Do you remember WordPerfect? It was the dominant word processing software for personal computers in the pre-Windows days. Before WordPerfect came out, I used to use WordStar.To say it was cumbersome and not exactly intuitive or end-user friendly would have been an understatement. But it dominated the PC market in the early and mid 1980s when MS-DOS was the operating system of record.But then WordPerfect was introduced and because of its simplicity and ease of use, it rapidly became the standard in the DOS market in the late 80s. What I liked about it was that it showed you a blank page and all you had to do was to put your fingers on keyboard and just start typing. It was, in a word, unobtrusive.
Unfortunately for WordPerfect, it lost its dominant position after it failed to come up with a decent version for Microsoft Windows. Microsoft Word [for Windows] rapidly took over the market and WordPerfect was no longer the standard word processing app by the mid-90s.
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with the price of eggs. Well, I’ll tell you. The beauty of WordPress is that it’s unobtrusive. When you want to write a post, you simply click on “Add New” and you’re presented with a blank screen. You don’t need to be computer savvy. You don’t need to take a course, read a manual, or watch a whole bunch of YouTube videos to figure out how to write and publish a post.
Well, it used to be that way, anyway. Flash forward to 2020 (one of the worst years in the history of the modern world). The folks at WordPress decided to come up with something new. They introduced the Block editor. For a while, after WordPress first announced its Block editor (formerly called the Gutenberg editor), it maintained its so-called “Classic” editor for those of us who were used to and liked the easy, unobtrusive way we created our posts.
But this past week, WordPress officially retired its Classic editor and now requires us to use the Block editor. We are forced to learn a whole new paradigm for creating a post. And if you happen to use a smartphone for your blog, fuhgeddaboudit. The Block editor just doesn’t cut it on the small screen.
I’m just a hobby blogger. I blog because I like to write. I enjoy expressing myself on what matters to me in the world around us, dabbling with short fiction, and interacting with other bloggers. I don’t need a whole lot of fancy bells and whistles for my blog. I just want to be able to open up a browser on my iPhone and use its virtual keypad to tap away at whatever comes to mind, to add an image or two, maybe to put in a link here and there, and then to publish my post. Easy peasy, right? Not so much, anymore, I’m afraid.
There are a few “backdoors” to the Classic editor that remain available. WordPress claims that, for those of us who like the Classic editor, they have given us the “Classic Block” in the Block editor. Have you tried that? On a smartphone? It sucks.
WordPress offers a a plugin called “Classic Editor” that allegedly restores the Classic editor as your default editor, giving you the ability to bypass (or ignore) the Block editor. But in order to install the plugin you must upgrade to the Business Plan, which costs $25 a month. I’m retired, I don’t have or run a business, I’m not trying to use my blog to promote or sell anything or to make any money off of my blog, so I certainly don’t want to spend $300 a year for the Business Plan when I don’t have a business.
Alternatively, you can, as I am doing now, use the Classic editor on the “/wp-admin” site. And while it’s better than the Block editor, it is a bit more difficult to use on an iPhone than the version of the Classic editor that WordPress just took away from us. I’m wondering how long it will be before WordPress dumps this version of the “Classic” editor, as well.
Blogging on WordPress is starting to feel more like a burden and less like fun. I don’t know if I want to put up with the hassle of trying to learn a whole new paradigm for blogging, or to jump through hoops to be able to write and publish my posts, especially when I use an iPhone for blogging.
So as much as I hate to say this, I’m announcing that, after this month, I’m going to take a bit of a hiatus from blogging. I’m not abandoning my blog, I’m just not going to post as often as I do now. Maybe not even daily. I’m going to end a few of my prompts, like Fandango’s Provocative Question, Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge, Fandango’s Who Won the Week, and Fandango’s Dog Days of August prompt (which was scheduled to run only through the end of this month, anyway).
I have scheduled my daily FOWC with Fandango prompts through August 31st, and I haven’t yet decided if I will continue to post those after that. I also haven’t decided whether or not I will stop Fandango’s Friday Flashback.
This really breaks my heart because I love blogging. I love interacting with all of you and I will miss this — and you — terribly. But as the song goes, you gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, and know when to walk away. And when the thrill of blogging on WordPress is gone, it’s time to fold ’em.