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What I Have Been Up To...

I've been going nuts working on my website, www.Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com.

I am finally getting somewhere with it.

If you recall, I started talking about doing a cool website with www.sitesell.com way back last summer. Put it off, procrastinated, saved up for it, ground my teeth and paid up $299 in September or on my October check, not sure which but it was miserable holding back and doing nothing else that month. Then wading through the lengthy and complicated process of choosing a topic that would actually work out of all the numerous possibilities I was interested in writing about.

Finding my niche was a lot harder than writing about it. Then there was the eight-year interminable process of writing various partial rough drafts of various how to draw books based on different mediums, pastels or colored pencils, that bogged down when it came to doing serious paintings and breaking them up into stages. A year of doing easy step by step projects for eHow made that start looking better and I put some in other places.

Now I've gotten past all the hard part with the site. The worst is behind me. The site is up. 30 pages and a certain number of visitors per day is the next threshold for it and there are still other things to do for the business plan after that point. This site is supposed to at least pay for its own renewal and maybe become something that could make me self supporting again.

Anyway, 30 pages is one of the milestones in the process.

I got in seven pages, did other stuff, got sick, napped a lot, got distracted, napped a lot, slept as much as my cat because it's winter, even slept during the day in the few daylight hours, napped in between sleeping and did other stuff for days. Started falling behind on a whole lot of things including eBay Groups.

Tripped over the holidays basically, and wound up hitting post holiday exhaustion even though I was not running around nailing up lights and ornaments or taking them down or whirling from party to party gorging and drinking. 'Snot fair. I should've felt that way after gorging and partying and eating myself sick, not just for having shorter days and wobbling air pressure.

I had seven pages about four days ago. Decided to grit my teeth and do one, try to move in the direction of getting it done. Did two more the day after that. Did two more. Today did two or three or something, I sort of lost count and the site is scheduling two of today's three pages for tomorrow while I've still got an hour and a half of the 8th left.

It is starting to look good.

If I keep going at this pace in another week I'll hit that 30 page level -- not month, week. Freaky, that. It seemed so monumental and it shrank into something like doing chapters even though it's lengthened by my taking photos and drawing illustrations.

I'm getting caught up on reviewing the oil pastels that I have at the moment.

I got my 100 color Holbein set today. It showed up this afternoon by UPS and Karl brought it in for me. In the same package I also got sets of Mungyo Gallery and Daler Rowney to review. They're student grade but fun. I'm sure I won't run out of cheap oil pastels for a long long long long time.

I've got still more in the cart for next month. I've decided not to do big sets on all the cheap ones. I can get them all on my next order if I don't. That's good enough to tell texture and general lightfastness, and many of them will be passed on to Sascha because they're nontoxic and some are definably children's sets. Crayola, and Sakura Cray Pas Junior Artist are pretty specifically kid stuff.

But they go on the testing anyway, there may be some surprises once I put up all the lightfast strips and check them repeatedly.

I am starting to see how easily this could become a 225 page online book. It's growing much faster and more organized than my rough art instruction books. My online writing has improved. Notice my paragraphs shrinking even more.

In the process of all this work, Kitten helped me with a couple of important steps forward. She handheld me through sending it manually to four major search engines. I also got the RSS feed set up. You can subscribe to my site and get blog entries and updates on every new article.

There are more new articles than blog entries so far but I'll update with a blog every now and then too, on oil pastels topics.

One of the things to do after the 30-page stage is to set up an e-zine, preferably monthly. This is going to be something different from the RSS updates -- you'll see every new review or demo when you RSS. The e-zine will have its own articles, new art and tips and cool stuff. I am adding two or three pages, don't want the first issue to be gigantic over humongous with half the site stuffed in and nothing you couldn't find by clicking on it.

So the e-zine will be an actual e-zine with its own articles and cool stuff. I'll set it up with the back issues continually available so that none of that good content goes offline either. It'll be free to readers.

When we checked the traffic stats on the site at its seven or eight page stage, my jaw dropped. It's been getting 20 or 30 unique visitors daily, a lot of them just on searches. Most of them are sticking around looking at other pages and coming back to see if there's more.

I have been editing the existing pages too, a lot. Kitten laughed at me for it and told me the site editing process is just continuous, get used to it. When I go linking a new review to the reviews page, I notice something that could be tightened and I change it. I spent about four or five hours rewriting today after writing.

Go fig. Me doing as much time rewriting in one day as I spent writing, just alternating. Weird and not my usual noveling habits. But nonfiction is different, each page is an article and when it's done I can change topics, direction, stage of process.

Comments and critique are encouraged. If you've tried any of the products I'm reviewing and have anything to add to my reviews, please let me know. If you have topics related to oil pastels or how to draw/paint in general, please let me know. If you have a favorite thing you'd like to see tackled in a step by step, let me know.

The monster is growing and turning into a daily habit.

That's a good thing.

Enjoy!
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
nerwengreen
Jan. 9th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
Yay progress! :)
robertsloan2
Jan. 9th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
Purr thanks. I'm working on packing up your art too, got the box out yesterday and found some bubble wrap to pack it with. I've got a slight difficulty with the box that shouldn't be too insurmountable. Apparently the frame is 1/2" longer than the box if it's constructed normally, so I'm rebuilding it flat to make it longer.
robertsloan2
Jan. 9th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
Unless I can get slightly larger boxes from the post awful, I'm looking at that today. That'd mean waiting for them but the up side is they might be more solid.
robertsloan2
Jan. 9th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
I just checked the post office site and ordered a batch of the larger boxes. They will fit the frame easily, they're not even that much larger. Whew! This will add another week of waiting, but it also means the box will be assembled properly and not juryrigged with masking tape. I don't have any of that clear sealer tape any more so maybe I should order a roll of that from Staples before the boxes come just for sealing it.

Hope you don't mind the additional delay, at least this time there's a reason for it besides my wrecked up back. The bubble wrap is out where I can get at it now. I will pack it up regardless of how my back feels the day the boxes arrive, and try to get everything else together first.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance
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