Update: This site is now on version 6, changing with the winds like any website can and should. Still a nice potted history though.
Today I’m unveiling what is pretty much version five of my website. There are a few crinkles here and there, especially with old podcast episodes that need tidying up – go to 5by5 for the most accurate episode list – but the time has come to show it off.
Apart from a lick of paint and a small but expandable library, the biggest addition is the page for my freelance business. I’ll flesh that out in time, but I wanted to get something up sharpish that provides an overview of what I do for a living.
I plan to blog more about this other side of my writing life; the part that pays the bills. I’ve mostly written and talked about creative writing, but now I’m running my own business, it makes sense to open the topic list up a bit. Indeed, my post on good hyperlinks is still one of my most popular.
What’s in a name?
Those of you who’ve kept track over the years will know that I’ve chopped and changed the blog rather a lot. Too much, to be honest. I lost my way with it (more than once), like many bloggers do.
For what it’s worth, I’ve seen sense, got rid of the link posts and renamed the blog Write for Your Life, so it matches the podcast once more. None of this matters really, but I thought I should acknowledge the change.
Lastly, as I’m on the subject, Very Meta, which is what the blog has been called for the last few months, is now the name of my business. I’m Iain Broome trading as Very Meta Ltd.
So there you go. Some true facts.
A screenshot story
In an act of ‘why not, someone might be interested’, I used the wayback machine to pull up the previous four version of this website. For old times’ sake, I suppose.
In December 2008, I published the first post on the original Write for Your Life, back when it had a matching URL.
With just a handful of posts and some gorgeous illustrations by Matt Pearce, a then work colleague, I managed to notch up 1000 subscribers in just a few months.
I remember being quite excited, at the time.
But I soon decided that what Write for Your Life needed was better organisation and an all-out illustration attack. I was doing the podcast by then and had started posting a few bits and pieces to YouTube.
The site kept growing, as did my Twitter followers. The design, as you can see from the screenshot, was pretty lovely. Pretty and lovely. Built from scratch too, by Craig Shaw, another then colleague.
I was very proud of it…
…so I tore it down. By 2010 I had started reading more design and tech-oriented blogs and very much fell for the minimal style and link post format.
I also started to realise that one day, if A is for Angelica got published, I’d probably have to change the site to iainbroome.com and… hang on… why has the author of an adult literary novel got a website full of illustrated spaceships and monsters?
I went in the complete opposite direction and, using a basic starter WordPress theme, tweaked and tinkered until I had something that looked and worked like a run-of-the-mill tech blog.
Which was what I wanted. At the time.
Come 2012, I had a publishing deal for A is for Angelica and lo and behold, I needed to change the site so my name was in the URL. It made sense on every level. So I did it.
I changed the design too and for the first time, the blog was not on the homepage, which felt like a big deal. But it wasn’t, because I wasn’t blogging anything like I had been and most of my online efforts were focused on the Write for Your Life podcast, as indeed they still are.
Over time, I got rid of the link posts. Then I brought them back again. As of today, I say farewell to those little blighters once more. I love the idea, but I don’t have the time to make it work. I’ve been kidding myself. Plus I’m not sure that people want them. Not on a blog about writing.
I had version four of the site – the one before this – for a couple of years. I always liked it.
This is version five. I like this more.
If you listen to the podcast, you’ll have heard me talk about Squarespace, because they are one of our regular sponsors. I’m not just saying it, it really has been an enjoyable and pretty straightforward process moving things over and setting things up.
I’ll write about my Squarespace experience in more detail soon.
Make yourself at home
But that’s it for now. Take off your shoes. Have a look around. If you see something awful, like a typo or something similar, do let me know and I’ll fix it. Like I said at the top, I know there are some broken links in old podcast episodes. I’ll get to them as soon as I can.
For the moment, I’m very happy to present version five of my little old website to the world. Do on it what you will.