Why Blog About Something You Want To Learn?

I had a friend in medical school who told me when she was learning a new medical procedure she was taught:

  1. Learn one
  2. Teach one
  3. Do one

I think this process can be applied to learning grammar and punctuation. When I’m unsure about a rule, the first thing I do is check my grammar books and read about it. This is the Learn One phase.

Next, I blog about it. If I can explain the rule, then I probably understand it. This is the Teach One phase. If you’re doing this, be careful to use your own words. Don’t cheat and look at the grammar book for help. You need to be able to explain the rule without any aids. Sometimes I don’t blog about the rule, but I do try to write the rule in my own words. Even if it’s on a scrap piece of paper, it helps me remember the rule.

Lastly, I write using the rule. This is the Do One phase. You can edit and proofread to ensure you’re using the rule properly too. I consider editing part of the Do One phase.

I figure if this is how medical students learn, it must work for other areas of knowledge too.

Do you have any tips for learning?

Thanks for reading . . .

Offline Blogging Software

There is always something new to try or learn. This month, I decided to try the 30 day free trial of MarsEdit.

Why? I work offline most of the time. Living on a sailboat means I don’t have regular internet access, hence I need to write my blogs and upload when I have access.

I downloaded the free trial – I love a free trial. The free trial gives me time to decide if I want to spend my money on the software without taking the risk that I won’t like it.

My advice on first use: Once you download the free trial, check how many blogs you’ve written and set the refresh limit to this number. The first time in the software all of your blogs will download to your computer. After that’s done. reset the button to a lower number to speed up the process.

My likes:

  • When you write a scheduled post, the date columns lists the date the post is scheduled for so you can see your upcoming posts without having to go online. Sometimes I forget how far in advance I’ve written posts.
  • Easy addition of photos.
  • Adding categories and tags offline.
  • Works with WordPress – since that’s what I use for a blog platform.
  • Any time an idea strikes me for a blog and I happen to be working on my computer, I can pop over to MarsEdit and store the idea.
  • Free Trial.
  • MarEdit will download the latest version of a post when you hit the refresh button. This is helpful as I often write the blog but make changes when I see it online. These changes get sent back to my computer and then I have the latest version of the post.

Where I would like to see improvements:

  • Help file could be better. For example I couldn’t find an explanation of the Refresh vs. Refresh All command. I didn’t  try the community forum or the support function. Since I work mostly off line these are not features I would use.
  • I’d like to create folders so I can organize my blogs and couldn’t figure out how to do this.
  • I’d like to be able to add a link but I guess that’s not a reasonable expectation from software what is meant to be used offline. To do this, I underlined the text to remind myself to add the link once I was online. Then I submitted the post in draft status so it wouldn’t go public on my blog. There is a link function, but you have to know the URL, and if you’re offline . . .
  • If you do add a link offline, and you want to the linked URL to open in another page, you need to go online and set this feature
  • Even though I set the post date to a later date and left the Post Status button as published I thought the post would be published on the date I chose. Instead the post published immediately. This is fine, except that I have a schedule I like to keep. I thought If I set the date, then it would post on that date. I learned I had to set the Post Status to draft and the go online and set accordingly.
  • Not all of my pages downloaded to my computer.

I think the software is a little over priced. After the thirty day trial I’m not sure I’ll buy the software. I’m still very positive about it, but I think I’ll look around and see what else it out there. If the price was $29 or lower, I think I’d buy in now.

These are just my views on trialling the software. If you’ve had a different experience I’d love to hear about it.

Are there any programs you use to help you write or blog? I’d like to try something else before I make my final purchase decision.

Thanks for reading . . .

 

Can You Proofread to Perfection?

And should you try?

If you’re  submitting your manuscript to your agent, publisher, editor, or beta readers, absolutely. If you’re interested in the process  I use for this, click here.

But what if you’re proofreading your blog before posting?

Maybe you could give yourself a break. I think the occasional typo is okay. Usually a kind reader will point out an error, sometimes even via a private email. The beauty of the blog versus a novel: it’s easy to update after publication.

I usually thank the person who pointed out my error, update the blog immediately, and move on.

Four steps to get close to perfection:

  1. Read once before posting draft.
  2. Read a preview version. Somehow seeing the blog in the format it will be posted helps me see it differently, and I usually pick up a typo or two.
  3. Read the blog out loud or have the computer read it to me. Then I can hear the error if my eye refused to see it.
  4. If I have the time, I let some time pass and read the blog again before I hit the publish button.

Just remember, we all makes mistakes and a typo isn’t one to lose sleep over.

Do you have any tricks for quickly eliminating typos?

Thanks for reading . . .

Guest Blogging

If you want guest bloggers, can you make it easier for them to write  for your blog? #writetip

I’ve been asked twice now and feeling very flattered. Blogging keeps me writing daily. Yup – great practice. Now I’m thinking about what to write for other blogs.

One of the bloggers sent me a list of questions, specified length of article, and asked for photos. I found this helpful in focusing what I wrote.

The other blog asked if I would guest blog. To get an idea of what they want,  I’ve been reading for a while and getting a feel for what is appropriate for the site.

I found receiving a list of questions made writing the blog much easier and less time consuming. Even though I was asked later, I got that blog written first.