Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nicole from Madlab Post with A to Z Survival Kit

        Nicole from The Madlab Post returns with part 2 of her survival tips for the A to Z.  She's talking about stuff bloggers should be doing Challenge or no Challenge.   You can let us know what you think in the comment section.

 Save your blog posts on an external CD-R or Drive

       Those of you who have a habit of writing your blog posts within the post editor should carefully consider either copying and pasting the text into a word processing document or writing the post in notepad or MS Word, etc. and then pasting what you wrote into the post editor. Doing so can prevent the annoying setback of losing everything that you just wrote when your computer crashes or when your internet browser freezes or when the blog page you are working on suddenly reloads itself because you mistakenly clicked on the reloading icon in the browser or hit a shortcut key to go open another web page by accident…silly, I know, but as the saying goes…shit happens.

       The key takeaway here is to do your best to minimize the risk of this same shit happening to you while you’re Blogging from A to Z. Have a way to access your 26 blog posts and any related media (photos, URL addresses to online references where you found information pertaining to your posts, documents with ideas or schedules for you’re A to Z blogging tasks, etc.) anytime and anywhere.

Reach out to Fellow Participants for Help

        Arlee, Alex and the other Blogging from A to Z hosts do a great job of helping Participants with navigating the challenge with ease and they probably answer dozens, if not hundreds of questions and requests during the challenge. The thing that many fellow bloggers may forget to remember or not realize is.....the hosts are blogging too and maintaining the backend of their own blogs while also managing the front-end and backend of the A to Z challenge, which is a LOT of work.

       I mentioned all of this to say....don't underestimate the abilities of your fellow bloggers and A to Z participants when it comes to seeking help with some aspect of the challenge that you don't understand, seeking morale support, troubleshooting or any other need that you may have that is related to the challenge.

      Doing so can give the hosts more room to focus on their main tasks at hand, which are making sure that the A to Z Challenge is operating as smoothly as possible.

Have Alternative Means to Access the Internet

        Last week, I woke up and found my internet access gone. This must be a mistake, I thought. After all, I paid the damn bill. After troubleshooting, checking plugs, restarting a modem, etc. I finally called my internet provider, who told me that there was a power outage in my area due to some problems with their equipment on their end. They expected to have the service restored in 48 hours…..a length of time that seemed like FOREVER to a multitasking, freelance writing, Netflix streaming, work-at-home Twitter-addict like me. Imagine if something like this happens to YOU during a time when you need internet access the most. This is why bloggers can benefit from having alternative sources of internet access, just like it is important to have a substitute blog.

      Get a public library card that allows you to sign up for time at a computer station within the library, find a friend or relative who will let you use their computer to publish your blog posts or visit a local coffee shop that offers free WiFi. Maintaining resources for internet access also helps you travel more without having to be stuck in front of a computer for 26 days. Right now, I know of at least two retail stores and a bank in my city that provides free WiFi. You know what this tells me? It tells me that I can perform many of my Blogging from A to Z duties while running errands outdoors….all in the comfort of a local Starbucks or Greyhound bus. So, if you lose internet access, wherever you normally get it, there is no need to fret. Just buy a latte’ and keep it moving!

Do YOU have what it takes to Survive the A to Z Blogging Challenge?

        Whew!  I have experience with some of these things that Nicole mentions here.  Which of the above tips have you tried if any?  Are there any other suggestions that you have to offer?

         Here's another one of the video's Nicole submitted to the A to Z Video Contest.  Prompts for the second half of the alphabet:

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Alessa Hinlo said...

I always compose my blog posts in a text editor and then copy+paste it into Wordpress. It's a habit I picked up a long time ago after losing one too many posts to a glitch.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Same here - I always compose in Word before copying into my blog post.


I have my complete A to Z already written out and saved in my documents,
Very good post.


Matthew MacNish said...

Lots of excellent advice!

Gossip_Grl said...

WOW I never thought of that : / I always do everything right from the blog itself and it seemed easy enough to quick save. Thanks for sharing and will definately start that.

Nicole said...

Alessa Hinlo,

I'm with you! Losing posts has been a surefire way to prompt one to get into the routine of composing them and saving them outside of the post editor. I can't tell you how many times I spent over an hour working on something within a post editor, only to have it disappear when the page reloads or something, which caused me to have to write everything all over again. Just thinking about it makes me cringe.

Alex J. Cavanaugh,

Composing in Word and then copying and pasting from there into the blog is a great practice, man! Not only do you get to make sure that you have your post, if you ever need to come back to it again, but you're also able to access the text if necessary in circumstances where you need to borrow someone else's internet access (Starbucks, etc.) to post to your blog.

I know you have this blogging thing down to a science, lol!


Thank you for your joy in reading this post. You're on a roll with that head start on the A to Z posts. I'm still trucking along, trying to complete the rest of them. I have 5 posts done so far.

Matthew MacNish,

Thanks, I'm glad you find my advice in this post to be on point. Most, if not all of what I mention over these last two days have been learned from the unfortunate experience of losing blog posts or having technical issues that make it difficult for me to blog with no fuss.

I've lost entire screenplays, blog posts, articles for the web and outlines by writing stuff without saving them...especially when it was done in the post editor windows. Boy do we know better now, I tell ya!

Gossip Girl,

I agree, post editors right in the blog itself are convenient. Unfortunately, there can often be a price to pay for convenience and that can mean losing all of your work, where blogging is concerned.

You may want to get on top of that habit of writing posts in a word processing document first and then pasting the text into the post editor afterward. It can save you lots of potential headaches down the road, trust me :)

Blogging at The Madlab Post and socializing @MadlabPost on Twitter.

Beth Stilborn said...

My only thought is -- Relax! I intend to have fun with this challenge, not fuss about what-if scenarios.

Empty Nest Insider said...

This is great advice Nicole! I might just keep mine in a notebook, so I could write on-the-go. Sorry you had Internet problems, and I hope it's smooth sailing from now on. Julie

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

This year I'll have my smart phone which will help me do some visiting and commenting while at work. It's part of my survival plan.

pamlovesbooks said...

holy crap this is such good advice. thanks!

Nicole said...

Beth Stilborn,

Relaxation comes in handy, indeed. It's the only way to survive any kind of day, with or without the A to Z Challenge.

Empty Nest Insider,

Thanks so much. I like your notebook plan. Writing on-the-go is something that I used to do before my iPod went missing last month. I used to keep little notebooks on me a few years ago but it was for grocery lists and odds and ends that I needed to jot down....maybe I should take a note from your book and get back into that practice :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley,

Hats off to your survival plan, because it is right up my multi-tasking alley! I've been shopping around for my very first smartphone but never bought one because I had phone apps on my iPod Touch. I sure do like your way of thinking. Working, visiting and commenting is one major three-way approach to covering your bases....all in time for you get home for dinner. Right on! :)

Pammy pam,

Holy cow, I'm surely digging your profile name, I gotta tell ya! Thanks for reading and I'm glad you found my advice to be applicable for blogging during the A to Z Challenge.


Blog: The Madlab Post
@MadlabPost on Twitter

klahanie said...

Hey there Nicole,
I don't worry about my blog and copying and pasting and whatever. If my not worth reading blog wipes out and all my not worth reading words, vanish into the ether, hey, so be it.
The best way to um 'survive' this gosh darn fun challenge that brings further awareness of the alphabet, is do to like I do and do satirical, alternative blogs to the challenge. And if my alternative blog vanishes into the ether before I publish it, oh well, never mind.
Whew! Now lets see if my not worth reading comment, actually publishes. Then again, whatever....
Have fun kids as you get prepared for the very first letter of the alphabet! Must go now because I just cannot handle all this excitement :)

Melissa Sugar said...

This is a good idea. I never even considered it, but I will do it now. I appreciate all of the tips. I am trying to prepare early & have actually written about half of my A to Z post already. I want to schedule them to be automatically published by blogger, but I am far to nervous to rely on it. I tried this a couple of times in the past on days I knew I would not be able to get to my computer & learned the next day that they did not post.

Tina said...

Hey Nicole, great tips. I'd like to add that most McDonald's have free wifi, and it usually works outside at those tables. We drove 3500 miles last summer and never found one that didn't have it.
Like Alex, I've always written my posts on my mac (blogger doesn't do my signature font, papyrus) and then pasted them into the editor. Of course, I still edit there, so the posted post doesn't always match the first version, but I'm OK with that.

Tina @ Life is Good
Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

michelle said...

YIKES! I must be the only blogger who types the post straight into the blog from the hand-written copy...
Thanks for the great advice!!

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Nicole said...

Satire may be an entertaining theme for bloggers to try during the challenge. It's probably an easy way to breeze through the alphabet with no worries.

Melissa Sugar,

It looks like you're on a roll with the preparation side of things! Scheduling posts in advance will surely give you a lot more time to have fun with other aspects of the challenge...visiting more blogs :)

I think that Arlee or one of the co-hosts published a old tutorial somewhere on how to schedule posts in advance. You could try it again over the weekend or sometime next week to see if it works. Better to know now than find out later.


Thanks, I'll have to try that free WiFi at McDonalds out sometime whenever I'm near one. I rarely go to Micky Ds because of the junk food factor but I sure do find those apple pies and cookies pretty tasty! Let's see here...I'd be going in with Free WiFi and coming out with several extra pounds and an empty wallet. Yeah, I'll have to be careful with that. The $5 tea at Starbucks is usually enough for me, lol.

Lucky you for having a Mac *drool* no matter how you blog :)

I'd consider you to be someone who is on top of things as well, so I would be very surprised if you ever mentioned typing directly in the post editor without having something already written elsewhere. I edit mine in Blogger often as well...I know all about how the published version differs from the original one. It's all a part of the writing and blogging process...or, maybe we practice a small piece of that whole perfectionism habit that Alex mentioned in the recent A to Z Blog post, lol.


I'm happy to know that you find this post of mine to be of use in your blogging habits. You're in company with other bloggers who write in the post editor. The rest of 'em are just too shy or in denial or too scared to admit it. HA! lol.


Blog: The Madlab Post
@MadlabPost on Twitter

Maurice Mitchell said...

Great tips. I actually use Gmail to write my drafts. I can get to it anywhere and it automatically saves periodically. Plus, I can email it to the blog. Very handy.
@Alyssa I've lost one too many posts myself. I'm a slow writer, so rewriting is painful.

Nicole said...

Maurice Mitchell,

Thanks a lot for reading and commenting on this makes me happy and grateful to know that you find it of use. I didn't know that Gmail has a word processing feature. That is, unless you are referring to Google Docs...for which I am slightly familiar.

Email-to-blog is a handy option, I agree! I used to do that a few years ago with a service called Letter Me Later, before Blogger had the post scheduling feature. The results, however, were less than stellar as far as the text formatting and the way my published posts were presented on the blog, so I stopped that real quick and was so excited when Blogger added an advanced scheduling feature to their blogging platform.

Blog: The Madlab Post
@MadlabPost on Twitter

The Ol' Big Jim said...

Good post with great advice! I lost a beautifully written post just one time too many. That's when I started composing in Word and pasting to my blog. It was one of those forehead slap moments... "Why didn't you think of this earlier you eejit??"

Looking so much forward to blogging with all you great and beautiful bloggers in the A to Z Blogging Challenge!

Shannon Lawrence said...

I got lazy about composing in Word the moving it, but I really need to move back to doing that. I like to do the html as I go through, and there are some things easier to just do by pushing a button and following prompts, which is why I started blogging in the blog window instead of via Word. Good reminder; I need to switch back!

I've had internet issues over the last couple days. I couldn't leave, BUT I do know where I can go, if desperate, and most days I can head out after kids are in bed and hit up the Starbucks down the road that has free wi-fi.

Great tips and reminders!

Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

cleemckenzie said...

Lots of advice! I've never had trouble like losing post , but now you've got me worried! Liked the idea of using email to compose!

Anonymous said...

great post! I have never had a problem with losing posts. other than the posts I have scheduled all of my posts are written "on the fly" plus I use live writer and it saves all the posts.