How I Blog
Since I have already covered “Why I blog” – I figured I would cover “How I blog”. I am sure that what I am about to tell you is not rocket science and if anyone has any time saving tips beyond what I am about to detail – PLEASE share. But in the meantime maybe some of my tips will help one of you.
First I do my projects or research. That may seam like a no brainer but hey – I figured I would start at the beginning. Sometimes I take enough photos to make the resulting post a tutorial and sometimes I “forget” and the post becomes more of a synopsis of the process. I prefer to do tutorials but with kids, dogs, lack of time and lots of excitement – I sometimes lose track of the picture taking process.
Then I wait until the kids go to bed and work on my blog (the computer piece). I don’t do projects every day and I don’t write posts every day. I will often spend two entire days cranking out project after project and then I do the posts as time allows. Other projects are kid related and those are much more timely. To write – I use “Windows Live Writer”. I only started using this recently and what a time saver it has been. I was creating my posts directly in blogger and even when I would significantly decrease the size of my photos it could easily take an hour or more just to download the photos into the post – and that doesn’t count the times it errors out (often) and I have to start with the photos all over again. Live Writer is a Word Processing program that contains most if not all of the same features as Word. It is almost instantaneous when I insert photos into my posts. It is in a “WYSIWYG” format – What You See Is What You Get. I can publish to the major blog platforms directly, choose a future publication date, migrate it over to the blog in draft form etc… There is a free version and a paid version. Basically, the free version comes with a minimal amount of storage and the paid version is unlimited. So far I have not saved any of the posts directly in Live Writer so I continue to use the free version. A post that could have taken me more than an hour and a half before can now take me about ten to fifteen minutes. Phew…. Plus Live Writer allows me to choose from hundreds of fonts versus blogger only having the limited selection of a few. And the photos can be edited (simple edits) directly in Live Writer without having to do them in another software first then downloading into blogger. All extreme time savers.
So I have my posts written and scheduled to run. Daily I link to multiple link parties and comment on multiple other posts within those link parties – spreading the love. I quickly got to a point where I couldn’t remember which parties I already linked to, which ones were on which days and what projects I already linked up. Enter – Excel. I keep an excel spreadsheet of all of my link party activities and the days/dates they occur. I keep a Word document with the links to all the link parties I participate in so I can just copy/paste that into each post I link up.
I run a Success U – Wednesday Link Up Party at The Stuff Of Success (usually starting around 6pm Tuesday night) with a feature project (link most visited or some other criteria) and try to acknowledge every person who submits a project. This is the most difficult task to accomplish and some weeks because of my career, life, commitments etc… – the following up is the piece that gets lost in the shuffle. I do try and it is the task I most dislike not being able to complete. I appreciate each and every person and want them to know it – but there is only so much time. I send out a weekly reminder of the link party along with any special requests or thanks that are due at that time.
Along the way I often encounter technical issues and can’t seem to resolve them. For example – I cannot for the life of me – comment on a person’s blog if they only have Google, WordPress, AIM, OpenID, and Typepad as options. I try, but it never works. I have tried workarounds that work for some other people (not all) but it still doesn’t work. So it is really frustrating when I want to acknowledge someone’s great project/work and I can’t reach them – so if you want to help – please add the option to comment with Name/URL. That would eliminate a lot of my stress. Then I search in vain on a person’s site so I can send them an email about their great project but many bloggers do not place their email address on their blog. How do people reach you? I want to reach you but can’t comment or email. Lastly, on some profiles I would be able to email to a hidden email address if I use Outlook – but I don’t so I can’t even connect that way. Does anyone else have these same struggles? It seems these are areas that blogger really needs some guidance on. As a side note – if you do place your email address on your blog, just type out the full email address with words for “at” and “dot”.
Most nights I do about three hours of computer blogging work – even if it means 2-3am. There is a rare night where I just need to stay unplugged and catch up on the rest of my life’s responsibilities. Weekends I do very little online – that is mostly project time. If it is nice weather – outdoor projects with power tools and paint. If not so nice – paper projects, sewing, gluing etc…
Oh and I keep many files in DropBox so I don’t need to always rely on a memory stick and I can access them from any computer I have access to.
There you have it – “How I Blog”.
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