Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Lately, I’ve been reading and participating in a debate about web apps – Microsoft Office Apps vs. Google Docs, which is an extension of the old debate between Microsoft Office and Open Office. True enough, the powerful features in Microsoft Office are wasted on the 90% of users who don’t use them. In fact, sometimes it’s the little things that can make you incredibly productive.

So starting today, I’m going to blog about some stuff that, if you make an effort to learn how to use just one new feature each day, you’ll find you’ve got some really powerful tools in your toolbox. Tomorrow, I’ll get into some of the other apps, but today, I’m going to offer a gift to my fellow bloggers… Windows Live Writer.

Download it (it’s free). Link it up to your blog account. Download your blog theme, and write like a pro.


The ribbon shows you the styles associated with your theme, allows you to insert pictures from your computer or the web (they’ll be automatically uploaded to your blog image space) and create tables, enables you to set categories, tags, and even the post date and time. You can save drafts locally (really nice if your internet connection isn’t constant) or in your blog space. It even does spell checking and word counting for you.

Crazy enough, my favorite feature? When I get an idea I want to write about later, I just open Live Writer, type in a title and a sentence or two to jog my memory, then hit the Save icon. The draft is stored locally and displays a list for me to choose my next topic.

Word 2013 also has a blogging feature…


The only problem is that you have to be careful with formatting and features because they may not translate well. But after you’ve written your opus, go to the File tab (backstage view), select Share, and go for it. You’ll notice that Word supports WordPress, Blogger, and more.

Now, aren’t you just done with the in-website editor?

Tomorrow, I’ll show you why you may not need PhotoShop… I invite you to follow my blog so you don’t miss a thing!

Daily Post prompt… I have a nerdy way of using play time… I teach!


I don’t know how I get to some of the places I’ve been. I mean online, of course. Although it’s probably happened a time or two when I’m in the car.

Yesterday afternoon, I ran a search for writing. Bazillion sites in the results. So I narrowed it to blog writing. I’m still new at this form of writing and I know it can be better. Much better. I’m smiling as I write this because yesterday a blogger I follow posted a how-to article on that very subject. Check out Kana’s Chronicles. Good stuff.

mastermind-matrix-800Following one of the hits, I signed up for and saved a few articles as pdf files to be read later. I followed links to six more websites, created shortcuts to some and dashed off an e-mail to a webmaster with a badly broken style sheet.

Some years ago, I signed up for, a website that connects freelancers with clients, but never did anything with it. After my foray into blog writing, I decided to search for freelance work, hoping to find similar websites that don’t require paid membership to use it well. I visited several but they weren’t very forthcoming about fees. Some had lots of contracts posted, others not so much, and one where most of the jobs were of the envelope-stuffing variety for which they are willing to pay enormous sums. I used to work as a writer for an insurance broker, preparing proposals and marketing materials so I wasn’t completely out of my element.

Time to eliminate some of the chaff. Narrowed search to freelance writing and followed a link to yet another bid/contract site. On this one, I looked at some of the listings and came across one that was very explicit about their search engine optimization (SEO) requirements. Which led to a search for pagerank checkers/software. Which led to a search for search engines (beyond Google and Bing, Yahoo and Zippy). There are actually quite a few. More than 250.

My mind wandered to things I need to do before I start any serious self-promotion for freelance work. Like get up to speed on MS Office 2010. I used to teach MS Office but that was when Office XP was the latest and greatest. They’ve rearranged everything and taken away some features I loved. Oh well. Thus the search for free tutorials for Microsoft Office. Which reminded me that they are discontinuing a favorite freebie, Microsoft Reader. Created when ePublishing was in its infancy, it was orphaned years ago. Born prematurely, I knew the end would come. Sigh.

Of course, that led me to a search for ebook publishing software because soon my OpenWorks Publisher will be obsolete (okay, it already is obsolete). I followed a link that hasn’t been updated in two years but the list of articles was interesting. In the writing category…”7 Ways to Unblock Your Creativity.” Click. Perusing the article, suggestion #4 said “Do a mind map.” Oh yeah. I’d seen software for that a couple of years ago. Ooooh. A link to a website about mind mapping. Click.

From there to the software page where they list several companies that make mind mapping software, including an open source freebie which I downloaded, of course. These software packages run about $250.00. Little bit too pricey for a test driver.

I don’t know how I got where I went next. I’m actually going to include the link to this one: because this site has a lot of really informative articles including What is Mind Mapping- (and How to Get Started Immediately). I signed up for the author’s free eBook and then followed a link from his Study Matrix Mind Map to another website, Amazing. Go. Don’t worry. New window. I’ll be here when you’re done.

Confession: I always thought mind mapping was just for brainstorming and organizing random but somehow related ideas. More. So, so much more. Check it out.

Last note: I wrote the other day about Google’s covert recording of our lives. I’ve decided I don’t mind being molested if a) I know it’s happening, and b) I benefit directly from it. I could not have recalled all the places I’ve been today if not for I log in with my Windows Live ID so I can collect the reward points. In return, Bing not only rewards me, they maintain a history of my searches and the links I followed from the results. I can delete it or stop the recording, but I like it. I’ll get rewards points if you click on my link to their site and you decide to sign up.

By the by, Bing also restricts ads to the righthand column instead of being comingled with the search results, suggests similar or related searches that might narrow the results for you, and if you search for something that has images, thumbnails appear in the results list and a larger image pops up when you mouse over it. Dang. They’re just doing it way better than Google.

scarecrowHow many directions can I go simultaneously? A wise scarecrow once said, “People do go both ways.” That’s what I want to do… I want to create things using fabric and yarn and paint and beads and paper. I want to take pictures. Good pictures. I want to participate in the 365MakeSomthingEveryDay challenge. I want to cook and bake every day. I want to develop my ideas for inventions. I want to write. Fiction. Nonfiction. About Project Red. A series of books detailing DIY projects paced over several weeks (for those of us who are easily overwhelmed by the size of the task). I think I have a lot of experience with BIG projects. Everything can be a BIG project.

I want to learn more so I can do more with website and graphic design. I want to read that growing stack of books. I want to walk 3 miles every day and use those Butt Bible videos. I’m a craft wonk. A creative wonk. A cooking wonk. A word wonk. I used to be a techno wonk but I blinked while staying home with Nerdy Girl for the past few years.

Focus. I need to focus. I have an idea that I think would sell very well on craft sales sites. I’m about to start prototyping it, but I’m still noodling design options in my head. Meanwhile, I was thinking I need to develop an online presence on sites where potential buyers will view my shameless self-promotion. I’m also debating continuing to use the WordPress domain and server or pop over to and snag a couple of domain names and some space where I have complete flexibility and the WordPress blogging app. I was even thinking about sharing server space and offering my services to other artisans who don’t want to be geeky at all. Do I want to be an inventor and artisan or do I want to be the webmaster and marketing department?

I’m laughing at myself because even as I read this, I can feel that Puppy Dog Syndrome come over me and I’m over-engineering the project, aren’t I?

I’d love to know I’m not alone in my diverse interests. I’d love to hear how you find time and the ability to focus on the really important stuff.

Living with Puppy Dog Syndrome

Posted: March 10, 2012 by Nerdy Woman in Perspectives
Tags: , , , , ,

A few years ago, Nerdy Girl and I were both misdiagnosed with ADHD (aka ADD). The fact that we could both focus on one thing for hours and hours at a time seems to belie that diagnosis. I’ve since discovered that what we really have is PDS. Puppy Dog Syndrome. Like a puppy who has lots of kids to play with, we are easily distracted by something that grabs our interest, only to abandon it when something else is noticed in our peripheral vision.

That is the only explanation I can offer for months of absence from blogging and Facebook and other online pursuits. I’ve been distracted. But I’m back and determined to be more consistent. I’ve resolved to ramble less, be more focused, keep my posts shorter so writing time doesn’t become a marathon session that needs to wait. Not to mention posts being less tedious to read.

I do want to point out the positive aspect of PDS…I have many interests and curiosity about almost everything. Nerdy Girl says I’m easily amused and entertained. She just shook her head the other day when I showed her the NOAA’s online education website (who knew we could learn about meteorology in the comfort of our own home?).

Thank you, friends, for hanging in there through 2 or 3 paragraphs. Stay tuned as I delve into a renewed interest in knitting and crocheting, the creative process of inventing and the onerous process of seeking patents, and 365 days of creativity that started with a book (of course) and a choice of colors for my laptop.