Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Why I Started Blogging and Where I Hope it Will Take Me

This is a question you may also want to ask yourself - Why are you considering (or already) blogging. It may not exactly seem relevant to the new blogger, but the answer to the question will certainly influence the direction your blog will go - and that's worth looking into early on in your blog adventures.

The reasons why I started blogging are many, but I would say it stemmed out of a passion for writing - even as a young child. By the time I was in high school, I was frustrated by the repetitive "summer vacation" essays, and wanted more freedom to explore other forms of written expression.

This desire for creative freedom didn't fade, and the years passed. Each job interview that I went on, I convinced myself and my potential employer that I could fit neatly into the square box in order to do my "job". But each time, I found myself waking up each morning - not a square. Some days I woke up a circle, others a triangle. On some really weird days, I would find myself changing shape throughout the day. But at any rate, I was not waking up ready to be a square, each and every day - after day, after day.

But through the wonderful world of blogging, I have learned that it doesn't matter anymore what shape I wake up in, I'm ready to work. I have created several blogs to suit my mood, or the level of challenge I want to take on. I have blogs that require very little effort to write a post, and others that not only take a certain amount of effort - but also research, education, experience, and knowledge. The point is, I finally found something I enjoy.

But that isn't always enough to pay the bills, or earn respect - for that matter, either. So in reality, there is a certain amount of pressure on me to generate an income from the time spent blogging - or even through writing.

So, that pretty much covers why I blog, but where do I hope it will take me? While blogging is an extremely popular form of sharing information on the internet, I hope that it will be the catalyst that lands me in another arena entirely. While I still love to write, and in fact - I'm just getting started writing, I would like to expand the possibilities that are before me. While I still haven't fully realized my ultimate goals, I realize now that I want to write. I have a ton of information that just cries to be jotted down, organized, and shared with whoever can make use of it.

So why do you blog, and where do you hope that it will take you in the future?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Blogger for Widgets and Blogger in Draft for Google Gadgets

Did you know that there are two ways of using Blogger? Most of us are familiar with logging in through Blogger's home site, and the use of widgets. But you can also use Blogger in Draft to edit your blog, which uses gadgets instead of widgets! You may be asking, "what's the difference?", so here's a closer look into both.

Blogger's Widgets

Through Blogger's home page, you edit your site through the "Dashboard", and through your "Layout" tab, you can edit your "Widgets" or drag and drop them within the layout, and "Add Elements" to your blog. You can choose page elements by clicking the blue "Add to Blog" buttons that you see in the picture.

Blogger's Gadgets

Blogger in Draft has all of the same options, but instead of "Add Elements" on your "Layout" page, you should see "Add Gadgets". You can choose different page elements by clicking the blue "Add" button. But you are also presented with a sidebar on the right with different categories of "Gadgets that you can add to your blog.

While you can still add pictures, headers, text, html and java script, you can also add Google Gadgets to your blog. You can literally choose from thousands of "gadgets" to add to the sidebars and editable areas of your blog. From games, weather gadgets, search tools, and dictionaries to videos, jokes, quizzes and news tickers, there's a gadget for nearly every blog.

In both Blogger and Blogger in Draft, the "Page Elements", which are your "Gadgets" and "Widgets" within the layout - can be edited, added, deleted, repositioned and moved by dragging and dropping them. If you haven't already played around with Blogger in Draft's features, take a look around. The layout is the same as the one you are used to. You can navigate through the categories on the left sidebar to find gadget that may be useful to people who read your blog!