A No Excuses Guide to Blogging (PDF, EPUB, MOBI – free!); also, notes on publishing

This entry is part 1 of 19 in the series A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging

First, a quick announcement: A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging is now available as a free/pay-what-you-want e-book so that you can work your way through your excuses without having to click through lots of blog posts. =)

Mock-up by Ramon Williamson


Mock-up by Ramon Williamson

The cover I made for Amazon

The cover I made for Amazon

The PDF looks prettiest if you’re reading it on your computer or tablet, and the EPUB/MOBI version is handy for other e-readers. You get all three (and any future updates) if you grab it from http://sachachua.com/no-excuses-blogging, or you can get the MOBI version from the Kindle store (currently $0.99, but eventually they’ll price-match it to $0). The book is under Creative Commons Attribution, so feel free to share it with other people. =)

UPDATE 2014-02-13: Here’s a one-page summary!

2014-02-13 A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging - Summary of 10 blogging excuses and how to work around them

2014-02-13 A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging – Summary of 10 blogging excuses and how to work around them

 

- Behind the scenes stuff! - 

So this was about 8 hours of packaging after I’d identified the topics and asked an assistant to compile all the blog posts in a Word document. I edited the text to make it fit better in a collection, fiddled with the graphics, added more sketches, tweaked the layout some more, fought with section headers, and eventually created a PDF that I was reasonably happy with. I contacted a bunch of people on Fiverr about converting the DOCX into EPUB and MOBI. While waiting for a response, I decided to try doing it myself. It took me some time to clean up the messy HTML, but I’m reasonably happy with how the EPUB worked out. I had to tweak the EPUB table of contents in order to get it to pass the validator used by Lulu, but eventually I got it worked out with Calibre and Sigil. The MOBI was a straight conversion from the EPUB, although I wonder if I can get the background colour to be white…

2014-02-05 Notes on publishing

2014-02-05 Notes on publishing

So that was interesting and useful, and it would be good to do more. Here are some ideas for other “No Excuses”-type guides I might put together. Maybe self-directed learning and delegation, actually, since other people are covering the sketchnoting bit quite well.

2014-02-06 What other excuses can I collect and work around

2014-02-06 What other excuses can I collect and work around

There’s also this list of other book ideas, Thinking with Emacs, Tracking Your Time, Accelerating Your Learning with Sketchnotes, and this big outline. Lots to do. Looking forward to figuring out how I can get more of these out the door. =)

In the meantime… tada! http://sach.ac/no-excuses-blogging

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  • Jeffrey Wright

    I downloaded a copy from Amazon and shared the link with one of my Google+ communities.

    • http://sachachua.com sachac

      Yay, thanks for sharing it! =) I’d love to hear which excuse resonates with you the most. I want to get even better at writing and sharing, so if you have suggestions for this or other books, please feel free to reach out!

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  • Ana Isabel Canhoto

    I really liked this sketch, Sacha.

    First, I really liked the content. It captures the range of comments / questions I get when I advise others to blog (e.g., my students, or my academic colleagues). It is a handy summary, and I will be referring others to it, over and over again.

    Second, I really liked the format. It is so simple – just 2 colours, simple illustrations and handwriting. And, yet, it is so effective. Great job.

    • http://sachachua.com sachac

      I’m glad you like it! If people give you any other excuses – or if you’ve come up with other workarounds – I’d love to swap notes. =) Thanks for being a blogging evangelist!

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  • mattner_d

    Thanks for the awesome sketch, Sacha. I began blogging every day from 4 February. I had my own permission to make it something small – one line if necessary – but there had to be an update every day so that I built the habit.
    Just over 50 days in, updating’s almost a habit. It’s really interesting to see how many of your work-arounds I’ve used in that time. I’ve blogged about it at http://witterdaily.wordpress.com/ if you’d like a look.

    Also, I’d love to see you do more sketchnote guides. This one really grabbed me, both visually and with the content.

    • http://sachachua.com sachac

      Whee! I’m so happy for you. Great stuff! Subscribed. =D

      I’d love to do more sketchnote guides too! It turns out I have a lot more fun when I’m answering people’s questions or helping people with topics, like the way this No Excuses Guide to Blogging coalesced after conversations with beginning bloggers. What are you curious about next?

      • mattner_d

        There’s a couple of things in your sketchnote above that I’d love to see in the spotlight.

        1. ways to plan, write, organise and improvise
        It sounds like you have a mental model behind that point; teasing it out would be a huge help. I’ve got almost two months’ worth of posts behind me, but my tags show I’ve changed topic almost every post – the most-used tag has come up three times. A guide to planning a direction for the blog (with wriggle room for improvising, of course!) would give me a guide to how I move from thoughts-on-all-the-things to focused and significant blogging.

        2. teasing out ideas into smaller posts

        The intimidating size of a post is a big part of why my most interesting posts are still just notes in my drafts folder. I’m keen to break these down into smaller ideas, but I’m not sure where to start. Now you’ve got me thinking about it, I’m going to try for myself over the weekend and come back to see if you’ve got any handy hints to add to what I’ve come up with.

        P.S. Thanks for the thoughtful comments! Was chuffed to find them when standing in line for my coffee this morning.

        • http://sachachua.com sachac

          Hah. My strategy for dealing with ever-changing interests is to write about all those interests and rely on links/tags/search for sense-making. (http://sachachua.com/blog/2014/01/spiral-learning/) But if you want to experiment with more focused blogging that builds up, you can try top-down writing by outlining your ideas and then going from there.

          Alternatively, you can do bottom-up chunking (http://sachachua.com/blog/2013/12/update-developing-thoughts-further/). You might write about lots of different things in one week, but if you look over several weeks, you may find threads that connect several posts.

          It’s often good to take a step back and think about what the different things you write about have in common.

          And hey, even if you don’t find that… boingboing.net is eclectic and awesome, so maybe that’ll be one of your blogging models. =)

          As for short posts: I like breaking things down into as small a post as possible, just enough to be a coherent idea. It’s easy enough to build up a bigger idea by linking to other posts. I’d rather get stuff out there earlier – if I wait until I’ve fleshed everything out, I’ll have forgotten or moved on to other things. <laugh> Start with one question. Answer it. Doesn’t matter if you do things out of order, because you can always reorganize it afterwards.

          • mattner_d

            Thanks, that logic really helps put things in place. I especially like your point about BoingBoing. It’s a favourite blog of mine, and I’m realising that diversity is one of the things I love about it.

            P.S. The way you’re posting those links in brackets is breaking the links. Have fixed them for my own reading (and am about to dive into the pages!), but heads up for next time :)