24 February 2014

The only constant thing is change.

(c) Graphic Stock
Once again, my blog is undergoing another redesign.

The good news--I'm keeping the color schemes and designs, so your eyes won't completely explode from dramatic alterations (unlike my last three website makeovers).

So what am I working on? I'm trying to redo the layout of this site to consolidate pages, allow for better formatting of images, and... to allow for advertising.

Advertising? What in the what?

I know, I know. I am not a fan of annoying ads and distracting banners that appear on every single web page known to mankind. And I always feel like an author blog shouldn't have any advertising on it except for the fabulous art of self-promoting books! But this little website is starting to get the attention of advertisers (and it already has an imitator!), and I'd like to maintain my control of this site. I'm getting solicitations via email, and although extra income sounds promising, I don't want the opportunity for completely irrelevant crap to show up on my site.

My author website has definite purposes: to let you know who I am and what I do, yes, but also, I want to help my readers out in any way I can. If you have an interest in writing, in creative design, in self-promotion, comics, games, whatever--the overarching goal of this site is to help you accomplish your creative aspirations.

I've turned down advertising offers with vague promises of "content relevant to your readership" and decided to only do what I've been doing all along. I already link to sites and products that I find helpful--not only in my blog posts, but in my Pages as well--so I've actively sought to become an advertising affiliate for some of these things. I am now affiliated with Smith Micro, who is responsible for software I use all the time--Manga Studio.  If I've posted digital art, I drew it, lined it, and colored it in Manga Studio. Almost all of my Deviant Art works come from Manga Studio; my digital comic Son of the Siren is likewise created in Manga Studio. I also have Motion Artist and Anime Studio software that I can't wait to hop into when I have some more time for my creative projects.

I devote time and webspace to these products already on my Art and Artists page (and have for a couple years now!), and I offer credit whenever I share the art I've made through this software. It has truly changed my life and enabled me to create things I never thought I'd be able to do, so I had no problem agreeing to officially advertise Smith Micros' software on this site.

If I do any more affiliate advertising, it will only be for things that I use and truly care about. So don't expect my site to go crazy with ads or pop-ups--I'm just officializing some of what I already do here.

That being said, I'm switching around my widgets and layouts in order to make sure the ads stay unobtrusive and that the focus of this website remains on the blog and on my writing. I love to have a lot of media on my pages but I need to make sure this site loads quickly for users who don't operate Chrome, and is easy overall to read.

Over the next few days I'm going to be consolidating pages, rearranging widgets, and playing with sizing in order to make this the best website this can be.

Thank you for your patience during this time!

10 February 2014

Time Management? What is that?

Image (c) Unsplash
Since becoming an adjunct instructor (professor? teacher? who knows), I realized that never before have I needed to manage time as I do now. 

As someone who has never taught students before (beyond leading writing panels at anime conventions), I anticipated some situations, but definitely not all. 

I have just under 60 students altogether (technically less, but some of them are taking my lab in addition to my Composition classes) and I had no idea that grading would be so time-consuming. 

I've spoken to my coworkers and my fellow teachers from SHU (through the power of Facebook) and this is a legitimate issue that teachers have. Although I'm happy to know I'm not the only one who spends 30, 45, or 60 minutes per student per paper, I still don't know how to make the process more efficient. 

On top of that, I've neglected many things while I navigate through the wonders of adjunct teaching. My social media, author platform, and certainly this website, have all fallen by the wayside. Creative writing has fallen by the wayside, although I somehow managed to submit The Name and the Key to a writing competition that will offer publication or cash, whichever we choose (Because submissions are supposed to be anonymous, I am not listing the contest unless I have good news about it).  My webcomic has halted, I have overdue projects on Deviant Art, and I haven't touched my harp in forever. My book, The Step and the Walk, has not grown in length beyond a single paragraph.
Image (c) Graphic Stock

I managed to escape to Ohayocon during the final weekend of January, but no one has known about it because I've been so busy. Actually, if I would've known how difficult and slow grading papers would be (in addition to bad weather and Ohayocon's poor handling of autograph sessions) I would've just bailed altogether and taken the financial loss from the con.  And whenever I attend conventions, I always do a huge write-up with photos, but I don't know when that's going to happen...I still have last June's Colossalcon to do!

Anyway, I hope the next time I can come up for air, I'll have something truly helpful, awesome, or celebratory to say here. In the words of Ron Burgundy, "Stay classy, San Diego." Or..."Planet Earth!"