A dozen ways to plan content for your website.

Content is hard. It’s one of the biggest hurdles that keep site launches from happening on time. It’s hard for developers, who are stuck waiting for content from their clients. It’s hard for the clients, who haven’t thought about content before.

I talked about the content bottleneck last year at WordCamp Maine. My goal was to help web professionals embrace content in their projects.

This time I’d like to talk about planning for content when you’re the one responsible for producing the content.

Keep reading…A dozen ways to plan content for your website.

Feeling overwhelmed? Try zooming out.

I’m not great at verbalizing my thoughts. I get lost in the words, disappearing down tangents, hitting roadblocks in my thinking half-way through a sentence.

Speaking drains me emotionally. I feel it when I’m presenting to a group or having an intense conversation. It’s overwhelming. And when that feeling hits, all I want to do is get out.

Writing, on the other hand, feels cathartic. It provides space. There’s an opportunity to gather my thoughts before plunging in. And once I do, I can step back — I’m not trapped in the moment.

In the last few weeks I’ve tried to pull this concept of “stepping back” into my day-to-day life with the phrase zoom out. Something bad happens? Zoom out. Heated argument? Zoom out. Angry? Annoyed? Upset? Zoom out. Feeling overwhelmed? Zoom out.

It’s like using Google Maps. Zooming out reminds me to think about the big picture. And suddenly the overwhelming things feel much smaller.Zooming out also helps with thinking, constructively, about alternatives.

Imagine you’re driving down a road and traffic looks pretty bad ahead. So look at your map and zoom out, knowing there’s a good chance you have other routes to choose from.

I’m not suggesting that zooming out is the right answer every time. Sometimes we need to stay zoomed in, down in the weeds, focused on solving the problem that’s in front of us.

But when we start feeling overwhelmed? Try zooming out.

Keep reading…Feeling overwhelmed? Try zooming out.

New places, new routines.

I’m settling into a new routine this week.

Every morning, after taking the pup out for a walk, I hop on my bike and head down to Nostalgia Coffee Co., an independent coffee shop in the Topham Park neighbourhood of East York.

I get my coffee (large dark roast) and sit outside for a few hours of reading and writing. It’s the best part of my day. These early hours are my most productive – the west coast isn’t up yet and I avoid Slack until lunchtime.

I’m starting to recognize some of the regulars. My guess is they’re folks from around the area who, like me, have made this part of their daily ritual.

There are the seniors from Canadian Macedonian Place across the road, jaywalking through traffic without a care. Then there’s the Parkview families coming up from St. Clair, dogs and kids in tow. And every now and then I’ll spot a cyclist riding north from Woodbine.

Nostalgia is a warm and inviting space filled with quirky memorabilia. One wall is covered in flyers and cards from local residents and business owners. The opposite wall is full of menu items scrawled out by hand with colourful chalk.

I feel like these little brick n’ mortar establishments are responsible for keeping communities alive. Starbucks refers to them as “The Third Place”, and while Starbucks does a good job of mimicking the experience, they can’t replicate it. Not completely.

Not everyone appreciates that people like myself popping into these “Third Places” for a multi-hour working session. Some cafes are pushing back, banning laptops and covering outlets.

But that’s fine – there are plenty of other places that’ll embrace us, and I’m happy to spend my money with them.

Sidenote: As a remote worker, Nostalgia is more of my Second Place than my Third Place. I work from home, so Nostalgia is one of my few chances to get out of the house while still getting work done.

Keep reading…New places, new routines.

Read This: WordCamp Niagara, the open web, and the need for moderation

I’m speaking at the first-ever WordCamp Niagara on August 11th! It’s a one-day affair taking place in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

I’m excited to see their local WordPress community step up to host a WordCamp, and not just because Niagara is one of my favourite regions in the province.

These smaller WordCamps feel more like a big meetup than a technology conference, and I dig that casual vibe a lot more.

Unfortunately WordCamp Niagara happens on the same weekend as WordCamp Montreal. Hopefully next year we can all sync up to avoid conflicting dates. 🙂

Keep reading…Read This: WordCamp Niagara, the open web, and the need for moderation

Read This: Artifacts, algorithms, and audio in search

I have a physical calendar pinned to the wall above my desk. Every morning I draw a big X through the date. It’s a simple habit that reminds me of how quickly the months go by.

I’m rediscovering an appreciation for physical things – journals, sketchbooks, novels, greeting cards and the like. There’s something to be said for a tangible object – the artifacts we create and use every day.

Keep reading…Read This: Artifacts, algorithms, and audio in search

Weekly Recap: I’m trying something different.

Welcome to the second half of 2018! Tis the season for sunny vacations, mid-year progress reports, and making (hopefully positive) changes.

One of the changes I’m making is in how I use this blog. My posts for 2018 have largely been excerpts from the things I’m reading. They’re snippets that I find insightful, surprising, and just generally worth holding on to.

But I’d like to try something different now. Starting this week, I’ll aim to publish a weekly recap of what’s caught my attention over the last seven days. I might even turn it into a weekly email digest… not sure yet.

Keep reading…Weekly Recap: I’m trying something different.