I Know What I Want!

Today’s post should be especially interesting to bloggers who begin their blog posts in Word (or another editor) and to some of my favorite bloggers – poets.

One of the complaints I hear most often about the Block Editor is that it’s hard to get the text to look the way you want it to look. Not only do I hear this complaint, I’ve uttered it many times, particularly on Friday afternoons. My typical Saturday post is a stream of consciousness block (no pun intended) of tagless dialog between friends at a bar. I write those posts, as I do all my blog posts, in Word. When I copy and paste my dialog into WordPress, I end up with 35 – 65 blocks!  What’s a boy to do?

What if I told you that you could write a post in Word, format it kinda-sorta the way you like, copy and paste it into the Block Editor and have it look like what you wrote? Introducing the Preformatted Block.

Note: for the sake of clarity, everything shown in the blue area below was written in Word, copied and pasted into a single Preformatted Block – I swear. What you see below is what I wrote in Word.

Let’s consider, for the sake of argument, that my story is about a mother back in the days of the Black Plague. She’s worried and frazzled. For months, she’s been stuck in the farmhouse while her husband tends the fields, flocks and herds. Her two children, Jack and Jill are involved in remote learning and driving her crazy with question after question. Today, they are begging her to bake more cookies so they can practice their math problems (Jack has five cookies and gives Jill two, and like that). To get fifteen minutes of peace, she tells them to go fetch her a pail of water.

   “Jill, did you ever wonder why the men in the town put the well at the top of a hill?”
 
  “At the moment, Jack, I’m wondering why you’re wearing that silly crown.”

  “I only mean that it would be so much easier to walk into the center of the village and get a pail of water. Plus, putting it on the hill meant that they had to dig deeper to find water.”

  “Put the well in the village center? Jack, if you weren't my brother, I'd think you were daft. At the bottom? Where all the activity is? Where men spit and dogs and horses pee? The water is safer here. It’s filtered by much more sand.”

Now I know Jack wasn’t really wearing a crown…or was he? One interpretation casts Jack as Louis XVI of France, making Jill, the infamous Marie Antoinette. In any case, Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill (or perhaps just her head) came tumbling after.

You see, a preformatted block accepts and preserves the formatting of the text that is pasted into it. Note: you can’t rely on Word Styles to format the text, you need to go into “typewriter” mode. Also, you can still make minor format adjustments once the text is in WordPress but you do not have the full range of tools available.

In a similar vein, the Verse Block is designed to let poets control line and character spacing in a way that is necessary to complement their well-chosen words. First, let’s look at the Verse Block showing one of my favorite Grooks.

The road to wisdom? — Well, it’s plain
and simple to express:

Err
and err
and err again

but less
and less
and less.
Piet Hein (1905 – 1996)

Now, lets have some block fun. I’m going to insert a column block and add two columns. I’m going to set each column to hold a Verse Block. I’m going to feature two of my favorites, friends from a writing group I have belonged to for a while. I think you know them.

Headspace Between the Eyes

H eadache
E veryone knows its name
A ngry space between the eyes
D ecisive dull drumming
S wallowing relief in red pill
P acing, waiting
A che abating…perhaps
C linging with adhesive hold
E xcedrin, need more

Mary J Melange – 2020 

Symphony in N Major

The
Rain
Falling
In torrents
All around me
Its harmony with
The voice of Nature
Such a symphony of
Grandeur and flow
I sing as I walk on
As the bird song
Trills and thrills
Heaven spills
Tears of joy
Until sun
Smiles

Cheryl Pennington - 2021

Again, the blocks in use here are:

  • A Paragraph block at the top
  • A Preformatted block for our story
  • A Verse block for the grook
  • A Paragraph block for the next two paragraphs
  • A Column block holding two more Verse blocks for the poems
  • Two Paragraph blocks to hold the text intro and this list.

These special blocks are not as powerful as Word, or as a Paragraph block for that matter, and they will not accept every format technique you can create in Word. But, they are much easier to work with than the default text block when you want/need to control line spacing.

There are many types of blocks available in the Block Editor. Personally, I think they all need a lot of development work. That said, I encourage you to experiment with them as I have.

82 comments

    1. You’re welcome Judy. It’s not a panacea, but it should work well in some instances. I wish it had more robust formatting. It brought over a look of a list, but it wasn’t a functioning list. I do think you can add inline images to those blocks, (from the toolbar above the block) but I haven’t tried that yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You know me Dan, I skimmed over the Greek lesson and lingered in today’s gallery! 🤗 I just love the pictures in the fog, especially the one with Maddie and the one with Old Glory. Squirrels are looking especially healthy this spring. Great shot of the bunny, and MiMi is looking very bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning!

    Have a great week…..at least between the raindrops!
    Ginger

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Ginger. I figured you’d skip this one. I think I will only do one more of these. Maybe then I can get back to math on Mondays 😏

      The fog was pretty thick but is was fun walking.

      MiMi is more receptive to photo-taking after she’s awake.

      I hope you have a good week.

      Like

  2. It shouldn’t surprise you to know that all of those blocks you pasted from Word were formatted badly for reading on my phone. And I’m sorry but that’s simply to much work for my lightweight blogging. Thanks for trying, but I still hate blocks!
    Nice bunny pic though… that helps.
    👍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It does surprise me a little bit. I previewed this using the “mobile” option, and I have checked it on my phone (iPhone 7) and it looks fine. Things aren’t side by side, but the format options render correctly. Oh well, at least I had a bunny for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. All things considered, GP, I would say these aren’t ready for prime time. It’s sad. I spent my entire career developing and implementing information systems, and I don’t think I saw anything rushed into production as weak as this mess. I’m trying to work with it, and I’m trying to help others, but, in my opinion, it’s not ready. I could easily prepare a list of two to three dozen things that should be fix/developed before this should be released, let alone shoved down people’s throats.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Nice, Dan! Thanks for the link-up and I’ll be back to read this fully and let everything sink in. Formatting posts has been one of the most frustrating areas of block editor, so I’m glad you are here with your helpful assistance. Happy Monday!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I promise you I read every word. Technically. But my brain at this hour in the morning does not compute. But I am always pleased by your photographs. Fog is such a wonderful medium for the mind. I wonder…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you like the fog shots, Gwen. I love walking in the fog. I hope these posts are helpful, although this editor needs a lot more work before it’s truly ready for prime time.

      Like

  5. Speaking of Blocks–I would like to knock off WP’s block! It suddenly dawned on me that you commented on my post, but I’d not commented on yours. Because I didn’t receive an email that you had posted!! And you don’t even show up in my Reader. So how have I been getting emails that you posted if I’m not following you?! I ‘followed’ you now, but still no email. This is crazy…. The ‘weed’ of which you speak–it looks like a pansy unless you are talking about something else in the photo. Have a great Monday, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry you’ve been tossed aside, Lois. I have been working with the Happiness Engineers. If that’s a pansy, it’s a little one. The flower is smaller than a quarter and it sits about 1″ off the ground. But maybe a wild pansy.

      I hope your week is off to a good start.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the tips, Dan. How cool that you used this to share lovely poems from fellow bloggers. That’s a talent that has always amazed (and eluded) me. Terrific gallery too — the trees in fog are lovely, and so are the critters. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Teagan. It was nice of my fellow bloggers to write poems that help illustrate this capability. I enjoy poetry and I follow a lot of poets. I’ve tried. I’ve done OK at times, but I couldn’t write poetry on a regular basis.

      Everybody around here seemed to enjoy a foggy day.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, I think that’s too much work and I’m sure I’d mess up the cutting and pasting or something wouldn’t fit and mess us WP’s block so I’ll just stick to doing what I’m doing for now since I’ve managed to make that work.

    I love the foggy images, especially the trees, and flag ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it comes down to “whatever works” Deborah. I’m putting some stuff out there that people may or may not want to try. I just hope none of my favorite bloggers give up over this mess. I don’t like losing bloggers.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s not a very robust block, John but it might work for you on Tuesday or Saturday, depending on whether or not you write in or outside of the Editor, I’m going to try to use it this week for SoCS.

      Like

  8. Good gravy, this block editor gets more and more complicated every time you try to use it. I appreciate you explaining this, but it doesn’t erase the fact that simple things are now complex when using the blockhead editor. Why does WP hate us so?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So, just type in word and copy/paste in block? Sounds easy. I’m hanging on to the classic editor till they throw me off the cliff, but I do pay attention to your lessons. Super photos, love the fog.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I see. Sounds like the Apple and Word issues. They really don’t like each other. The preschool teacher Pollyanna in me wonders why companies can’t get along and work together. I know…$$. Sometimes I think the consumer is at the bottom of the list. Sorry for the mini rant. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I felt the jet stream flowing over my head as I read that. I guess I need to try again tomorrow morning after a mug of coffee. I just write my whole post in Word, then copy and paste it into WP. Then, I add photos as needed. I have sometimes wanted to run the text of the post next to a photo (so the photo wasn’t taking up the whole width of the column) but I’m not sure I was successful. Plus, what appears fine when viewed on a computer screen can look smooshed when viewed on a tablet or phone. I’m not sure what Word Styles are (that’s how basic I am, I guess).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can insert an “inline image” but I haven’t worked with that. I always write in Word, copy and paste into paragraph blocks. You can always insert 8mage block above or below your paragraphs.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Dan. I usually type right in WordPress. I used to type in GoogleDrive and copy, but then I eliminated the first step. Block Editor is definitely not intuitive. Lots of writers have problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You’re clearly putting your retirement to good use. There was a time when I would have played with the block editor to find out what it could do, but it’s annoyed me too much. Perhaps I’ll like it more if I get to know it better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, the more I learned about it, the more I’m convinced it isn’t ready for the job it’s supposed to do. There’s a lot in there, but almost everything seems like it’s at a beta- release stage.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know it’s pretty useless without playing with it, but if I played with it, I might find a few things that would make it less useless. My WordPress requirements are very simple and the former regime did more or less everything I needed more or less intuitively.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. ‘most of it seems beta.’ That would explain the feeling why using the block editor feels like a Star Trek episode. I am still happy that the publish button mostly works on the first try. Instead of after the third or forth repetition. To this day I often use ‘/’ to bring up the block editor selection box. Somedays hitting enter works. Other days the cursor sits in the new line/block and the universe goes into a wait state. The block editor selection box is somewhere else on the holodeck and it will not be showing up until it is darn good and ready. Like the wicked witch of the west sent a flock of flying monkeys to grab it. Like the space ship WP suddenly flew into a WP – What Probability zone of space. One where the continuum is not so continuous. Beam us back Scotty ! I can’t Jim all we have is impulse power !

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I use the preformatted block at the end of my posts for a postscript I always put in. I’ve also used it for sections that are a little off the track of the post too. I never have thought about changing any formating in those blocks that can’t be handled by the editor though. Thanks for the tip.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ok, another useful post to set aside for when I have a bit of time to try it. :-) Thanks. Now if you talk to a happiness engineer, or whatever they’re called, would you ask them to restore the circles that went around each date on the calendar that you had scheduled a post? Those were so useful when scheduling lots of post in advance or even just a few. It made it easy to be certain you weren’t scheduling two on one day.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I tend to tolerate more than I should, but I will keep your excellent lessons in mind in case I want to try a grook – great examples by the way! I like the light and shadow on your pine cone. Maddie probably doesn’t mind the fog because she’s got the nose to get her home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true about Maddie, she keeps her nose to the path. I trust her to get me home. I used that grook as the introduction to the training program we developed when I was working. I really like it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope it work, Robbie. It’s not very powerful and there is s lot of format options that get lost, but it works with enough things that I thought it was worth sharing. I hadn’t seen it mentioned before.

      Like

  17. This is great stuff! I love the fog pictures, and, of course, the critters. While you’re advising the Happiness Engineers, ask them why I haven’t been getting notifications of your posts. I’ve subscribed under two different emails, and I either get a You’ve Subscribed! pop-up or one that says I’ve already subscribed. I went to the WordPress “Manage Your Subscriptions” page, and guess whose blog wasn’t there? So I added it. Now we’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to see what happens. I’m breathless with antici … … … … pation.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Dan – your foggy pictures were very appropriate as I ‘surveyed’ your post! I thought the plant might be mallow – but you’d need to check with someone who knows … I can’t confirm my thought! Cheers – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Yes, as I’ve indicated before, Dan, it’s been a slow-moving learning process with WP editor. Always interested in hearing how others are faring and seeing what untapped features remain. Thanks for posting this.

    Liked by 1 person

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