never quite given up on, although I simply do not find the time to do any editing work at the moment. The little time I have usually goes into writing new stories (currently, “Stages”).
Various times, I have thought about simply putting the stories back online as they are, to make them available and let people enjoy them if they wish to do so. But as long as I continue to live on precarious fixed-term contracts, those novels and the work that went into them are still material for a Plan B of focusing on fiction writing. So the deal with myself is this: if I make tenure, be it as Associate or a Chair, I will celebrate by putting the original novels drafts back online. If I don’t make tenure, my next unemployment spell will see me editing.