Let’s Talk with Lois Winston

Dealing with Change
By Lois Winston

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only constant in life is change.” We humans are creatures of habit. Most of us don’t like change. Personally, I don’t mind change—as long as I institute it. After all, being stuck in a same-old/same-old rut can be boring. But I really balk at change when it’s thrust upon me against my will. That’s happened quite a bit over the last year, making me a not-so-happy camper. (Then again, I’ve always hated camping—another story for another blog post.)

However, sometimes even when we’re forced to accept change, we wind up not only liking it but being pleasantly surprised by the results. Such was the latest change I’ve had to tackle.

I won’t bore you with the nitty-gritty technical minutia. Suffice to say, it involved obsolete software that won’t work if I upgraded the OS on my computer or had to purchase a new computer. Bottom line—if I didn’t redesign my website using a different software program, at some point I would no longer be able to make changes to my existing website.

A techie I’m not, but I do have a degree in graphic design and illustration from back in the pre-computer Stone Age. I had definite ideas about how I wanted my new website to look. I also didn’t want to pay someone to design something I probably wouldn’t be happy with, and I certainly didn’t want to have to pay someone every time I needed to update the site.

My old website was designed nearly fifteen years ago by one of my sons—the one who is a techie and happens to work in post-production for TV and films. (Mama Brag: He was nominated for an Emmy a few years ago.) Once all the complicated stuff was done, he showed me how to make updates, and that was that. Until about two years ago when I discovered if I updated the OS on my computer, I’d lose access to my website software. Even so, I kept putting off the inevitable. There was always something higher on my list of priorities because learning new software is always at the bottom of my list of priorities.

Techie son recently left his job in Manhattan and moved to Nashville where he’s opening his own post-production studio. In the years since he first designed my website, there are now many website design programs that are much more user-friendly, employing drop-and-drag features rather than having to know HTML (which might as well be Greek for as much sense as it makes to me) Techie son used one of these programs to design a website for his new business, then urged me to make the switch before it was too late.

So I bit the proverbial bullet. The process wasn’t nearly as painful as I expected, and in less than a week I had a newly designed website up and running. I guess you can teach some old dogs new tricks.

If you’d like to see the results, click on over to www.loiswinston.com. While you’re there, you can get a sneak peek at the cover, blurb, and an excerpt for Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide, the newest Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery which is now available for pre-order.

How do you deal with change? Do you accept it gracefully or with a good deal of kicking and screaming?

While you’re here, click over to check out our book vault giveaway which runs from August 1-18. CLICK HERE.

Comments

  1. I had a lot of updates to my website this year. As for change, I am slow to embrace it.

  2. A successful professional woman said during a panel talk, “Change is the constant, attitude is the variable.” I too am guilty of avoiding upgrades, facing all the techie changes that seems to come every day. When my web maven died, I wondered what I’d do. Eventually I found some bravery (in a leftover basket) and signed on to Squarespace, and set up my own website. I still marvel that I managed to do it. But that’s as far as I’ve been able to go. Right now I’m back in the dark ages trying to figure out other design issues. You’re so lucky to have a son who knows this stuff and can help you out.

    • Yes, Susan, I am lucky to have him. Unfortunately, he recently moved nearly 1,000 miles away and is extremely busy getting his new business off the ground. It forces me to step outside my comfort zone more than I want to, but that’s probably not such a bad thing. Right now I’m in the process of finding an alternative to Adobe PhotoShop because the version I have is no longer supported by my OS, and I refuse to pay an enormous monthly subscription to Adobe for software I only use sporadically. It’s always something… 🙁

  3. As you said, I’m okay with change if I institute it. Life throws us some changes whether we like them or not. I’m trying to be flexible.

  4. Nice topic. I’ve learned to accept changes and looking forward to them — most of the time. The tech stuff really sends me into a tailspin. I’ll check out Wix.

  5. dianestuckart says

    Lois, I feel your pain. Like Janis, I subscribe to the “hire out what you can’t do well/cheap” so I do pay to have my oil changed and pay for an accountant come tax time. But re: my website, I just can’t justify hiring it out, mostly because I’ve heard too many stories about websites being held hostage, or the webmaster/mistress disappearing. Plus I like to tweak and change things at my own whim. I use Wix, too, and it’s pretty good, though sometimes the formatting can be tricky. But, overall, I’m pleased. And I redo everything annually with a new theme, just to keep myself from being bored. I like to play with new looks, and Wix lets me do that (no, they’re not paying me to say this, LOL). Your new site looks lovely — I like the color palette very much. 🙂

    • Thanks, Diane! I pay someone to change my oil, as well. I also pay to have someone clean my house once every two weeks. It’s money well spent as far as I’m concerned. What she does in 3 hrs. would take me 3 days. That would cut my weekly writing time in half. I’d much rather be writing than cleaning!

  6. Maggie Toussaint says

    You are brave and heroic to attempt this and to pull it off. Nicely done! I maintain a small website for my indie publishing side, but I haven’t updated it with the new releases in a while. I checked, just in case the site crashed or something, and it looks good. For that one I used Weebly. I hope I made good notes on how to update it as I am going to be having more backlist books re-issue late this fall.

    I also have reservations about change. On one level I understand it’s inevitable, but on the other, I dig my toes in the sand to hold my ground. Interestingly, many of the characters I write about struggle with change.

    • Good luck with the updates, Maggie. As I mentioned to Cheryl, my brain often needs a refresher course if I haven’t used a program in some time. As for our characters struggling with the same things we do, that’s kind of inevitable, isn’t it? Aren’t they extensions of us? I keep holding my breath that I don’t start tripping over dead bodies the way Anastasia and Gracie do!

  7. janispattersonmysteries says

    I am in awe of you – and jealous because you have a techie son who can help. I hired my website made and pay a pittance each month to the designer for maintenance. My father always said ‘spend your time doing what you do well and hire out what you don’t – it’s not always worth the time to learn.’ Plus I’m lazy… Back to change – you described me perfectly. I hate change unless it’s something I instigate. I’m sure there are more like us – maybe we need to start a club??? Anyway, great post, as always.

    • Love your club idea, Janis! I totally agree with you about hiring out what you don’t do well. That’s why I pay a CPA to do my taxes every year. However, I’m cheap, stubborn, and need to justify all that money i spent getting my BFA degree in graphic design and illustration–even if my degree preceded all these “newfangled” gizmos like computers. 😉

  8. I’m both reluctant and excited to change technologies. I like to get full value from my devices and applications, so I’m not usually one of the first clients of a new upgrade, but once I plunge, I’m all about learning it as quickly as possible. My next acquisition will be a travel laptop so I can write effectively on the road. There isn’t room for one in the budget yet — but I can feel the itch.

    • Cheryl, I also find that if I use a software program infrequently, I often forget all the ins and outs of it and have to relearn it each time. Maybe it’s a sign of getting old.

  9. I’m curious what program you ended up going with. I’m always impressed with people who can do their own graphics and design. Like the look of the new website.