Thursday, August 30, 2012

Needing Motivation and Ideas ~ Getting on the Early Halloween Bandwagon

Well, I haven't been good about keeping up with challenges or quests the last little bit.  Our little family went on a mini vacation and while we were on it I found out my sister had gotten engaged.  I also am planning a party at our new house - life is good and we are so blessed!  It has been hard to get excited about writing though with all this amazing stuff going on, but I am trying to get back into it.  My two latest articles are: Sack Lunch Ideas, great stuff for parents that make their kids lunches or even make lunches for work, and Easy Indoor Grill, all about the George Foreman grill - my kitchen tool I never want to be without and has saved me many times while preparing meals.  The first was actually a Rocketsquids challenge that I turned in late, hence not getting a lot of views, and the other was a quest that I missed the deadline for, but at least I finished them - woo, hoo!  It was really hard to just pick one kitchen tool that I love and I wish I could have just submitted my Must Have Helpful Kitchen Gadgets lens, but it had to be one tool and when completing a challenge or quest they ask that you create a new lens.  How was I doing so great and now am down to feeling like I am completely lost on what I should be writing about?!?!  Uhhhhhhg!!!  Side note:  I haven't gone back to Squidutils - I need to do that and maybe I can get my low ranking lenses back to a good spot.

Anywho, they are celebrating Halloween like it is October already on Squidoo and I'm really excited about it, even joined the Squidoo Halloween Club, you can find out more here: Halloween on Squidoo.  Hopefully it will get me motivated to kick out some great lenses.  I feel like I'm kind of running out of creative ideas, especially in my lens design.  Really hoping the money starts coming in next month, even if it is a few cents - that will help get me more motivated for sure!  Until next time - keep creating!

* Surprise!  I guess it has been 6 months since I joined Squidoo, I really had hoped I'd be further, but I feel good things are around the corner and that it will just keep getting better. *

Monday, August 13, 2012

Food, Kitchen, Cooking and Featured Articles!

Wow, these were a couple of BIG weeks for me and it has taught me that I need to be patient and just keep the creative juices flowing.  I have a feeling this journey on Squidoo will continue to be a roller coaster of feelings, doubts, success, emotions, and more, but in the end I really enjoy it.  Writing has pulled me through some tough times or just helped me get thoughts out into the world that I didn't know how to share.

Video not for viewing - screen shot only.
Well, for me it seemed to be a food, kitchen, and cooking focus these last couple weeks.  I may have even found my niche, but I am not going to single out an account for it and all things pertained to those subjects are very broad...I feel I found that things have helped me when it comes to being in the kitchen or foods I really enjoy and it seems this is what people are looking for and that is exactly what I've been looking for.  First, I finished the Letter "A" Lens Challenge from RocketSquids with the article Anytime Foods. It was number two on the list and after having some time to play with it I can safely say that submitting your lens (article) sooner will put you higher on the list. They may change that in the future, but it has worked for me so far, so it is worth giving a try if you are a member and take part in the challenges. I actually had the idea for this article a long time ago and jot my ideas down somewhere when I have them. When the challenge was presented I suddenly thought to merge the words any and time to make one word to include in the title; the original title I wrote down was Foods You Can Eat Any Time of Day....pretty long, huh? The idea came to me after eating a breakfast burrito for lunch and it suddenly hit me that there were foods I liked to eat any time of day, then I started checking the internet and seems I wasn't the only one that didn't care what time it was to enjoy this delicious foods, which so far includes pizza, chicken sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and burritos, but I will probably add more as time goes on.

Then I received a Monday Squidoo quest that said to create a lens that talked about something you did the day before.  Well, I was thinking about how we go to church, then relax, sometimes watch a movie, but then it came to me that Sunday has been deemed our easy dinner night.  Suddenly my Easy Dinner Sunday lens was born!  I usually outline my articles, but the deadline was 24hrs, so I created the entire thing on Squidoo and published it all in a matter of hours.  I didn't think anything would really come of it, to be honest, as it was just a fun quest and I threw it together so quickly that I wasn't sure if it was really had good quality stuff.  I fiddled with it for a few days and then yesterday saw it featured on the the front page of Squidoo!!!  I was sooooooo excited!  I certain amount of lenses that they choose, I'm not sure how many, get rotated in 15 spots on the front page and about every third time I clicked on the page it was one of the 15 and I think they run the same ones for a week!

*Side note:  we are about to potty train my first born and this lens was also one of the 15 that day, this article had some great books for kids on potty training: Top Toilet Training Books for Children.

When Monday rolled around it was time for another RocketSquids challenge.  Go figure, it was a food or cooking challenge!  It was a sign for me that I needed to keep going on this route.  This time I wrote about Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets.  There a some items in my kitchen I just can't imagine being without, so I went through my kitchen and picked out all the gadgets that I believed would help if everyone had them in their kitchen.  Once again it was listed as the second lens to complete this challenge, as I completed it early.  To keep up with all the RocketSquids lenses visit: The Rocketsquids Lensography.

My article is highlighted in yellow.
Well, if this wasn't all great enough, in between all these great happenings, I finally got my points for the Favorite Toy Quest, which I was already really excited about, but then I found out that my lens about the Skip-It Toy was featured as one of the top 30 favorites.  I also found out this quest was sent to the "top lensmasters in the Hobbies, Games & Toys category," which I apparently was because of my spoon collection lenses.  This is all so awesome and I very happy and excited to be receiving all this great exposure!  I so appreciate it and am really happy people are enjoying my writing.

I haven't made any money yet, but we will see what next month turns out, as I have said before pay outs lag by two months, so I won't see the profit from this month until November I believe.  I really hope it turns out well.  A quick update on my little boy; he is doing better, saw an allergist two times, and he may not need ear tubes.  Hoping his ears start to drain properly soon.

Good luck to anyone else that is also going on a Squidoo journey and may you have a great week!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Have I Got Some Tips for You!!!

Okay, I don't even know where to start.....first, I'll just say to manage your widgets!  What are widgets?  They are kind of like modules available for the right sidebar of your lens.  You can find them to the right of your workshop tools when editing your lens.  There are three available right now - RSS feed, Featured Lenses, and Amazon Spotlight Personal Review.  The RSS feed is great!  I now have my three latest blogs showing on each of my lenses.  The featured lenses rotate 3 lenses, even though I think you can put as many as you want to.  Right now, and I might change my mind down the road, but I like to only put three of my lenses that I think people will be interested in that are reading that lens.  Hopefully that will domino effect, as they click on the next lens which will have other featured lenses.  The Amazon spotlight can help you feature any product you want, as it works more like an ad; it can be some related to your lens or a product that you personally just love and want to promote.  I can't believe I wasn't using these before!  Find more about widgets and tips using them in these lenses: Sidebar Widgets and Spotlight An Amazon Product Using the Sidebar Widget.

More about RSS I could have sworn that I saw an option like this on blogger.  I did a little searching and found this link: How to Add an RSS Feed on Blogger.  Well, then I realized that I didn't know what the RSS feed URL would be in order to show my Squidoo articles, so I did a search on Squidoo - just typed in RSS.  Which led me to this lens: RSS Feeds Submission Directory, (loving this lensmaster for writing this lens) clicked on one of the links and it sent me to Squidutils.  A lot of people have actually mentioned this site and I don't know if it was because I was so new or what, but I was confused about it and just kind of went past it - BIG MISTAKE!  Once I logged in I found my RSS Feed URL, followed the directions from the "how to" link and BOOM - I've got my Squidoo lens feed showing on my blog!  How cool is that?!?!

Squidu: The Lensmaster's Lounge...this is a forum for Squidoo members that I first checked out when I discovered more about linkage and increasing your lens ranking.  It has good and bad points, but I think an important thing to do is to restrain yourself from saying some things that might not make you look good.  There have been some amazing members I have met on there that are super helpers and so supportive, a few that just want to bring everyone down, and some that think they need to be the "Squid police."  It is my belief that this world would not be as interesting as it is without so many different characters, but I have really had to bite my tongue on some things. Anywho, someone was posting a question about needing help on their lens or something along those lines - I can't quite remember.  Well, you have a signature that you can have show up at the bottom of your posts and this person had two different lensmaster profiles!  I knew this was a ligit thing to do, but a light bulb finally switched on when I checked out both of his profiles.  This lensmaster had different niches that he had and every lens or anything having to do with that profile was about that niche.  For example, if you live vacuums you could have a profile named Vacuummaster and then write on nothing but vacuums.  This is is how people are really making the big bucks on Squidoo.  To be honest, from a personally point of view I am still on the fence on what or how I feel about doing this.  One of the things I HATED about being in the business world was that everyone was a shark, take out the competition kind of mentality and I feel like this kind of is the same concept.  Once you have written so many lenses on the subject and do it really well, then no one can really compete.  Is it smart and make sense, for sure, is it a good thing to do the other writers, not sure how I feel about that.  What do you think?  Leave a comment for me.
UPDATE:  This forum has been transferred to SquidooHQ at the following link:

Back to Squidutils...there are sooooo many useful tools on this site!  Basically it is the all time lens manager.  You can check your links, Amazon stuff, name it!  My next goal is to go through each of my lenses using this site and find out what is lacking and then fix it.  Little tid bit I've already found out - make sure when you take the allowed pictures you can use for your lenses and save them that you put similar words in the document name that you have in your lens title or tags.

Are you liking, bookmarking, or taking notes?!?  Well, these are mine and I wanted to share them because there some key tips in this blog entry, not only for those on Squidoo, but bloggers as well.  Hope I helped someone out and if I did maybe you could send me a little credit? lol  Keep writing and reading!!!

Once you join or if you are thinking about joining Squidoo, check out this lens (article): What's Your Story?
I joined to do exactly that, to "write about what I know and love".