Cities on the Mind

Dear Cities of the Mind Readers,

You might notice the site looks different. It’s more than just a new logo.

As I was diving into changing a couple of my most popular posts to make them even better, I became more and more aware that there were lots of problems with site. It worked fine, but it wasn’t nearly as good as it could be. That was the smaller problem, though, the bigger one was the focus. While Cities of the Mind has been growing steadily, the most popular articles have remained, steadily, the ones about writing, not freelancing, and those are (by far) the ones I’ve most enjoyed writing. As important as it is to improve high-ranking content, I found I really didn’t want to spend two weeks writing about it.

So I didn’t. Instead, I spent four weeks asking myself, Why am I writing about this?

Sure, freelancing is important to me, because I’m a freelance writer, but at the end of the day, I’m a freelance writer, and I know where my passion lies. I don’t plan to freelance forever, but I’m going to be writing until the day I die.

I’ve made some changes on the front end, and a lot of changes on the back end. It’s roughly four times as fast as it was, which involved me learning more about javascript and eliminating script blocking content in the header than I ever wanted to. I think it actually looks worse during the loading process. . . but it takes 1.25 seconds instead of 5 on the speed tests, so, you know, them’s the breaks. 

From here on out Cities of the Mind is going to focus more on stories. The how, the why, the history, and the biological roots of them. I guess the first thing I’d like to do is thank my readers for sticking around, and the new ones who’ve come along over the past eight months. I’m planning on keeping the focus on longer, prettier, more indepth content like this article on how to make money writing, but the subject matter will involve more Ghanan guinea fowl misadventures and such.

Now, I’m not moving away from the freelancing and business ends of things completely; they still tie into the storytelling direction of this site, albeit somewhat tangentially. I still enjoy writing about freelancing and business, but the scale was ruining it for me.

If I write three articles roughly 2000 words in length every week on a subject, that’s 300,000 words on it a year. Even once a week is enough to put me comfortably into book-length territory. And I don’t like writing about freelancing that much. So I picked something with a little more room to grow, something I might just want to write a book or three about.

There are other factors motivating the decision as well. One big one is that the whole reason I got into blogging to begin with was to share some of my shorter stories on the internet, and somehow, five years in, I’ve gotten to the point where I have no place for stories. How did I manage that?

So maybe I’m overcompensating by making a place all about stories–but I’m not really a half measures type of guy.

What’s New, What’s Old

CotM logo 2015 Storytelling banner pink 2000

The old content is staying, so don’t worry about that. Until I break everything, this site should be better, faster, and stronger on the tech side, although there may be buttons that don’t work, and if you find them, please let me know. To put it in layman’s terms, all the bells and whistles that slow down WordPress sites don’t do anything on mine until I’ve damn well told them they can. It’s possible I’ve overlooked some.

You may notice the feature posts now hang out at the top of the screen. On that note, sorry David, I forgot to upload the picture of you where you don’t, “. . . look like Hank Hill,” just yet (everyone’s a critic) but I’ll jump on that shortly. In the mean time, check out James David Nicols’ great podcast and “So You’ve Finished Your Book” guest post. We’ve got another podcast coming up from fellow guest author Andrew Terech (Who Totally Isn’t Going to Murder You).

It’s going to take a little time to hit our stride completely, but for the time being expect us to get right back to the three posts a week schedule we managed for most the first six months of 2015. We’re going to finish 2015 strong, and then we’re going to leave 2016 wondering what hit it.



PS Check out the “Just the Words” version of the new logo!

cities of the mind brain words

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6 Thoughts on “Cities of the Mind, on my Mind”

  • That’s really fascinating. I’ve been posting a lot lately about the business side of freelancing, which interests me every bit as much as the storytelling side. I see myself as a business owner first, and an artist second — even though I knew I wanted to be a writer since second grade, when I got so carried away by the story I was writing that I forgot the whole point was to use my spelling words! And even though I think by writing. I still see it as a business.

    Anyway, thank you for reminding me not to forget the “writing as art” perspective.

    • Patti,

      Thanks for stopping by. And it definitely is a business, it’s just a business that we can and should be passionate about–at least to the extent it’s possible. Generally, I find it’s the art that motivates me, and the understanding that it’s also business that keeps me slogging along through the times when I feel like doing anything else.

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