"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan




Welcome to Chapter Creativity

by - Thursday, August 29, 2019

                           
                                        
                                           Welcome to Chapter Creativity!

Grab yourself a slice of cake or glass of champagne or a chocolate bar or an ice cream sundae or magical unicorn (or all of them, I won't judge you), just grab whatever you like to celebrate with because we are celebrating that I've smashed my biggest goal for this year. *fist pump*

Changing my blog's name and template was a goal I set for myself back in March. Though I didn't meet my end of April deadline because of health issues (how unusual!), I planned to continue working on changes at my health's pace and hoped to achieve my goal before the year was through.

Stressful Errors 

Well, working slow and steady on things all changed when an error with my blog's template popped up.

I was working away on a blog post one afternoon in June when I switched to preview screen to find Photobucket's logo on top of my blog's name and a weird graphic running all the way down the left-hand side of my blog's layout.

What on God's green earth? How long has it been like this?

The errors were unacceptable and I couldn't relax until I resolved the problem, so I began looking for a quick fix. It had to be an issue with Photobucket somewhere. Knowing I had created an account with them when I first started blogging, I logged on hoping to gather some clues.

I found some old blog graphics in storage so I deleted them, hoping that was the source of the problem.

There. That should have disconnected Photobucket from my blog which should fix things.

I confidently switched back to preview mode.

Fudge nuggets! Okay, crap, now I don't know what else I can do.

I jumped on Google. I felt like I had a higher chance of fairy bread (my current weird craving, thanks hormones!) magically appearing in front of me than I did finding answers and a solution. To my surprise, I discovered another blogger frustrated by the same problem asking if anyone knew what the issue was and how to go about fixing it.

Great! Someone else with the same problem! That's a good start to solving this. Surely someone can come to our rescue. Don't panic. This is fixable and things will work out fine. 

I tried following the advice that was then given to no avail.

Now what? I can't leave it like this.

Stress started to set in; a stomach churning, fear-inducing stress.

From further research I worked out that a part of the free template I was using for my blog must have been stored on Photobucket, a problem it seemed I had no control over. (Hey Photobucket, sort your crap out, yeah?) I tried seeing if I could tinker with the HTML but couldn't find where the problem lay.

As I didn't have a friend who could help me with my predicament and couldn't afford to pay an expert, I decided it would be best to invest my energy in switching to a new template, given I would eventually do that anyway, to see if that was a solution. Praise God I wanted to change templates, could you imagine if I didn't?!


The old layout.

Conquering the Nightmare

I had a look at some free new templates I had saved back in March to try. The one I had my heart set on turned out to be terrible, so I tried a few more. None of those were the right fit either. Feeling defeated, I reverted back to the template I was using to find something else had gone wrong somewhere while I was trying to change things and my blog was now a complete disaster.

Oh noooo! I've just monumentally stuffed up my blog. Frick.

Panic washed over me. I'd never felt more stressed in my life. What was I going to do?

Pray. That's what.

God, I need your help. Please help me fix this mess and work things out.

I plucked up the courage to try some different templates and scoured most of the free templates available. I downloaded one I had overlooked, and with a few tweaks I made it work.

A wave of tremendous happiness and blissful relief surged through me the moment I saw my blog looking better than ever without the Photobucket logo sprawled over my text.

I decided that this was the right template for the direction I want to steer this blog.

Thank you Jesus.

It's not perfect and there are still some things about this format that I need to figure out how to change (top navigation bar doesn't work and is my priority), but it's the closest I can get to what I'd ideally like for this blog until I can have a professional do it.

These functions don't work yet.
These links at the top right-hand side do.


The one major gripe I have with this layout is that readers cannot comment directly on a post, to do so they need to go back to that particular post's preview. I feel like this may be too hard for most readers to navigate and they'll give up. So that's not ideal, but surprisingly, it's a nuisance I'm willing to work with for now. It's better than Photobucket's logo ruining my blog.



End of blog post view
Clicking on the comments at the bottom of a post will get you nowhere. Bloody stupid design.








Post preview view

A clickable link to the comments section can be found above the post's preview.


Homepage view

My latest post is the only post that's easier to comment on. You can comment on this after reading the post by going back to the homepage and clicking on the 'no comments' (or however many comments there are).

The layout also looks terrible on a mobile device as it only shows as a basic version. I'm not too fussed about this though because blogs are meant to be read and enjoyed on a desktop. So, if you're on your phone right now (hello, thank you for reading!) I recommend viewing on a desktop for a better experience. The template I'm using looks best on a desktop computer but a laptop will do. If you have to use a mobile device though, selecting 'view web version' should be easier to read as Blogger (for some dumb reason) doesn't show spacing between paragraphs. It's totally nuts and mighty frustrating because not only is it annoying for you, the reader, but I look like a grammatically inept imbecile who doesn't know how to take a breather.

Overall though, I'm thrilled with how my blog looks now. There's so many wonderful new things I love about this layout: My full-width Instagram feed displayed down the bottom, the blog post slider up top which will be super fun come Christmas time (if you've come via social media link you will need to go to the homepage to see this feature). I also have a scroll back to top button now. I feel fancy!

It's also convenient that all my recent posts are just a click away on the homepage so you no longer have to scroll for miles. And there's the delicious new font that I've been desiring for my blog's title for some time now.

I created the name and tag line using a Canva font with a plain white background. In the past I've always used the heading font styles that come with a blog template as I didn't know you could change it (D'OH!), so discovering this while experimenting was quite exciting.



It was a 'how am I so stupid?' Homer Simpson moment for me.

This blog now feels like a better reflection of me. It feels less cutesy and more sophisticated and grown-up. It's more 'I mean serious business' than 'Oh girls, they wanna have fun'. It's heading more in the direction of the blog I would be happy to present to book publishers along with my manuscript.

I'm no HTML wizard but I think I've done a pretty good job at making this blog what it is today with no web design knowledge using free resources. Do you love it? Do you love me? 



So, why the name change?

I have been wanting to change my blog's name for a few years now. I started out blogging with the long-winded (and unoriginal) title of Living Creatively with Chronic Illness and shortly after made the switch to Chronically Creative. I received some great feedback on the change: ''That's genius!'' one reader said. ''Wish I had thought of that'' said another. No one else was using the name, and I thought I was onto a winner, so I ran with it.

But a few years ago I discovered that other bloggers and social media users also thought it was a cool name to use, and to be honest, it pissed me off a bit as I don't want to share my blog's name with anyone else; I like being different.



How very dare they? The nerve! What are these people doing? Do they know I've existed long before them? Are they copying me? Do they want to poach my readers? Are they desperate for traffic? Are they so uncreative that they have to resort to having the same name as me?

I concluded that some may be cheeky copy cats and others are just clueless. 

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I sure as hell don't feel flattered. I feel like I've been cut off in traffic. Who is ever happy when someone cuts them off in traffic? It's infuriating. It feels like others have trespassed and destroyed everything I'd worked hard for, whether intentional or not. And it stings because it seems unfair; I was here first, this is MY turf, now get off.

It feels so rough.

I think part of the problem is that Chronically Creative has become a popular term among chronically ill creatives and so people feel free to use it without realising that I started it and that it was my blog's name.

While it's not against the law to have the same blog name as someone else (unless it's under trademark), it is an unspoken rule that you check to see that the name you want isn't currently in use. And if it is?  You find yourself a similar name or come up with something completely different. It's just proper blogging etiquette and having some self-respect. Why wouldn't you want a name that is all your own? Why wouldn't you want to be unique?

Having the same blog name as others gives you zero points for creativity (yep, I said it).


At first I tried ignoring that others were using the same name as me. I felt like it was too late in the game to change names and ''re-brand''.  And besides, what would I change it to? 

But it kept bugging me.

Having other bloggers and social media users with the same name gets confusing for people. I also enjoy being different from other bloggers and doing my own thing. I'm not usually one for following the crowd unless, however, I'm on my way to a music concert and I don't know how to get to the venue from the car park or train station; then I'll happily follow the crowd.

Because my blog's name was no longer uniquely mine I fell out of love with it. I wanted to change lanes, so I flicked my indicator on, checked the next lane was clear, and welcomed the challenge of renaming my blog.

At first I felt sad about changing the name but then I decided to see it as a blessing in disguise; a chance to rise above and come back bigger and better. I started to embrace all the positives, new beginnings and excitement it would bring.

Leaving the 'Chronically' Club

Renaming my blog gave me the opportunity to step away from the 'chronically' club, which I embraced with open arms. Since blogs about the chronic life have exploded in popularity in the past few years just about everyone is using the word. There's chronically this and chronically that. Dare I say it's becoming ridiculous. I'm so sick (pun not intended) of the use of 'chronically' now. It's been overused. The chicken has been overcooked and is burnt to a crisp.

I've probably offended most of the chronic illness blogging community now but I'm just being honest. It has become refreshing to discover blogs about the challenges of chronic illness that don't have the adjective in their blog's name. I'm sure there are others who would agree with me. This isn't to say I'm unsupportive of everyone who chooses to use 'chronically' for their blog or social media account name. I will always cheer them on in raising awareness. But seriously, I think it's time to take a break from the 'chronically' and unleash some creativity.

Look, naming a blog is hard. I get it. Before settling on the new name Chapter Creativity, I came up with twenty names; all of which were taken. I had to keep persevering until I had one that was unique and original enough. And you know what? It was damn frustrating, and I wanted to give up.

Naming a blog about living with chronic illness can be a real pain (okay, that pun was totally intended) because your name needs to represent your niche and it needs to be memorable. You want your blog's name to reflect, in a nutshell, what it's all about - your journey with chronic illness. That's why I went with Chronically Creative.

But now I'm glad to be saying goodbye and moving forward with a new name I love even more. I can't wait to see what adventures it brings. I'm also happy that the new name doesn't sound illnessy but still stands for what this blog and me are all about. While the chapter my life's in at the moment is about chronic illness, it's also about creativity and how my newfound love of craft has helped me find hope, joy and resilience in the pain of shattered dreams.

Creating an Extraordinary Life 

You may have noticed that I've also changed my tagline. I could have left it as it was but I was feeling inspired to completely start afresh. As I was jotting down ideas I heard the devil laugh in my ear when I penned creating an extraordinary life with chronic illness.

''Extraordinary? Ha! Your life isn't even ordinary. Look at you, you don't have a career or husband and you are struggling day-to-day. You're a burden to your friends and family.''

I then knew that was the tagline I should go with because it made the devil terribly unhappy.

The old tagline.

I must admit that my life does feel far from extraordinary most days. Often it's an uphill battle just to take a shower. There are days when cooking a healthy meal is my only success and days when sitting up in bed is as good as it gets. But just because my life doesn't feel extraordinary doesn't mean that it isn't extraordinary.

The courage to let go of old, broken dreams by dreaming new ones is extraordinary.

Holding onto hope after devastating disappointments is extraordinary.

Growing and flourishing every day despite constant pain is extraordinary.

Finding light in the darkness is extraordinary.

Choosing joy and turning loss into gain is extraordinary.

Living my best creative life in between the bad days is extraordinary.

Walking by faith when every step is painful is extraordinary.

Believing for healing when I'm getting sicker is extraordinary.

I wish I could take credit for my blog's brilliant new name but it was all God's idea. As I was struggling to come up with a name that wasn't taken, God dropped Chapter Creativity in my head the moment I stopped and prayed about it. I think that is pretty darn special and I'm thrilled to be sticking with the two C's.

A few days after God gave me the name this quote from Jazz Zo Marcellus popped up in my Pinterest feed - a reminder that my season is coming. I got chills.

Created with Canva


So there you have it. The story of how my new blog name and layout came to be. I hope you love it nearly as much as I do. Content will remain the same (but better I hope!).

Thank you for all your support and encouragement.




Contact and Social Media Details

Email: chaptercreativity@gmail.com 

Instagram: @chaptercreativity

Facebook: Chapter Creativity | @chaptercreativityblog

















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