Start the New Year by Learning the Free WordPress Theme of the Year Twenty Sixteen

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For at least the past six years, WordPress has launched a new free theme each year and has given the theme the name of the year of its launching. Twenty Sixteen is the new kid on the block, and I am trying that theme on a few of my blog sites.

I have always liked graphic designs that have a distinctive black and white flair, and with its broad black frame, Twenty Sixteen is appealing to me. Allow me to share a few things that I have learned about the theme Twenty Sixteen. In fact, join me, and I’ll help you switch your own blog theme, one step at a time. In case you want to launch an entirely new WordPress blog site, you will need to begin a few steps back.

To create a new WordPres Blog Site, do the following:

The WordPress Sign Up Form is Here

You will see the following screen and will be prompted to choose a theme. To begin, do not even worry about which site theme that you choose. Just be sure that the site does not have a dollar amount attached to it. Those sites are not free. Just to get started, click on Edin [on the top right] or any other.

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Where it says Enter a Domain Name, you will begin to TRY to find a name that has not been selected by someone else:

Type your desired domain name in small letters and with no spaces.

Initially, I typed: yabbadabbadbadoo

That name had been taken, and I tried again and typed yabbadabbadew. That name was available. If a name is available, you will see it printed and the word “Free” on the top line. You will be prompted to select that name.

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From the next screen, click on the blue box with the words, “Select Free Plan.”

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Next, you will see the following screen. Sit quietly and wait for a moment.

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From the next screen, click on the dark blue box that says, “Select a Theme.”

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Next, you will see the following screen.

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On the above screen, type “Twenty Sixteen” in the box beside the magnifying glass. You will see the screen below:

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At the top right of the next screen, click on the words, “Try & Customize.”

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To begin customizing, click on the words “My Site,” which is on the upper left of your screen.

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The following menu will open. Click on Customize.

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The following is the Customize Menu:

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First, we’ll change the site title, click on the tab “Site Title.”

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No doubt, you will want to change the way that your site’s title reads. Consider the title on one of my blog sites, the name of which is Learn to Draw Online. When I registered for that site, however, I had to enter the name as all lower case letters, without any spaces: learntodrawonline. When the site opened, I needed to change that. 4a

From the Customize menu, click Site Title, and in the top white box, type your blog’s name, as it should appear.

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The Tagline is the extra stuff. On book covers, that would be the part that follows the colon–the afterword. The Tagline for that site is: Jacki Kellum Drawing Tutorials – Both for the Computer and Not.

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When you have typed your title correctly, click on the blue box that says, “Save & Publish.”

Next, I’ll Add a Header Image. Go back to My Sites and click on Customize and again, and then on the Customize menu, click on Header Image.

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For Header images to work well on the Free WordPress Themes, they need to be created the correct size. The Header Image for Twenty Sixteen should be 1200 × 280 pixels in size. Because my image was saved as the correct size, I could merely click Crop Image at the bottom right of the screen.

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On the next screen, click Save & Activate.

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Twenty Sixteen is a Responsive Theme.

That means that a site created in Twenty Sixteen will look good on every screen that it is viewed.

5-responsiveOne of my favorite things about Twenty Sixteen is the ability to use Post Kickers.

A Post Kicker is quick, introductory blurb about a post. It appears between the title and the body of the post. Post kickers allow potential viewers to dash across your site and to quickly determine what they do and do not want to completely read.

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To insert an excerpt, click on “More Options,” which falls below the place where you add Categories and Tags–on the Edit Page. In the following image, the above kicker  has been typed into the Excerpt box below.

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Here is how that kicker looks:

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The actual post follows the image of the snowflake, and the post kicker precedes the image of the snowflake.

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If you would like to learn how to create the snowflake shown in the Free Vector Drawing Program Inkscape, Click Here

How to Add Widgets to the free WordPress theme Twenty Sixteen

To add widgets, click on the My Sites tab again. From the next menu, click on Customize again. From the next menu, click on Widgets.

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When you initially open a new blog site in the free theme Twenty Sixteen, the following group of default widgets will be on the right side.

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I  began by removing a couple of the default widgets. When you click on Widgets [on the Customize Menu], you sill see the following:

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Click on Sidebar.

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The first widget that I always remove is Recent Comments. I click on that widget in the menu.

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A menu for the Recent Comments widget will appear. On the bottom left of the menu, click “Remove.”

I follow the same procedure again, and I also remove Meta .

Next, I add a Follow widget. This will allow people to follow my blog.

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At the bottom right of the widget menu, click on the button “Add a Widget.”

Scroll through the widget options, I clicked the + beside Follow Blog. I filled the boxes as follows:

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Because Follow Blog was added later, it initially appears at the bottom of the widgets.

With your mouse, click on the Follow Blog tab and drag it to the top of the list.

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At this point, the Widgets area will look like the following:

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On various of my blog sites, I use 2 special types of widgets. One is a Gallery widget, where I can showcase some of my art. When a viewer clicks on one of the tiny thumbnails, a large version of the painting opens. To add a Gallery widget, click on Add Widget and select the tab Gallery. Follow the instructions to add you images and then Add the Gallery.

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Another type of specialized widget is an image widget.

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Before you add an image widget, you need to have a smaller image saved to your blog, as in a post.  You actually add an image widget by clicking on Add Widget and then selecting Image. You can even add a URL address and the Image Widget will be hyperlinked.

clickWordPressPro

 

 

 

 

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Try One of 2 Very Simple Free WordPress Themes in December

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Jacki Kellum will maintain 2 VERY SIMPLE FREE WordPress Themes during December.

As part of the 12-Month WordPress Pro Challenge, Jacki Kellum will share tips about at least one free theme per month.

Because  WordPress has 2 Free Themes that are totally set up with Christmas Themes, she will share both of them.

You might select the Traditional, basically red Cheer theme Here

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The beauty of both of these simple themes is that the Headers, Special Fonts, background images, etc., are already preloaded.

headerYou simply need to set up a Free WordPress Blog Here

For Theme choices select either Cheer [in Red Above] Here

Or Spirit [in Blue Below] Here

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Why Blog? – Blog to Practice Your Writing & Image Editing Capability

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The Internet is Filled with Sites that Offer Free Writing Prompts and Image Editing Tutorials. I have learned from experience that the only way to become better at anything is to practice. Reading about doing something is not the same thing as just doing it. Utilize some of the great free learning resources available to you, and use your blog to practice what you have read.

A  blog is a type of commitment, and I find that I am more loyal to actually showing up and writing in my blog than I am in  merely writing on paper journals. My writing and art career predate the computer and blogs, and I tried the pads of paper approach for years. I recommend doing your journaling in a blog. I’ll elaborate more on that later.

I have found that WordPress’s Daily Prompts are a good way to start my day.  I often contour the day’s prompt around one of my own writing projects, but in most cases, the prompts jolt me out of thought ruts and into fresh ground.

Here is how I schedule my day: 

I myself maintain several Blog Sites that Provide Tutorials and Challenges in Several Areas:

6:30 – 9:15 [Keep in mind – this is an Eastern Standard Time Schedule]

6:30 – When I am really working hard, God himself awakens me at about 6:30.

When I am truly in a writing phase, I sleep more soundly. I may awaken during the night with an idea, but I keep a notebook by my bed and jot down the idea and fall back asleep. Before the sun is even up, I am awake!

6:45 – I make my first cup of coffee and check out my social media sites.

Just a helpful hint: Sometimes it is ok to just take time to smell the coffee. At 6:45 in the morning [on the East Coast] almost everyone else is asleep. Contrary to what many might have you believe,

You Don’t Have To Be Slaying Social Dragons 24-7.  My early morning coffee and social time is just one for me to check in, wave at the world, and say, “Hello.”

Let those social dragons sleep a while longer. Relax.

7:00 – I begin writing — I write the serious stuff now!

Early morning is my best time of day for unraveling tangled writing, for creating something totally fresh, and for just power-writing, in general. My brain begins to frazzle soon after that. Throughout the day, once I have written something worth sharing, I post it.

9:00 – I let my dog out and make another cup of coffee.

You are reading this post on one of my tutorial sites, my main blog site is at:

9:15 – The WordPress Daily Prompt is ready about now. [Remember, this is Eastern Time]

The WordPress Daily Prompt is the way that I blow the cobwebs out of my brain. Quite often, I modify the prompt so that I am still writing about the project that I am currently unfolding at the time. Regardless, the Daily Prompt forces me to see things in a different light. It helps me to find undiscovered pots of gold.  

The Daily Post is free. Sign Up and Join the Rest of Us! 

11:00 – Time for Breakfast – Eat some eggs – Get some protein – Rebuild your brain!

11:30 – Revise and/or collate a project already begun

2:30 – Lunch – I buy Weight Watchers Smart Ones Omelettes and eat 2 to 3 a day. I do not cook. That is a waste of time, money, and resources. I eat a lot of eggs. That gives me a great deal of protein. The greatest blessing of the month is that McDonald’s serves breakfast 24 hours a day. Their eggs are cheaper than the ones in a box. If I am out, I eat eggs on McDonalds.

3:00 – 6:00 – I teach private art classes 

6:15 – Regenerative Bath and 1st Glass of Wine

Only a few hours ago, I told one of my students that before I can move into my evening work, I have to wash off the day. By 6:15, I am very nearly brain dead. I take a hot, whirlpool bath, and I drink a glass of wine. Invariably, that bath will tell me what to spend my evening doing.  Just now, it told me to write this post.

7:00 – During the Evening, I ponder my process and offer a few hard-earned tips.

To learn more about my craft, I read.

If I discover something that strikes me as extremely helpful, I post that.

You are reading this on one of my tutorial blog sites.

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My Main Blog Site is Jacki Kellum: Juxtapositions – Read My Mind! Here

I maintain several blog sites that offer tutorials and challenges:

free-pexels-225 12-Month WordPress Pro is a New Site

From 12-Month WordPress Pro,  I’ll Teach All about 12 Different Free WordPress Themes–a New One Each Month. Here

At 12-Month WordPress Pro, I’ll offer free images that participants can use to enhance the site currently under construction.

The first free WordPress Theme that I’ll discuss is Twenty Ten, beginning November 16, 2015.

turkeywidget3  The Twenty Ten Theme for November 2015, Here

pictureworthmushroom_300poster A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words Here

Another New Site. A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words, Will Have Tons of Quality Images
that are cropped in the correct sizes to fit Facebook, Twitter, and other social media applications.

There will also be numerous tutorials, teaching the readers how to effectively use Free Online Image Editors.

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A New 6-Word Memoir Challenge Will Begin in January 2016. Here

In order to share their projects, participants will need their own blog sites.

Details for Getting Started with a Free WordPress Blog Here 

Participants will begin with only 6 words and 6 images to represent those words. As the challenge develops, the participants will become more comfortable with and sensitive to visual data, and they will discover how to translate what they see into descriptive writing.  The writing will not be difficult; yet, it will help writers to approach their work in a new and more sensory way.

Songs and Poems is My Blog Site that Offers Outstanding Free Photography and Writing Prompts that Relate both to the Photograph and to the Lyrics of a Well-known Song. Here

Check this post often. I continuously add new teaching sites.

For now, focus on getting your own blog started. Your blog will be your ticket to take advantage of my free resources, and it will be your springboard for accomplishing many of your goals–one post at a time.

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Why Blog? – Blog to Stare Down the Blank Page

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Regardless of Our Creative Felds, the Blank Page Has A Way of Creeping In
and Daring Us to Work!

A Blog Is An Excellent Way to Stare Down the White Page!

Build It – They Will Come!

[The Words, the Ideas, the Images Will Follow]

I both paint and write and in both fields, the blank page is my worst enemy. Like the rookie who cannot get a job without experience, the blank page cannot seem to get any momentum without a few marks–or a few words. A blog can be a way to get those first words–those first marks in place.

One reason that the blank page becomes a problem is that of fear. We are afraid we will write the wrong thing or write it incorrectly. Especially for creative writers, the self-editor takes over and chokes us.

A blog is less demanding of us. To write in a blog, you do not need to be a creative writer. You might just post some photos and a few words of description and be done. Nothing flowery is needed. Our blogs do not demand of us to be Jane Austen. Invariably, once you get started, more ideas will follow.

Creativity is like a bellows.

Once you push all that is out and draw back again, new ideas, new words, new images spring to mind.

Let your blog be your bellows. Empty Yourself in Your Blog; Draw back; and Create.

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Just Do It! Just Blog Something — Anything! The Rest Will Follow!

Why Blog? – Blog to Stare Down the Blank Page. 

Why Blog? – Blog to Systematically File Your Ideas in a Place Where You Can Find Them Again

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Libraries Do Not Suffer from a Shortage of Information–
They Suffer because Readers Do Not Know What Information Is There and How to Find It!

For Writers in the 21st Century, the Problem Is Compounded 

My blog and its categories provide me with a personal assistant who puts my thoughts in folders; and when I need to revisit one of my thoughts again, I can search myself and get straightened out once more.

As I previously said, storing documents only on your computers is risky. Here

Most writers today have documents all over the place. We jot valuable bits of information on Facebook; we tweet great ideas; we share videos, powerpoint presentations, email, etc. It becomes very simple for us to lose track of what we said where and to whom?

As I also said previously, your blog can serve as a hub. Here

If for no other reason than for filing purposes, I recommend that you blog everything first–and then send your blogs through your social networks.

I cannot speak for all blog sites, but WordPress has developed copious navigational resources. Bloggers can file their information in Categories, in Tags, in Archives, etc. Pages to house similar information can be created and placed in menus. Most WordPress themes also have sub-menu capabability.

Finally, the WordPress Search feature is invaluable.

Why Blog? – Blog to Systematically File Your Ideas in a Place Where You Can Find Them Again. 

Why Blog? – Blog to Sow the Seeds for Your Own Creative Writing

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In most cases, when I blog, I am not doing creative writing. When I blog, I am normally storing and sorting ideas. I later return to some of those ideas and hone them into poetry, picture books, and other types of creative writing.

When I initially blog, I allow myself to merely get the ideas down. When I blog, I allow myself total writing freedom. In that way, my self-editor does not kick in and I do not strangle my own ideas–long before they have the time to hatch.

Why Blog? – Blog to Sow the Seeds for Your Own Creative Writing.

Use your blog’s categories, tags, navigation, menus, and search devices to find those ideas later and alchemize them into gold.

Why Blog? – Unlike Your Computers, Your Blog Site Will Not Crash

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Surely, It Has Happened to Everyone! You Work Months–Even Years on the Perfect Family Photo Album, Family Tree, Recipe Collection, Book, Collection of Poems and Quotes–and Your Computer Crashes!

Thre is nothing more frustrating than doing mounds of research and typing it into your computer–only to have your computer crash and burn. Family photos can be lost. Favorite recipes can be lost. Research papers can be lost. Poetry can be lost. Your memoir can be lost. Anything that you type into a Word document and store on your computer could be lost at any time. When you store data on the Internet, this does not happen. The Internet does not crash. When you get a new computer, your research is still there for you–it is there, where you left it–inside your blog.

Why Blog? Blog Because the Internet Does Not Crash! Blog It to Save It!

P.S. Someone raised the point that some blog sites are not reliable and might crash. This is true, and I intend to deal with this later. For now: Please do not use an unreliable blog site. WordPress offers a multitude of free blog site options. WordPress if reliable. WordPress dominates the blogging community. Use WordPress, and your blog site is safe. If there comes a time when that is not true, I venture to say that a failed Internet will be the least of the world’s problems.