WordPress Help for Thanet’s Writers

By Othmanhlallouch (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Most of our competition participants have chosen WordPress.com to host their entries; a good idea I think. Here is a collection of, what I hope are, helpful resources.

However far along the path of learning about publishing your own content online, I hope this post can prove useful.

Getting fully setup on WordPress.com

Set Up Your Blog in Five Steps is a WordPress guide to the five steps that you will probably want to follow to get fully set up.

While most of you will have done at least four of those steps it might be worth looking at the section on widgets. Widgets are those elements that allow you to show custom text, links, social integration and other features.

The basics of WordPress.com

My problem is that, for me, it is all the basics. I’ve been blogging and doing web things for over thirteen years. Try as I might it is very hard for me to imagine myself as a person just getting started.

That’s why I’ve taken the time to find other people’s posts and videos that do a better job than I might.

As far as general overview videos go this one is pretty good.

How to use the make and edit blog posts

Blog posts (sometimes called blogs by people) and pages seem very similar on WordPress. Blog posts are the things you will post most often. Skip on down a bit if you want to learn about pages.

I watched a lot of how to videos on to make this post for you. This was the best video about creating blog posts on WordPress.com that I could find.

That said I strongly disagree with one of the things that she says in this WordPress video. Blockquote is not for making a paragraph “stand out”. It does do that but blockquote is a semantic tag which means that it means something when you use it; it means that you are quoting someone else.

I would also add that although you have a lot of formatting options the best thing to do is use them sparingly. Inline formats are like exclamation marks – they are most powerful when they are rare.

WordPress Pages: What are they?

So you want to know about pages on WordPress? Great, keep reading.

Pages are a great way to add sections to your site that do not change very often. You WordPress.com blog comes with a few already.

We here at Thanet Creative Writers have used pages for the many different types of forms that we have. Forms for reporting problems, forms for asking questions, forms for asking to join the Thanet Creative Writers charity, and so forth.

There is a page which carries our list of projects and another for the blog listing.

You get the idea.

Typical uses of a page on a writer’s blog might be:

  • About the author
  • For books they have published
  • Press coverage and positive mentions
  • Images and useful information for the press to use
  • Upcoming appearances and book signings
  • A booking form
  • Upcoming releases

Embedding a video in WordPress.com

If you search, you will find a lot of advice on how to embed a video in your post. They are almost all wrong!

The reason that most advice is wrong is that the self hosted WordPress and premium WordPress differ significantly from the free hosting WordPress.

The way to embed a video from YouTube that works with a free WordPress.com account is to copy the address (aka URL) of the video from the title bar of your browser.

If you look up, right now, you should see a thin box at the top which starts “https://thanetcreativewriters.wordpress.com/” that text is the address of the page.

Paste the YouTube address, which begins “https://www.youtube.com/” on a line all by itself. When you publish (or save and preview) there will be a video there. Not just any video but the one you were just looking at on youtube.

I spend hours figuring that out and got very frustrated. I hope that tip saves you some tears.

WordPress Projects

This is a slightly more advanced part of WordPress. The chances are, you will not want to play with this yet. But if you do this is something you may find useful.

If this section is not for you, skip it.

Before you try WordPress Projects

Projects are best saved for when you have at least one book or article accepted by a publication.

That said, it never hurts to play with things.

If you feel ready to start

First dive into your settings and have a good look round. You will find that you can enable projects. I’ve deliberately not told you where because you will should have enough confidence in your own ability to find it by yourself if you are going to do this.

Now you will have a projects option under pages (which is under posts). Click add and add a project. Notice how much it is like adding a page or a post.

Use your projects to add your published books and stories. One per project.

Now create a page and use the shortcode (I did say this was advanced) to create a projects listing page. Now you have a page of your books (or whatever) that you can add new items to whenever you wish.

More advanced uses would be to set categories for books, short story and anthology, and speaking engagements. You could create a page for each one and show only that category on the page by editing the short code.

Over to you

I hope that something in this post was helpful. There is a lot more that I could explain about using WordPress.com but this blog, as a whole, was never meant to be the WordPress fan club and at some point you will want to get back to writing.

  • What tips or hints might you add?
  • What is your advice to WordPress using writers?
  • How have you been getting on with your blog?
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Thanet literary connections

The Isle of Thanet has a rich history of literary connections. Which is marketing speak for lots of interesting writers have been connected with Thanet.

This list of Thanet’s writers and literary connections has been superseded by a better list on our new list.

In addition to the lively and varied Thanet literary scene that make up the community of writers and poets in Thanet, there have been a good many famous writers from the area.

  • Jefferson Hack, (born 20 June 1971), publisher, journalist and model, lived for many of his childhood and teenage years at Beach Grove, Cliffsend, near Ramsgate.
  • Karl Marx (1818–1883) is known to have stayed in Ramsgate some nine times. As did his comrade Friedrich Engels. His eldest daughter Jenny Longuet Marx (1844–1883) lived for a period at 6 Artillery Road.
  • John Buchan (1875–1940) was rumoured to have based his thriller The Thirty Nine Steps on the set of steps on the beach at North Foreland, Broadstairs, where he was recuperating from a duodenal ulcer in 1915.
  • Brian Degas, author, writer and creator of the TV Series Colditz, lives in Broadstairs.
  • Charles Dickens, novelist, had a holiday home in Broadstairs, where he wrote David Copperfield. For a period he owned Fort House on a promontory above the town, where he wrote Bleak House, which the location is now called.
  • Frank Richards (pen name of Charles Harold St John Hamilton; 1875–1961), writer of the Billy Bunter novels, lived in Kingsgate, Broadstairs.
  • Stevie Smith, poet, spent several years on and off in a sanatorium near Broadstairs while suffering from tuberculous peritonitis as a child.
  • Iain Aitch is an English writer and journalist who was born in Margate. I’ve never met him but he seems like a decent chap.
  • T. S. Eliot, poet, wrote part of The Waste Land in Margate in 1922, whilst recuperating from nervous strain.
  • Matthew D Brown, writer and political activist is the founder of Thanet Creative.
  • Marty Feldman, comic writer and comedian, began his career aged 15 as part of a circus-style act at Dreamland (Margate).
  • Matthew Munson, author, lives and works in Thanet. Matthew Munson is a really nice bloke and you should buy him a coffee if you get the chance. His third book is coming out soon, so don’t miss it.

Are there any famous (or almost famous) writer that I have missed out? Tell me about them in the comments section below.

Let’s sort this out?

This is written in response to the constant stream of accusations, threats and outright lies that are being aimed at M. Brown, and therefore us as a group.

A bit of background; In 2013 an idea for a writers group (called Thanet Creative Writers) was thought up in M. Brown’s mind. He shared his idea with me and others joined. Thus leading to the first ever meeting in M. Brown’s home. The second happened in a cafe in Margate.

We had been running successfully for a long time and had around 30 members. We decided to start meeting at a local pub. A while after that a ‘certain person’ joined in 2015. The group grew considerably, the name was changed by a vote of members (to Thanet Writers) and a website was produced, by M. Brown and a couple of others with the know-how.

Then, for reasons I am not going to go into here as it’s not the reason for this article, myself and later M. Brown, were removed from the facebook group, and didn’t feel welcome at any meetings.

This leads to M. Brown returning to the original format, with the original name, ideas and most of the original members.

It now seems that a certain person, possibly a member of Thanet Writers (unrelated), is going around spouting lies and rumours about one of us that are nasty and unfounded.

We are being accused of everything from posting ‘nasty things’ about the ‘leader’ of theThanet Writers and its members & making accusations against the ‘leader’ and/or its members, to copyright infringement & fraud. We have no idea if this is all from one person without the knowledge of his members, or if this is him with others involved. We have no idea if these so called posts even exist.

We don’t know what we have done to these people to make them feel it’s necessary to barrage us with this, and we have asked them on numerous occasions to provide proof of what we are being accused of. Nobody has come forward to explain any of it. Instead, they hide behind their keyboard to write various nasty emails, ‘open letters’ and ‘To my accuser’ posts in public arenas to gain sympathy for something they say is happening to them but have yet to substantiate.

The relentless campaign against us is causing great stress that we could all do without.

It appears that this individual is trying (and succeeding in parts) to turn people against us, and it has resulted in them losing members, and us being ‘blacklisted’ or ‘banned’ from other groups and events.

This is wholeheartedly not what writing is about.

Thanet Writers have been getting their information from a third party (so they say) and that third party is the person who sent the posts in the first instance to the ‘leader’, and it seems that he or she are saying they were from us.

We would like to know who this third party is. We would also like to know where you are finding all of these alleged posts that you like to pass on while saying they are from us…

Let me try to explain better. In one of these ‘Open Letters’ it is stated, and I quote from the original letter;

Recently I was made aware by a third party that you have made numerous posts containing allegations, which combined with statements you have made towards or about me have lead me to write this open letter. Usually I would not publicly respond to such matters, but after being sent these posts it appears you are putting me in a position where I have to.

This particular ‘open letter’ (posted publicly) was the very first time that we had heard about any such posts, allegations or statements. It was quite confusing to even receive such a letter.

The following quote is the private emailed reply (from M.Brown) to the author of the quote above. It is taken from an email conversation, sent in December 2016, between the two main people involved in this… shite.

Look, clearly, there has been some shit-stirring going on. If it’s not come from me (I hate that crap), and if it’s not come from you (you say it’s not), then who the hell has it come from? Solve that, and we can both go back to doing more interesting things. I read your “open letter”. I found it sufficiently vague to leave me in the dark. I am not going to respond to it because I have no idea what I am responding to AND because I am not going to get into that kind of argument. I am very annoyed that I have to address this at all. I shall file this under “another crappy 2016 thing” and move on. If you could do likewise, that’d be good. This is not an invitation to reply. It’s just a heads up and a request that you deal with your stress in a way that does not include me. Thanks.

Well, this reply did not work. Quite obviously, due to the fact that we are still receiving (so called) ‘olive branches’ & ‘Open letters’ and things posted publically aimed at us. I can only assume, based on this conversation being sent via private email, that the aforementioned ‘third party’ is the one doing the stirring.

We cannot stress it enough; so listen up.

WE, AT THANET CREATIVE WRITER’S, HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.

To clear up some of the rumours;

  1. Contrary to the popular belief of others, none of us have ever posted anything at all detrimental to other writers, and we emphatically implore anyone who accuses us of doing so to provide us with evidence (in black and white) of what it is we are supposed to have done, and to prove it, beyond all reasonable doubt, that it came from us. If anything we publish makes you unhappy then tell us about it and we will do our best to make things better.
  2. Contrary to the popular belief of some people, Thanet Writers is not the original group, and we did not copy them, or ‘their’ name. We simply reverted back to the original name after the unpleasantness happened.
  3. We did not copy them in becoming a charity. This has been in the pipeline for a considerable amount of time. The ‘leader’ of Thanet Writers is aware of this as he was the one who suggested we wait until we became a bigger group.
  4. M. Brown, I. Adams, D. Clements, K. Peake, and H. Yasumi, A. Winder and myself (L. Winder) were, are and have always been the original founding members of Thanet Creative Writers. That is never going to change, no matter who tells you differently.

We are utterly sick to the back teeth of this rubbish. It is not something we started, it is not something we wish to carry on with and it is not what we, as writers, want to be dragged into on an almost daily basis. This shite will damage the local writing scene (as proven already) more than is necessary and not through any fault of our own.

We have sent a Peace Treaty message to one of Thanet Writer’s admin (H.F) asking if we can try to resolve this nonsense somehow, and we have not yet been answered. We decided to go down this route when it became quite obvious that the ‘particular person’ mentioned above is behind the detritus being aimed at us. We, after writing and sending it, received yet another ‘Open letter’. We then sent another message to the same admin asking if the peace treaty had been shown/read out to Thanet Writers. We are still waiting for a response.

Please, I implore you again, either provide us with these posts, statements and accusations you keep adhering too, or leave us alone.

Simply put, we have had enough. Put up, or shut up.

 

L. Winder, Lead Proof Reader at Thanet Creative Writers, Trustee and secretary of Thanet Creative Writers: Charity; and one of the original co-founders of the now named Thanet Writers.

All my unwept tears

All my unwept tears is a very short poem that I shared recently both in the Thanet Creative Writers group (via our page) and on my personal blog – Unwept Tears (a poem).

The poem, I had been told, was too short.

As I explained in my blog post, I could make it longer but I will not do that. This is because a poem should be as long as it needs to be but no longer. Poetry is the art of saying a great deal with as few words as possible. It’s a bit like Twitter, in that sense, but for expressing emotions and not necessarily limited to a character count (exceptions exist).

The wonderful thing about sharing with fellow writers is the constant flow of great feedback. For example, I was pointed to a publication specialising in short poems. It was really good.

Sometimes, just sharing what you have is the most productive you can be.