Writing a guest blog: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is another guest blog from reader Ian McKee who writes as 45 Bravo. And,with an ironic twist, he tells us how to write a guest blog.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me at [email protected].

Ian McKee
Writing as 45Bravo

Writing a guest blog: Part 1

This report covers:

We are a very diverse group
Sharing
Write about what you know
|Keep it simple, but explain everything
Write it all down
Take a break
Read it again, and again
Tom can help
A photo is worth a thousand words
Remember, Tom is colorblind
Summary

We are a very diverse group

Are you qualified to write a guest blog? Of course you are! Over the years I have read many thousands of comments, by hundreds of very smart readers. We have had people on here that are master gunsmiths, master wood workers, instructors teaching our youth to enjoy the shooting sports, doctors (both the medical kind, and the academic kind), readers that have expertise in photography and mechanical engineering. We have retirees, and we have people that dig ditches for a living, the list can go on, and on.  

Sharing

No matter what your station in life, remember this, YOU know something about a subject that NO ONE else knows, and it is your duty to share that knowledge with someone. If it is on a blog like this, thanks to the internet, that knowledge will be around forever. (Once something is posted to the Internet, it can never be totally deleted, as someone somewhere either saved it to their personal computer, or printed a hard copy of it.)

We each have our area of expertise, or someone in your family may have invented something, or collected something, or was the manager of a project that at the time, may have seemed to be a small thing, but 80 years later, you, and your relative’s invention or collection will be in the right place, at the right time to make a impact on a lot of people. 

We have seen this recently in the Sharpshooter pistol series, B.B. bought one many years ago, but it wasn’t functional, so it sat in a box not seeing the light of day for decades.  

Through this blog, George, the grand nephew of John Beckwith who had collected several of a particular necessary part that is critical for the pistol to work, supplied the critical part that allowed Tom to write about the history, and capabilities of a gun that has been around for almost 100 years, but has been out of production for 40 years.

But there was not much information about it on the Internet until now. 

Thank you George, and Tom. 

Write ’bout what you know

“But it’s just my hobby!” you say. You know more about your “hobby” than most other people will ever know. 

There is a guy I know, he is a 28-year-old auto mechanic, but his “hobby” is high-speed photography, he has a $42,000 video camera (not including the lenses) that he uses to enjoy his hobby.  He doesn’t make money with the camera; he just enjoys seeing the world around us at 20,000 frames per second.

You may have the talents to make beautiful wood grips, stocks, or presentation cases. 

There are some of us who can’t draw a straight line with 2 rulers, much less cut a straight line or a square corner, even with some very expensive tools, but we enjoy watching, and learning from those of you who can do it.  And just maybe, we may someday attempt to tackle a project because of your written article. 

Keep it simple, but detailed

As you explain the process of your article, you may think to yourself “this is common sense, anyone can see where I am going with this.” And yet, I know jet pilots that won’t pour water out of a boot unless the directions are written on the bottom of the boot. 

Write it all down

Make an outline of the steps you want to cover, then using a computer, write everything you can think of about your subject in the order necessary to complete it. Then take a break, get some coffee, soda, or what ever you prefer. Then come back, re-read your blog, make changes, correct spelling errors, arrange things that may have slipped into the wrong places as you were writing.  

Read it again, and again

Take another break, do something to get your mind off of the subject, and maybe even sleep on it, and read it again the next day in a different frame of mind. 

You will find things you may want to say differently, or missed writing all together yesterday. 

Tom can help

Once you are happy with your blog, and it seems to convey your message, submit it to Tom, he can point you in the right direction if something needs to be re-written to help make sense of a complex subject. 

A picture is worth a thousand words

I can explain how to change the o-ring in a Crosman MKI piercing cap, in 4 paragraphs, but 2 detailed photos can show you many things, so I can get the same point across in 4 sentences.

If your blog includes photos, B.B. has written a blog in the past, where he touched on photography tips, and he will be writing more updated ones in the near future. 

Remember B.B. is colorblind

Just like some people can hear higher and lower sounds that others can’t, there are some colors that some people just can’t see. 

Note from B.B. — I was going to insert two colorblindness test charts here — one that had a number that can be seen inside and another with nothing inside, to illustrate what it looks like when you are colorblind — until it dawned on me that both charts might actually have a number inside! Ha, ha!

Tom is a rock star in making fine details come out in photos, of minuscule text, or next to nonexistent text, or even show how small parts are arranged deep inside the air gun while they are hidden under 4 other parts that are welded in place.

But if you are trying to show off your beautiful laminated multicolored stock that you hand laminated, and carved to fit the rifle, work with him to keep the colors accurate. 

In one photo, the reds and greens may be spot on, while in another photo, the same stock may seem to be brown and yellow. The contrast and wood grain details will be perfect, in both photos, but if you are red/green colorblind, you just don’t see those colors. 

Summary

Everyone of us is an expert in something that they are interested in.

Each of us knows something that someone else doesn’t know, so please, share it. 

We all want to learn new things, or just see what neat things our other blog readers are capable of creating. 

You can do it, teach us what you know. 

Cheers.

Ian.

Note from BB — Following Ian’s blog on making a custom gun box I went on eBay and bought a beautiful small wooden box with inlaid mother of pearl. It was very affordable.  It will be a pellet box inside a larger silverware box I customize for an air pistol. Thanks, Ian!

31 thoughts on “Writing a guest blog: Part 1


  1. Ian,

    Fine job. Hopefully it will inspire someone to share. It all seems quite common sense and even,.. “obvious”. 😉

    As for what is obvious,.. and what is not,…. what do you use (program)? Allow me to continue…….

    I do not have paid programs on my lap top. It is a HP running Windows 10. I can, and do, write blog post(s) all day long and even (clumsily) include photos or links to other sites (easy, but at one time could not do). I e-mail all of the time and have for years.

    Like you noted,… we have a widely diverse audience here. Many professionals. Writing and publishing are second nature. Including pics and graphs are nothing. Making pics and graphs are nothing. Sure,.. I just now (wrote) this,… and as soon as I hit “post”,.. I will (publish) it.

    But obviously,.. there is more to writing a guest blog. What is the program? What does it look like? Is it easy to use? What can I do with it? Etc.. Once someone contacts BB to write a guest blog,… what is “behind the curtain”?

    Just some random thoughts.

    Chris


    • Chris,

      The few that I have written, I used Word. If I am not mistaken, it is relatively easy for BB to then massage it into a “printable” blog.

      You yourself have at the very least two blogs you could send to BB for us. One would be the modifications you have done to your Maximus and the other would be a detailed review of your Red Wolf.



        • BB,

          Ok,… you just confused the crap out of me (no worries,… not hard to do with me on computer stuff),… but I would have thought that with all of the options mentioned today,… that a “word processor” program would be a part of any of them.

          🙁 Chris




              • RidgeRunner,

                I suppose B.B. prefers to do the editing himself in a format that is suitable for WordPress. The best I can think of is to simply use Notepad for writing text (saved in .txt) and submitting the pictures (probably as .jpeg) separately with captions. I’m not sure how B.B. would like tables to be submitted.

                Siraniko


    • Chris,

      I personally like it when people point out “obvious” things. I find that what seems obvious to one person may actually not occur to a whole lot of other people. Once pointed out, though, many things seem obvious. ‘Tis the nature of having the luxury of a retrospective perspective I suppose.

      WD


      • WD,

        I agree. Obvious is good. I am a big fan of obvious. I would be in the “other people” category. 😉

        While my perseverance can be (endless) with regards to some things,…. it is extremely limited with regards to other things. Good, bad or otherwise,… that is the way my brain works.

        Chris


    • You can use most any program.
      I have written them on just about every kind of semi modern computer you can think of, from a HP CHROMEBOOK I paid $50 for at a pawn shop, to a new MacBook Pro.
      From an iPad, to a 2n1 nextbook that runs Windows 10.

      Program wise, I like free programs.
      LIBRE OFFICE is a free cross platform suite that runs on Windows, MacOS, and Chrome OS. It has the same capabilities as Microsoft office, including able to read and write the MS OFFICE files.
      GoogleDOCS will work as well.

      OPEN OFFICE is another suite, but I prefer LIBRE office myself.

      I submit the final document to B.B. as a RTF file to remove the formatting that any program I used may have included with the document.
      But he will probably cover the requirements in his next blog on the subject.

      My personal writing setup depends on where I am when I write, at home I have a 2017 MacBook Pro (I bought it used from the same local pawn shop Extremely cheap as it was password locked.)

      If I am out and about or on a trip, I always carry the chrome book, it’s small, light, I don’t have much in it, what I am writing will be uploaded to the cloud if I am near an internet connection or my phone, and it has a 12 hour battery life.

      The computer or operating system doesn’t matter, just get your ideas down on “paper” so to speak, we can get it converted to a useable file for Tom.

      Personally in my opinion, the best bang for the buck, is a used chromebook.
      They are not expensive, very capable, have a very long battery life, they newer ones can download and run apps from the google play store,
      And run Linux if you are into that.
      They are constantly updated, and boot fast, it comes with online storage, and thousands of free apps available.

      If you are an Android phone user, it is a perfect march.

      All my certifications are windows based, but I have been a Mac/Apple user for over 15 years, but i am always learning and using different Operating systems to see what’s out there.

      Ian


    • Chris, I have written some articles for forums, luckily here, Tom puts the photos and captions in the proper places, and takes some of the burden off of us, the writers.

      On the forums, i rarely write the “live” as invariably you will be 1 paragraph from the end, and the forum window will time out, and you loose everything.
      I normally write them in my choice of programs, using the same formula I outlined in the article.

      I have my photos uploaded to my photo hosting site.

      I add the links to the photos in the proper places, and captions below them.

      Then when ready, I copy and paste everything into the forum thread, and hit save or submit. .

      Unless it’s like a short reply here, then I do it “live”.

      Ian.


  2. Ian,

    LOL! A very well written blog on how to write a blog.

    I have had a couple of ideas for blogs rolling around in my skull for some time. I guess I need to dig out my round tuit and do it. 😉





  3. Good one Ian! A blog about blogs 🙂

    Agreed, we have a lot of knowledgeable and experienced people reading and benefiting from B.Bs blog. I to hope that today’s entry will encourage people to contribute and share their ideas.

    One of the things that I like about writing a guest blog (or teaching) is that it forces you to think things through in depth, rediscovering all the little details of things you do out of habit. Find it is good to revisit “old habits” to see if they can be improved on.

    Something that helps with a blog is to have a fellow blog reader review it (many thanks to Benji-Don!) and comment on the “technical flow” and readability of the document. A different set of eyes is a big help when you are deep in the details of writing and can’t see the forest for the trees. 🙂

    An additional suggestion on proofing your guest blog is to have someone unfamiliar with the subject (usually my wife) read the blog to see if it makes sense – their questions will quickly point out what is not obvious.

    Writing a guest blog takes a bit of time but they are enjoyable to do.

    Thanks for this one Ian!

    Hank


  4. I know jet pilots who wouldn’t pour water out of a boot…
    I am a chucklehead this morning.
    Thankyou for sharing, and I totally agree it’s about sharing that knowledge.
    My doctor wanted to have a video meeting on my Galaxy note 3, nope, and my windowsxppro
    desktop is now 20 yrs old. Luckily, my boss says to learn quickbooks, so I need to upgrade my tech.
    I really like my new UTG 2x16x44 compact swat with the UMOA reticle. Just the center lights up.
    Keep up the great work,
    R


  5. Ian, well done!

    Often the comments are a source of very good information as much as the blog that spawned them.

    I, like BB am red/green color blind. About 20% of males have this condition. It’s almost non-existent in females. The severity of the condition varies from person to person. I can see primary colors, but have difficulty accurately identifying shades and some colors don’t exist in my world. I didn’t know that I was color blind until my early 20’s when I took an FAA physical in pursuit of a pilot’s license. The Ishihara Color Dot test ended my hopes of becoming a birdman.

    Some years before I met and married my wife I had purchased a chocolate brown stadium coat. After we married and were living in our first apartment, I was looking for my brown coat. I gave my wife a detailed description of the coat, color, toggle buttons, hood, etc. She responded, “It’s green.” It looked brown to me. Oh well.

    Dan


  6. All,

    Regarding authoring tools, Apache open software offers a free office suite that (I think) should run on most platforms. It’s Open Office and has all of the tools available in the better known commercial Office as well as much of the same “feel.”

    https://openoffice.org

    Dan


  7. “We are a very diverse group”
    Ian,
    Yes, you are quite right about that, as well as about the knowledge base here. When you take all the material here that B.B. has poured his heart and soul into over the years, and add in all the thousands of comments on that material, there is a tremendous body of knowledge here…and that’s what I love about this blog. =>
    Thanking you for an interesting report,
    dave


  8. I didn’t think I was color blind until I got married. Nice post, Ian, but I have one question for you – how did you overcome the password protected pc?

    Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now happily in GA


    • Without getting too detailed,
      If it’s a windows based system, I have a software tool that erases all passwords.

      If it’s a Mac, and it does not have the T2 chip, single user/verbose mode is a lifesaver.


  9. Bravo45,
    Thank you for the blog about creating a blog today. Your guest blogs are always well written and descriptive.
    I do not have an issue with color blindness, but, I was not aware of not seeing things in 3-D until I was drafted and was given a physical by the military. There was a visual test and when asked what image I saw, I answered that I saw no image. They showed me a few more test pages but I didn’t see images on any of them. They thought that I was faking and just passed me through. I’ve not seen 3-D ever because 90% of my vision is from my right eye and my left eye only sees peripheral. My brain has compensated for my lack of 3-D vision so that I can guesstimate distances fairly well. If an object is 30 yards away, I am able to determine that distance. Parking the car is much more difficult, as I cannot determine accurately the distance, or how close I am to the other vehicle. But growing up I never knew I had this handicap. Oh, and objects 3-D movies appear blurry and I cannot watch them. Our brains are amazingly adaptable.
    Geo


    • Very weird, butt yes our brains and eyes are amazing.

      Have you ever noticed in near total darkness you can not see directly ahead of you, but you can see images on the periphery of your vision in the same light?

      It has to do with the cones and rods light receptors in our eyes, and the way they process the available light.



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