In a couple of months, I’ll be launching a new steampunk romance series. This excites me on a million different levels, but one of the reasons is that I’ll be updating my website to reflect both of my ongoing series (and because I don’t love love my current design). And this is the point where a lot of authors would start looking around at web designers, deciding whose work would best fit the vision of their site. I look around, yes. But when it comes to hiring?
I just can’t do it.
Now, I’m a ridiculously laid-back person. So imagine my surprise when I began this writing gig, and I found out that I had this new control freak raging inside me*. Not only do I have to control the content (which anyone with a WordPress site can do — Thank you, WordPress) but I have to be able to tweak and mess with the look any time I want to. The same is true for my promo items like bookmarks; even knowing that someone with more skill could make them prettier, I just can’t let them go out.
Not that this is all bad. I’ve had to learn to use Photoshop and manipulate CSS and HTML. I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I can get by (and the zillion tutorials and guides on the internet help a lot.) When I take breaks from writing, very often I’m looking through stock photos or tutorials, checking out other websites and promo item designs, figuring out how to make mine better. My idea of a fun lunch is checking e-mail, checking Twitter, and then playing with bookmark designs — and in the five years since I’ve started doing this, every site redesign and promo item has an improved design (and function) over the last. So that’s good.
Recognizing my limitations is not so awesome. For example, today I came across an awesome piece of artwork that had the feel I really want for the site, even if the subject wouldn’t fit. In my head, I’ve already combined elements with a really fantastic piece of steampunky jewelry that Jill sent to me this winter. But I don’t have the skills yet to put it all together.
And so I began to seriously, seriously, seriously consider finding someone to send a couple of JPEGs to, and say: Plz make something amazing for me? kthx.
Yeah, that impulse lasted for all of five minutes, and then I began Googling tutorials. So Photoshop, CSS and I are going to become even closer friends over the next several months of lunches.
*Before I began writing, I used to have a different inner control freak, which was budgeting, projecting expenses, and tracking my bank balances. I had monthly and yearly spreadsheets and crap with all kinds of crazy formulas. I made myself stop, because I can only have one control freak inside me at a time. I think there might have been a cage match to the death between Website Freak and Spreadsheet Freak, and the Website Freak won. Either that or the writing gig combined with quitting the day job just made the Spreadsheet Freak retreat in denial and despair.
Your inner control freak — do you have one? Have you had control freak cage matches? TWO FREAKS ENTER. ONE FREAK LEAVES.
I’d totally watch that.
Artwork: Conception by Myke Amend, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.