Bloggiesta – March 2013

It’s time for the spring Bloggiesta! Founded by Maw Books Blog, Bloggiestas are scheduled weekends where you catch up on long-ignored blog tasks. Now it’s being run by It’s All About Books and There’s a Book.

Bloggiesta is running this weekend, March 22-24. There will be 7 mini-challenges, focused on some exciting ways to get our blogging butts in gear. You can check in and offer advice for other bloggers and join discussions on Twitter during three scheduled chats. (Be sure to follow @Bloggiesta, and come find me @loganturner!)

If you’d like to join up, click on the button for more information.

Here’s my to-do list:

  • Participate in at least 3 mini-challenges
  • Join at least one Twitter chat
  • Write 6-8 reviews and schedule posts
  • Check style sheets and update or create heading tags
  • Backup blog
  • Delete duplicate images from media library Knocked out a bunch, will need to revisit
  • Save bloglovin footer button to draft templates
  • Update widgets
  • Write 2 Writing Wednesday posts
  • Buy and read Language Management’s Blog Smarter toolkit
  • Schedule meme posts through April
  • Create blog organization notebook
  • Update review links on pages
  • Update cheat sheet
  • Change password
  • Clean up categories and/or create links page

Mini-Bloggiesta #1

It’s time for the first ever Mini-Bloggiesta! Founded by Maw Books Blog, Bloggiestas are scheduled weekends where you catch up on long-ignored blog tasks. Now it’s being run by It’s All About Books and There’s a Book.

This Mini-Bloggiesta is running this weekend, February 2nd and 3rd. There will be 4 mini-challenges, focused on the little things that we let slide when we get swamped. You can check in and offer advice for other bloggers and join discussions on Twitter. (Be sure to follow @Bloggiesta.)

If you’d like to join up, click on the button for more information.

Here’s my to-do list thus far:

  • Catch up on outstanding reviews
  • Update widget counters
  • Participate in mini-challenges
  • Prep meme posts for the month

Cheater!

Last month, when I participated in Bloggiesta, I had a couple of comments from people wondering about my task to update my cheat sheet.

“Cheat sheet?” they said. “What the heck is that, and where can I get one?”

Fear not, dear friends. I am happy to pass along the wisdom that has helped me out immensely. (Click any of the photos to enlarge them for a closer look.)

When I joined my first Bloggiesta in 2011, I was very new to blogging. I did tons of the mini-challenges, hopped around, and soaked up some really valuable advice. One of the links I stumbled across was for a mini-challenge on creating a cheat sheet. At this point my memory fails as to whether this was the original post I found, but There’s A Book has a great post on how to make a cheat sheet. She even has a mock-up you can use for reference!

There’s no need for me to recap all of her terrific explanations, but essentially the cheat sheet is an easily accessible document you create to store links, codes, and other info you want to keep handy while blogging. I have mine stored in a Google Doc, and it has html codes I copied from how-to posts on other blogs, a list of my page links and social media links for quick copying, and sidebar/design codes that I know look nice on my blog. Since I always compose my posts in HTML view, having these codes handy is a big time saver.

The sheet keeps me from having to reinvent the wheel every time I want to do some editing. Although my primary default these days is to just copy from old posts and sidebars, I’m trying to train myself to get in the habit of using the cheat sheet so I’m not constantly mucking around in my blog. It’s also nice to know I’ve got most of the codes I need in a separate place from my blog, in case something happens and it goes down.

So there you have it. I’m a cheater. Maybe now you can be one too.

Do you already use a cheat sheet? Do you find it helpful?

Writing Wednesdayâ??Get Organized!

Writing Wednesday 2 

Welcome to Writing Wednesday, my feature where I discuss my works in progress, project ideas, editing struggles, or anything else related to writing. This also serves as a place for general discussion posts.


The return of Writing Wednesday is here! Now that school is done and my writing group is starting up with biweekly meetings, I hope to have more things to discuss related to my writing projects. This probably won’t be an every week thing, but I’ll revive it from time to time to keep you posted.

This week I want to talk about organization. As some of you may have read last week in my TGIF post on bookshelves, my bookish life has been a bit…cluttered. This includes reading AND writing. Not only were my books shoved willy nilly all over my living room, but so were my writing drafts, critiques, notes and prompt books. It was insanity. This weekend I took advantage of my husband being out of town to pull some old books to sell, reorganize a couple of shelves, and buy a new bookshelf. Though I still didn’t get close to solving the problem, I got a lot closer, and moved some of the things I need to easily access to more appropriate locations.

Voila:

This is the one in the worst shape. The top shelf contains an overly stuffed shelf of religious books. The second shelf contains all of our plays (two deep, and you can literally see that shelf bowing under the weight!), the fourth shelf has art supplies and school books, and the last shelf has music and more textbooks. On the floor in front of this shelf are my review copies I donâ??t plan to keep. (Thatâ??s why theyâ??re on the floor â?? to remind me they are GARBAGE! Iâ??m kidding.) The third shelf is where I did the most work, moving a bunch of mass markets around and adding bloggy TBR books.
 
This next shelf got the best of the makeover treatment. (Seriously. I promise you this is an improvement.) I moved all of my logic puzzles to the top (which also holds random trinkets from India and some candles), moved around and got rid of some lit fiction Iâ??ll never read, and put all of my anatomy, food, and language materials on the bottom shelf. None of it is alphabetized or in much of an order, and itâ??s still overflowing, but itâ??s definitely an improvement. If you look closely you can see my Harry Potter collection and nerdy Final Fantasy game guides. Also wave to the husbandâ??s small amp on the right. Iâ??m not sure why itâ??s there. Donâ??t worry, the massive one is sequestered in the nightmare that is our office.
 
That last shelf I think is going to be moved over here instead. The white shelf on the left is the new one I bought this weekend and given the layout here I think a taller shelf would look better. The open shelves are our display shelves (remember my fun Disney hat? Top shelf!). You can spy  a copy of my favorite meant-for-adults picture book, Itâ??s a Book by Lane Smith. The white shelves will be used for games, writing materials, cookbooks and comic book storage (my new box for this is on the bottom.) Since Iâ??ve already amassed a healthy amount of comic books, I decided to get organized earlier rather than later and bought the storage container, boards and bags to get me off on the right foot. On top is a wedding photo, but itâ??s too far away to see. Suckers!
 
This is a closer look at the books that have temporarily been moved to the open shelves. The upper shelf has writing books and the lower shelf has autographed copies and other â??keeperâ? books. These shelves wind up being catch-alls (iPod box, computer headset, puzzles, dog collar, business cards, tape measure, framed photo of the sis and I with a Jubilee! showgirl in Vegas), which I donâ??t want. I plan to move the puzzles, card deck, writing books and some of the keeper books to the white shelves. Iâ??m getting a little worried about the load bearing capacity of that bottom shelf.
 
So thatâ??s where Iâ??m at. Things need to get shuffled, and the white shelves will quickly fill up at this rate, but thatâ??s okay. My five different writing folders are going to be combined into a binder or two â?? a system I hope to keep up rather than having loose papers shoved in folders. I also love the idea of having writing materials and notes next to books, so I can grab what I want easily and get working with minimal fuss.
 
I already feel better having more books off the floor and onto shelves. I canâ??t read them if I donâ??t know that I have them or canâ??t find them, so by getting a bit more organized I will lower my stress! Organization is a biggie for me to stay focused and motivated, and since my writing was scattered across multiple folders, email accounts, and flash drives, it was overwhelming me to the point where I wasnâ??t doing anything. Not cool.
 
Does organization help you? What are your strategies for getting and staying organized in your reading/writing life?