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30 Days To A Blog Challenge–Day 18

day 18

More Tweaks and Edits

There are 4 days left in my personal 30 Day Blog Challenge. Since my last post, I’ve accomplished two things regarding the blog itself:

First, I fixed my Home page issue. When I logged in to WP and clicked ‘View Site,’ my ‘Home’ page would populate with all my posts. However, when I viewed my site without being logged in to WP and clicked the home tab in the navigation bar, my ‘Home’ page was  empty. How to fix?

Under WP Admin, which I usually use, my menu showed only one ‘Home’ page. But, under My Site, when I clicked menus, I had two ‘Home’ pages, one of which had the word ‘site’ next to it. That Home page was unchecked, so I clicked that, and my issue was fixed. I guess my real error was in thinking that My Site and WP Admin were just two different streets to the same destination, in a manner of speaking. From now on, I’ll make sure I check both routes.

Second, I fleshed out my ‘About Me’ page. For what seemed to be for too long now, the page included just the focus of the blog and why art is important to me. I kept thinking about it, but the words just wouldn’t come. Several nights ago as I was drifting off to sleep, the words came to my mind, so when I woke up, I edited the page. I finally added a definition for the term Cathartery, and a short bit about my background. I know it’s not completely finished, but I am satisfied with the result for now.

Thanks for reading!


30 Days To A Blog Challenge–Day 15

day 15

More Tweaks and Edits

It’s three weeks in, and this is my 15th post for my 30 Day Blog Challenge. Why post 15 and not 21 if you’re three weeks in, Kelly? My challenge is not a post-a-day challenge, but rather producing quality posts during my ‘learning to blog’ process. My goal is 20 quality posts, and I think I’ll meet that challenge.

In my Day 13 post, I wrote about changing my header image. Since then, I’ve changed it again. While the image itself is the same, I altered the text. I kept Cathartery in all caps–stylistic choice–but changed the font so the letters had more space between them and didn’t appear so jammed up.

Next, I also discovered that the title wasn’t centered. It looked funny to me, and so I finally measured it with an old-school ruler to confirm my suspicion. Back to Picmonkey for a redo of the image with the title centered. At this point, I also added a tagline for clarity regarding the blog’s focus and purpose. My new header image is the current one you see on my blog now.

The last change I made was to my Gravatar text in my sidebar. I also needed this text to reflect and clarify the focus/purpose of the blog. People have to read, discern, and absorb so much information now, clarity is King. More Hemingway, less Shakespeare. Those of you who know me personally also know how much this hurts.

In three short weeks, I finally feel the most satisfied with the blog. The theme colors, background color, and header image all go together well. My tagline, Gravatar text, and About Me text also all reflect the same focus and purpose of the blog. My ‘About Me’ is too short, but I will edit it by the end of the challenge. I’ve written three posts on art topics, rather than just beginner blogging, and I’m happy with those. My writing style is fairly consistent, and I recognize when I am beginning to digress, and so edit without bad feelings. I am truly beginning to enjoy this ‘blogging thing.’

Thanks for reading!

30 Days To A Blog Challenge–Day 11

day 11

In yesterday’s post, I broke my default Blog Challenge format by writing a post about a topic other than what I’m learning about the process of blogging. It was the hardest post to write, so far, because it was so time-consuming.

First, It took a long time to find the images. Because I was writing about a museum visit where picture-taking is taboo, I had to rely on images I found on the web, instead of ones I took myself. Also, I used multiple images in that post, rather than just one under the post’s title, so finding images consumed more time than I wanted to spend just for one post.

Second, It took some time finding just the right info to link to. In this case, I wasn’t linking to another blog post, I was linking to hard information. For hard information, I wanted to find the right information presented in a certain way, which takes time. For this post, I did use Wikipedia for one link, because the Company’s website gave less info than Wikipedia, and was more visually heavy rather than informative.

Third, the writing itself took a lot longer than I wanted. Because the post contained many facts, I had to keep toggling back and forth between the museum’s website and my new post page to keep from writing the wrong information. Then, when I was writing my next to last paragraph, I changed my mind about the post. Instead of writing factual descriptions that can be found in many places on the web, I wrote about my personal experiences at the museum. So then, naturally, I had to re-write the whole post.

Lastly, headings and sub-headings. Because this was a stand-alone post about a topic other than the blogging process, I wanted more interesting headings and sub-headings. I liked my title, catchy but descriptive. Initially, I just had the catchy part, but then added the descriptive part. I wanted all readers to know what my post was about, not just readers who have been there. I also wanted my sub-headings to be more interesting, since the museum itself is an unusual one.

Overall, even though it took a ridiculous amount of time to write, I was much more satisfied with the entire product. Again, I’m sure that as I write more posts in that vein, my time spent on each post will decrease.

Thanks for reading!

11 down, 19 to go!

30 Days to a Blog Challenge–Day 8


day 8

Day 8 of my personal challenge. My one goal is an end of week reflection on the blogging process, continued.

Yesterday, in my Day 7 post, I reflected on what is working. Today, I will reflect on:

  1. What is not working, and for now, will change in some way
  2. Any questions I have

Let’s look at what is not working for me so far, or what I want to change:

First, the headings and sub headings thing. As a blogging beginner, I choose pure function over form. While still clearly a beginner, I am beginning to become bored with my headings. Yet, I know myself enough to realize if I abandon the format altogether, I will waste a ridiculous amount of time creating just the right header. I’m not cool with that. I know I’m entering a transition period as I move up the learning curve. I know that messiness and disorder is often a byproduct of this process. I don’t have a solution, so for now, I’m just riding the wave!

Second, ‘Cathartery’–what does that mean? I have yet to provide an explanation or definition for the term, either through the use of a tag line in the blog header itself, or elsewhere in my blog. It bugs me, I apologize, and I need to get that done this week. Again with the paralysis of perfection! At least I know myself.

Third, keeping track of what I’ve written and my questions. Since my posts are just entitled by number without a clue to content, after a week I’m struggling to remember what topics I’ve written in which post. For me, its a pain to keep toggling back and forth between screens. I think I’ll create a spreadsheet and include the date, title, big idea, and sub topics. I’ll also include any questions/challenges/inserted links. So, for example, an entry for today’s post would include: 9.21.15; 30D2aB#8; end of week reflection, what is not working; headings, Cathartery definition, remembering previous post topics, and link to Day 7 post. When I get the spreadsheet done, I’ll post a pic of it on my blog. Good idea, Win!

Any questions that I have

  • What is the protocol for acknowledging a blog follower?
  • What is the best way to thank them?
  • How do blogs with a huge readership show their readers love and thanks without necessarily following them?
  • Once the habit of posting is engrained, what is the next best thing to work on to ramp up my blog to the next level?

I think these are enough questions for now. Thanks for reading!

Day 8 down, 22 to go!

30 Days to a Blog Challenge–Day 7


day 7

Day 7 of my personal challenge. My one goal is an end of week reflection on the blogging process.

For my reflection format, I created several lists:

  1. What is working, and for now, will keep doing
  2. What is not working, and for now, will change in some way
  3. Any questions I have

I like the list format for analysis because its objective (ironic in an ‘art’ blog, I know), simple, and keeps me focused on the task at hand without getting sidetracked.

Let’s look at what is working for me so far:

First, the posting thing. While I wouldn’t use the word confident, I do feel comfortable with the process of posting. For now, I am keeping it simple. I copy a previous post, then change out the title and the image that appears at the beginning of a post. I write my post using the copied format, and insert any links if needed. I check or add a category, and insert any necessary tags.  Then, I edit for clarity and content, and do a final manual proofread for spelling. Done and publish!

Second, consistency of voice. I am writing using my natural writing style, and not trying to change my voice at all. Looking back and re-reading my previous posts this week, I am pleased that my writing voice is consistent.  When I am writing a new post, I do very little editing for writing style. Whew! One thing I don’t have to worry about!

Third, using WordPress. Again, to emphasize my statement from a previous post, anyone who claims you can have a blog up and running in 15 minutes has either done it countless times, or is outright lying. It took me about 4 days of fiddling with WP before I wrote my first post, and this week, I’m spending about 3-4 hours a day counting research time. So after about 2 weeks of using WordPress, I can comfortably create pages and menus, do basic appearance customization, and write and publish posts. Not a lot, but a lot for me!

Fourth, my writing schedule and personal time management. I get up early every day, between 5 and 6 am. This is when I do what I call my ‘hard’ writing–the kind that involves thinking. I basically have about 3 hours to myself before obligations to others kick in. If I finish a post in that window, I publish it. If not, I finish after 10pm, when my time belongs to me again. Otherwise, after 10pm, I am learning more about WP, researching, or creating. Still thinking, but thinking differently. I know that as my knowledge increases, the time I spend learning how to use WP for my needs will decrease, and my posting will become more efficient. This helps me to keep pushing through the grind when I feel tired or frustrated. So for now, my schedule is working.

I will address what is not working and questions I have in tomorrow’s post.

Day 7 down, 23 to go!

30 Days to a Blog Challenge–Day 4


day 4

Day 4 of my personal challenge. My goals today are:

  • Write draft for second post
  • Research ‘press this’
  • Learn how to insert a link in a post

I did manage, again, to accomplish my goals today, and here is what I learned:

First, Sticking with my posting format for now is a win. Even better, I discovered ‘Copy a Post,’ which saves me even more time! Woot! Now, at 5 am, I can just think about what I am writing, and not think about format too. Utilizing ‘Copy a Post,’ I wrote the draft of post number 2. It worked out so well and so quickly that after proofreading, I hit ‘Publish’ right away. Woot #2!

Second, ‘Press This’ seems to be a must have for content curating. While I was reading topics relating to Writing and Editing under the Help section in WP, I clicked on ‘Press This.’ While I haven’t tried using it yet, I did manage to drop and drag it to my favorites bar. It took over 10 minutes, because first I had to figure out that I only had my ‘Command Bar’ activated. I had no idea I had different bars until in my frustration I right clicked on the bar and discovered I had 4 bars to choose from. Who knew? Obviously, not me.

Third, Linking with love is awesome! While I am new to blog writing, I’ve been reading blogs for years. I read blogs for information, to learn, to broaden my perspective. I don’t really read blogs to be primarily entertained. Links in posts are fantastic if they add more information, give backstory, etc. Read–useful. I wanted to be able to do that, so again, I researched ‘Links’ in the Help section of WP. Crazy easy to do! Another win!

Day 4 down, 26 to go!