All posts tagged wordpress

Literally, not figuratively: more WordPress themes for writers in 2016

It’s been a good couple of years or so since I summed up themes for writers, and since I’m still a writer, I think it’s time to do it again. If you’re a writer, a publisher, or just someone with an idea for an online magazine, these themes could help make your site look a little more like ink on page.

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Literally speaking: the best WordPress themes for the text obsessed

As a writer, I have this obsession with text and letters and sentences and words.

This happens possible because I do this whole writing thing day in – at work, where I write technology journalism at – and day out – when I go home and write books and other pieces of nonsense that spill out of my head and onto the page.

This obsession with writing makes me want to have a webpage that speaks more in words than playful designs, so much that the big words become the playful designs.

A few years ago, I attempted this style with what is my current WordPress theme, a modification and severe customisation that I later called “Spontaneous Box.” This theme relies heavily on Ozh’s Random Words, a plugin that pulls various lines out of a file and shows them on specific parts of the page.

To date, there are well over 50 in the system, and I want this to still be a feature in my new site, in a redesign of my page.

In fact, an upcoming redesign is exactly why I’ve written this, to show some of the themes out there that point speak in text and showcase big shiny words that yell loud and clear to the reader.

So here we are, reader, with a list that might be helpful to you. If you’re a writer that wants a WordPress theme that says “hell yes, I’m a writer,” this list is for you.

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WordPress scheduling woes and an unlikely fix

Over the past week, I’ve noticed a problem with one of the WordPress sites I maintain.

Perhaps you’ve seen it: articles set to go live somehow miss the schedule.

You swear they should go live, and yet “Missed schedule” still manages to pop up in red screwing up your plans for a planned post.

When it started happening to me, I frantically checked the server time and found nothing wrong. I checked to see if there were any new plugins and nothing had been changed. And then, at last, I Googled, and the results I got were so different from what actually resolved my woes.

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New theme: Spontaneous Box

Have you ever wanted to show what’s really going on in your head?

I have, and I often find it hard to explain to people.

While I’ve been called “irreverent” before, I suspect I’m better explained with words like “eccentric”, “random”, and “spontaneous”.

The theme I’m talking about here that I’ve *mostly* finished development on is called Spontaneous Box (I say mostly because there are still some bugs I need to iron out with search, menus, paragraph sizing and some other bits).

Spontaneous Box has been built over an original theme created by Justin Marcus and has been modified to accommodate the degree of randomness I’ve been wanting in my personal site.

First off there’s the basic design which still carries over from the original: three columns, all showing different types of information.

As you can see, the left most column features written bits. Words, phrases, sentences, and blogs. Anything that I want to communicate through writing is left on… well, the left.

The middle column features my idea for a Tumblr-style blog. That is, now I can post images to my blog from my phone (using a WordPress application) and provided they sit in a certain category, they’ll appear in the middle column. There’s no need to manually click a features section as the template just looks for the three newest image entries and sticks them here.

One of the things I’ve modified from the original design is the requirement of custom codes. Don’t get me wrong, I like custom codes, but the last thing I’m going to remember when I’m posting from my phone is to write “1small” or “2medium” when I’m posting an image. As such, the theme has been modified to include the use of the plugin “The Attached Image” which happily grabs a medium image and sticks it here. No codes needed. Simple.

Finally, the last column includes a search box and a Twitter feed.

I’ve missed what happens at the top of each page, however: the slogan.

You see one of the things people don’t get about me is just how random I am. It’s as if I need an editor for my brain before I speak. In fact, past girlfriends and editors have even said as much.

In my last site design (which was a modified version of Elegant Theme’s “Glow”), I attempted to include the random phrases by including images. Lately however, I’ve been turned on to the idea of making sites font-friendly. I’m in love with typography, and with the help of “Ozh’ Random Words” plugin, I can pull that off all around the page.

For instance, my site header has over fifty different things it can possibly say. They’re all the sort of things I would say as… I’m just like that.

All you need to do is refresh the home page and it’ll take care of itself, refreshing a statement. Oh, and I’ll be updating the list from WordPress as time goes on because yes, I’m that random.

It’s not just the start page, however. The same sense of spontaneity is reflected over the various pages you may come across.


Outside of this randomness, the page is designed to be clean and simple with a fairly fresh and modern font “Calibri”.

That said, I’m now working on a slightly less clean version of this theme called “A Tease Dress” which will be made for public consumption.

The idea behind “Spontaneous Box”

One of the things I’ve been trying to do for a while is blend a Tumblr-style blog and a regular WordPress blog.

If you haven’t seen it yet, Tumblr is a short-form blog service designed for you to post single bursts of information in one hit easily.

Imagine if you saw a poster and you just suddenly wanted to put that online for everyone to see. You’re out and about with your phone and web savvy person that you are decides you’d like to take a picture of it and post it online for the world to see. You can always put it to Twitter and use a service like TwitPic or YFrog, or you can put it to your own site.

Tumblr is that sort of setup.

WordPress can do that too, but most of the templates you see are designed to show words better than images. There are some truly excellent Photoblog templates out there, including the stuff GraphPaperPress do and the wonderful (and free) Duotone theme, but these are generally designed for photos or galleries.

I wanted something that would let me post a combination of words and images, a showcase of what was going through my mind, so to speak.

For months, I’ve experimented with an MU installation that housed three blogs: one for words, one for Tumblr-style blogs, and one that collected the best of both and published it in a collected place. That “collected place” would have been my main domain.

However, the main problem I had come across was that you’d have to login individually. Despite WordPress MU (and WP3 with the integrated MU core) having a unified login setup, it was still a pain in the ass.

And then I found this.

Justin Marcus’s “New York, New York” is an excellent theme, and it suited my needs quite well. I found it the other day and knew instantly how I wanted to modify it.  He’s got some great code there, but I have a few things I’ve done differently…. as you’ll see in the coming post.