A Blog a Day – Day Seven

I’m always on the lookout for faster, simpler ways to create websites. I have been following Katrina (no last name shared)   and Tyler Moore for several months. They show step-by-step examples of how to create a complete website.  They show how to get a domain name and a webhost and then how to create the final website.

It’s not that I don’t know how to do this. I do. But each of them have unique presentations where I always learn something new.

Such was the case today when I discovered Tyler’s latest presentation, “How to Make a WordPress Website – 2015“.

Be prepared for two and a half hours work of information.  You may need to take it in doses. That’s easy to do because with his video, he also has CSS code that can be copied and pasted for most major steps in the website creation.

He begins by showing what the finished website will look like and what it will cost if you’re starting from scratch. If you have the ability to get as far as reading this post, you should have all the ability it takes to create his  website. It starts out using the latest theme, twenty fifteen as a foundation then modifies it in a spectacular way.

Take a look at the site and give it a try even if you think you’re a WordPress novice. You may be surprised. And if you’re a member of Plus Your Business (you know who you are), you can contact me for help if you need it.

I will also mention that Katrina has also done a video on using WordPress and twenty fifteen.

It is an hour shorter than Tyler’s and doesn’t do quite as much modification. Take a look at it and Katrina’s other offerings. She has a free WordPress course that is much more basic than her full blown videos.

Give them both a try and see what you think.

Once again, give me a shout if you need clarification on  either of the URLs I’ve shared. I’ll be glad to share my thoughts with you.

A Blog a Day – Day Six

A couple of days ago I was chatting about how to enhance my brain power. I opted to learn how to draw on a computer rather than learning to play a musical instrument.

Yesterday and today, I did some basic preparations for that new learning. I have been a Macintosh user for lots of years but I felt that I needed Windows software. So I bought an XP Pavillion desktop running Windows 8.1. I got and installed a trial version of the software, Xara.

Instead of jumping onto the new machine, I looked at some Xara tutorials. So far, I’ve seen about a dozen and am getting acquainted with the interface I will be using. This has not been too difficult. I’m accustomed to using Photoshop a lot and Illustrator a little. The similarities are close enough for an easy transition. I think.

Tonight, I went to a website called the XaraXone and watched a Xara pro by the name of Gary Bouton. He drew, then scanned a cartoon pear and colored it using Xara. This tutorial, along with its associated files is at

http://www.xaraxone.com/tutorials/digi-toons/

The tutorial is only 16 minutes long. While listening to it, I was also playing some binaural beats music from YouTube. I expected this to enhance my learning experience. There was not much music there and it made me uncomfortable so I loaded a study aid from YouTube for “Super Learning and Memory: Binaural Beats for Study, Focus, and Memory.” Guess I’m going to have to get used to doing this. Listening to binaural beats is part of a brainwave and sleep program I’m participating in.

I’m not sure how well the music helped me comprehend the Xara tutorial but I will continue to use binaural beats until they are too distracting.

I feel that I’m now ready to begin some Xara work. I want to draw a cartoon using Shoo Rayner, Steve Harpster, or other cartoonist, scan it and then color it with Xara. Maybe I will begin tomorrow

A Blog A Day – Day 3

Getting “Nitchy” With It
Crossroad in my life. Recipient of an Excellent Interview between Martin Shervington and Brian Clark
Yesterday (March 19,2015), I watched a presentation by Martin Shervington and Brian Clark. The topic was How to Become an Authority.  It is one of the presentations in the Plus Your Business Academy.

Martin is my new found guru while Brian has been on my reading list for a few years. Martin is the creator of Plus Your Business. Brian is the co-founder of CopyBlogger. Both are inspirations to me, and I stop just short of being a fanboy of both.

I’ve spent the last month and a half as a member of the Plus Your Business Academy Level 2. I am learning the basics of social media through the use of Google+. A subset of that course is Hangouts and Hangouts on Air taught by Ronnie Bincer. It has been an exhilarating experience. I expect to continue through at least two more Academy levels during the rest of the year.

Martin uses CopyBlogger and by extension, Brian, as role models for his brainchild. Both men are enthusiastic and prolific in their pursuit of excellence in sharing their respective knowledge.

I have never defined my niche in the world. I do many things. I am interested in many things. It is hard for me to focus on that one thing that I want to excel at. I do many things and have so many interests that it is hard to choose just one “nitchy” thing.

I began my current course of study with Martin with the intent of learning how to use Google+. I wanted to teach an online course or two about the basics of WordPress. Since then, I’ve changed my mind.

I still want to teach an online WordPress course, but my primary goal now is to learn to be a Google+ coach. I’ve listened to how both Martin and Brian began by building good foundations. They sought ways to impart their knowledge to students thirsty for social media knowledge. They did this step-by-step and continued to do so. I like that. I can do that.

So I began looking for my niche. What did I have to offer? Who wants to know what I know? I have three major clients. One of them is a small business strategist. She and I have worked together for over 20 years. Her clients need to know what I need to know. She needs to know what I’m learning.

I have made an appointment with her on Monday morning at zero dark o’clock as we used to say. We will brainstorm about our continuing and changing relationship. We will explore how both she and her clients can use Google+. More news at eleven.

But as usual, I have digressed. This post is about how Martin and Brian have excited me about what I can do. The first thing I will do is to read or listen to each of them as the first item of business each day. It will be easy to follow Martin since he has recorded many presentations relating to Google+ and social media.

Brian has created a personal blog that is incredible. He has created a personal blog at http://further.net. When I visited it, I went all the way back to his first post to see where he was coming from. That’s where I stayed. It is well written with many references and to the point discussion about Positive Thinking. It is current as of December 16, 2014. Take the time to read it all. Take the time to follow and read the references. Take the time to think about it. Answers are there. Give yourself time to find them and to see how you can use them.

One of my goals for the rest of 2015 is to read and listen to everything I can find that these two guys present. I don’t think I can go wrong doing that. I plan to incorporate things I learn from them into my blogs. Let’s see if Lindsey can get “nitchy” with it.

A Blog a Day – Day One

I’ve been having some enjoyable moments during the past several weeks since I began studying Google+ and Hangouts with Martin Shervington and Ronnie Bincer.
In the last two days, I’ve read well over 100 posts and three stick out in my mind
• George Cohn and Marilyn Ritter’s presentation of how to cook Flemish Beef Beer Stew;
• Carolyn Capern on the #TNTBootcamp with Christine DeGraff and Ronnie Bincer. Carolyn discussed her goal of a blog a day for a year;
Google Feud, which I think, should have been called Google Jeopardy

I have gathered the ingredients for the stew and intend to make it today or tomorrow. I will also make some Irish Soda Bread to accompany it. Of course, I will include an obligatory picture of said meal.

I will NOT play another game of Google Feud since I’m very liable to get addicted. (I played World of Warcraft for ten years, drank too long, smoked too much. See?)

I WILL begin to write a blog every day for the rest of this year. After listening to Carolyn discuss her blogging activities, I realized that I have been doing something similar but undirected. I need to find a topic that I can write about and stick to it by creating new and useful (?) information with each blog. Carolyn says she spends a couple of hours or so on each blog and writes around 500 words. She accompanies each blog with a nice image. This will be a tough challenge.

Since beginning the Plan Your Business course I’ve gotten out of my daily goal of writing 750+ words per day, every day. I started on September 8, 2013 and have written 750 words a day for 516 of the 556 days. Writing daily came to a halt as I began to listen to more and more of the course material for Plus Your Business and began to follow and get a feel about how to make Google+ my Internet hammer. Oooh, look at all those nails!

Tune in tomorrow for the second day of the #LindseyBlog.

BTW, my blog will not necessarily be 750 or more words but will be part of that total.

Results from running this post through Readability-Score

Average Grade Level 7.1
Text Statistics

Character Count 1,695
Syllable Count 580
Word Count 414
Sentence Count 29
Characters per Word 4.1
Syllables per Word 1.4
Words per Sentence 14.3

Cartoon Practice

Cartoon Practice
Posts are usually more enticing to readers when they include images. I really like cartoons so I will begin adding them to my posts as I see fit.

LetterQYou can find lots of cartoons on the stock photo websites. But can you find the one you want? Exactly the one you want? Probably not.

I like cartoons – the single drawings, not cartoon strips. I like to draw. I’m a self-taught drawer. Not an artist. Not a cartoonist. A drawer.

But in order to draw, I need inspiration. That inspiration does not always come from within. Fortunately, the Internet abounds with tutorials, sample drawings, techniques. Inspiration.

I’d like to share some of my favorite with you:

  at https://www.youtube.com/user/ShooRaynerDrawing

Shoo is a Brit children’s book illustrator who has hundreds of tutorials on his YouTube site. Shoo’s philosophy is “Everyone can draw. Anyone can learn to draw better. Forget about art. Drawing is a language that helps you communicate with others. Get some paper, make some marks and you are drawing!”

 at  https://www.youtube.com/user/tgif38

Steve has become well known for using the letters of the alphabet and numbers as the foundation for drawings. He visits grade schools and introduces young kids to easy drawing techniques. I have drawn some of his examples which I have posted at http://www.exploringnewmedia.com/cartoons-and-spanish-and-podcasts-oh-my/the-letter-a/. Check out my other letter-based drawings and see that I have included some Spanish words to give a fuller learning experience.

•   at
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrd1j_IoMQDv_MEEGKLoFJg

Christopher is the author of many, many step by step cartoon drawing books. He has numerous videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/chrishartbooks/videos. He is a rich source for techniques and ideas for drawing kids, animals, dragons, anime, and more. Give this site a chance and loosen up your pencil.

• Cedric Ohnstadt at  https://cedrichohnstadt.wordpress.com/
Cedric is not a step by step artist like the preceding 3 artists. His website is the place to visit after practice, practice, practicing at the other three sites.

All the cartoons I see in these 4 sites are the kind that I want to draw. Now, I need to take my own advice – practice, practice, practice.

Do YOU draw? Who is your inspiration? What do you do with your drawings?

Wednesday Musings

organizer-146189_1280Wednesday seems like a good day to talk about what I’ve done in the last two days and what I want to do in the next two days. This assumes, of course, a normal five-day work week. Not true but let’s pretend that I only work five days per week.

On Monday, I decided to analyze the book, Along Came a Spider by one of my favorite authors, James Patterson. Patterson is a favorite for several reasons. He’s a prolific author. He is a terrific writer. He has written 19 books about the hero of this book, Alex Cross, a Washington DC detective. He writes chapters of about 3 to 4 pages in length.

I’ll cheat a little bit on my five-day workweek and reveal that I began my analysis with the Prologue of the book on Sunday. This is the way the analysis is proceeding. (It may change as I get more experience.)

This is the way the analysis is proceeding. (It may change as I get more experience.)

As I’ve stated before, I have a goal of writing at least 750 words (or more) every day. For well over a year, I “wrote” with my keyboard instead of with pen and paper. Since I learned how to touch type in high school, I have not done too much traditional writing. I can type faster than I can write. And I like the ability to edit as I write. Not recommended by writing teachers but hey, that’s the way I learned to write in volume and I’m not going to stop now.

Now, whenever I can, instead of tappity, tappity, tap on the keyboard, I dictate to my iMac using Dragon Dictate, the Macintosh version of Dragon Naturally Speaking. Instead of 750 or so words a day, I can easily knock out about 2,000 words in the same amount of time if my mind is up to it.

And instead of the traditional paper or text editor file, I use Scrivener, an application created especially for writers. It is a very visual record of the entire writing process – the text, images, notes, chapters, all in the same place. I like that. It keeps me from wasting time trying to find where I have filed various parts of my work.

Back to the Prologue. This was not my usual original work. I fired up Dragon Dictate, opened Scrivener, created a project called AlongCameASpider, created a file called Prologue and began to dictate.

Sometimes, the dictation is not 100% accurate. I use a website called grammarly.com to check the grammar and spelling of everything I write/dictate. I know it’s probably a bit presumptuous to check an author of James Patterson’s stature, but I need to get a feel for his style.  The analysis of the Prologue content shows an occasional use of passive voice, a missing hyphenation or two, stand-alone phrases. No problem because this is also the way I write. Just checking to get a feel for his style.

Statistics are more meaningful to me at this time than how Patterson writes. I go to a website called readability-score.com and submit what I’ve written for statistical analysis. Below is the result of what I got after dictating the Prologue.

Readability Score
Average Grade Level 5.9

Text Statistics

Character Count 3,341
Syllable Count 1,050
Word Count 770
Sentence Count 74
Characters per Word 4.3
Syllables per Word 1.4
Words per Sentence 10.4

During this process, I lost a bit of my objectivity when I began to get very interested in the story being told. I wanted to continue reading. But I decided to limit myself to one chapter a day – to read, to measure, to document, to anticipate the next day’s offering.

On Monday, I followed the same process with Chapter 1. Patterson got a bit wordier than he had been with the Prologue. Here are the results of  Chapter 1.

Readability Score
Average Grade Level 5.1

Text Statistics

Character Count 3,132
Syllable Count 1,039
Word Count 787
Sentence Count 77
Characters per Word 4.0
Syllables per Word 1.3
Words per Sentence 10.2

Just about the same number of words as he wrote in the Prologue.

On Tuesday, I dictated Chapter 2.

Readability Score
Average Grade Level     5.1

Text Statistics

Character Count     6,063
Syllable Count     1,949
Word Count     1,467
Sentence Count     170
Characters per Word     4.1
Syllables per Word     1.3
Words per Sentence     8.6

He wrote almost twice as many words here as he did in the Prologue and Chapter 1.

Today, Thursday and Friday, I will dictate Chapters 3, 4, and 5 and see how the numbers stack up.

I’m not only reading and writing about Along Came a Spider, I’m also studying Google things, like Google+, Google Hangouts, Google Hangouts on Air. I’m participating in a pilot sleep and brain fitness program. I’m involved almost daily in the company of my main munchkin, 3-year-old Thomas. And, oh yeah, I’m redesigning my website with the intent of creating a step-by-step basic WordPress tutorial.

So what will I be doing the rest of my “work week?” Watching and listening to videos about what I’ve studied in the first two weeks of my Plus Your Business Course. Watching and listening to videos about what I’ve studied in the first two weeks of my Hangout Mastery course. Creating and documenting steps in the creation of this website. Reveling in a couple of hours a day with my youngest grandson.

Life is good.