Blogging Geek Style

I’ve read a lot of blog posts that offer tips and guidance on blogging and writing. People share where they get ideas, where they store the ideas they get and how they get those ideas onto virtual paper and then into/onto (never sure) WordPress. I haven’t seen too many posts about electronic tools, so I thought I’d share a bit about the ones I use. I’ll try to keep this non-geeky. I’ll fail. I want you to know that I’m making the attempt but it’s like asking a fish to walk to McDonald’s.

Since blogging starts with ideas, I’ll start with where I keep mine. Evernote. I love Evernote. Evernote is an electronic notebook that lets you write notes that are comprised of text, images, links and web snippets. My daughter introduced me to this service and I never looked back. You can organize your notes into notebooks and you can do all of the things that you would expect to be able to do, i.e. search, move, copy, edit, sort and tag. Evernote recently added the ability to collaborate on ideas. For example, Faith lets me see and add to her list of banned words.

What I really like about Evernote is that it’s everywhere. I can begin a note on my iPhone when I wake up in the middle of the night. I can try to decipher the electronic gibberish in the morning on my laptop and I can pick it up again later on my iPad. The data lives in – queue the Jaws theme for those concerned about security and the ta-da sound for the geeks – the cloud. The cloudimage is storage that lives in big bank of computers somewhere. Nothing to do with actual clouds. It’s just that we geeks started using a cloud-like image to represent Internet storage / activity / programs and it stuck. Aren’t you glad we didn’t use an image of the gates of Hell?

Did I mention that Evernote is free? It is. Evernote is free. If you want the option to have access to your notes when there’s no Cloud, like now when I’m on this plane with no wifi, you can pay $20 a year for Evernote Premium.

I store lots of stuff in Evernote as is hinted to by the images below. The No Facilities “stack” is a group of three folders: the blogs I want to write, the blogs I’ve written and the interesting comments that I may want to incorporate in future posts.

Another cloud-based program I use is Trello. I learned about Trello from a great blog-buddy Nick Allen. Trello is an organizer / lightweight project manager. You can store notes and images and links and stuff there just like you can in Evernote but Trello really shines by letting you organize “cards” in “lists” that you build on “boards.” You can easily move things around in Trello. You can move cards up and down in lists and between lists. Moving is as easy as dragging and dropping with a mouse or a finger. I tried to illustrate that with an in-progress screen shot.

My favorite list in Trello is my “winter prep” list. That holds all the things I have to do each year before the snow flies. I can edit the list and I can add notes like “clearing leaves took five days between late October and mid-November. I can add pictures like ones showing where the snow stakes go. I can update the list from my phone as I am working. If I had a bunch of kids around here, I could share this list with them and assign stuff to them from a distance. “Ding” dad assigned “clean the gunk out of the gutter” to Faith.

I use Trello to help with my blog by creating a sort of editorial calendar there. I put some posts out there in a general order and some are assigned to specific dates.

Hmm, I’m over 700 words already. How much geek stuff can you take in one sitting? I think I’ll revisit this topic next week for the writing and editing stuff. Trello is also free. I’m going to talk more about costs in part-II, but for now, the word is free.

I’ll end part-I with one last bit of cloudiness. Email. I know, you already know about email. However, you may not have considered the following: give your blog its own email. Rather than having a folder in my email for No Facilities, I just forward blog-related emails to this blog’s email account. Once there, I can file it into folders if I want to. If you send an email to me through this blog, I’ll pick it up in this blog’s inbox, not my personal one. If I like / know you, I’ll reply from my personal account. If I don’t like / know you, I can reply from the blog. Now those security junkies are saying “ooooh, I like that idea…”

74 thoughts on “Blogging Geek Style

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  1. Dan, as usual interesing, and funny. I’m undisciplined with blogging, but also am doing some behind the firewall blogging which eats into my personal blogging time. Anyway, I came across this article on Prismatic the other day as I contemplated our impending telework policy, and as you enjoy some of the same apps, thought you might like it (more about mobile work, than just blogging) – http://tommorkes.com/work-from-anywhere-in-the-world-14-business-apps/

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Do you use Trello at all for scheduling posts, Dan? There are a couple of light weight blog schedulers I keep meaning to look into, but seems like Trello could fit the bill if you assigned yourself a task out of it. George swears by it for organizing items around the conference. Evernote is the bomb. I am soverythisclose to buying the Evernote Moleskin notebooks. Holding off because not sure 20 bucks is worth it now that I’ve got a Note and the ability to write an actual note on my phone — and I can vaguely remember when Pong was awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do use Trello for scheduling posts. I like how easy it is to change that schedule and move things up, down and around. Sometimes, I just have a rough idea that I want to post A before B. But, if a SoCS prompt that I like appears, it doesn’t break anything. Some posts do need to go our on a date. I wanted to publish the post I did about Phoebe Snow on her birthday. I have an idea for a Train Day post but it needs to go on Train Day. We’re using it at work, more and more often.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Two things I learned today – fish hesitate to walk to McDonald’s. And there are things like Trello and Evernote. While I am the queen of snipping images from the monitor, that is the extent of my reign.

    Fun post, Dan. :)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Between this post and Sammy’s I feel extremely unorganized, which is something I would never say about myself, nor would anyone ever say about me. I could develop an inferiority complex about it, but I probably won’t.
    Having email for my blog is the best. I use it for the WordPress, Twitter, and church. Everything else can …
    wait around for days ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you are pretty well organized Joey. Maybe you’re just young enough to keep it straight in your head. I forget stuff too quickly if I don’t write it down somewhere. I used to scribble notes on a pad on my nightstand, but I could never read them in the AM. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good stuff. I’ve been an Evernote convert for a while. I use it for all kinds of things. I will have to look into that offline upgrade.
    I’ve never heard of it before but I’ll take a look at Trello now too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you might like it Norm. I even use Trello for woodworking projects now. It’s a fine line that separates what I put in each one, but I’m getting comfortable with knowing what will be easier to manage in Trello. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Norm, the upgrade saved me on one occasion in the tube in London where I got inspired and started tapping away and then the sync of 30 mins work couldn’t happen because I had no signal. I had lost an hours work before in a similar situation on a bus trip to a work meeting.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is really great info, Dan! I recently downloaded Evernote to all my devices and I love it because it works on my work, Windows-based computer, but also on all my at-home Apple devices. (I own nothing Windows-based at home!) I haven’t started using it to its full potential, but seeing your post makes me want to play around and utilize it more.

    Thanks for sharing these great tips!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. my head hurts, Dan. I don’t eat McDonalds and never heard of Trello…I make things up as I go. I have no schedule….Gosh, I probably need to walk with the fish. Or with Maggie. I don’t know…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yet you seem pretty well organized Lois. I envy people who can do it in their heads. I have always written things down, tried to have a plan, even as a kid. Thanks for the comment.

      Like

  8. Great post, Dan. Obviously these apps work well for you, and ‘Free’ is most definitely a bonus. I think the blogging community is so generous in sharing processes and reference materials, and it’s helpful to see your screen shots while you describe the apps. Also fun to see how you use these tools for managing your home and property chores.

    Let’s keep posting ‘stuff’ that makes Joey think we’re organized 😋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, an added bonus :) – Thanks Sammy. I’d love to be able to handle this in a notebook, but I bounce from place to place, device to device and a single paper record just wouldn’t work for me. I know I’d leave it in the wrong place. A few years ago, we had a freak October snowstorm that left our town without power for 10 days. I dug out a “composition book” because I needed to save my battery life for work stuff.

      You’re right about the community. I’ve learned so much from so many people, I just feel like I’ve landed in a worldwide support group.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the Daily Post WP 101 and 102 are pretty basic starter courses but I don’t have any direct experience with them. The most important thing is to have good content, and you seem to have that covered.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. LOL. I had to look: yes: Blogging for Dummies: http://www.amazon.com/Blogging-Dummies-Amy-Lupold-Bair/dp/1118712099/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423252373&sr=8-1&keywords=blogging+for+dummies

      However, for free, follow Jeff Bullas (www.jeffbullas.com), who also has a book for 10 bucks to download (I haven’t read it), and Copyblogger (www.copyblogger.com)– my favorite writing resource. The Bullas site has a LOT of content marketing info (that’s what I do), but within that is also a lot of good advice for writing and presenting content ideas. Copyblogger is more focused on writing advice and is uniformly excellent.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Bryant. Did you see Nick’s comment about the Trello power-up option that provides the calendar view? He included a link for that too. It looks like it brings Trello closer to what you were looking for, I love it when the community steps into action – this is such a great place.

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    1. Maybe not “so smart” but familiar ‘cuz it’s what I do for a living. Don’t ask me to bake anything. My blog is still on the free version of WP, although I bought a premium theme (which I’m no longer happy with).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks Dan,

    Have you seen the ‘power up’ for Trello that give you a calendar view of you cards?
    (here’s a link if others would like to try it http://blog.trello.com/introducing-power-ups-calendar-card-aging-and-more/)
    Trello has taken over as my personal blog calendar and it also helps us schedule all our proposed social media posts at work. We have labels for all our different networks and calendar view let’s me see what’s coming. It’s great as I can assign users various tasks across our remote teams.
    My latest board is my Home Work board, where I get Tamara and my boys to prioritise on Friday what we hope to do over the weekend. Chores, day trips and renovations play off against trips to the zoo and beach. We even do a little retrospective to see how much effort things take and if the boys have enough work play balance too.

    This weekends epic is a new deck, which hopefully gets finished to staining stage today. I’d better get at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have penciled reviewing that feature in for the weekend Nick. Trello has been one of the best things I’ve learned about through social media and it’s no surprise that I learned from you.

      Like

  10. I am just not that deeply organized on my blog… I rarely write to far ahead. I get something stuck in my brain and it just will not let go until I actually write about it. Then I wait for the next thing that gets stuck… but I love the ideas of storing ideas for other things and may look into it if I ever what to do more research for a book or photo essay idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I use these two services for many more things than my blog. They both offer great ways to organize information that you don’t want to forget, but that doesn’t fit into a specific application like a calendar or address list. One thing that I am putting into Trello is power equipment routine maintenance. I can include a picture of the plat showing serial number and model. I can include the spark plug number, belt, oil type and quantity, and even snap photos of pages from the manual.

      Like

  11. Hey Dan
    Thanks for sharing the workflow. My name is Bryan and I’m an Evernote ambassador. I read your intro post about user keeping their ideas in Evernote and after which posting it to WordPress. I developed a tool that allows user to post straight from Evernote editor to WordPress and was wondering if you would be interested to give it a spin :) Looking forward to your reply and I love to have your feedback on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like an interesting tool Bryan. I’m not sure I would use it much though. At best, I end up with a few draft paragraphs in Evernote, never something I would push to WordPress. I could see how that would be helpful if I used the WP Editor, but, as I’ll explain in Part-II, I use Word. Evernote is full of outlines, notes, sentence fragments, links and research results but never anything close to done. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. What in the world is wrong with me? I use a yellow-lined legal sized pad of paper and pen to write down my ideas. There is something about having a pen in my hand …. Old habits are not easy to break. Great post, Dan!!! (((HUGS))) Amy

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When I write my longer posts, Dan, I write directly in the editor in WP. I type exceedingly fast and sometimes the words (for the longer posts especially) pour forth so fast, I must type. Many of my long posts, what you see is what I first wrote. There are only minor changes. With my short sayings, that is when I use my paper and pen.I showed my pad to someone who is writing a book, and he remarked right away, “Yep! That is a writer’s pad all right!” Scribbles, and scratching outs, and inserted words, LOL! Sometimes I can barely read what I wrote. Hehehehehe

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Hehehehehe! I laughed out loud at fish walking to McDonald’s! Quite a visual:) Thank you, thank you, thank you for this very informative post. I knew nothing about Evernote or Trello prior to reading your post, now, I definitely want to explore these two electronic notebooks. I am one of those folks who fall into the “low level tech group” and I sometimes feel embarrassed to say that I don’t know a darn thing about all the beneficial things out there.

    The last post I wrote for my blog was done in “notes” on my ipad, but when I copied and pasted it into wordpress, the entire post went into the title area. For the life of me I couldn’t figure it out. I had to e-mail it to myself and then paste into wordpress. This is an example of “low level tech” :)

    Thanks again for share these two FREE sites with your readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I like how you say “I’ll try to keep this non-geeky. I’ll fail.” When you are geeky you are geeky. There is no way to pretend. And the part where you say the geeks didn’t use “the images of the gates of Hell.” I had a flare of imagination thinking they would have been telling us to store our stuff in Hell. Nice.
    But I like Evernote. You make it extremely attractive. And I didn’t know I could set up an email for my blog. That too is great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But you do the art sooooo well Cheryl that nobody can complain. I’m only tech-savvy because I do it for a living. I’m working to be able to write more “off the cuff, fly by night, hit and run” :) Thanks!

      Like

  15. Haha! Good luck with that Dan! Its kind of exciting to do. I am having to be meticulous with our program at work so it bleeds over to help me with my personal stuff. I just hate all those add, save, post, “sure you want to do that?” Buttons. Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

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