5 Steps for Writing and Publishing a Squidoo Lens

Some of you might know that I am attending RocketMoms Session #3. You have to publish a squidoo lens every week, and after 8 weeks and 8 lenses you are a graduated RocketMom.

The assignments are coming in on Monday morning, and this Monday the assignment was to publish a lens on my favorite decade.

Well. I was not very keen on writing lens #100 about the 60es, 70es, 50es. I was not interested in publishing a lens on a period in the 21st or 20th century. But I did not know at that time what decade I would like to write about. So I took a note of the assignment and did some other things.

And then, as I was doing my dishes, I suddenly had an idea: I wanted to write about Italian Renaissance and Michelangelo. But either the Italian Renaissance and Michelangelo cover more than a decade. Hmmphh.

But the first step was made – I had a general idea.

And the next step was: I had to narrow down the subject. So I did some Wikipedia research and found out that Michelangelo created the sculpture of David in the first decade of the 16th century (he did not need the whole decade to accomplish it, but I thought I could neglect that fact). And I also found out that this took place when Florence had thrown out the Medicis and was a proper city republic. David was to be a symbol of the victory of the people over a mighty oppressor. That was interesting.

So my second step was made – I knew my content.

If my task would have been to write an essay, I would now have been able to begin with the writing. But writing a Squidoo lens is something completely different. It’s like writing an article for a magazine, where you have to provide and insert the necessary photos yourself. People want to look at a lens and have fun – or – with other words – they want to be entertained.

So my third step was to look for materials – photographs, maps, videos, books

I discovered wikimedia commons. I searched youtube for appropriate videos. I found one video on Michelangelo’s David but decided against it. You must know that David is naked, and zooming in on certain rather male parts might not be considered proper by some people. It took me some time but I managed to find another video.

I browsed Amazon (Squidoo offers an Amazon module with some additional money for the lensmaster if someone buy a book clicking on this module) for some books on Michelangelo. This took time also.

At the end of this step I had several pieces of content – about Italy in the Renaissance, about two different David sculptures (one created by Michelangelo and one by Donatello, each interpreting the theme in a different way) and some other pieces. I could begin to write, each piece of information a text standing on its own.

But in order to have a publishable lens, I had to make the fourth step and get all those items in an order which made sense.

Squidoo allows to move modules around – you can move the big picture up and put the explanations below the photo, or create a new text and move that above the big photo. As long as you don’t hit the “publish” button nobody knows what you’re doing. It also took some time until I was satisfied with the results.

And then I hit the “Publish” button.

I must admit, that the reason for doing that was that I had become impatient and wanted to get an opinion on the lens – remember, nobody sees it until you publish the lens. So the lens was online. It was okay, but far from looking the way I wanted it to look.

So the fifth step was to spice up the lens with a bit of HTML and CSS or – to put it in a simple way – to do some webdesign work.

I won’t go into detail here, but you can do a lot regarding the color of the text, the size of the characters and so on. There are many lenses which explain how to do it and offer strings of code which you can copy and paste. It is doable. And it is fun!

And if you want to have a look at this lens, it’s over there:

Michelangelo’s David

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About Ulla Hennig

I live and work in Berlin. Taking photos is one of my hobbies, and writing is one of my hobbies, too. So I decided not only to show some of my pictures here but also present some of the thought which came wth the pictures.

2 responses to “5 Steps for Writing and Publishing a Squidoo Lens”

  1. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach says :

    I giggled at this part:

    “People want to look at a lens and have fun – or – with other words – they want to be entertained.”

    So true! :)

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  1. Barbara Ling's Journal - Page 6 - September 3, 2009

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