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Happy Holidays and Onward!

Train decorated with Christmas Lights at Portland Zoo Lights Festival - photography copyright Lorelle VanFossen.

We survived the Mayan Calendar. We’ve survived planets lining up. We’ve survived attacks on our person, our community, our faith, and our country. Just another year.

As we charge forward this coming year, here are some things to look forward to here on and on my other sites, and many things to look forward to this year as we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of WordPress.

Lorelle on WordPress logo.On :

This year is dedicated to writing on the web. I’ll have a year long series on how to write on the web including how to write your bio, publishing articles that attract – no, demand – attention, writing for social media and comments, and web writing basics and standards. I’m excited to share tips and techniques on how to share your own ideas, thoughts, stories, and experiences. All things web writing. It’s been in the plan for five years, so expect some fun and exciting things to learn about self-publishing on the web.

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.I’ve changed the Blog Challenge category to Blog Exercises. My goal is to feature a blog exercise to flex your blogging muscles every work day. That’s five a week, 250 exercises this year on how to blog, how to improve your site, how to write, blogging prompts, SEO, publishing, maintenance, and more. I’ve done the first 100 which are sitting in the queue ready to release as the year progresses. It’s going to be an exciting and active year and you can read more in “Welcome to the New Blog Exercises.”

I’m teaching many courses at two colleges in Oregon and Washington on WordPress and web publishing this year, keeping me more at home than on the road, a dream come true. While I will miss seeing so many dear friends from around the world, the move into academia will help me create a strong curriculum around WordPress. I will share all with the world once we get Washington state approval on the course for inclusion in the web development and web degree program at Clark College.

I will be developing the WordPress II course, an intermediate to advanced course on WordPress, for Clark College. Got tips?

I will also be teaching writing for the web, family history blogging, and photoblogging courses, as well as other workshops locally and a bit further afield.

I haven’t completely given up traveling, just become more selective, so stay tuned for a few announcements this year.

The WordPress love will not stop. I’ve got a wide range of tutorials and tips to share this year on WordPress. I’m very excited about the new Media Manager in WordPress and improves in WordPress 3.5, and looking forward to what is coming in the next versions. WordPress is improving greatly on the front end and back, and it’s exciting to see it so widely embraced.

Lorelle Teaches - logo.On :

This site will continue as my main educational site, serving up homework assignments and material directly related to the courses I teach.

Be warned that it can shift and change at any time as I use it as a teaching site for my students, showing them how-to as well as how-not-to set up a WordPress site.

The site continues to grow, offering tons of information and resources on WordPress, blogging, web writing, social media, web design, web development, and a variety of tips and techniques to help students and workshop participants.

Recent published posts include:

Blog Your Passion with Lorelle VanFossen - logo.On Blog Your Passion:

This site is a work of love, an attempt to create a fast and easy, zen-like experience learning how to blog. It focuses on developing your own unique voice and style on your site.

The site features photographs by myself and my husband, Brent VanFossen, from our life on the road and day-to-day photographic discoveries, sometimes in context to the material, sometimes not.

The site uses the Duotone WordPress Theme, one of the early WordPress Themes that broke the rules. I use the site as an example in my workshops and courses as it represents the possible you can do with WordPress and WordPress Theme designs and development, where design meets code equally. The Theme uses an algorithm that analyzes the first photograph (you can do only one picture per post as the Theme is designed as a photoblog) and sets the background colors to complement the photograph like a mat and frame around a picture. It is uncannily accurate.

The articles are short, zen-like tips and techniques on blogging, specifically how to blog your passion, as well as find it and nurse it to visible health and expertise. I honestly believe that the best bloggers (and most consistent and persistent) are those who blog their passion, not their wallet. I’m excited about condensing all the tips I have on blogging into simple concepts, almost a form of poetry.

Popular series include How to Blog, with the basic tips you need to know to help you get started or fix what you’ve started and didn’t know you didn’t quite have right. So far, the series features:

The Writing, Blogging Tips, and Passion categories are stuffed with good ideas, motivations, prompts, and tips for helping you keep your blog going with the passion it deserves.

The Tech Nag by Lorelle - logo.In 2011, I had the need to bitch and while about technology, and the complaining has not ended. I started The Tech Nag as a personal site where I could get all the complaining about the struggles, stupidity, and uselessness of technology.

Don’t worry, I also bitch and complain about WordPress. Nothing is sacred.

Highlights include:

It’s hit and miss as the fury finds me, but I hope to whine more this year, hoping and praying that someone with two brain cells to rub together will listen and make our tech world a safer and easier place to play.

Taking Your Camera on the Road with Lorelle VanFossen - logo. and Lorelle’s Family History blog has also returned from the dead, courtesy of the amazing folks at WP Engine. They rescued my two hacked and damaged sites from the big bad web host and helped me do CPR on them. They still need some serious TLC as they’ve been so dreadfully mangled, but expect some exciting stuff this year.

In the past, I’ve focused on travel and photography, and our adventures in both of these areas on . Next year I will be returning back to focusing on travel and photography as well as work on my book, “Home is Where Lorelle Is,” the autobiographical story of our life living on the road full-time. While most of the “chapters” have been published, I’ve been working on rewriting them for the book. Many were lost over time and server crashes and changes. Luckily, my father had printed out every single one. I found the file folder in a cupboard while cleaning out his house after his death. Amazing, especially when I didn’t think he cared enough after we hit the road.

The first chapter draft of the book is “Journal: December 18, 1996 – Friday the 13th The Journey Begins.” This is a very personal story, and sometimes hard to revisit, but I know it’s one worth sharing. I’ll expect plenty of feedback as I release the chapters one-by-one.

Family History blog by Lorelle VanFossen.Lorelle’s Family History will become not only the repository for my family’s history but also a class site for my family history blogging workshops and classes. It is so exciting for me to combine my two favorite subjects, blogging and genealogy, together and share the thrill of sharing and educating others on how to share your family’s history with your own family and the world.

I’ve uncovered more stories of their childhood by two of my uncles, and more are turning up as my relatives finally want to share their stories and the ones of their ancestors with me. It’s exciting, like uncovering buried treasure. I just wish I had more hours in a day to dedicate to this life-long passion of mine.

I’ve some guest spots on podcasts and shows coming up next year that are in the works, and a lot of work with not just my local colleges but other educational institutions embracing blogging, WordPress, writing for the web, and web publishing in general…I expect it will be a very busy year.

How to Keep Up With All the Lorelle on WordPress Goodness

Sign up for email announcements in the sidebar, grab my Lorelle on WordPress site feed and add it to your feed reader, or Subscribe through the other subscriptions I offer to keep up with the fun next year.

I’ll be back getting more social this year, I promise. I’ve already scheduled many WordPress and blogging tips on my social media channels. Follow along with @lorelleonwp on Twitter, Lorelle on Facebook, and Lorelle VanFossen on Google+.

Let’s charge forward in the new year and celebrate what is exciting about what we are doing in the online industry. Let’s rejoice in all that we have learned over the past decade of blogging and web publishing and share more of our tricks, tips, and techniques with others.

Make this year the year you charge into WordPress as well. It’s the 10th anniversary of WordPress so I’ll be looking back at my involvement 10 years ago with it, and looking at the future of WordPress. WordPress released version 3.5 recently, but there is more to come.

It’s time for you to get involved with WordPress and all the 10th anniversary fun. Learn more about how it works and what you can do with it. Attend or start a WordPress Meetup in your area. Check out WordCamp Central for a list of WordPress events in your area. Volunteer, donate, show your support, or just show up and meet all the other awesome WordPress folks.

Not the social type? Get involved in any of the volunteer groups at Make WordPress.org. They need help with WordPress Themes, Plugins, the User Interface, Documentation, Support, Translations, Accessibility…the list is long. Whatever skill set you have, there is something you can do within the WordPress Community to not just say thank you for this amazing free product you use and run your business on, but to get to know the amazing people that make up the WordPress Community.

Never in my life have I met so many totally diverse individuals that come together enthused by one thing: WordPress. From every country, every nationality, race, religion, business, lifestyle…all are welcome and part of the WordPress Community. Celebrate yourselves!

It’s time for all of us to get on our own trains and charge forward to do our best in the coming year.

Are you with me?


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.

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