Writing In Public: Day 20

Saturday, February 20: Clearing the deck

Today I did the work to migrate the presentation of my books to the MyBookTable plugin. I thought it would be the work of an hour. I was way off.

Business: The Big Migration

The actual practice of presenting a collection of books is more complicated than it seems like it might be. Each book has its own metadata such as price, publication date, retailers, and so one, and for the most polished appearance these should be presented the same for each work. Each book also is related to others in a body of work, part of the same series, or on the same topic, for instance, and an ideal presentation should reflect a books place in the body of work, maybe with links to related works.

Tracking a book’s metadata is not difficult, but uniformly tracking the metadata of all books in a collection can be. Turning metadata into a presentation page for a book is not overly difficult, but if it is done manually, a growing collection is a growing burden. Maintaining interconnected links, however, is much work for even a small collection, and for a large collection it is a real burden.

The metadata for my books has long been kept in each work’s source file. Recently I have used Emacs lisp to turn that metadata into consistent presentation. However, as the collection grows and the presentation tries to be more inclusive, developing and maintaining the lisp code takes more and more time that would be better spent producing content.

Adopting the MyBookTable plugin for the presentation of my books will present my work in a more professional manner while freeing me to produce more works. On Saturday, both the improvement in presentation and the reduction in my own overhead seemed so great that it was worth interrupting progress to make the transition.

I thought that the migration would only take an hour or two. As always, however, some challenges came up (mostly with inconsistencies in my own records, further evidencing the need for the transition), and it wound up taking six or eight hours.

The result, however, is my best site ever. Ever. It is gorgeous and efficient and I can’t wait to get more and more projects done to put on display there. I have been privately worried that the super-secret projects I’m working on would be less successful than they could be (or flop altogether) because of the state of my website. Today that fear is obliterated. I can’t wait to get them complete and into this system.

Or, to quote a line from a classic movie, “Get ready for greatness, Lloyd.”

Writing: Spring Rains

The business and personal items of the day completely filled my schedule, left me exhausted, and completely shoved Spring Rains out of the picture. Normally I would lament that fact, but not today. My work today has put me in such a stronger position that it was worth the intrusion. After some rest, I’m champing at the bit to get Spring Rains done and out.

Total for the day:

  • Fiction words today: 0
  • Weblog words today: 600

I am so excited for what comes next.

I am also aware that my plans at the beginning of the week included lots of writing and none of this work. I hope this isn’t just a way of procrastination. It feels like jumping on an opportunity to make an improvement more than worth the interruption in my work, but I have to admit that it is possible that I’m just tricking myself.