In response to requests, I've written up a guide to writing an outline for your course, workshop or class. (It's the same process, no matter how long the class is.) It's 25 pages and it's jam-packed with information from my 25 years experience teaching ...

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New Resource: How to Outline Your Course and more...

New Resource: How to Outline Your Course

In response to requests, I’ve written up a guide to writing an outline for your course, workshop or class. (It’s the same process, no matter how long the class is.)

It’s 25 pages and it’s jam-packed with information from my 25 years experience teaching metal clay, metalsmithing, and art. And it includes six pages of worksheets to help you outline your course.

And for a limited time, you can grab if for free; I’ve set it up as a Pay What You Choose Price, with the lowest price set at zero!

If you read it, your feedback, questions and suggestions are totally welcome, as I’d love to create more resources to help you become the best teacher you can be!

Grab it here, before the price goes up: https://www.elainelutherart.com/where-to-buy

    
 



How to Finally Focus and Write Your Blogs Posts!

If you ever struggle with getting your blog posts written for your jewelry website, I’m here to help with actionable steps that really work!

Idea capture

The first step is the idea.  You need a system to capture ideas as they come to you.  This can be as simple as a notebook, a stack of index cards on your desk or in your studio, or the Notes app in your phone.

Capture your ideas and any time you need to write a blog post, you won’t be asking yourself what should I write about, but which of these great ideas should I choose today?

Any system can work.  Don’t judge, just use what works for you.  I use my phone, index cards and project management software.  I’ve been known to write notes on my arm as well.  Don’t let those ideas get away!

Controlled, distraction free environment

Once you’ve got your idea, you need a controlled, distraction free environment.  Start by:

• Using Freedom or Self-Control to block yourself from distracting social media websites.
• Close your email program
• Close your tabs
• Start on paper, away from your computer!

Let’s go over those in a little more detail.  I read a book in college called, “How to Study in College,” and it recommends having your desk face a wall, not a window, it’s dull, but it’s good advice.  My office faces out into the living room and toward the TV.  This is far from ideal.  This means I need to write when no one is watching TV, or grab an iPad or a pen and paper, and go work somewhere else.

Start with setting up your work area in whatever way works for you.  You like the noise of a coffee shop?  Cool, go there, no judgement, it’s all about making it work for you.  (There’s also an app that plays…  coffee shop noise.)

For general productivity, you should already have all the notifications off for everything, all the time, on your phone and computer.  If you don’t yet, plan to spend some time working on that, in order to make it easier to move quickly into focused work time.

Once you’re ready to write, close your email program.  Close all those extraneous tabs of things you swear you’re going to go back and read.  : )  I’m right there with you…

Use software such as Freedom or Self-Control to temporarily block yourself from distracting websites, such as Facebook, and whatever else troubles you.  With Self-Control, which is what I use, you can blacklist certain sites, or you can eliminate all of the web except the sites you white list.
Here’s the great thing about these programs: you can’t override them.  With Self-Control, even if you restart your computer, the sites are still blocked.

Whenever I’m giving a speech and I mention these programs, there are audible noises of relief in the audience — gasps, sighs, people saying, “Oh my God, that’s what I need!”  Everyone needs them.  The internet has grown too distracting, too addictive.  Yet, we must use it in order to blog!  Self-Control, or a similar program of your choice, will save us!

If none of that is quite enough, spend some time away from your computer, in a different room, with pen and paper, writing out your post.  Even if it’s a rough version of the post, it will be easier for you to start from that than from a blank white web page.

Break the blog post into smaller tasks

The steps of blog post creation including having the idea, writing the text and finding and sizing an image or two.  These don’t all need to happen at the same work session at your desk.  You could have the idea, then find the images, size them, and have them ready.  Then when you’re ready to write, the images are there.

Notice where you get stuck.  What keeps you from finishing a blog post?  Is it the images?  Is it gathering the links you want to use?  Is it adding the links?  Find the friction point.  Once you know what it is, you can plan for it and avoid it, or schedule the work into smaller pieces.  Instead of “write blog post” in your calendar, you’ll have all the smaller, component parts: Make a List of blog post ideas.

• Find images for blog posts.

• Shoot some images for blog posts.

• Write the first draft of the blog post.

• Edit the blog post (and add the links, upload the images, all of the things.)

Don’t overthink it! Set a timer and go!

Jane Hamill of Fashion Brain Academy (and now JaneHamill.com) was called for a one hour challenge on her blog — she challenged her readers to write a blog post in one hour.  I took up the challenge, turn on the timer and off I went!  I wrote two blog posts in an hour, as I recall.  I was kind of surprised it took me that long.  So timing yourself can be useful information, one way or the other.

Jane tells us that “Done is Better than Perfect!”  And it’s a blog post, it’s not 10,000 paper copies of a novel!  Blog posts can be edited, updated, typos fixed, images swapped out.

Content Calendar

Jane Hamill has a terrific podcast out about how to do a content calendar and guys, it actually makes sense.  It’s something that will actually help you sell and will make sense with your life!  Listen to the episode called “Create Your Content Calendar: It’s Not as Hard as It Seems.”

Find it at janehamill.com/calender

Content Creation Habit

Create a regular work schedule for yourself.  For me, over at BeingBold.me my work schedule is to:

• Research one person per week,

• Write one blog post.

• Write one podcast outline.

• Use the photo of the person on Instagram.

• Create one image graphic with branded frames, use on the blog and on social media.

While that certainly is a bunch, I research once, and then use that information for the blog post, the podcast, and social media.  I create the image-graphics and gather the photos for the blog post, and then also use those on social media.  It’s efficient.

By using time blocking and putting blog post-writing in my calendar, I’m making it work.

To review, to get those blog posts finally written:

• Use an idea capture system.

•  Create a controlled, distraction-free environment.

•  Close your email program, close extraneous tabs.

•  Use blocking software.

•  and start on paper when needed.

•  Break up the task into smaller parts.

•  Create a content calendar the easy way.

And remember, done is better than perfect!

Need more help?  You can work with writers or virtual assistants to take on parts of these tasks, or even the whole thing!  In my role as a freelance writer, I write blog posts for other business owners as well as for other websites, including the Craft Industry Alliance and Moore Women Artists.

You can find out more about my freelance blog writing services over at FreeFly Marketing (Bonus, there’s a cartoon version of me over there!)

Have questions about anything about blogging?  Feel free to post a question in the comments!

__________________________________

This post was originally published on ElaineLutherArt.com on May 30, 2019.

    
 



Jewelry and Metalwork at the Toledo Museum of Art

A lovely and impressive museum, with a glass hammock and giant tire swing, both of which you’re actually allowed to sit in (and swing, in the latter), the museum also works hard to collect jewelry and metals! I wish more museums did that.

Since I enjoy seeing other blogger’s travel pics, I’ll share some of the cool metal and jewelry from our recent quick visit to Toledo, Ohio.

Louis Sullivan Bank Teller Screen, Iron, in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art.

We have lots of Louis Sullivan buildings and bits and pieces in Chicago, so I thought I’d seen it all. Imagine living in a time where everything could be so lovely – imagine going to the bank and seeing this gorgeous piece of metalwork. I need to work on my descriptive terms, clearly, but I love this. I love metal and patinas and what you can do with metal.

Plique-a-jour enamel brooch in platinum with pearls and diamonds, German, about 1905, in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art.

I wish you could see this in person, the craftsmanship! The delicacy! It’s gorgeous. Why everyone was rushing past it to look at larger works of art, I have no idea.

Earrings, in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art.

The signage was confusing, so I can’t tell you much about these other than I would totally wear them, and it’s cool when an old piece withstands trendiness and holds up so well over time.

Below is a set of iron, steel and gold jewelry, made in Berlin in 1825, and I believe it’s mourning jewelry.

Iron, steel and gold necklace, brooch, earrings and waist buckle. German, about 1825, Royal Ironworks of Berlin. Collection of the Toledo Museum of Art.

Iron Belt, 1825. Collection of the Toledo Museum of Art.

Egyptian Arm Wands. New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, 1550-1307 BCE. Collection of the Toledo Museum of Art.

We’ve been reading Harry Potter at our house, so I was excited to see these arm wands! And then sad to learn that they were a popular musical instrument.

And here’s a cat mummy, poor thing.

Cat Mummy, Collection of the Toledo Museum of Art

Lastly, for you Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus fans, check out this Peristyle Theater at the museum:

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Peristyle Theater at the Toledo Museum of Art.

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The museum also had an impressive amount of work by women artists up, including “The Party” by Marisol. (We’ll pretend that part of the reason isn’t that women artists are cheaper to collect.)

If you’re in Ohio, I definitely recommend a stop at this museum! It’s a good size, but manageable for families with kids of all ages. Excellent signage does not assume you already know lots about art, and helpful staff abound, should you have questions or want to engage.

Bonus activities include the aforementioned giant tire swing, a kids activity room and daily glass blowing demonstrations. (Once again, the glass blowers get all the attention! I suppose I should be grateful to them for bringing attention to Contemporary Crafts.)

You can view some of the collections online:

http://emuseum.toledomuseum.org/collections

This post is by Elaine Luther and was published on March 30, 2019 on All Things Metal Clay.

    
 



How to be Interesting on Instagram, for Jewelers

I wrote this piece for the Craft Industry Alliance on ten Instagramming jewelers, if you’ve been stumped for what to post, you’ll find this helpful.

https://craftindustryalliance.org/10-awesome-jewelers-on-instagram

    


Gift Guides for the Crafty People in Your Life!

Midwest Craft Con surveyed their members and have some great suggestions! Here’s their list: https://midwestcraftcon.com

Sew Mama Sew has a slew of gift guides! Not only for sewers and stitchers, but also for kids, cactus lovers and cooks and foodies! Find them all here: https://www.sewmamasew.com

And this round up of handmade ornaments is terrific, I’ve got my eye on those adorable ribbon candy ornaments, those look quite do-able!

https://www.sewmamasew.com/2016/11/handmade-holidays-nov-30-handmade-christmas-ornaments

What do the metal clay people in your life want? Probably a Silhouette or a Cricut Maker, if they don’t have one already, and a class with Cindy Pope from Craftcast!

And did you see that Pam East has released a new “and a half” sized slat for her slat sets?

Available from Pam and many more retailers!

What else? If there’s a new tool you’re excited about, please post a comment!

    


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