MAKE YOUR FONTS VISIBLE ON IMAGES.

You have a great piece of writing and a great photo to put it on. You put the words on the image and what happens? You can’t seem to find that happy color of font to show all of your words because a normal photo has a great number of colors in it. Even if your photo is the sky, you have shades of blue ranging from so pale a blue it looks white down to the dark blues to almost dusk. The answer? Overlay images.

A Note: All overlay images were found in the public domain. The actual photo of the building is mine.

Make Your Fonts Visible

One thing to know, this post is not that long, it’s mostly taken up with image examples.

How do you make it work and still see your image? You know you could put a block of color in the sky and put your text in. But that ruins what you’re going for.

Enter picmonkey.com.

I use picmonkey quite often in tandom with pixlr.com, a free photoshop like product online.

Below is a photo from the top of a parking deck on the campus of UGA. You can see the stadium lights to Sanford Stadium over the buildings in the distance. As you can see, my name doesn’t show very well across the building but very well in the sky.

UGA by Ronovan Hester

Below you see the menu inside of picmonkey.com after you have loaded your image. The thing to know first is to create the overlay image/shape you want to use and then type your text. You can then manipulate all you like and the text will be to the forefront. Of course you can always do it the other way around as sort of a see through a veil or curtain affect.

A-Points to the Overlay Icon in the shape of a butterfly. The overlay does exactly as it sounds, it overlays something on top of the image already showing. You can even pull in your own image to overlay on top of the image you first loaded.

B- For the purpose of what I want to do with this image and text I’ll chose the Geometric options.

UGA Picmonkey Overlay Demo

C-I am choosing the rectangular Geometric option because it actually can be manipulated to any height or width. The square, for example, will obviously adjust to remain a square.

UGA Picmonkey Geometric Demo

D-You are able to make the image height taller or shorter by placing your cursor on the point along the edge and dragging the edge down.

E-You are able to increase or decrease the width by doing the same as the above but along the side edges.

F-By placing your cursor over the small circle over the top of the box and then clicking and holding down your mouse you are then able to rotate or tilt the box however you like. Something to keep in mind is making the text and box lines parallel.

UGA Picmonkey Geometric Manipulaiton Demo

G-Here you see the Editing Box for the Geometric Overlay rectangle I used.

H-There are two boxes, one for the outline of the rectangle, and then below it is the inside of the box, the part we’re concerned with today. The box will start out as black, but you can click on the box signified by “H” here and choose a color. You may first want to use the part signified by the “I” first.

I-To make the box fade to transparent you increase the Fade. I left the color as black here and you can see the letters are still more visible as a whole than before.

J-You are able to do some different Overlay manipulation other than simple fading of a selected color by choosing the Blend Modes option. Simply select the different options within and see what they do. Some are very surprising.

UGA Picmonkey Demo

Below you see the final result with the box having been changed to the dark green of the trees in the background to the right of the building. I chose this color by clicking on the black box image, signified by the letter “H” above and choosing the eyedropper. I then clicked on the tree. I could have also let my cursor go over all the colors inside of that letter “H” box and the Faded Geometric rectangle would have changed colors as the cursor passed over each color.

UGA Faded Ronovan Hester Green Demo

And last we have the copyright in the sky with a red background of a box with the same blue lettering as above. Skies are difficult to have attractive lettering in and this will help you accomplish that. Something to consider with what I did here. I moved the box and text up and then tilted everything back to horizontal. Easy? Maybe for some, but what I did, to make certain the text and the box were in line with each other was drag them both to the bottom and line them up with the bottom edge of the screen. Then I moved them to the top.

UGA Ronovan Hester Sky Demo

You may pull in your own images as overlays by choosing the Your Own at the top of the Overlay options. Following are two examples. One is the UGA G, the image was found in the public domain. The photo is mine. It is followed by the same image with a curtain, found in the public domain, overlay over it.

UGA Image Ronovan Hester G

UGA G and Curtain Ronovan Hester

You may have a lot of fun with this feature. I did have to make the G and the Curtain fit the building image. To do that all I had did was take the corner of the image and drag it to increase the size. Try it, you’ll see how easy it is. The other Overlay image options do the same thing as the Geometric and Your Own.

When you save the image, remember to rename it to something other than the original name of the image. That way you keep your original image in its original form.

You are also able to use these techniques when creating book covers.

Enjoy!



Ronovan Hester is an author, with the debut novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in December. He shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com with the hope if inspiring others to overcome and continue on. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.

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@RonovanWrites

 © Copyright-All rights reserved by ronovanwrites.wordpress.com 2015

Writing while young. (And any other time as well.)

I have recently begun encouraging young people to write. They should write about their now in order to later be able to write about what it was like then.

“Always write your ideas down however silly or trivial they might seem. Keep a notebook with you at all times.”

We try to recapture the feelings we had when we were a certain age or in a certain place, but we so often rarely achieve that goal. Staring at the sentences we don’t feel them. They describe everything but relay nothing of what they speak of. I believe this is the one thing that keeps writers from submitting their work and becoming published authors.

Great masterpieces have been set aside in spiral bound notebooks to collect yellowed pages and dust. All for the simple fact the writer did not feel what they wrote.

Oddly, they may have conveyed more than they realized. Even if not capturing the moment for themselves fully, to others the paint on the canvas is three dimensional with smells of the ocean and heat on their skin from the setting sun.

The problem is they have no confidence in what they have done.

“Encouraging young people to believe in themselves and find their own voice whether it’s through writing, drama or art is so important in giving young people a sense of self-worth.”

Starting early in a person’s creative life helps build a creative confidence. And I believe there is no such thing as failure in creativity. You have created something, even if not what you set out to create. How many times has what any of us begun ended up exactly as we had planned?

“It is really important that focusing on things such as spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting doesn’t inhibit the creative flow. When I was at school there was a huge focus on copying and testing and it put me off words and stories for years.”

Today’s education doesn’t encourage so much creativity as much as it does scores to be nations. “Our nation beat your nation.” It doesn’t matter what it is, each nation is in competition. Even our children have been drawn into it, and not for the better.

But I believe we should rid our children of a great deal of the restraints early on and give them the freedom to create. Show them how to trust who they are and what they are. Give them free rein to explore and express.

“Write because you love it and not because it is something that you think you should do. Always write about something or somebody you know about – something that you feel deeply and passionately about. Never try and force it.”

Michael Morpurgo quote image

Today’s quotes are from Michael Morpurgo, English author, poet, playwright, and librettist.

This has been part of Colleen’s, of SilverThreading, Writers’ Quote Wednesday blog share. Click the link to visit her quote for today, and join in.

Much Respect-Much Love

Ronovan



 

Ron_LWIRonovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer though his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

@RonovanWrites

 © Copyright-All rights reserved by ronovanwrites.wordpress.com 2015

 

10 Tips to Make Blogging Enjoyable. Traps to Avoid.

Sometimes you start to blog, not having blog tips as warnings, you are all excited and you do things to your blog or that involves blogging that ultimately end up being traps that are like quicksand. They drag you down and deplete you of energy as you work to pull yourself out of what has happened.

What you do with your blog is ultimately up to you, because you want your blog to BE you. It represents part of you that you want to put out there.

Today I want to cover 10 things, traps if you will, that will cost you time, cause you weariness, and create misery. Knowing these things ahead of time might be able to save you. As a blogger now, you can maybe head these things off before they get out of hand. Or if you’re neck deep already, perhaps these 10 tips will give you a start on figuring out what has happened to you.10 blogging tips image#1 Sidebar Craziness or Widget Weary

Whichever you want to call it, those sidebars with all those widgets can have side effects you never thought of.

  1. So crowded no one can see what’s there.
  2. So many graphics it slows loading of the blog page down.
  3. Your page looks like an ad for everything, even though you’re not selling anything. Big turn off.

But does that mean sidebar widgets are bad? Of course not.

  1. If you’re advertising something, go for it, like authors want to get their books out there. But some advice to authors: Switch up those images and their order. Maybe even change the side of the screen your sidebar is on. Why? It makes return visitors look around for what might have changed.
  2. The same thing goes for book reviewers or people who have guests on their blogs.
  3. But if your blog is geared toward images, then widgets won’t make a difference.

Remember, graphics on a blog slow it down loading and slow loading may lead a reader to do one of two things.

  1. Leave because they clicked you on impulse.
  2. Leave because they think something is wrong with your page or their browser and then they’re gone.

One thing about your Widgets you may not realize is that many are never even clicked on. I moved my Widgets to my footer areas and I am still working on their order. But my main goal is to make them useful ones. Which ones do I think are most useful?

  1. Most Recent Posts
  2. Most Popular Posts
  3. About.me
  4. Follow me
  5. Search

Those are off the top of my head. Why am I not going to look for other Widgets? Because those are the ones I remember, which says a lot to me, and look for on other blogs. For some blogs the only way I can find their posts is by using their Most Recent Posts Widget.

#2 Image is Everything, or so your Blog says.

Yes, I am still on images. I try to go minimal with images in my post these days unless I’m just having a moment and decide to go crazy. We all do that at times. That’s fine. Images is a sometimes food. Wait, that’s cookies. I warn you, I’m very visual media oriented today. Weird quotes may show up at anytime. Forgive me in advance.

But regardless, keep in mind that many or most of your Widgets are never clicked on. I like the Most Recent Posts and perhaps the Favorite Posts Widgets. Of course you want a Follow Me Widget and a Search one. Notice these are not graphic intensive and are useful.

A tip about Images: Keep in mind how large your image is in reference to how much storage space it uses such as 250 kb or something like that. The larger the file, the more time it takes to load. Sometimes you need to use high definition image. But then there are times you can optimize your image size and still have great definition. Visit 5 Image Things to Know for SEO for more information about this.

#3 The “I want to be cool” blog moment.

We’ve all done it. Okay, so I’ve done it several times. We do these crazy color schemes and then the possible results begin.

  1. People are scared and run away, okay they click away.
  2. People can’t read because of the color scheme. Check out what color blind people can’t see. A tip here. If you have links make sure to underline them and possibly bold them to signify they are links. Most people understand underlined words signify a link is in those words.
  3. The look doesn’t match the content. By this I mean the feel you have created just doesn’t fit.

Your theme style, color and header need to match what you are promoting. Promoting? Yes, you are promoting your posts, as in you. Will my current theme, layout and everything work for what I am promoting? Maybe, maybe not. I experiment. That’s one thing those of us who for some odd reason think we can give blogging tips do, we are the experimenters. I even have a test blog where I play around with themes to see what they look like and can do.

#4 The Following Frenzy

Yes, we follow, follow and follow even more. For some it’s a trick to get followers and for some it’s a reflex in following people in return. What do you end up with?

  1. If you are WordPress then you have a Reader so full you can’t get through everything.
  2. You have so many “friends” you can’t make any FRIENDS.
  3. You get caught up in the needing to get more and more followers as the Following Frenzy engulfs you.

If you’ve fallen into Follower Frenzy spend 10 minutes each day cleaning up that Follow list. (I might actually take my own advice.) Also you can make sure to follow those ones you really do like by subscribing to their email notifications until you do clean up your list.

#5 I’m Gonna Be Better Than That Guy

Competition in blogging is a thing. You may experience it for a brief moment. Once you do believe me when I say that your readers will notice and some might get turned off. There was a time, prior to two years ago when I had a concussion that brought some reality to my world, when I was competitive. It worked for the big job I had way back when, but for life in general, blogging specifically, it just doesn’t work for me.

  1. Most bloggers are not here to, or at least don’t start out to, be some guru or god of blogdom. Sure, we all want to be read and be popular to some extent but in the beginning we all have that little bit of reality, until we begin to see followers happen and the comments and then we see someone else like our blog who is sort of competition.

They aren’t. You just keep writing, write honestly, and write well.

#6 No One Really Likes Me (Insert Frowny Face, Tear.)

We don’t get the views each day, the follows, the likes. We begin to think no one likes us. We visit blogs and we think how much better our posts are than those. We wonder why no one likes us.

  1. You’re new. Be patient.
  2. Veteran blogs sometimes put out content that is perhaps not as well done as their usual content. Why? Time. Goofiness for the day. Lack of inspiration after blogging for so long.

Don’t worry about them. Don’t WORRY about anyone, including yourself. Just keep writing, write honestly, and write well.

#7 But I HAVE to post because my readers will miss me.

Man, this is a tough one, for new and veteran bloggers alike at times. There is this sense of responsibility to our readers. We think they are just waiting for us to post something and if we don’t they may never visit again. Um, do you do that to blogs you follow? Chill dudes and dudettes. I’ve been in the hospital, been sick, had a laptop go down and people still find me, and they still return. Why? I think in part because I’ve built a community that have my blog in common and met through my blog. Did it happen overnight? Nope. It takes time. Patience. What do I do to build a community and keep readers?

Just keep writing, write honestly, and write well.

#8 Size Matters! BIGGER IS BETTER

We discover how to change the font size and we go crazy at first. It’s not a good thing. You should really only use a different sized font for a heading of a section/topic. Think of how I have been using font size in this article. I know sometimes we will use all sizes of fonts, but make that a rarity. Looking at a page full of every size of font imaginable gets eye weary. Also by using your font sizes in a uniform way throughout your articles, you somewhat train your regular readers to know what to expect. And you do need those section headings at time to break up long passages of text.

#9 My Writing Is Amazing and I am an Original and need not worry about standards.

Have you run across those blogs where the entire thing is one paragraph and about 700 words long? Punctuation is by accident? Capitalization happened because of auto-correct somewhere along the way? Do you know how many times I return to those “I am an Original”?

I’m not saying don’t do it that way. If that’s what you are wanting to do and are going for a certain atmosphere, go for it. Some make a success of it. But it takes a certain type of writing to make it work. For most blog readers, they want to click and be able to read and have a pleasant experience without having to figure out what in the world or how in the world they are reading.

#10 I have to write like this because they expect it.

No, I’m not referring to #9. This is about writing about certain topics or in certain styles. There may come a time in your time blogging that you no longer want to blog about whatever it is that got you started. You have two choices.

  1. Start another blog.
  2. Or just start writing what you want to on your current blog.

I’ve written about just about everything here on Ronovan Writes. But then I did choose a good title for the blog to be able to pull that off. I have hits and I have misses and misses and misses. I’m not trying to build a blogdom here.

I simply write what I feel like writing in that moment.

That is the greatest blogging tip you will ever get from anyone. That’s not a brag. That’s telling you like it is. If you write things you don’t care about you are faking it and faking it can be picked up on quickly by blog readers. Some people write about blog tips every day. That’s something they find fascinating. I couldn’t do that and keep it sounding real. Well I might, if I had broken this one down into one per day.

That’s it for me today. 10 things bloggers get trapped into at some point. 10 things to watch out for and avoid. Avoid those traps and you’ll have a pleasant blogging experience for a long time to come.

This article goes somewhat hand in hand with another of my articles I wrote sometime ago called How to Survive the Blog Life. It’s the number one article on my blog.

Much Respect-Much Love

Ronovan

Ron_LWIRonovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer though his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

@RonovanWrites

 © Copyright-All rights reserved by ronovanwrites.wordpress.com 2015

5 New Things About RonovanWrites Blog and Why. #Blog #Tips

It’s time to take a look around the blog. I know those of you who regularly visit have noticed the changes, but here is the official unveiling, and shame to those who peeked.

First, why the change?

Everyone needs a fresh start at some point and it was about time. I could get into some marketing and even managerial reasons, and I might as we go, but for now, let’s leave it as I just needed a change. Maybe as I talk about each change I’ll mention the why.

The Header

I have a header finally. What? Ronovan Writes didn’t have a header before? Nope, it was all in the header image. Now I have the image from my Haiku Challenge that I like so much gracing the abode on a grander scale. Well…at least until I get to learning how to be artistic with my new laptop!!! Why did I change? I decided it was time to be less me centric in the look and I wanted a brighter feel to things. My purpose for this blog isn’t such that it requires anything specific. I’m going to have fun.

No sidebars here.

But all the old information is still here to find, just scroll to the bottom and it’s all in the footers now. Did you really think I would do away with talking about myself and advertising ME completely? Shame on you. No sidebars gives a larger feel to the reading area, cleaner appearance, and simply has that inviting look as far as I am concerned. But then again, to each their own.

Blog Tip

One thing to think about if you change locations of your Widgets and that is the  width of any of your Widgets that have images related to them. If they are too wide then they throw everything off. If you don’t see your Widgets when you change, check that width and reduces to a small size for the moment. Then check your main page again.

Only 5 Posts on Main Page

With the Footers added I decided to limit the number of posts appearing on the landing page to 5. This allows for quicker loading time for the blog and isn’t too much to look at. Also, a reader can get to the Footers a bit faster.

I’ll be doing some other changes slowly to move to as professional and peaceful appearance as I can. That’s what I am going for. I want peace. With a dash of explosions and excitement at the same time. Kind of like Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot. Hey, I saw what I saw in that movie, you see what you want to see. Agreed? Good.

Want to read my best Blog Tip article lately, How to Hashtag Blog Tweets? Click here to visit my guest post on Hugh’s Views & News where you can also check out some great tips of his own while you’re there.

Much Respect-Much Love

Ronovan

Ron_LWIRonovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer though his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

@RonovanWrites

 © Copyright-All rights reserved by ronovanwrites.wordpress.com 2015

Blogging Mental Health: Phobias, Disorders, Anxieties

Phobias, Disorders, Anxieties. You know we all have one of these. And actually the labels can often be interchangeable so don’t judge a phobia by its disorder, you’ll just cause anxiety.

I am very prolific in my blogging. I write an article or poem a day except on Saturdays, and sometimes even then. So it seems that I have a problem that people don’t understand. It’s become worse over time since I began blogging.

And when I mention it, well the subject, people’s responses just make it worse because they don’t get it. It goes back to my concussion a couple of years ago.

Before that I was a very engaging person. Never met a stranger. Could have a conversation with anyone. But since then, and the retrograde amnesia, things changed. You know I kind of get afraid of things. And I became so isolated because of not only the amnesia but the light and sound sensitivity, and the migraines, that people actually became a problem.

I am now at the point I don’t go to stores any longer. I very rarely step outside the house at all. I’m okay with the no people in person thing though. I mean, I like being alone now.

My communicating with the world is through my articles. And unless you are a super close person to me, I don’t even talk in emails.

That brings me to the problem. And it’s kind of sad I even have to mention it, but I’m going to anyway so people will understand people like me, and not judge us.

When people comment on blogs, well some of them almost demand a response. I have a fear or responding. Don’t ask me why or what it is, but if you ever see a response it has taken a lot for me to get up to the point to do it. I have almost been to the point of removing the comment option from the blog. But people have met through my comments and helped each other.

I’ve mentioned comments before in articles and the responses have made it worse. People pride themselves in responding to every comment on their blogs. They brag about it in the comments. Some actually do genuine responses, but there are also those who do fake responses. If you’ve been blogging long enough you know what I mean. I personally am not going to do fake responses just to make my blog grow. That’s not me.

When I first began blogging I was able to make myself respond, but things have gotten worse as time has passed. I want people to know they can blog however they like and grow a blog. It’s your content that matters. If you have something people find worthwhile, that’s all that matters.

Don’t let other bloggers who say you must respond to every comment in order to be a good blogger, a successful blogger, force you to do anything. If you are like me and feel physically ill sometimes at the idea of having to respond to a comment, learn to not worry about it. I do it at times because a comment really requires a response, or I am having a good moment.

Is it a Social Anxiety issue? Maybe. Is it some kind of phobia about people? Maybe. Sounds like they are both the same to me.

If you read my blog and you comment and I don’t respond, don’t take it as I am not reading your comment or that I am not appreciating it. Sometimes I will click like on the comments to show I read them and appreciate them. Some people are Blog Nazis and don’t think that’s good enough. Whatever.

I’m good with what I can do. You be good with what you can do. Don’t judge. This is my outlet. This is how I talk to the world. And this is the last time I am going to talk about comments on this blog. I’m tired of it. Almost as tired as I am of people complaining about me not replying to comments.

Much Love, Success, and Respect
Ronovan

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