It feels like it’s time for another post on the “new” WordPress post editor: Gutenberg.
I’ve written about Gutenberg several times before (first this, then this). At first, I forced myself to try it due to the various benefits that had been told to me by Lynn “The Early Adopter” Sheridan, AKA The Otaku Author. I flip-flopped back and forth between it and the Classic Editor, ruining many posts (don’t convert from the block editor to classic, it ruins your post and you’ll have to fix so many things), and then eventually gave in again and went back to Gutenberg.
It’s been a hotbed of criticism from other bloggers, but I feel like maybe some other bloggers haven’t taken the time to learn how to really make use of the block editor’s features when it comes to constructing a post. And so, I’ll go over how I use the editor to make posts in what I consider to be a very easy and convenient way.
The formula that I use to write posts in Gutenberg consists of 3 passes through the post. Or 2, if you’re lazy. That might sound tedious, but bear with me as 2 passes through a post are actually faster than a single pass through with how I use Gutenberg.
Pass Through #1 –
Content & Structure
That’s right, the first pass through I do on my posts is exclusively done with the keyboard. The reason for this is simply because the mouse isn’t needed at this point, and everything can be done with the keyboard.
From your post title and onward, you can continue to add blocks to your post as you go by typing /<blockname> in the default text block that appears when you press enter. The common blocks that I use are: /image, /more, /heading, /separator, /youtube. On EcchiHunter, I also use /gallery quite a bit.
In addition, you can call up any of your reusable blocks with /name, name being the name you gave to the reusable block. Or you can type /reusable and get a list of all of your reusable blocks.
Another quick tip is that you don’t have to type the full names. Typing /ima will bring up /image, typing /head will bring up /heading, and so on, so you can bring up new blocks very quickly.
So as you go through your post, you never have to touch the mouse. Just keep on moving and adding the blocks as you need. Don’t worry about formatting just yet, such as alignment, or adding images, or anything about that. Just keep on going through the post, adding text and other elements such as separators or headings as you go.
Once you’ve made it through the post, all of the text, headings, and other blocks should be in place. In other words, your post is already next to complete. Which means it’s time for the second pass through.
Pass Through #2 –
Formatting & Adjustments
Let’s Use the Mouse Now
The second pass through is where, once my post is completely written top-to-bottom, I go back to the top and once again go through the post. This time, I make all of the adjustments that the post needs using my mouse.
This is typically things such as:
- Adding images & adjusting image size
- Block alignment (I like my images center aligned)
- Adding links
- Other block tweaks (for example, adjusting the separator block or heading sizes)
These are basically all of the things that require the mouse. This pass through is typically very quick, as the post is already written and the structure is already complete. For me it’s typically just inserting some images and adjusting some alignments.
After this, technically you are done, but I personally like to do one final pass through which is optional if you are lazy. You can also proofread on this second pass through, but a third one works best for me.
Pass Through #3 –
Read / Revise
Sometimes I skip this also, but after the second pass through, it’s usually a good idea to scroll through the post one final time to re-read the post, checking for any mistakes and making sure that your paragraphs are coherent.
If you decide to move anything around, it’s easy to select one or more blocks and shift them up and down without having to actually copy and paste anything. It’s also easy to insert new blocks in-between existing blocks if you want to add more text or another image or something.
You don’t have to start a new paragraph
I think a lot of people get upset at Gutenberg because they think that they are forced to constantly start a new paragraph, since hitting “enter” creates a new text block which will become a new paragraph.
But you don’t have to.
Instead, just hit “shift + enter” to start a new line.
I do this all the time.
To throw a couple short sentences together.
Reusable blocks are the reason I started using Gutenberg, dropped it, and then came back again. They’re just too convenient. To be able to drop a block into several posts and simultaneously edit said block in ALL of those posts at the same time is super useful.
You also don’t get self-pingbacks with reusable blocks, which is also great because I hate self-pingbacks. If you get far into a series and want to provide a list of all of your posts on it, there’s nothing more annoying than getting a dozen pingbacks every post.
It’s just a great tool for linking all of your posts of a certain series together in a single handy list that you can drop into any post in an instant.
Now this is something that I personally don’t use very often. I never use them here on the Umai Yomu Anime Blog. But I do use them on Ecchi Hunter, and I know that Lynn “The Early Adopter” Sheridan AKA The Otaku Author is a huge fan of them.
If you tend to write in the same format all the time, templates are really easy and handy to make in Gutenberg because you can have your entire post’s skeleton primed and ready to go. Just insert text and images into the blocks and you’re done. All the formatting, alignment, and whatnot should already have been primed in the template.
If you have a series of posts that all share a certain format, templates are handy.
While I personally don’t use too many of the features of Gutenberg, there are so many different blocks available. For example, you can create a table just like you would in Microsoft Word in Gutenberg using the /table block. There are blocks for various social media sites so you can insert tweets or whatever, there are blocks for formatting elements, there are many different types of image & gallery blocks…
Even I haven’t really explored any of that, because I never really saw the need to. But all I’m trying to say here is that you should check and see if there is a block available for whatever you’re trying to do before getting frustrated. Gutenberg doesn’t offer everything, but it does offer quite a bit.
And that’s how I use the Gutenberg Block Editor to create my posts. It’s a process that I developed after many months of using the block editor and learning how I can do things in the most convenient way possible.
It really feels like I’m getting the most out of Gutenberg in terms of workflow, even if I don’t make use of all the features when it comes to blocks themselves. Being able to string blocks together and make a strong initial pass through a post feels great.
Naturally there are still some mild criticisms that I have with the block editor as they make small changes here and there that are not always an improvement. It’s not perfect. But it’s really convenient, and I can definitely write posts faster using the block editor than I could using the Classic Editor, or even Microsoft Word for that matter.
Feel free to ask me any questions.
I may not be able to answer questions regarding any small bugs or specific issues you may have with it, but I’ll try my best regardless.
Until next time,
Thanks for reading.