Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Editing::A Little Light Reading

I've had an unexpectedly synchronous lull in client work, which has allowed me to finish my marketing crash course, and send Sarah plenty of material to keep her busy building my website.

So, what am I doing with all my "free" time? In addition to polishing and perfecting the copy for my site, I've started reading a new book. Actually, studying is a bit more like it, as evidenced by the highlighter, notebook, and pen.

It's only about five hundred pages of text explaining in detail the editing process. 

File this one under the heading "Sharpening The Saw" aka "Never stop learning about your business." I'm hoping to get through the meat-and-potatoes of this volume just in time for Anna to send me the rewrite of her manuscript (estimated arrival date: November 14). Now that the development edit is done, it will be time to delve into the copyedit, and I want to be sure I'll be ready. 

Monday, October 26, 2015


This is Michael being eaten by The Goo From Outer Space.

Actually, it's just a science thing he did, using household ingredients to make green slime. He learned about it from The King of Random, one of his favorite YouTubers. This particular slime and be a bit sticky, and does follow the pull of gravity, which makes those interesting blobs that are threatening to plop onto the furniture.

It was eventually contained in a Ball jar.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Editing::Building a Website

No, I'm not actually building a website, because I don't know the first thing about how that's done. My friend Sarah over at CodeGreer is actually building it. From scratch. Which I think is very witchcrafty of her.

But I am in charge of designing it. And deciding on the navigation (how many pages there are and how you get to them and all that). And writing all of the copy (words) for it. It's kind of an intimidating process for those of us who don't do it professionally. And that intimidation is part of the reason I've been dilly-dallying for a year. Indecision. It can kill a website before it even has a chance to be born.

Now that I have completed the Brandgasm 101 course (both the copywriting and design segments), I've finally gotten a design mock-up over to Sarah to get started. And, she's gotten started! Yay! She sent me the first screenshot of our design, and we're in the process of nailing down the 1,001 details that go into designing a website.

Landing Page (round 1)

Like fonts. I had no idea there were so many fonts to choose from. And picking JUST TWO fonts that 1) go together and 2) convey the proper "aura" of you and your business... well, it's pretty much overwhelming. But between Brandgasm 101 and Sarah's experience with websites, I think we've just about got it.

And colors. I know what colors I like. But how do you know if your visitors will like them? And, what do those colors say about you, and how will your visitors interpret them? (Again, addressed in Brandgasm 101). Turns out, the colors I liked for my site actually convey what I wanted the site to convey. Just a little tweaking and figuring out "color hierarchy" and we're good to go.

So, while Sarah is coding her little fingers off (and putting up with my endless questions and "what do you think"s and "can we try it this way"s) I'm getting down to the business of actually writing the text for each page. Daunting. Because I'm a pro at editing and proofing other people's writing. But my own writing? Ugh.

I may be scouting for beta readers to look over my website and content as it develops. It never hurts to have other eyes on a project.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Joy to See

This is Michael. Reading a book. Because he wants to. And he's enjoying it.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (abridged)

If there's one thing homeschooling parents anguish and debate about, it's whether or not, and to what extent, we "force" our children to learn. The entire concept of "forcing," or even "coercing" kids to learn is (appropriately) counter-intuitive. Because you really can't force anyone to learn anything. And yet, the crux of our education system is based on coercion, and figuring out ways of convincing kids to learn exactly what the experts want them to learn, when they want them to learn it.

And we tend to bring that model into our homes when we chose to homeschool, not because it makes sense (because it doesn't) and not because everything we know about how learning happens supports that model (it doesn't), and not because it creates a rich learning environment and loving parent-child relationships (certainly doesn't do either of those). We bring it into our home because it's familiar. And we're afraid that if we don't, we're bad parents and bad educators.

Yes, I push reading on the kids in various forms. They are required to do a certain amount of reading on a weekly (if not daily) basis. They get to choose what they'd like to read (within reason), and it's considered part of their study time. It's one of the things I'm not willing to let go of because reading is such an important part of my life and who I am and what I do. And, let's face it, a huge portion of human communication is now in writing because so much of our information and interactions are internet based.

So, it's kind of a relief to see that I have not entirely killed Michael's desire to read, and that he has been able to find something he likes. And, that he's able to read independently. It's come about pretty quickly considering how long I've been "encouraging" him in this direction. Not that I'm taking credit. I blame it on the pizza.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Editing::Learning About Marketing

So, now that Anna's manuscript is back in her hands for rewrites, what am I doing with all my "free" time? I'm still producing articles for Donna's blog and the garage sale blog fairly regularly.

But the past few days I've been focusing as much time as possible on studying Brandgasm 101 produced by Ash Ambirge at The Middle Finger Project. (If you haven't see Ash's website, please do so now. It's the most unexpected and irreverent thing I've read in a long time.)

Right now I'm working my way through the copywriting portion of her marketing crash course (there is also a design portion). I started with the intention of getting some ideas for developing my own professional website, so I can finally get something over to Sarah to start building it. The Mo Reads You blog/website has been fine as a place-holder of sorts, but it's time to put on my Big Girl Panties and get a real website.

The course has not disappointed. I'm only on Part 4 (of 7), and I've been exploding with ideas. I have actually blocked out the basic design and navigation (after finally settling on a tone). Now I'm working on the "words" part, which always seems to be the toughest part for me when I work on my own stuff. (The thatcher's roof always leaks, and the cobblers children have no shoes.)

But, Ash is phenomenal at taking folks who know nothing about marketing through specific processes that will yield actual, effective copy. I don't necessarily want to be a copywriter -- I'd rather stick with proofreading and editing -- but the course is helping me gain a better understanding of how words impact the reader. That Ash -- she's one smart cookie.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Amelia Update

In case you were wondering . . .

It's been over a month since Amelia joined us. She's settled in very nicely, and spends as much time as possible riding around on Thomas' shoulder.


Michael is our "maker." He wakes up in the morning, and has some design in his head that he is compelled to build. Today it happened to be this.



Put to use

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Maker Faire

Michael went to Atlanta's Maker Faire with some homeschooling friends, and I was sent photos of the trip. Michael filled in the blanks a bit so we have a pretty good idea what he spent his time doing.

Flying a drone

Drill-a-Bolt Game

Riding a crazy bicycle

Another crazy bicycle

Air-powered rocket

UFO movie prop

Couch bike with Liam, Julian, and Griffin

Very quiet people on a bench

Michael, Thomas Jefferson, and Liam

 Michael says they wore safety goggles the entire time they were at the Faire.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Kittie Love

Michael has a special affinity for animals of all kinds, and has since he was wee.This is him with BooBoo (and Rueger looking on).

The cats are pretty fond of him, too.