Unblocking The Block Editor

A Blockade

If you are a blogger on WordPress, then I’m sure you noticed that well over a year ago, this new thing called the Block Editor arrived. So began the push against the old-school, I mean ‘classic’, editor. I resisted; you probably did too. But I knew it was futile, like telling the Borg to leave you alone. So here I am, being assimilated to the blocks.

Word Blockage

Blocks are fundamentally awesome. Because Lego! By their nature, blocks are for building things, like a website or, maybe, a blog post. But bloggers are not builders, they’re writers. Right? We pour words into a draft. Then we edit them. We don’t edit blocks. Except, I guess, now we do.

In late 2018, when I checked out the shiny new editor of the blocks, I thought it was interesting, but I did not see its potential. I just thought it made plain writing harder. Like, everyone knows Writer’s Block is not a good thing. That’s why we writers like a distraction-free blank canvas to allow for maximum word outflow.

Now in early 2020, I started refreshing my blog theme. Besides writing only articles, I decided to try adding shorter blurbs called “Asides.” This was a bit of change to my blogging workflow, so while I was at it, when I opened the editor and it asked me to convert to the new blocky one, I figured it was time to get on that train. It was an avalanche of change.

The Unblocking

Once I made the mental shift towards accepting the Block Editor, then it was simply a matter of time and attention to learning and practicing it. A key issue I had to resolve first was whether or not I could still use my normal writing workflow…without being blocked. (I prefer intentional puns.) To my relief, yes, I could!

In a nutshell, I write all my article drafts in Google Docs, then I upload directly to my blog using the WordPress Add-on. It looks like this:

Google Docs Add On

I’m happy to report that this great Add-on works with the Block Editor. By some tecno-wizardry that would make Gandalf proud, my Google Doc Draft Template gets converted to all the blocky things. It just works! (Knocks on wood, crosses fingers, and prays.)

The ABC’s Of Blocking

What about all those blocks? Why are there so many? What do they all do? What’s with all the new buttons? How does it all work?

Hold on, change is hard, but it’s okay.

First, you must embrace the fact that the Block Editor is going to steamroll you sooner or later; it is inevitable! Once that melodrama eases up, then you may begin playing with the blocks like you’ve got a pile of Lego. Let your imagination and creativity go with it. Just start snapping the basic blocks together. Set aside time to do this; you’re gonna wanna focus.

Second, repeat. That’s it! All it takes is a little time and practice. For the most part, when it comes to an actual blog post, you won’t really need a whole buncha fancy blocks anyways. Your bestie will be the Paragraph block. You might also wanna try the Header block. There are a few blocks for writing, and maybe a few for layout, that you’ll want to get familiar with.

Now Blocking. I Mean Blogging.

The Block Editor is not bad. In fact, now I think it’s pretty cool. It does offer more capabilities than before. And yes, more features often means more complexity. Yet it works. I’m still learning all the ins and outs, but I have not run into any block-busters (ok that pun is kinda weak). And recently, WordPress shared some good new info about the creative abilities of the ever-improving Block Editor; I found it helpful.

For straightforward writing, I think the block paradigm is kind of overkill. You really just need a blank page and maybe some text formatting (WYSIWYG) when you’re ready to polish and edit. But for website and blog building, the Block Editor is really good. Maybe over time, I will come to learn how beneficial it is to writing.

Give change a chance.

Are you a Block Editor hold-out like I was? I get it! Have you been assimilated? Me too! Add your comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Unblocking The Block Editor

Add yours

  1. I was a hold-out, but then ended up using it while writing a post on the iPhone app. I was confused about how each paragraph is a separate block, but it was handy to move the paragraphs around the pictures I posted. Haven’t seen it on the computer yet. Kinda apprehensive about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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