The Stress of Coding

Recently I’ve become an ARC  reviewer for three authors. I’ve begun posting release blitzes and reviews on the authors’ time schedules and with their instructions. All have similar but different requirements. 

My humble, little blog isn’t fancy. I know how to write HTML code; I went to school for it. I just choose not to use it. Coding by hand is complicated and never easy so I opted out and use the “easy” way of posting. I chose the format that’s the least complicated. Coding is challenging, and it’s a headache. If one closing tag is missing or if there’s a typo in the code, things don’t display properly. And reading code is eye-crossing, often stressful and just tiring!

Most authors’ representatives send HTML code, and they send a word document with the text. The images are all separate attachments. I have yet been able to get the provided code to work right the first time. It should be a simple cut and paste process where I drop the code into my post and it should display properly. It doesn’t. There are either errors in the coding or an incompatibility with the theme or structure of my blog. 

One of the latest posts I did came in to me at the last minute and I didn’t have the time or the energy to create the post by hand. I elected to post the HTML as it came in. At 11:30 at night I was bleary-eyed and crawling through lines of code trying to fix missing tags. I was pleased I could still do it, but I felt as stressed as if I was back in school again, trying desperately to make a webpage work for a homework assignment. 

There has GOT to be a better way to do this. Perhaps it’s just because this is the first time around for me. Posting items created by others is surprisingly stressful, far worse than doing my own free form postings. Don’t get me wrong. I want to help other authors out. When I eventually get there myself, I want to know I can rely on the kindness of others spreading the word. I don’t mean to fuss over something I’ve volunteered to do, but Geez Louise, this stuff is nerve-wracking. 

I never thought my knowledge of HTML would be put to use promoting books for others. I always thought I’d create websites as a sideline and maybe supplement my income. I guess I should be glad I’m at least using the skill. My money wasn’t totally wasted!

Who knows? Maybe I’ll even get better at coding. 

Still Occupied

I have three weeks to go before I am done with school. I am still working hard on trying to put together the final project I need for graduation.

When I began this class, there was a fellow student who introduced herself by saying that this was her second time through the class.  She failed the first time because it was such a challenge.  There was also a male student who I have had classes with many times over the past three years.  He was posting along with everyone else when the class began, and then he started to fall behind. His posts got later and later.  He disappeared sometime during the killer week that was so difficult and so full of homework.  He is no longer participating in the discussions. I suspect he will be taking the class again next semester.  He will have to if he wants to graduate.

I am posting a “sketch” here of my very, very rough draft.  It’s a work in progress.  I have the logo drawn that I wanted to create.  I think I have my colors set – I haven’t used blue in any of my past projects so I thought I’d use it for the portfolio website.  I still have to figure out how to get the “windows” of my work to sit where they are supposed to on the screen.  They are supposed to sit in a grid or table-like structure.  There are eight of them on the main page. As you can see, they are all over the place.  I’m pleased that I got them all on there.  Now I just have to work to get them lined up properly.  From there, I have to create other pages.  When you click on each image, it will take you to another page of the website that will explain that project in greater detail.  I can also see that I’m missing the rounded edge of the border on the right hand side of my background which tells me my page is too wide.  I’ll have to fix that, too.  I have a lot of work in front of me.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!


Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

teach-old-dog-new-tricksWho says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? When I decided to go back to school, I initially picked a degree program that was fantastically dull and way too easy for me.  I had some interest in Medical Billing and Coding, but for some reason that program wasn’t offered in my area. I settled for the Medical Administrative Assistant program. I was on the verge of a layoff at work so I figured maybe I could work in a Doctor’s office somewhere.

I took two classes, and I realized it just wasn’t for me.  It was stupefyingly dull, and it was a waste of my time and intelligence – especially if I wasn’t excited about using the knowledge I was receiving.

interactive_media_pngIt didn’t take me long to ask to change my degree program.   I selected Interactive Media Design.  I wanted a challenge.  I also wanted to be able to use my creative skills – something I had longed for.  As a kid, I dreamed of being an artist, but I wasn’t quite good enough to follow that dream through.

I settled into learning about web development and web design.  There is so much to learn.  Learning coding and HTML is really like learning another language. I won’t kid you.  It hasn’t been easy.  Who knew that the code in the image below (along with a separate stylesheet file) …


… would display a page that looks like this?


I’m still learning so obviously it still could use improvement. It’s a difficult process, and I think the purpose of the INMD degree program is to give you a little taste of each Adobe Creative Suite program and other freeware programs.  You learn a little, but you are by no means a master of anything.  That comes with time, practice and experience.

Along the way I have been pushed past my comfort levels in a lot of different areas (and I don’t just mean in the public speaking class!).  I have felt incredibly stupid more than once.  I also have shouted with jubilation when I FINALLY figured out a piece of coding, and the website worked.  I have had some fantastic teachers who have taught, prodded and supported me when necessary.  Their love of teaching and sharing their knowledge has been obvious, and I have learned so much from them.

They have re-awakened my desire to learn.  This “old dog” is far from finished learning new tricks.