New Directions – Re-purposing your Focus

Often we get lost in the myriad mess of information in our daily lives.  Starting out with one idea or intention often merges into another or grows wildly out of hand.  This is true whether it is a project, process, or direction in your life.  It’s a good practice to, when this occurs, stand back and re-assess.  Is your focus specific or general?  Have you gone off course and need to start over, or have you broadened your horizons and it’s time to branch off?

Whichever is true for you, I present the case of this blog, Dreaming in Shades, as an example for tackling a project gone awry!

In The Beginning

Dreaming in Shades, this eclectic blog of mine, has taken many directions over the course of its nearly 20 years of existence.  Its early inception was as the erstwhile journal of a fledgling freshman college student.  Before modern social media such as Facebook and Twitter, it served as a communication and update tool.  With the dawn of these “Micro blogs”, my personal blog began to feel neglected and without purpose.

Then, too, this blog has always been a catchall of my various interests.  Modern blogs take a more centralized viewpoint, with writers setting up individual blogs for each of their specific interest areas.  I’ve thought about doing this, and may yet do so for some areas, but have decided that Dreaming in Shades, as it is, remains as a powerful testimony of what the original weblogs and journals of the early 2000’s began as.  It stands as a representative of the wide-ranging reach of journaling in general.

Therefore, some much needed spring-cleaning and re-working became necessary to keep it viable.

A Fresh Start

Most recently, you may have noticed some intense restructuring.  I’ve taken the liberty of doing much needed house-cleaning: cleaned up old posts, made many personal ones private, and organized the rest into specific interest sections.

By doing so, I’ve created centralized, special interest sections that will be easier to promote individually.  This also makes it much, much easier to migrate if I do decide to set up separate journals for these concentration areas.

On the whole, it feels much more cohesive and professional now!

I started by looking over the bulk of posts and the topics I wrote about.  I found that Art, Coding, and Writings were the three largest topics I wrote about on average.  I prefer building my blogs on WordPress and chose to use Custom Post Types for each topic and shared taxonomies.  Sharing taxomies is a perfect, built-in method to cross-reference Custom Post Types.  For example: I have written this article and added it to the “Writing” CPT I created.  However, it is also a good reference for web blog development and structuring.  Therefore, by using shared taxonomies, it can be searched and shared under the Web Design and Coding category and the WordPress, Writing, and Coding tags.

If you are not comfortable coding your own, Custom Post Type UI is a great, fully extensible plugin.  I also made them archive searchable so that the categories could be linked separately.  I then linked them individually in the Navigation Menu at the top.

This promotes the feeling that each topic now has its own space and place.  If I want to link directly to a topic group, I simply give its category link.  If a reader cares for my art but not for my code topics, I can set it up so that they can subscribe to just the art posts.

Even in specialized blogs, having this as an option gives your readers variety and freedom in what they choose to read most.  This also give you the ability to discover what topics your readers want more of!

Building On Old Bones

Keeping the spirit and heart of the original idea for this blog was essential.  While the store-front trappings might change, keeping the core of its purpose was essential: a place to share, write, teach, and promote.  Re-assessing the core focus and purpose of a blog helps to bring a renewed drive to your writing, and inevitably, your readers.

Freedom At Last

Organizing takes away the stress of losing your work to a sea of irrelevant information.  Just like tidying up your home, tidying up your blog can be liberating.  Fall in love again with your creative outlet.  Don’t hesitate from creating that article you feel driven to write, but can’t find a place for it.

Write it.  Organize it.  File it.

And keep on going.

Final Words

After having re-focused on your original purpose, it will become much easier to see where else you can go.

Don’t let lack of space make you hesitate from writing or creating what you desire to express.


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