Disordered Personality Blog Picks a New Theme: Branding be Damned

Diamond scinilation

My husband calls me his, “Multi-faceted, sparkling diamond.”

He’s nice that way.  What he really means to say is, “You’re scattered all over the map, but I think you’re beautiful, and I love you anyway.”

He would also say, “You’re putting words in my mouth.”  And I am. I like to think I am loved, and I like to think I am beautiful, in my own way, and I am certain that I am, but I am also definitely scattered all over the map.

Although I have a dozen hobbies, my home is neat and orderly. Order gives me some sense of peace, tranquility and serenity.  I keep all of my stuff organized.

Despite the fact that everything in my home has a place that it lives, because I like to find stuff where I put it, where it lives, when I need it, I don’t have that many obsessions/compulsions.  My writing; however, is an obsession.

In an effort to get my writing better organized and less scattered, I cleaned off my desk, and invested in Scrivener.  I learned how to use it, and am keeping some of my writing a bit better organized.  I also have notes that I keep on my computer in nice neat folders for reference. Yet, my desk continues to get cluttered with notebooks and papers where I jot down words and phrases as they come to me.  It looks disorganized, and it drives me nuts.

My blog was driving me nuts, as well.  “Nuts” is a relative term. I make no secret of the fact that I have bipolar disorder. Yes, I am medicated.  But just like the alcoholic has certain personality traits that don’t disappear just because they stop drinking, I have little waves of ups and downs.  I also have anxiety disorder, which makes my level of tolerance low.  I don’t tolerate a lot of noise or chaos very well. I used to tolerate a lot more when I was working full time outside of the home, and had children living at home.  Now, I have become emotionally quieter.

To the best of my knowledge, my psychiatrist hasn’t attached the label of personality disorder on me, yet.  I am feeling; however, that it is only a matter of time.  I seem to be developing multi-personality disorder.

I decided I did not like the look of my blog. I had to make a sweeping and dramatic change. It was more than just the black background and the nighttime header image.  Those attributes were depressing me.  It was beginning to bore me. The style wasn’t comfortable anymore.  I have only been blogging since about April of this year, and this is my third theme.  It is like a wardrobe that seems to have to change with the seasons.  I have become attached to flip-flops, elastic waistband pants, and bangs…whether these are stylish, or not, they are comfortable.   I am trying to find a blog theme that fits me, and is comfortable.  This is a list of what I wanted in a theme.

  •  I wanted something unique and personalized (because I am eccentric that way…in a good way, of course).
  •  I wanted something aesthetically appealing (I want you to enjoy the view).
  •  I wanted something less busy (too much stuff seemed to clutter things up and make it seem like a commercial, so all of the busy, commercial type stuff is at the bottom…less intrusive).
  •  I wanted something that gave the reader options in reading format (so you have a layout button that you can switch from panels to a chronological list in the way you choose to view).
  •  I wanted something that gave the reader a sense of respite from the loud and busy blog.  I know that a lot of that is to make a statement on purpose, to acquire the reader’s attention to specific features, to promote things like  books or products, and that is okay.  For my own blog, though, it was getting under my skin.
  •  I wanted it to be user friendly, and it is, but you do have to know where to look, all the blog stuff is still here, it is just at the bottom.
  •  I wanted my author name to be primary rather than my blog title.  So I made my old blog title the subtitle instead.
  •  I wanted a blog that showed panels or lists of posts on the home page, rather than having to scroll through a whole barrage of material to get to the next posts.  I also like that each post on this theme has a forward and backward arrow so that you can easily view what was posted before or since the post you are looking at.

I know that there are other authors out there that may feel that I am making a terrible marketing mistake by not having my book image immediately viewed.  That’s okay.  Truth is, as it says on my “About” page, I created this blog as a social experience to get to know both readers and writers, not to sell books.

I authored a book.  I will continue to make promotional posts about that book, but since I am not promoting a series, I felt that mentioning it was enough.  That’s just my opinion.  If I ever wrote a series, or had chosen a specific writing genre already, I would probably have a more dedicated blog. I know branding is a big thing.  I know I am probably doing it all wrong, this marketing/branding thing.  I won’t have my author image, my blog image, my book cover image, and my photograph all instantly recognized by my viewers, at least not right away.  Maybe I am just harder to get to know than that.

Maybe I am still the misunderstood foster child, wandering from home to home.  Fact is, I moved more than twenty times in my first twenty years of life, and I am still moving, discontent to settle. Point is, I am not a niche blogger, and it’s not all about my book.  It’s an everything blog, where I post stuff so I won’t forget it as my memory fails me. It’s a blog that I hope you will find moderately entertaining enough to keep coming back.  Truth is, though I can appreciate the work effort you have all put into your blogs and themes, the reason I keep coming back is because I appreciate your content.

Enough said about that!

Now, the complaints:

This theme has its own oddities that I am going to have to get accustomed to if I am going to live here a while.  I apologize in advance if these annoy you.  There are already a few things that annoy me.  Things that I did not realize until I had already gone through the work effort to change themes.

  • There are no dates.  This is something that is already complicating my life as I have to go into the dashboard just to find a post by its date and my readers don’t have that option.  You can only see 2 hours ago, one day ago, two weeks ago…and I don’t like that. A serious minus.
  • While it offers both my menu and some categories in the header, it limits the categories and I cannot figure how it decided which categories to choose.  I don’t like not having control over that.  Unless the reader goes to the bottom to see “Things I write about” you don’t have immediate access to all the other stuff I write about that is not in the randomly selected categories that are at the top, or in the menu.
  • The bottom gets weird sometimes and doesn’t load properly, leaving words over words and words over pictures.  That pisses me off.
  • Because of the excessive graphics, it may take readers, especially those with slower internet services, longer to load the page.  That pisses me off.
  • Actually, anything that seems to complicate things for my readers is going to piss me off.
  • On my iPad, the site appears different in a major way, and I am wondering if it is on your laptops.  Maybe you can help me with this? Since I sold my laptop I have no way to test it. On my PC the header is large enough to show the entire seashore scene that is also my background image.  I love it.  But on my iPad, it only shows the top part, a bit of the orange sky like it does when you click on a post, or go from mail to a post.  It does this even if you click “all” or refresh the homepage by clicking on the title (my name).
  • Also, on the iPad, the comments are posted on an orangey-pinkish solid color (chosen by little green men that live inside of my computer, not me) instead of the beautiful translucent sheet that scrolls the ocean backdrop that I see on my PC.

So there are a few positives that outweighed the negatives about this theme.  If my undiagnosed personality disorder becomes more pronounced, or the negatives begin to outweigh the positives, you may see me change themes again, such is the beauty of blogging.  Sometimes, it is true, I think too deeply on things.

So, tell me what you think.  Is it a refreshing change?  Is this theme too complicated and less user friendly with the feature items at the bottom?  Now that so much is read through the reader and not on the actual page, does it really matter to you as a reader what the theme looks like as long as the content is interesting to you?  If you got this far, am I boring you to tears with this long expose on how I went about making up my strange and complex mind?

47 thoughts on “Disordered Personality Blog Picks a New Theme: Branding be Damned

    • I hear you, really I do. With my old blog, I was starting to feel like the book cover image was a billboard on a city roadside. I know it’s not going to be the first thing you see when you click on my blog page. The whole mental association of the branding process is disrupted, making it less likely to connect the author with the book. That’s okay for now. I’m on Sabbatical Leave.

  1. If you don’t feel comfortable, you aren’t going to be happy… so if you are happier with the new look, then we all get the benefit of reading what you have enjoyed posting… seems like a good deal to me 🙂

  2. You put your latest writing as the priority and I like that. Takes me awhile to get used to changes sometimes, but I do like it. I love the large font. I admire your strength of character:>)

  3. 1) anything with ocean is okay with me. Plus the colors are calm
    2) I get bored easily and change the look of my blog from time to time. This weekend might be the time
    3) I visit and re-visit blogs based on content, my interaction with people. Not what it looks like
    4) You make me smile 💙

    • hahaha! It was all worth it, if only to make you smile. I have moments of insanity. Sometimes they are fleeting and sometimes they are prolonged. If Bradley can’t help me with CSS to get 1) dates, and, 2) more categories at the top, it may be a fleeting moment. Greg said a few things 1) It looks bland and lonely 2) My book cover image and my photo appear to be under water…had not thought of it in that way. Also, I am annoyed that the left right arrows only work well on the homepage. They choose random articles if you are in categories. I don’t know….trade offs.

    • Yay! That’s what I was going for. Also, I felt like my book image was a billboard on a dark city street and I didn’t like that. I know I need to promote my writing, and I need to release more of it to public scrutiny. I’ll get there, eventually. But I don’t want my blog to scream “Buy My Book! Maybe I’ll change my mind later. I have sold 110 books since April of this year when it was published. Probably 10 of them were sold because of this blog. (60 were most likely bought by family and friends.) About 40 came from doing serious time consuming marketing in my community. Most of my reviews (14 of them) came from people I gave free copies to. I don’t think I have but one review from a lady I know in GA and one review from a lady in Texas. I only have three or four reviews from people I don’t know. They are all good, but I think becoming better known as an author will come way down the road after I hone my skills and write a series or a couple of books with sequels. Don’t know yet. At any rate, I will most likely have a dedicated blog for something like that. Something that looks more like a website and less like a blog.

      • Those are brilliant sales figures to me! I totally agree with you about becoming better known. I follow Hugh Howey – love that guy – and he’s always saying that he never even considered trying to sell a book until he’d written a couple. It makes sense to me. You read bios of people like Stephen King, and he had so many book failures before he made it. Maybe because we can publish without going through all the rejections first, we feel that it’s expected of us to be instant successes. I like your style. I never had a book on my blog page before, but I finally figured out how to use the image widget after trying for 6 months, and now I can’t stop myself. Your site is tempting me to go soothing now.

        • I think what you said about the ease of publishing is so very true. I am writing a post right now about my paperback that speaks on that topic, among other things. I understand the whole branding thing and promoting your book is your responsibility, but promoting your writing is also an important approach for a new author. I may go back to the more visible book image display at some point. I am just experimenting because I can. We shall see how this goes.

  4. I love it. I was confused about what you meant until I clicked on your name above–then the page with the ocean came up. It seems very well organized and “user friendly.” I’m impressed. I can barely mange to post something, much less change my whole blog. 😉

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