summer, meet my bucket list

the summer bucket list

Tomorrow is the first official day of summer. Summer, ahh. A great time for swimming, tanning, reading, playing, yardsaling, taking trips, and . . . bucket-listing.

Summer is one of those rare times of the year when you just might have enough time to do some of those things you never have time to do during the other three seasons of the year. So celebrate by starting a blog that documents your undertakings to check off the items on your bucket list.

example blog

Bucket List Publications

 

words you mispelled / misspelled / mispeled (?)

We all have that list of sneaky words we always seem to misspell (Don’t forget the two s’s and two l’s.). Spelling these words correctly seems quite (not quiet) elusive, and despite our better judgment (Although the word judge has an “e” at the end, the word judgment is e-less.), we continue to spell them, albeit accidentally, in an unacceptable fashion. Each time, we are conscious (“aware”) of a little voice – a little wordsmith conscience, if you will – pleading within us to become better spellers. 

Surely our poor habits are changeable (Keep the “e.”)! We must discipine (“sc”) ourselves and avoid the harsh embarressment (I myself had to look that one up.) of misspellings. Perhaps we can acquire (which is different from “a choir”) tricks and mnemonic (Don’t you love silent m’s?) devices to help us remember the right spellings. Or perhaps we can spend exhilirating hours in spelling bees, eventually exceeding our own expectations. Perhaps if reading the dictionary is not foreign to us but rather a hobby for our time of leisure (no “z”) then we will guarantee much spelling success for all our days!

Be advised (versus adviced – Is that even a word?). We may not see noticeable (Notice the “e” before the “a.”) results immediately. Occasionally (Argh. I spelled this one incorrectly at first.), there will still be occurrences (double “c” and double “r”) of misspelled words, whether (as opposed to weather) we like it or not. But I strongly recommend that you persevere and experience the personal privilege of spelling correctly.

the challenge

Start a blog that documents your growth as a speller. Initial entries may include samples of your writing at present, as well as a list of words that you struggle to spell correctly. Use later posts to share experiences of spelling correctly and incorrectly. Perhaps take note of when you see misspellings in the world at large.

possible blog names

  • CastingSpells
  • StellarSpeller
  • OneLetterAtATime
  • TheDictionaryIsMyFriend

needless guides for miscellaneous tasks

the need for needless guides

I make my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the same way. Every time. Put the bread out on a napkin. Spread the peanut butter over the piece on the left side (Why the left side? I don’t know.), avoiding the very outer edges. Plop the jelly (Well, I prefer preserves really.) in the center of the slice on the right, spreading it out but still leaving the majority in the center. Merge. Consume. The true test of if I got enough jelly or not is if some falls out while I’m eating. If it doesn’t fall out, then I didn’t put enough jelly.

Sandwiched between the “big” and “important” things we do each day are the small, almost trivial tasks, along with the small decisions about how we will perform those tasks. Whether it’s making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, selecting a table to sit in at a restaurant (Booth or not?), naming your pet Bactrian camel (Bactrian camels, as opposed to dromedary camels, have two humps.), getting lost effectively, cleaning out the multicolor-fungus-infected leftovers in the back of your refridgerator, or holding an olympic pillow fighting tournament, you have your own way of doing things. And some of us need your expertise. But maybe there’s also just a joy of analyzing how we do the small tasks.

I like booths better, and I'm becoming pretty effective at getting lost.

challenge

Start a blog of needless guides for the miscellaneous tasks that fill your life. Maybe you’re a writer or a computer geek or an equestrian. Give guides for those skills you have. Or maybe you have no specialty, but you have cute, peculiar ways of doing the random. Or maybe you want to learn new and interesting ways of doing things. Or maybe you’re an excellent people-watcher and you can simply record the ways that you see people doing things or even let the blog be a documentation of sorts of what people say when you ask them how/why they do these small things.

possible blog names

  • AndOtherNeedlessGuides
  • HowtoDoSmallThings
  • ThisisHowYouDoThat
  • GettingLostEffectively
  • BigSmallDecisions

not everyone gardens and wears dresses (part 3)

Ok, it’s finally here, dear readers. The last part of my seemingly endless (but supposed to be painless and easy) steps for starting a blog. Today we’ll wrap up with the last two steps.

6. Land somewhere. I probably don’t have to tell you that there are zillions of options when it comes to blogging websites! So how do you know where to land?

  • WordPress – My blogging experience is largely limited to WordPress. But that leads me to option #1. There’s a reason I chose WordPress, and if you’re reading most of the Best Blogging Platforms lists, then you’ll see that it’s always on or near the very top. You don’t have to be an Internet genius to set up camp here because of all the great templates and easy-to-use features, but you can still personalize and customize if you wish. If you want your own domain name (i.e. minus the wordpress.com part in the address), you can have it for just over $15 a year.
  • Blogger – Okay, it’s owned by Google, it’s user-friendly for the most part, and even though one drawback is the small number of templates available, you can link your blog with AdSense and make money when readers click on ads you’ve approved. 
  • Others and Microblogs – MovableType, Xanga, Twitter, Weebly, Blogsome

So, this is certainly not an exhaustive list, but I tried to include some of the most reputable platforms that offer free blogging accounts. As always, do your research and see which formats seem to fit you (This might be another time to go back and look at all those blogs you bookmarked earlier.). For example, Weebly is much more complex, which the techies might enjoy, but if you were looking for somewhere to type up and publish quickly and without much behind-the-scenes work, then WordPress would probably be more up your alley.

Somewhere, there's a stadium's worth of people just waiting to read from you.

7. Blog. Oh, finally. Step 7 is here. Our journey is complete. Well, sorta. See, step 7 is an ongoing step. This is the part where you simply do your thing – blog. You have your subject and style, your blog name, your blogging community, everything. So start blogging!

Very early in my blogging days, I read some advice that has stuck with me and helped me figure out this blogging thing. First of all, blog about what you enjoy and love (If necessary, go back and read our step 4 for more on this topic.). If you discover that you really don’t want to keep blogging about your four pet hippopotamuses, don’t feel bad about changing the direction of your blog, somehow expanding what it addresses, or starting from scratch with the blog idea. If you don’t enjoy blogging, people probably won’t enjoy reading your blog either.

That's one of the beauties, that blogs reflect us.

Secondly, be consistent. It may take some practice at first to be consistent with your blogging. It is, in a sense, a new commitment. How often you blog does depend a lot on the nature of the blog (Forr example, a news blog might be updated multiple times a day.). Being consistent is important for many reasons. It keeps you writing, and it helps your readers know what to expect. Some bloggers plan out that they will blog every Monday and Wednesday. Your schedule doesn’t have to be that concrete, but if you’re blogging at least 2-3 times per week, then you’ll avoid the most horrific situation of readers stopping by, only to see the old post they’ve seen the last four times they visited.

In closing, blogging is a product, but it’s also a process. I can guarantee that you’ll grow and change and so will your blog. That’s actually one of the beauties of blogs, that they reflect us and help us see our lives in a different way. I wish you the best in your blogging endeavors.

My dear readers, blog on!

portraits and how they define their subjects

Someone should start a blog about portraits and how they define their subjects . . .

I recently told some friends I’d love to just follow someone for a day and take a lot of good pictures of them that they would like. My friends say that’s called being a stalker. I defended myself, explaining that it would only be if I were commissioned. It wouldn’t be that creepy, right?

I love taking pictures of people. For me, if someone uses a picture that I took of them for their Facebook profile picture, they might as well have just made me queen of seven countries. I’m on top of the world. I like to see it when someone truly enjoys a picture I’ve taken of them.

A good portrait of a person is one that defines them, in some way. Of course, it’s impossible to define the entirety of a person by just one photograph, but the point is to capture just one image, one glimpse, one accurate portrayal of who this person is. (I liked this recent post from another blogger, entitled “Faces Tell Stories.”)

It would be cool for someone to start a blog about portraits and how they define their subjects. This would be a great blog for a portrait photographer, or just someone who (like me) enjoys taking pictures of people for fun.

So, I’ve collected some of my favorite portraits I’ve taken (of my friends and family members, and a dog):

all the random side jobs out there

Someone should start a blog about all the random side jobs out there . . .

Now, readers, I have a few confessions to make. Well, it’s really just one confession with different sides to it. I have noticed that I tend to write my entries on the same kinds of subjects. For example, photography, job-related things, music, photography, music, sometimes job-related things. Okay, okay – I’m perhaps being a little hard on myself. I occasionally write on random subjects (like devious carpet and protective gear for cafeteria glasses). They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. So there you have it.

There’s a reason, of course, that I tend toward certain topics. For one, I like those topics (which explains the music and photography). For another, I’m looking for a job (which explains the job-related things), and there’s a lot of funny stuff you find out during such a quest.

I’ve already shared the one Craigslist plea for “An Experienced Tree Climber,” but there’s another discovery I’ve come across. I have some strange attraction to side jobs, here being defined as “jobs that won’t pay the bills and could never provide the primary source of income, but that nevertheless pay a little bit and are usually somewhat to significantly funner than ‘real’ jobs.”

I currently have three side jobs. Yes, three. One is in our school’s writing center, one is for a local paper, and the last is for a company called The Syndicate, which promotes music and entertainment events (Arggh. I unintenionally snuck one of my other common subjects into this post, as well.). What’s more, I have two offers for two more side jobs. Why’s it so easy to find side jobs you like, and so hard to find “real” jobs you like?

But I’d like to see someone start a blog in which they attained as many random side jobs as possible and documented their experiences. I may be well on my way to this craziness. And for those of you wondering, here’s a list (not exhaustive) of random side jobs I’ve come across on my search:

  • Tutoring – Under No Child Left Behind, I’m guessing most states (like SC) have federally sponsored tutoring agencies, as well as privately-owned ones.
  • Delivering phone books or newspapers
  • Promoting events (Think LiveNation or The Syndicate.)
  • Inspecting/photographing properties
  • Modeling
  • Working on video and photo projects
  • Writing for blogs, Associated Content, or sites that match you up with writing assignments
  • Operating a photo booth
  • Being Superman (No, wait . . . that’s just our dream job.)
So maybe we can’t all be Superman, but we’ll still pass phone booths with envy.