Monday, 12 September 2011

Guest Post: Pick Up Some Creativity....

has always posted the most amazing tutorials. 
She has an amazing knack of making tricky tasks seeming easy.
She's also very lovely indeed. 
So, natch, I had to get her over here to do 
a guest post for you about putting together a tutorial......

Hello Modern Country Style enthusiasts! My name is Chris. I blog about creativity and life at my blog, Pickup Some Creativity.

Dear Sarah asked me to share a tutorial on how to write a tutorial. It sounds a bit daunting, yes?

I thought the easiest way to go about this is to share with you how I write tutorials.
First, you need an idea to share. If you're worried about sharing something that's been overdone, do a quick google blog search, and find out what's already available.

image via statesman sentinel

Second, create your project, taking as many pictures of you can of each step in your process. I take multiple pictures so that if one turns blurry or the lighting isn't great, I hopefully get another that looks better.  You don't need a fancy pants camera.  I use a Canon  Powershot A530.  I never use the auto settings, and always use natural light.  I generally get great pictures.  You'll be surprised at what a good little point and shoot can do.

image via eastcoast photo

Third, take notes as you go. Write down measurements, any other tips you want to share.  I keep this little notebook with all my tutorial ideas.  I often have several projects in various states of completion, and this is how I keep it all straight.

Fourth, edit your pictures. I wish I could say I am a photoshop queen, but alas, I don't have a lot of money to give to Adobe. So, I use a few free options. First, Picassa. I love this program. It allows you to organize your photos, and gives you lots of great tools. I always use the tuning option.

Second option, Picnik.  This is a great online photo editing tool.  There is even an option now in Picassa that allows you to use Picnik through Picassa.  Heaven!  A third resource, use the paint program included with Windows.  The newest version included with Windows 7 is the best so far.

Fifth.  Don't be afraid to write on your pictures.  I think adding a bit of text, or summarizing a step is a great way to add to your tutorial.  This is easily done in Picassa.  For example:

There are so many wonderful free fonts available.  I have found several great ones at FontSquirrel.  Just be sure to find the folder on your computer where fonts are stored, and you can easily add them.  Picassa will draw from that folder, and you can write on your pictures to your heart's content.

Sixth, write your instructions.  Start with a catchy, descriptive title.  Be sure to list all the materials that might be needed to create your project.  I found a great little html trick that lets you make a bullet list.  You can use this example, but be sure to add your own materials...and not copy word for word!

You can see examples of my tutorials on my tutorial page HERE.  I have definitely gotten better at it, the more I blog.  My first few were definite learning experiences!

Seventh.  Edit and then link up/share.  Use the preview option in blogger to see what your post looks like before you hit that publish button!  Also, be sure to save your draft as you go.  There are so many great linky parties and other sites that share tutorials.  Be brave and email links and descriptions to your favorite blogs.   They just might feature you!

I hope this helps any budding writers out there.  The key ingredient is to just DO IT!  I believe that each of us was born with a divine need to create.  Find what medium works for you, create something, and share with us.  The craft/design blog world is such a positive, happy community to be a part of.  We're excited to see what you have to show us.

Thanks, Sarah, for inviting me.  We need to figure out a virtual way to share a cup of tea!

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Meghan @ Wishful Thinking said...

Very helpful post! I have contemplated doing a tutorial so many times but had no idea how to start them! I have also never used Picassa - looks nice and easy! Will definitely give this a try! Thanks x

Almost Precious said...

Some truly wonderful advice in this post and it's nice to know that one does not have to go out and purchase a professional and expensive camera. Also good news to hear that the expensive Photoshop program is not a requirement. I've drooled over Photoshop but just can't afford it. :(

camp and cottage living said...

This was so...informative!
Thank you, Sarah, for sharing it.
I am on my way over to Chris's now!

Anna at the Doll House said...

Thanks Sarah. This was so full of good advice and thanks Chris. You make difficult things doable.


Paula Jo @ Home and Garden Decor said...

What great advice. I loved reading it, and will come in handy. Thanks!!

Erin S. said...

Thanks so much for this. These are all good ideas, and things I've been wondering how to do/do better (especially how to write on pictures and do photo-editing if I'm not cool enough to have photoshop).

Unknown said...

Fabulous tutorial. Sadly, I often skip the editing my pictures step. Two minutes with photoshop would make a world of difference.

chris said...

Thanks, dear Sarah for inviting me over today. It was nice to get my thoughts on writing tutorials out of my head and into html. :)
Wishing you all a lovely day.

On Crooked Creek said...

Thank you for introducing us to Chris!!!You are such a dear to feature her and her instructions made it appear that even I could do it!

KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

Chris has awesome tutorials. I love how she writes directly on the photos, it can be very, very helpful for sewing tutorials.

Travel With Lulu said...

Wow, number 1 & 6 were most helpful to me. I had no idea you could pop up a search that was just for blogs - cool! Thanks! XOL

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for another fab blog! Useful advice to all us budding blogsters!! I love the idea of a virtual cup of

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Great advice, Chris. And I had no idea about the Google blog search option! Wonderful guest, Sarah :)

Anonymous said...

Lots of great information in this post! thank you!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Sarah, for having Chris do a post about this. There was a lot of useful advice.

All best,

Becky J. said...

great tutorial on making tutorials! lol as with any pattern try to start the first word of each step with a verb like fold, sew, snip, line up... it helps us know just what we are doing next.

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