Monthly Archives: July 2008

To the Website! Chapter One

Susan Elena is quite a woman! I am a person of somewhat fixed ideas, and she has proved herself expert at dynamiting them. For example, I would have spent months angst-ridden over exactly WHEN to launch the website – but she simply went ahead and did it in mid May. I had no intention of posting anything else on this blog page until September – but, quailing under her humorously withering look when I said I’d post an article for practice then take it off, I have as you can see simply left it on….

The intention in posting To the website! Chapter One is very simple : to encourage all writers to GET A WEBSITE ! I hope this encourages you, wherever you are….

” Much of 2007 was taken up in reflecting on a challenging topic: should I become more computer literate – a writer with a website – or sink slowly to the bottom of an ageing and increasingly befuddled slime of computer-refusing baby-boomers?

Befuddled slime did not appeal, and my old second hand laptop was throwing minor but alarming wobblers. Then the decision was sealed late January 2008 by a visit to the Women Writers Network website, an excellent organisation of which I am a member. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Only four members of the network had sites listed then.(2009 update: sadly, Women Writers Network is no more….)

Researching writers’ websites glaringly exposed the limitations of my dial-up. Its slowness made it impossible to access many sites. Something else became very clear. Having a website meant investing in a new computer and some form of broadband. I could access broadband and WiFi from home. But my office building has no WiFi and my office – being a place to hide – has no phone line. Next conclusion: I needed mobile broadband.

Three things became evident from my restricted and patchy research. First, it is mad to be a writer, especially if like me you will shortly have a book to promote, and not have a website. Second, you need to decide on a focus: author-focused, book-focused, or issue-focused. Third, if you are not technically-minded, you need to find an anorak, preferably under thirty, who won’t charge you the earth, will set up the site competently, and steer you patiently through the whole process.

I found my anorak, a can-do, competent young woman of twenty-eight : Susan Elena. Then I hit the wall, waking up at 3 am with acute anxiety. The prospect of what lay ahead felt overwhelmingly daunting. My state of retreat and paralysis lasted much of March.

However, early in April the paralysis broke with a simple decision. I would set aside website building meantime, to concentrate first on acquiring the new computer and going on mobile broadband. The very next afternoon I was able to go into my office – where, incidentally, the building, being tarted up to enable a public enquiry, was crawling with noisy workmen – and get down on paper my website requirements and sample home page. I had been putting off this task for weeks.

On Monday 14 April I had a one-hour shopping appointment to discuss my requirements with one of the staff at the AppleMac store in central Glasgow – Justin. He was great. Tuesday saw me buy a new MacBook, taking out a three-year aftercare plan which a friend described as “the best value on the planet”. He was right. The support I had initially could not have been better. Further visits on Wednesday and Friday ironed out some initial teething problems. On Friday morning, I returned to the store with a mobile broadband package, which Justin installed in a mere fifteen minutes.

At 3pm on Friday 18th April, I sat in my office and stuck the mobile broadband dongle into my new Mac. I am now connected – watch this space! “

600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2008
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Chapter Two of To the website! will appear when the site is ready to go live officially….ie in September 2008

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