Friday, August 31, 2012

Blog Make-Over Series – Changing Your Blog Address

by M. J. Joachim

As many of you know, I went from having a blog about freelancers and their writing, to a creative writing, flash fiction blog named FlashTyme. My original blog address was tedious and not amenable to searches at all. Changing the address of your blog is really simple, and will likely make it easier for prospective visitors to find your blog with ease.

Step 1:  From “Main Blogger Menu” choose settings
Step 2:  Under “Publishing, Blog Address” choose edit
Step 3:  Change the name of your blog and save

That’s all for now good people. Until next time, I wish you a wonderful Friday!
M. J.

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Creative Commons Attribution

Blog Make-Over Series – Adding Social Media to Each Post

by M. J. Joachim

In my original blog, my social media was listed in the margin, and pretty much shared my entire blog, as opposed to the individual post visitors enjoyed when they used it. Adding social media to each posts allows visitors to share only that which they truly like, and it helps blog owners track which posts are more popular by how much each post gets shared. Quite simply, adding social media to individual blog post is a handy and welcome addition to any blog, and it’s very easy to put in place.

Step 1:  From main blogger menu, go to “More options”
Step 2:  Choose “Layout”
Step 3:  In your “Blog Posts” box, click edit
Step 4:  Review list of “Page Post Options”
Step 5:  Scroll down to “Show Share Buttons” and click box

That’s all there is to it. While you’re in “post edit mode,” make any other changes you’d like.

That’s all for now, good people. Happy Friday to you all!

M. J.

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Creative Commons Attribution

Blog Make-Over Series – Changing Background Images

by M. J. Joachim

Last night, I redesigned my Make-over in Progress blog by changing its template. Today, I’m going to further enhance the overall appearance of my blog by changing its background image.

Step 1:  From blogger menu, go to “More Options”
Step 2:  Choose “Template”
Step 3:  Click “Customize”
Step 4:  Click “Background” found in left hand margin
Step 5:  Click arrow on “Background Image”
Wow! Do you see all the choices readily available for you to change your background image? You can upload your own image or choose from a multitude of backgrounds listed in categories in the pop-up window. Best bet – click the ones you like and see if you like the way they look on you blog.

Step 6:  Choose your favorite and click on “Apply to Blog” in the upper right hand corner.

Notice that some of these backgrounds will result in adjusted colors schemes on your blog. Templates are the basecoat – backgrounds the topcoat.

I chose and applied my new template last night. Now I’m going to experiment with background images and see what strikes my fancy.

Until next time then, I bid you well!
M. J. 

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blog Make-Over Series – Templates and Design

by M. J. Joachim 

As you may have guessed, I’ve wanted to create my FlashTyme blog for quite a while now. You see, last summer, I published two small ebooks with the same title. They’re available on iTunes, Nook, Sony and through a few other online distributors.

I truly enjoy writing my FlashTyme stories. Formatting them into ebooks? – Not so much. I’ve even stockpiled a few new FlashTyme stories, which are ready to be published on my new blog.

But look at it! The Make-Over in Progress blog current template is not exactly a perfect fit for my FlashTyme stories! Thankfully, this won’t be a problem at all!
Step 1:  From main blogger menu, click on “More Options”
Step 2:  Click on “Template”
*You now have a few choices to make. I’m going to click on “Customize.”
Step 3:  Choose your new template.
*From Customize, I’m going to choose Awesome. Then I’m going to choose the colors I like.

When making template considerations, it’s important to pay close attention to the title. Does it fit across the top of your blog the way you like it? If not, choose another template or work with the options available in the left margin to customize your template further.

When you are completely satisfied…
Hey, even if you’re not 100%, you can always make more adjustments at your leisure, click on “Apply to Blog” in the upper right hand corner.

Take some time to play and experiment with your choices. This isn’t do or die, tension headache, omg! I’ll never get this right blogging! This is Extreme Make-over blogging, where getting it right is simply not an issue, because the reality is, you positively cannot get it wrong!

Best of the evening to you, good people! Until next time, I wish you well!

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Creative Commons Attribution

Blog Make-Over Series – Editing Pages

by M. J. Joachim

Creating an effective blog make-over requires looking at all the details. Now that I’ve renamed my blog, I need to delete the pages that refer to the old blog. The process is straight-forward and very simple.

Step 1:  From your main blogger page, go to the “More Options” pull down menu
Step 2:  Click on “pages”
Step 3:  Click on each page and edit as desired
Step 4:  Save changes

See if you can catch me while I work…

More changes to follow. Stay tuned, good people!

M. J.

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Blog Make-Over Series – Name that Blog

by M. J. Joachim

If you’re following this series, you’ve discovered that I’m in the process of taking visitors on this writing tips blog through a step-by-step process of overhauling a blog that has been far too long neglected, and no longer serves the original purpose intended for it.

It is a blog about writing (and freelancers). Well, so is this one. I ask you, how many writing blogs does one writer really need? The obvious question comes to mind. Can I do anything on this blog that I’ve already done on that blog? The answer quite simply is, “Yes!”

So there you have it. As I work out the details of my blog make-over, I can go one further and do an EXTREME BLOG MAKE-OVER!!!

Which is why I’m going to not only change the name of my blog, but the theme, genre and anything else that might minimize my happiness and delight, or prevent me from being excited to work on it in the future.

First things first, it’s time to “Name that Blog!”

Step 1:  Go to your blogger page
Step 2:  Click on “More Options” next to the blog you want to make over
Step 3:  Click on “Layout”
Step 4:  In the title section, click on “edit”
Step 5:  Highlight and delete old title
Step 6:  Type in new title
Step 7:  Review blog description and delete/rewrite if necessary or desired
Step 8:  Save changes

At this point, my blog title and the articles previously posted to it have nothing in common. It’s time to revisit my old postings and delete, delete, delete! 

While I'm at it, I think I'll visit the margins and delete a few very old items there too. This one's easy. 

Step 1:  View blog
Step 2:  Click on wrench symbol
Step 3:  Edit as desired in pop-up window

If you’re curious, you might be able to catch me while I work…

Until next time then, I wish you well!

M. J. 

Photo Credit:  Wikicommons, GNU Free Documentation License

Blog Make-Over Series – Check Your Stats!

by M. J. Joachim

The first thing you want to do when considering making over your blog is check your stats. If you’re getting extremely limited page views and feedback, and if you don’t like working on your  blog, it may well be time to do an overhaul.

Study your audience and make an educated guess as to whether or not people are finding your blog by accident or on purpose. The blog I’m making over has less than 3,500 page views in 3+ years. It had less than 40 page views last month and 0 page views yesterday and today. My audience is from 2 small countries in Europe. I’m based in the United States, so I’m pretty sure no one if finding my blog on purpose.

Next, look at your posts under your stats. On my blog, only two entries show up, one for a post on diabetes – the title of my blog is not health related at all. My blog is about freelance writers, and the post contains links to several of them who wrote about diabetes. Another clue no one found this blog on purpose.

Now take a look at your posts. When was the last time you updated your blog, and when was the last time someone visited it? My last update was in 2011, which is also the last time anyone stopped by for a visit.

The above information is enough to indicate that I’m not earning any pennies for page views. However, it doesn’t hurt to check your earnings page just in case. If your blog is making money, it will show up in the list on your earnings page.

Once you’ve completed a stats check on your blog, you will know if you’re fully prepared to create a make-over for your blog. If you have any doubts at all, your best bet is to wait until you are excited about the possibility of overhauling your blog.

Until next time, good people, I wish you well!
M. J.
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Blog Make-Over Series – Overview

by M. J. Joachim

A few short years ago, I created four blogs on topics I thought I’d be blogging about for years. The blog you are currently reading is one of those blogs, and it has received a few minor make-overs since its conception.  Truth be told, it’s easier to post to a blog you enjoy working on, which is why two of my four blogs (this one and Lots of Crochet Stitches) are updated regularly.

Every time I open my blogger page, however, there are four blogs – the two I update and fiddle with, one I’m determined to add to the list of the these two, and one I wish I’d never started in the first place. Just yesterday I looked up how to permanently delete a blog, but then I paused and hesitated.

It occurred to me today that I could simply create a blog make-over. I could delete old posts, change the title and background, add new posts and turn that blog into something I truly enjoy working on again.

I hope you’ll enjoy following along, as I share the process of creating a blog make-over here on this blog. Maybe it will inspire you to change a few things on your own blog, or start blogging again on a blog you left in the dust too long ago. Whatever happens, this is something I need and want to do for my own sake. I hope it benefits you as well.

Until next time, good people, I bid you peace!
M. J.

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Book Review: The Clerk's Guest by George Moore

by M. J. Joachim
Updated 4/22/16

Obsession often catches us unaware; before we know it, we are driven toward a path no one could ever suspect, least of all ourselves. Much like complacency, obsession manifests predictable outcomes for the casual observer. Complacency being defined as someone being completely satisfied and obsession defined as someone completely absorbed and preoccupied, make for cozy cousins in my mind. 

Though they have their contradictions, these two words also have a lot in common. They are, in effect, self-consuming traits which enable others to presume a person’s future actions, based on habits exhibited frequently by the person we observe. 

Combining these two seemingly diverse, yet very similar traits, into a manuscript requires not only skill, but a peculiar thought process to adequately express their overall similarity, despite their only too obvious differences. Making what appears to be completely unpredictable come to life, and cause a reader to shake his head as if to say, “Duh!” is not an arbitrary response without bringing literature to life through its characters. 

Don’t take my word for it, please. Instead take a few moments to read The Clerk’s Guest by George Moore. It’s another of the many short stories I read over the summer, one that, while I so easily could have predicted the outcome, never had a clue until I read it.

Something very good came from reading classic short stories in recent months. These are the types of manuscripts that teach us how to write, without instructing us through rote memorization and tedious, time-consuming practice exercises. Experiencing a story is so much better than reading it anyway, which is why we have a treasured library of classics to be studied time and time again.

That’s all for now good people. Until next time, I wish you well!

M. J.

©2016 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review: The Lady and The Tiger by Frank R. Stockton

by M. J. Joachim
Updated 4/22/16

Upon reading the short story titled, The Lady or the Tiger, I found myself giving it a certain ancient voice in my head. My mind read with a faraway accent, something that happens when I indulge in reading classic literature written so long ago.

The story was very well written and fully engaging. It’s a timeless tale about a king passing judgment on subjects, a king who wants to be fair and prefers to please as many people as possible in his kingdom, regardless of the inadequate means he imposes to do so.

Conflict presents itself when judgment must be passed on the lover of the king’s daughter. This is a short story, so don’t expect me to explore the intricate details with you. It’s well worth a read, and I’ve no doubt you will enjoy doing so much more, than if I were to present a play-by-play version of it here on this blog post.

Stockton surprises readers with a variety of twists throughout the story, one of which is a jealous streak in the king’s daughter. Personally, I found myself full of animation and expression, hemming and hawing, nodding in agreement and then shaking my head in opposition. If I were to face the same set of circumstances, I’m not sure how I might respond, which is why I was so eager to read Stockton’s conclusion.

Expect the unexpected is about all I can say on the matter. I’m still in conflict over it all, the surprise ending of which, did nothing to alleviate my dilemma.

Until next time, good people, I wish you well!

M. J. Joachim

©2016 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Public Domain

Summer Reading vs. Reading All Year Long

by M. J. Joachim
Updated 4/22/16

As a book reviewer, summer reading is neither here nor there for me, because to put it mildly, I read all year long. Curiosity compels me to ask if anyone has time for summer reading anymore. As a mom and former teacher, I can still attest to the importance of summer reading programs for kids, but then I promote reading to kids as much as possible anyway. It's supremely important for their development, if you ask me, and when they can read themselves, it's vitally important for them to be able to be able to engage in a good story. 

It's already April, and as you may have guessed, I've got a rather large pile of books I'm planning to read this summer, a list that keeps growing, because I'm on a mission to support Indie Authors and help them promote their books, provided these same books are top notch and worthy of being praised and read by the masses. You know I'll write and publish my review either way.

Are you compiling a list of books to read this summer, or do you read all year long like I do? A lot of Amazon authors have mentioned that they sell enough books, but reviews are hard to come by. Do you feel inclined to share your thoughts about the books you read, or is it simply too much work in an already busy day? 

Please feel free to send me an email with your thoughts on this post, or tag me in social media and start a discussion with me. It's always nice to get to know fellow readers.

Happy reading, writing, reviewing and whatever else you do!

M. J.

©2016 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit:  Public Domain