Go Brainless With Markdown!

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , , |

Doug Rice is presenting about Markdown at Milofest. One of the great tips was using the Copy as Markdown extension in Google Chrome.

Screen Shot 2012 11 09 at 9 15 29 AM

Copy as Markdown not only lets you copy a link and page title as Markdown, but also lets you copy ALL OPEN TABS as Markdown. Ever wanted to publish a list of sites? For example when you are out of ideas for what to blog about. So you decide to do a “rundown” of other people’s articles and blog posts, just open up the sites. Click the plug in and you have just copied all urls and titles in markdown format. Then click paste in your editor….

… and BAM, you got a blog post!


Kill the puppies!!!

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: |

Popped edit

I recently came across this post titled “The best editing advice anyone accidentally gave me.” It is pretty darned good advice whether you are writing a book, a blog post, or anything else:

Sometimes a story has pieces to it that are interesting or well-written or the result of hours of thought and work, but simply — if an editor is being completely honest — don’t belong in that story. Like puppies, those pieces are good things, and you’d never want to part with them, but if they are unnecessary, they have to go. Chop the piece, kill the puppy.

This is spot on! Certainly, I know that my writing could use more editing. However, I am usually so pleased with myself that I have any ideas at all, that I do not want to start cutting out ideas — let alone good ones — just because they did not fit with the piece I am writing.

Via House of Figs

Creative Commons License photo credit: carterse


Solo lawyer gets all clients from blogging

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , |

I spoke with Christian Frank Fas at MILOfest (Macs in Law Offices conference) about how legal blogging has been the best method for attracting prospecting clients to his law office.

Check out Christian’s facebook and blog!


WordCast Conversations: Tomasz Stasiuk, Blogging, Social Media and Online Strategies for Lawyers

Filed under: Blogging, Marketing, Presentations | Tags: , |

I had a great conversation with Kym Huynh on Wordcast Conversations on the importance of blogging to the legal profession including:

  • How blogging attract legal clients.
  • How blogging equalizes the playing field between big law and solos and small firm lawyers.
  • How blogging establishes you as a thought leader in your practice area on the national stage.
  • How to get take the first steps to get started blogging.

WordCast Conversations with Tomasz Stasiuk from Bitwire Media on Vimeo.


Ignore the Analytics

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: |

Google Analytics Hacks

When you first start blogging, you will want to see how many people (other than you mom and your spouse) are looking at your site.

DON’T

Analytics are the beauty magazines of blogging. They will just make you feel ugly and make you want to go back to bed with a pint of ice cream. You won’t know what you are doing and that’s ok. When you are starting out is a great time to make mistakes. It’s the perfect time, in fact: fewer people are looking at your site!

  • Websites need time to grow.
  • Bloggers need time to grow, too.

It will take time to find your voice and figure out the things you want to cover. At first, you will feel like you are shouting into the howling wilderness. And in many ways you will be. However, you need that ego to keep you going to the keyboard to keep creating content. And analytics are worse for your self confidence that striking out at a single’s bar. Analytics prove statistically that no one likes you, and that is something no one needs to hear during the fragile starting months.

Keep telling yourself that you are awesome and that it will just take some for everyone else to see that too. Yeah, just like your mom said. Now, go give her a call! She’d love to hear from you.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Search Engine People Blog


Faster Markdown with TextExpander

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , , |

If I convinced you to try Markdown, here are some Text Expander snippets to make using Markdown faster!

Note: The snippet abbreviation is in quotes (remove if pasting into TE), followed by the snippet.

These two are brazenly borrowed from Practically Efficient:

abbreviation: uurl    snippet: [%clipboard](%|)

Use this when you have the url in clipboard: inserts link syntax, pastes the url in the right spot, and puts your curser into the anchor text brackets.

abbreviation: llink    snippet: [%|](%clipboard)

Use this when you have the anchor text but not the url: inserts link syntax, pastes anchor text, and puts your curser into the url parens. Read the rest of this entry »


Writing Under the Influence

Filed under: Blogging, Editorials | Tags: , |

Coffee is my drug of choice.

Coffee beans @ Pulau Ubin

Yeah, sorry to disappoint you. Worse still, revealing such a mundane stimulant so early in the post will probably turn off a lot of Google searches unless I put in something like, “Walnut shells, roasted, soaked in tequila can produce a remarkably open state of mind and facilitate…” However, then there is the liability issue and I really don’t care to be a test case with hundreds of pages which ultimately can be summarized as:

If you screw with stoners, we’re going to nail your ass to a wall.

– Love, the Supreme Court Board of Law Examiners.

Coffee. Yes, coffee. The dark mistress. For me ,at least, it often produces a mild euphoria and slightly trance like state. No, no double-rainbows. I still know what is going on, but some filters are lowered and I am better able to channel creativity.

It does not last though. So, while I’m on the right side of “happy coffee” mountain, I need to write. Because I know that soon, I will becoming down the jagged side of the post caffeinated crash. See! Coffee is like other drugs. But, please don’t criminalize it.

I have already written on the book today, and I can feel muse leaving me now. So, I will try to write a bit more, then take the kids home and make dinner and then edit. Editing I can do straight.

Creative Commons License photo credit: jensen_chua


Markdown for Lawyers

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , , |

You may have heard lawyers talking about Markdown and how it is making blogging easier. So what is Markdown?

Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).

Say what? In short, Markdown lets you write and format text for the web at the same time, while still using plaintext files. Here are the main benefits of Markdown.

Markdown is Portable and Makes the Round-Trip

I want to write where ever and whenever an idea hits.

  • At the office.
  • At home.
  • Out with my iPad.
  • Or in bed with my iPhone on the nightstand.

I want to be able to add or change drafted articles and start working on new posts.

Beyond this, I don’t want to have to think about moving drafts between systems, I just want them to BE THERE. And that’s where Markdown earns its keep. Since text formatted with Markdown text is just simple plain text you can edit it on a portable device and have it synced to your desktop and other devices. And the formatting is preserved because it is just plaintext. Read the rest of this entry »


Be Controversial! Aw Hell Naw!

Filed under: Blogging | |

rage

Another topic that came up at the Social Media for lawyers CLE: should you be controversial?

Should you tackle politics, religion, and other controversial topics? Or, should you just steer clear of all this for fear of it biting you on your ass.

It all reminds me of Danny Kaye in The inspector General asking himself whether to be elegant, arrogant, or smart:

The argument against controversial topics

Of course, it will come back and bite you! Nothing on the internet is ever lost. Your diatribe for or against illegal immigration or the current upheaval in the middle east (how’s that for keeping the article evergreen!) may keep you from getting a job or running for office at some point. Prospective clients may reject you because of your strong opinions, or because you have any opinion at all.

Yes, of course that may happen. Worse still, you may be tarred with positions you have staked out in the past – even ones you no longer believe in! Read the rest of this entry »


I don’t have time to blog and I don’t know what to blog about

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , , , |

perfect stranger

I was at the Social Media for Lawyers CLE in Denver the other day when the question came up.

Between work family and everything else, how do you find time?

This question reminds me about the old joke which asks, “Are you ignorant or apathetic?”  “I don’t know and I don’t care.” I am not saying that lawyers who says they can’t find time to blog and don’t know what to write about are either ignorant or apathetic. However, not creating content is a choice you make.

While no one said it, the answer is simple: you have time to blog. Read the rest of this entry »