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Thoughts on personal websites and full-time jobs / notlaura.com v4 [WiH]

notlaura.com v4 is in the works.

Note: WiH means Written in Haste. This post wasn’t written in that much haste, but for whatever reason I feel more comfortable publishing evolving thoughts and opinions with that disclaimer.


It is a special feeling when your personal website reaches a certain threshold of unmaintained and out of date. Mine has reached that threshold. I mean, I still like my website and I generally enjoyed building it, but that was a different time. Now, when I look at the code I wrote three years ago and….well…if I’m going to do any kind of significant update, I’m starting from scratch. And three years from now, I’ll be writing the same blog post about notlaura.com v5.

This is the problem design systems are supposed to solve, right? And hey, guess what, I’ve been working on a design system at work for the past almost two years and its open source and intended for WordPress themes! Perfect! I can build notlaura.com v4 with that! And I’ll be able to get try out some new ideas that I can’t do on work projects, and it will be great and exciting and I’ll learn things and…wait.

The Lara of six or nine months ago was very excited about this prospect. The Lara of today, however, is absolutely not going to do doing that.

So, notlaura.com v4 will be a TwentyTwenty child theme, and here’s why:

  • For users, WordPress is so great right now, and because the way we use WordPress at my job is pretty far removed from how 99% of people use WordPress, I feel out of touch with what that out-of-the-box WordPress is like. Plus, I’ve started contributing to WordPress by leading the #core-css meetings, and experience with out-of-the-box WordPress will definitely benefit that.
  • The main purpose of my personal site, now, is to support writing and self-expression. Previously, it was for self-promotion – to demonstrate my skills and to ultimately result in paid work. I used to think that having a full-time job would be stifling, but from this perspective, it can be liberating.
  • These days, I generally avoid coding outside of work hours. If I do code, it is exploratory/experimental in nature or volunteering for an organization I support. I mean, I could build an exploratory/experimental personal site…but it also has to be functional, and I don’t have the energy for that in addition to my commitments at work.
  • Lea Verou came to a similar conclusion for her personal site redesign. Seriously, WordPress (and TwentyTwenty) is, like, so hot right now 😜.

I wanted to write about this decision as an example of much our interests change over time, even in just one or two years. A lot of my interests are changing now, and I want my website to support that change. Building your own personal website (especially during a time of personal change) is a huge undertaking, and it’s way too close to what I do for my job.

I guess the tl;dr of it is that notlaura.com is no longer my job, and that is very exciting.

Also, I still might change my mind about this…

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