I started writing as Super Noob on Lindsay’s blog, Web Design for Idiots. Tonight I wrote the following as an introduction to who I am and why I’m someone who might have a reason to be writing there.
I’m posting this from my very messy desk with the TV on to my left and my nearly cold coffee at my right hand, in danger of wrecking my faithful little scanner. I’m a real woman. I’m a real, live, 40+, divorced Canadian woman, a writing legend in my own mind.
In June of 1996 I began on the Internet. I was an IRC diva for quite a long time. It was a lot of fun and most of it I really should not write about here. That’s what personal blogs are all about. I wrote for a zine first, a small print publication called The Crying Clown. From there it was all online. At one point I was producing my own newsletter for writers, InkSplatters, sent out through what is now Yahoo Groups. I was a web writer for HerPlanet, BackWash, BellaOnline, Suite 101, WZ-ard.com and other sites, forums and newsletters some still living and some not. I still write for Creative Fat Grrl on LockerGnome, a babbly blog more than anything seriously functional. Writing for a network is a different educational experience than writing for yourself. Which is one reason I keep doing it.
I’ve had sites and then blogs of my own. I didn’t begin online in the great time of blogging, I was here before that. So my first sites were put together with just HTML code as I learned and goofed it up. I’ve used software and I’ve cut and pasted code and I’ve hand coded my own pages. I’m not an expert, time alone isn’t enough to make you an expert at web design or development. I have learned however and as I learn I see how much more there is to be explored and discovered. But, don’t look to me expecting I’m a know-it-all. If I ever say that you can be sure I’m just laughing at myself.
I love creative things. I’ve done so many interesting forms of art, just to try them out. I made ASCII art for a few years. I continue to take digital photos of abandoned places here in Ontario, starting in 2006 when I bought my first digi camera. I’m also teaching myself to draw cartoons, some people even like them! This week I re-learned the art of cutting out paper doll chains so I could make them into a graphic for a blog. I really think it’s important to keep the creativity and free writing in blogging. It would be a real shame if the personal journal and creative element of blogging were lost in the rush for SEO and money making.
Anyway, I’m here to help the less experienced blogger with my experiences. I’ve got a stack of great books about web design on my bookshelf and I will be using them (finally) for more than a place to hide my dust bunnies. I seem to collect books with great good intentions and then not get very far. You can also find me writing about web writing and posting writing ideas and prompts on my blog, Word Grrls.
Completely off topic… did you know that a nail file works really well if you have an itchy spot on your back that you just can’t reach? I’ve been rubbing my back on my chair tonight wishing for something to work. Then I had the great idea for the nail file (not one of those treacherous metal ones, just some cardboard type) and that worked great!
Life is a learning experience. I am working on the WordGrrls blog, changing to a new theme. It was great to have a new premium theme from Matt at WordPress.
I have nothing bad to say about Thesis, the WP theme. I still like it and may yet return to using it. One thing, it is quite simple to use and uncomplicated once you get the hang of where to find everything.
Now I am using Headway and finding it has too many options for fiddling with little things, overkill. I am still trying to work out the footer and I need to make the body of content fluid but have not found an option for that. Two fairly essential things. There isn’t a lot of documentation (other than videos which I just don’t want to deal with). But I have found some help from Headway Beginner.
Everyone can leave one comment in one blog each day. Pretty simple. If you were away you can catch up by doing an extra comment the next day. No stress. Just one sincere and interesting comment per day. No problem. Pick any blog you like. A blog you have been reading awhile or one you pick randomly and may never have read before.
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I’m Laura. ASCII artist, stick figure cartoonist, urban and rural explorer of abandoned places – these are a few of the things I am doing when I’m not writing. I began as a web writer in 1998 but I started online in 1996, an IRC diva. I think I am a great fit for Lifehacker because I have experience, stamina (I was an editor at Dmoz over ten years), creativity, originality and inspiration. I’ve also been a copy editor and forum moderator so I can write and self edit my work quite well. I love finding new things online: new gadgets, new sites, new ways to use what we already have. I’m not the most organized person so I look for anything to help me with that.Some things work and some don’t but I try them. Once a year I reformat my hard drive to make sure I’m not left with any nasty critters from my experimentation. I’m teaching my Mother to use the computer. It takes patience, a lot of simple words, straight forward answers and I’m usually repeating the same things over a few times before she actually listens but we are making progress. I’m Sagittarius, I just feel the need to teach the world.
WordGrrls (http://wordgrrls.com) is my site for web writers. Originally I used it to stash content I had written for BackWash, WZard.com, HerPlanet, LockerGnome, BellaOnline and Suite101. On WordGrrls I post (daily) creative writing prompts, writing inspiration, web publishing ideas and generally my point of view about anything to do with keeping a space for yourself on the web. There is a flood of information for SEO and marketing your blog but the writing itself is being put on the backburner. I bring the writing back into the lime light. I love writing and even making lists of topics to write about. A bit crazy. Currently I am working through a mild addiction to WordPress plugins. I have found several I like for odds and ends but I’ve yet to find just what I want for displaying a featured past post.
I’m located in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Not the US but I was once married to an American and spent a few years living in Illinois, does that count?
Right now I am not employed, trying the work from home plan but still mostly just unemployed. I have a lot of availability. Usually I am online in the evening when it is quiet and dark and I can pretend I’m far more mysterious than I really am.
Free versions of Serif software, includes WebPlus and DrawPlus for creating sites and making your own graphics. I found this a few years ago and never did do much to try them out. Now they are updated and still have free versions, which was nice to find. Or, you can pay and get a few more features. Or, go to the main site and get the latest versions of the same software. Pretty reasonable, even for the newest versions, when compares to DreamWeaver which is up to $500 now versus the $100 it was when I first got ahold of what is now an older version, before Adobe added it’s name to the whole thing.
On my ever growing list of things to do. I want to learn more about podcasting. I seem to remember typing that here already, not so long ago. Anyway, still there.
I found a site that does a podcast about WordPress and blogging. Have not listened to it yet but the preview of links posted to the blog makes it sound good. Can’t listen right now cause the Momborg (to borrow Claire’s name for her Mother) is sleeping, trying to get rid of her cold.
I am even making a new tag for podcast on this blog. That gives me the hope I can find all the stuff I have bloggered about it when I actually do something about it. I do have a microphone, that’s a start on the hardware. (Always be optimistic!)
My new label cloud came from Frivolous Motion. It works and looks great.
In reply to Ben’s post about money making online:
The click me ads are never going to make big money cause they have had their time and now it’s gone. People don’t even look at the ads any more. Sidebar content may as well not exist unless it is something personal. I do find people notice my flickr badge which shows photos I have taken. But, the rest of the stuff on my sidebar may as well just be there for me. Which, most of it is.
I used to think the best way to use the Internet was the traditional way, the Information highway. But the highway is clogged up with billboards and you can’t always find the highway through the signage.
Freelancing is great. If you can do that. I freelance but do not find the Internet useful in this. No one ever found my resume online except those who came to spam my email. So, not exceptionally useful.
These days I think the best way for a company/ business to use the Internet is to give information about themselves, offer sales/ coupons and such. But, don’t hope people will find you. Bring the people to your site. Offer the link on business cards, flyers, and so on. The Internet can be information storage. The highway is just a traffic jam now.
We put so much time into getting fancy with our blogs. Then, more time into promoting them and getting them somewhat noticed in general. But the easiest post to make is just plain old text. No fussing with graphics or HTML code. Spellcheck will catch most of your spelling or typing mistakes. When a text post is so simple why are they becoming fewer and shorter?
In my own case I used to write a lot more. Babbling away about nothing much or some actual topic when one occurred to me. I’m not sure what happened. It’s something I want to work on. When I get some extra time from everything else, all that fancy stuff.
Disqus looks interesting. I found it being used on another blog this morning. Not sure about how much space it takes up on a post. Also it made leaving a comment kind of complicated. Took me awhile to find just where to click.
Disqus makes your comments more interactive for readers and easier to manage for you — all while connecting your community with other blogs.