This winter has been an insightful, challenging, and cold experience. Ice and snow are melting; transforming land into mud. I just heard the call of geese. Soon the ducks will return. I am here returning to something I’ve been trying to move away from.

This is about a journey as a creative technologist; a curious person trying to learn many things and seeking to assemble the numerous pieces in the most efficient and effective manner. At this point in this journey, I have returned to WordPress, self hosted on a basic non-fancy server.

During the heart of winter, I finally made the switch to using Next.js coupled with a Strapi, a headless content management system (CMS), and deployed to a DigitalOcean droplet (a virtual server). I designed the frontend site. I built the backend CMS, and deployed to a server that I provisioned and configured. I was in total control. That should feel great. But what happens when it is not.

After hundreds of days of learning, designing, developing, and finally crossing the finish line. I had my ultra fast loading website (still not perfect). I did not have the WordPress world supporting me. I did not have the familiar workflow, dashboard, or blog post editor. I had a command line interface (CLI), Secure Shell (SSH) login, a CMS not really designed for writing posts (but great for custom data types).

I had about a good 75% understanding of Next.js and of course React.js. It just required a lot of time and I found myself spending more time on the technology rather than creating the content. Perhaps that’s always the challenge for me. The tech intrigues me. I just need to write.

I have returned my Domain Name Server (DNS) to point back to my shared hosting service (with plans to see if a managed WordPress plan is faster and better). The child theme I made for WordPress seems old to me so of course I’m searching for a replacement. My lesson to share with the class. Build with those who know how to build. You do not have to start totally from scratch.

Step back, review the goals and requirements for your project, and ask questions. Iterate. From this experience, my question was, “Does technology get in the way of creating content?”