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Squidoo revisited

Those of you who have been following my blog posts for some time know that two years ago I had set my focus on squidoo and that I managed to write about more than 60 Squidoo articles (to avoid the rather strange sounding word “lenses”). I wrote about classical music, about artists like Michelangelo and Goya. I presented my Zazzle products in several articles and then – I got a kind of Squidoo burnout. The pressure of having to produce one article after another had been just to great, and me and Squidoo went different ways.

After some time I managed to write the one or the other article, but my love and my passion was somewhere else – on the fields of painting, drawing, graphic design and Zazzle. Some days ago, however, things changed. I am on facebook, and a member of several groups which focus on promoting their Zazzle products and supporting each other. Suddenly there was a new group called Squid-Doers – people who wrote articles in order to promote their products. This group is full of supportive, motivating and kind people, and voila – my attitude towards Squidoo – and writing – has changed! I have just thrown a look on some of my “old” articles, and I had to grin and say to myself: “You’ve done a good job there. You could have done better with this or that article, but in general, you’ve done a good job.” And something inside me is prodding me to do it again… I don’t know where to take the time to do it, but ahhh, I’d like be squidoo-ing again…

For anybody who wants to have a look at my articles: Here’s a list of my articles.

The beginning of June – time for a review

It is the beginning of June. The first half of 2010 has almost gone. So for me it is time to do a review. Where do I stand and where do I want to go?

As things are at the moment I still enjoy my blogging activities – not only at this place here, but also at crabbysbeach, where I write a weekly column on classical music and try to accompany my squidoo lenses with blog posts once or twice a week. And yes, I reactivated my German photoblog and opened an additional blog on my zazzling activities. And here comes the big question: How do I write a blog which is focused on helping me to sell my products? I don’t have an answer to that question yet. The only thing I know is that I am far from being satisfied with this blog. I got a vague idea that I should write stories about me and my products. I will work on that the coming weeks.

Well, that’s blogging. Regarding writing squidoo lenses I am confronted with the problem that you’ve got to keep your pages fresh in order to get found by google. With something over 60 lenses that is not easy. At the moment I am more occupied with updating my “old” pages than with writing new ones. But that activity is fun, too, because it means exchanging photos, adding zazzle products, rewriting.

And then, there’s zazzle. I think that I have some pretty good products in my store – I select the best of my photographs out of the depths of my hard disk. But sales have been almost null, and not only I but a lot of other people are asking themselves: Does beauty sell? Do I create things which I would buy or do I create things which I would not buy but would be bought by other people? Or is it just the season with school ending and people saving money for their travels? And how does the lack of sales affect me? Sometimes my inner whinie is very strong, wanting me to pace my room moaning “nobody loves me – waahhh”. In spite of this I am not thinking of giving up my zazzle activities – it is too much fun sitting at my notebook and creating mugs, mousepads, cards, magnets and stickers with my photos on them.

You may ask how I get all those things done. I am juggling, yes. But I found out that writing down the things I did every day really helps a lot. There are days which are empty regarding these activities, and there are days when I concentrate on writing blog posts like today. But looking at what I did the last weeks shows me that I did get done a lot of things.

Come with me to the beach and enjoy all kinds of music!

Today I’d like you to follow me over to the beach and have fun with music. The beach, that is Squidoo Music, a blogging community writing about all kinds of music.

Every Tuesday I write about Classical Music (the name of the weekly column is “Going Classical”), and the latest story is about the most famous piece of Maurice Ravel, the “Bolero”. Of course there are always music videos with the writing (actually it is more music than writing!).

There are other categories as well: Folk Music, Country Music Fest, Friday Dance Party and the Awesome 80’s, to name a few. Have a walk around – you will find some music you’ll like!

Squidoo Music is a perfect example for a blogging network – people weaving the web together, working on one project.

St. Patrick’s Day

Screenshot of Squidoo lens

Screenshot of my Squidoo page

Today Irish people all over the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Of course music plays an important part in the celebrations. Whether or not you are Irish you can enjoy Irish music, Celtic music or Irish Folk.

The Dubliners are my favorite Irish folk band. So I created a squidoo page about them with  selection of their finest songs, songs about love, women, booze and the Easter rising.

Enjoy the music, tap your feet, raise your glass, sing along – have fun!

201 Posts and Something to Celebrate

I just noticed it while looking at my dashboard – this is going to be the 202nd post!

That’s a reason for me to think about my blogging goal in 2010. At the end of 2009, due to my illness (it is over now, woohoo!) and the Giant Squid Adventure (I had to create those 50 webpages till the end of December – and yes, I succeeded) I did not put the focus on blogging as I did all the months before. It was a deliberate decision, but nevertheless I did not feel too good with it.

Now, with the New Year and my health having come back I’ll put the focus on this blog again.

And now to the celebration part: Due to the support of some wonderful people of the Squidoo community I managed to create my 50 pages. Without them I would have given up because of my illness – but I was talked out of it. With the result that I can now proudly wear a Giant Squid’s badge on all my pages. It is not only the number of pages¬† you have, but it is the quality of content that counts. And so there’s really something to celebrate…

And here you can get an impression what I have been doing last November and December – Come over and have a look at my pages!

New Words and new Meanings

One or two days ago I had a conversation on twitter with my dear friends Joanna Young and Brad Shorr about what I have been doing on Squidoo. I mentioned that I was on my way to Giant Squid and had just published a lensography, actually wanting to communicate that I was on my way to have 50 webpages published at the end of the year and that my latest webpage was a directory of all my webpages about and on classical music.

Of course I did not say so. Being a member of the Squidoo community since the end of May 2009 (no, I don’t spend my time swimming in the salty sea, I am still walking on my two feet) made me use the squidoo community language in a matter of course way. I did not realize that not everybody is a squid (Joanna, I can see your face reading this!) and in order to be understood elsewhere I’d have to use words which made clear what I meant.

Language can be a means to shut people out or to give them the feeling that they have been living somewhere near the North Pole and should raise their knowledge to the general level – either you learn fast or we forget you, stupid!

I don’t want to use language that way.

By the way: One of my lenses (=pages) was nominated for the Potential Giant Squid Award 2009 (this is an Award for people like me who are on their way to 50 pages but have not arrived there yet). It is a webpage about Johann Sebastian Bach, and if you want to get an impression about squidoo lenses in general you can visit the page with all the nominated lenses. There’s a lot of very good content there!

Writing and Learning

In my last blog post I wrote about what journaling teaches me about me. In this blog post I am going to focus on an other aspect of learning.

Since some time I have been writing Squidoo lenses. “Squidoo lenses” are webpages which focus on one subject – they can be compared with articles for a magazine or a newspaper. The main thing here is to provide facts, and you should try to provide them in a way which makes your readership want to read your lens.

While creating thoses lenses I learn a lot.

  • I learn the facts. When you want to write a lens about Mozart’s operas you have to know them – the date they were composed, the plot. I must admit I did not know the plot of the “Magic Flute” up to the day I wanted to write about it. I only knew that the music in it was wonderful. Which information do I get at Wikipedia in English? Are there facts which are important but only given in the German edition of Wikipedia?
  • I learn how to get audiovisual material about my subject. Are there any videos on Youtube? Is there any other media material at Wikimedia Commons? One of my last lenses is about a Western trilogy by the famous American Director Howard Hawks. I decided to write about that without knowing that there was only one bad video covering the last film of the trilogy. Wah!
  • I learn to “break down” my material to my supposed readership. What are the essentials? Which facts cannot be left out, which can be neglected? Which videos are the best? How do I structure my lens? Which titles and subtitles are best to catch my readers’ attention?
  • I learn that I should better write the introduction when everything else is already written (I vaguely remember that we were taught this at university regarding writing a thesis!).

The learning process is still going on, and writing a new lens is always a new learning adventure. And I deeply enjoy it!

Can you Write Following a Plan?

From now on till the end of December I will carry on an experiment.

Since May 2009 I am a member at Squidoo. I’ve successfully graduated at RocketMoms (writing one lens a week for eight weeks). Instead of taking a break after that adventure I have thrown myself into the next one: I am going for Giant Squid.

What are Giant Squids? Giant Squids are people which have 50 lenses and more. So my aim are 50 Squidoo lenses at the end of the year. Just now I am at # 19. Well.

So I sat down yesterday, picked up my calendar and wrote down a lens-writing-plan. It is a rather strict one: two days for one lens in the week, and two lenses from Friday to Sunday.

Do I feel pressure? It’s funny or even strange, but I don’t. I look forward to each day on my calendar because I know I will write. I don’t mind the grey days and the early darkness of November and December – because I know I will write.

By the way: I just published a new lens about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In case you want to throw a glance at it, here it is:

Do you write following a plan? What’s your opinion on that?

About me

screenshot squidoo lens

Screenshot of Squidoo Lens

I know I should rewrite my “About me” page. But I want to offer you something different if you are interested in knowing more about me: Some weeks ago I wrote a Squidoo lens about my top ten favorite activities, and I think that special lens will tell you a lot about me. Maybe the way I wrote it may be a bit strange to you – writing a squidoo lens is a bit like writing a magazine article (and provide the graphics and photos!).

It would be awfully kind of you if you came back from the lens again to this place here and tell me what you think about the lens!

Rocketmom Graduate

No photo today and no quotation this time–I hope you are not too disappointed.

But on Monday, October 12th I was informed that I belong to the number of RocketMoms who successfully finished session #3. I am a RocketMom graduate now.

It could be that some of you are now shrugging their shoulders or shaking their heads. What are RocketMoms and what does “graduation” mean?

RocketMoms are a special group of women who are either moms, aunts (that is what I am), grandmothers. They write Squidoo lenses, and they do it well.

I very well remember the middle of August when session #3 began. I knew that for 8 weeks I would be assigned to write one lens per week. I did not know whether I would be able to do that–with my day job and my three blogposts once a week. It would be quite a lot of writing, and, in addition to that, writing about things I never would have thought of writing about.

The weeks passed. One writing assignment included a product review. It had to be something international. Heureka–what about swiffer? They’ve got it in the UK, they’ve got in Germany and they’ve got in the USA. So I took out my camera, took out my swiffer duster, and produced some photos which could go with the lens. And I wrote the lens.

Writing those weekly lenses stretched my writing abilities. I had to go way out of my comfort zone, not only regarding the content of my writings but also the way of doing it, the planning. In the end it forced me to sit down “and just do it”.

And what’s coming now? I am going for Giant Squid now, which means nothing less than 50 lenses till the end of the year. For somebody of you, my dear readers, it might be NaNoWriMo, for me it is Giant Squid. It may well be that I won’t make it regarding the actual number of lenses. But independent from the number of lenses I will produce I will learn tremendously.