Writing Journal 66: Gorgeous Graphics for Your Blog

Writing Journal 66: Gorgeous Graphics for Your Blog

My writing journal for Friday, October 17, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

After yesterday’s running start, this morning started a lot slower. That’s the writing life for you. One day you can’t keep up with your thoughts, and the next your brain splutters and gasps. Nevertheless, I managed 1,900 words on the mystery novel, and 1,700 words on the two nonfiction books. So, it wasn’t too bad.

I make Honey’s breakfast, and then my own. Then I get down to reading email. I’m almost caught up; with a little effort tonight, I’ll be able to respond to the final batch of students’ exercises.

New website launch: next week (I hope)

I’d hoped to launch the new website this week, but that won’t happen. I’ve rescheduled it for next week. I got so frustrated with something that wouldn’t work on the site yesterday, I was close to pitching my computer out of the window. So, I got some help.

I don’t have much time for the website today, so I spend an hour on it, then it’s on to client projects.

Last night a client called with a rush project; he needs a presentation by the close of business today. He’s been asked to fill in at a conference. Luckily, I’ve created many presentations for him in the past, so we can re-purpose several slides and notes from older material.

Working on that takes me to right up to lunchtime. No time for our Friday lunch today, so I read social media while I’m eating.

With lunch over, it’s down to work on the presentation again.

Canva’s one of my favorite apps for graphics-creation. You can create a set of slides easily, and quickly too. They’ve just released their iPad app.

Gorgeous graphics for your blog

I’m no artist. If you’re like me, and nevertheless want to create graphics for your Kindle book covers, your blog, and your website, I’m sure you know all about Canva. Here’s what’s new: Canva for your iPad.

Here’s Canva’s blog post announcing the new app. I love the idea of creating images for social media, right on your iPad. No more excuses, you can create images for Twitter and Facebook while you’re sitting on your sofa, watching a movie.

I haven’t downloaded the app yet; however, I’ll make time to do it on the weekend.

Speaking of apps, if you’re a Mac person, you know that Mac OS X Yosemite was released today. I can’t wait to install it. On the other hand, I know that things can go wrong, and that some of the programs on which I rely may have issues with the new OS. So I’ll hold off for a month, until things settle down, and developers have had a chance to update their apps.

Finally, I complete the presentation, and send it off to the client for his review. I asked him to get back to me quickly, if he wants changes.

Next, it’s blogging time again. I’m a little behind on some of my clients’ blogs, so I need to spend some time drafting and scheduling posts. That’s easy, because I write most things in Markdown.

If you use Markdown, and Evernote, did you know that you can write in Markdown in Evernote?

Evernote trick for Web writers: write in Markdown

If you’re a Web writer, you know all about Markdown. If you’re also an Evernote fan, you may not know that you write in Markdown in your notes, then paste your notes into any Markdown editor, and get HTML, PDF, and Rich Text.

I said to someone the other day: “I write in Markdown so much that it’s completely automatic. I use it in Evernote even when the note will never leave Evernote.”

She said: “You can use Markdown in Evernote?”

Yes you can.

There’s even a Markdown editor for Evernote, called Marxico. I’ve never used it; I prefer to write in Evernote, then copy the text and paste it into Ulysses or Lightpaper (free.)

Now that I’ve caught up on SOME blogging, it’s time for my daily and weekly review, and then the week is done.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Slideshare Trick: Your Deck As a Gif

Kindle Fiction: Write Hot-Selling Short Stories

If you use Slideshare, you may like this clever trick: Gifdeck turns your decks into gifs. Just go to Slideshare and get the URL for your deck, and paste it into Gifdeck. Within a few seconds, it’s created a gif for you.

You can add the gif anywhere you’d like — into a blog post, or into Twitter, or even into an email message.

It’s an easy way to get more mileage out of your presentations.

Oh — here’s the real presentation. The gif is too fast to read. However, it does get attention. It’s a way of pepping up your social media content very simply.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 31: Images and Social Media

Writing Journal 31: Images and Social Media

My writing journal for Friday, September 12, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

With any luck at all, at my current rate of progress, I should be ready to do a first quick “slash and burn” edit on both the novella, and the nonfiction book I’m ghostwriting for a client this weekend. Happy days. :-) I managed 2,000 words of fiction, and 1,800 words of nonfiction. I’d like to do more of both today, but I’ve got a couple of meetings this afternoon, so that’s unlikely.

I got caught up with email last night, mostly. I’ve still got a couple of student short stories to read.

This morning’s email is light; I just need to make some notes and Julia can handle the bulk of it.

It’s time for Honey’s breakfast and my own. She’s a riot. She has a very strict routine, and nothing happens outside that routine. You can set your clock by her. She knows what time she has breakfast, when she goes out to play, and when it’s time for lunch.

One day I had to get up early to pick someone up at the airport;  no way could I get her out of her comfy bed. It was outside her routine. When I got back, she ignored me for an hour, as she does when something doesn’t go her way.

That said, she’s the only dog we’ve ever owned that you can safely leave in the garden with open gates, and not worry that she’ll streak through them. She’s a real little lady, who cares what you think about her. She hates it if you raise your voice; she needs a calm environment.

Time for my own breakfast, while reading a student’s short story. I make a few notes, so that Julia can send the feedback.

Next, I need to check over my draft blog posts, add some content, and edit some images. I like to have a good selection of images, so I send reminder emails to my blogging clients to get them to me.

Images and YOUR blog

Many bloggers don’t create images for their blog posts. This is a shame, because it means that they get fewer social media shares. I grind my teeth whenever I find a wonderful blog post, which I’d love to post to Pinterest, and there’s no image. The Web’s all about images now.

So, even if you’re a writer, and you’re as sniffy about pretty pictures as I used to be, please source some images for your posts, so we can share your posts.

If you don’t have any images that you’re comfortable sharing, use the one of the many stock photo libraries to grab images. They might cost you a few dollars (most are cheap), but look on it as a business expense. If you can’t afford that, use websites like Photopin which offer free Creative Commons images.

OK, time for my walk.

Make freebies the heart of your social media push

I’m back. It’s time to create an ebook for a copywriting client who has me on retainer. I create an ebook a month for his website, and he’s getting good traffic and conversions when he offers them for free, in exchange for a subscription to his mailing list.

Yesterday this blog post on getting leads from Pinterest gave me some insights on how we can get more traction from Pinterest for his ebooks. Usually, I’d create just a couple of images, and would pin them to several of the clients’ boards over a month. Alisa Meredith suggests that you create LOTS of images for your lead generators.

It’s time to leave for my meetings now. I’ll have lunch while I’m out. With luck, I’ll be back in time to do more with the company history I’m ghostwriting.

Back again, and it’s very late. Both meetings ran over time. A quick daily review, and a word count total, and that’s it for another week.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Presentation Apps: 5 Haiku Deck Tips

Presentation Apps: 5 Haiku Deck Tips

While there are many presentation apps, there are none which are as useful as Haiku Deck. Not only can you use this app for personal presentations, you can publish them on the Haiku Deck website, and share your decks with the world.

What’s Haiku Deck? Martin Smith nails it:

Haiku Deck is a magical visual merchandising tool… Haiku Deck combines visual marketing, tactics and strategy into an easy to use online marketing tool.

If you normally create presentations with PowerPoint or Keynote, you’ll be thrilled at how FAST you create them with Haiku Deck. Here’s why:

  • Instant images. You don’t need to buy images, or search for free images with CC licenses, or resize and otherwise mess with images. Consider how many more presentations you could create – and will enjoy creating – if you don’t have to spend time collecting images;
  • Instant formatting. Haiku Deck uses themes, so there’s no formatting. That said, you can easily start your next PP presentation in Haiku Deck by collecting the images you need there, then export your deck to PowerPoint.

PowerPoint

My Authentic Writing deck exported from Haiku Deck to PowerPoint.

Our first three tips cover presentations in general. The final two tips increase your creativity and productivity when you use Haiku Deck.

1. BELIEVE: Be Passionate

If you dislike presentations, focus on your enthusiasm. Become enthusiastic about your topic, and smile. Visualize yourself giving an upbeat, energetic presentation. Watch Steve Jobs. Here’s part of his 2010 keynote for the iPad. If you can match Jobs’s enthusiasm, you’ll give a great presentation.

2. Nouns. And Verbs. Keep It Simple

Although you can use bullet points in your presentations, don’t, unless you have a very specific reason for it. Bullet points deaden a presentation. Use nouns, and verbs. Check out my Authentic Writing deck – nouns and verbs.

Ray Bradbury’s a wonderful storyteller, and has a great writing strategy. He makes lists of nouns:

He began making long lists of nouns as triggers for ideas and potential titles for stories…

3. Rehearse. Then Be in the Moment

Why just nouns and verbs? So that you stay in the moment when you present. Simple slides, with images which make an impact on you and your audience force you to be present – you can’t read your notes. Rehearse your presentation, using notes, until you can give your presentation smoothly, without notes.

Then have fun with it. Interact with your audience. It’s not the end of the world if you have to go back a couple of slides because you forgot to mention something.

4. From Haiku Deck to PowerPoint, PDF, and the World

As we suggested, you can use Haiku Deck to kickstart your PowerPoint presentations. Create your deck, then export to PowerPoint.

Alternatively, export to PDF, to get full-sized images from their source.

Here’s Kent Gustavson’s PDF-export process:

“In preparing for my TEDx, I used the web app, and exported the presentation as a PDF, which allowed me to find the original images on Flickr, and insert them into a presentation that was at a higher resolution to the TED specifications.”

Once you’ve completed your Haiku Deck, you can embed the deck into your site or blog, and can send links to your social media accounts.

5. Let Haiku Deck Inspire You

Every blogger and content creator feels totally uninspired at times. Haiku Deck can help. Begin a new deck. Add a noun and a verb to a slide. Search for images.

I’ve found it helps to doodle as you do this, here’s why. Doodling helps creativity. The benefits of doodling:

.. include increased creativity, because you’re liberating your mind from traditional, linear and linguistic thinking and moving into a more organic thinking space, heightened information processing, heightened information retention and the ability to view content from a variety of different angles.

Keep adding slides to your Haiku Deck, and doodling. You’ll get inspired very quickly. When you’re ready to create content, start creating. Haiku Deck automatically saves your “inspiration”decks. You can work with them later, or just delete them.

Presentation Apps: 5 Haiku Deck Tips

My decks on Haiku Deck.

So there you have it. Give Haiku Deck a try. It’s a superb presentation app; you’ll speed through your presentations, and you’ll enjoy it.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.