Make a Book for Your Mom for Mother’s Day

A few years ago, I got inspired to put my Mom’s writing into a book for her. I used the print-on-demand site Blurb for this.

It turned out great and she loved having a book with her name on the cover. Actually “loved it” is rather tame. She was ecstatic.

If you want to make your mom really really happy, start today putting together a book for her. It can be photos from her childhood, a collection of family memories, or so many other topics. It may not be done by Mother’s Day, but start it and see what you can accomplish.

The BookSmart software that you download for free from Blurb is really great to use. Here’s my page telling how to self-publish a book using Blurb.

Made using
Gail Lee Martin shows off the books with family memories.

Procrastinating on My Book Project

It’s amazing the variety of busy work I can distract myself with when I have a big project to do. All sorts of minor activities, from writing a letter to finishing my library book, get my attention. What I should be doing is working on my great-great grandfather’s life story.

I suspect that “writing a book” just sounds overwhelming. What I need to do is break it down into chunks that aren’t so daunting. Airing my concerns to my writing group helped me sort out my thinking a bit.

Here’s how I’m currently picturing the book layout:

  1. Abraham’s early life/growing up in southern Indiana 1837-1860
  2. Nancy’s life while Abraham is gone to war
  3. Abraham’s prisoner of war experience – Andersonville
  4. The 100 men of Company G
  5. After the war – Missouri and Kansas 1865 to 1900
  6. Abraham and Nancy’s children and grandchildren
  7. Growing old – 1900 to 1930
  8. Notes/Sources

There’s a ton of research still to be done. I’ve visited southern Indiana and Andersonville in Georgia. I’ve read dozens of diaries of Andersonville prisoners. Connecting with descendants of Abraham and Nancy has turned up further anecdotes and vintage photos. I know there is so much more out there waiting to be found.

I need to give myself some structure, maybe a daily checklist.

  • one hour genealogy research
  • one hour reading (Civil War history, pioneer history, etc.)
  • one hour internet research background information

Worth a try. I’m off to do some work.

My First Locked Lens

If you haven’t experienced a locked lens yet, you are probably curious about what you can and cannot do with it. Here are the messages I see in my first encounter with a locked lens:

Whoops! No publishing allowed. This lens is currently locked for a violation of our Terms of Service, as per the email we sent you. You’re welcome to a) Grab your content and take it elsewhere, if you’d rather not continue with Squidoo or b) Review your content and make edits here in the Workshop to improve the lens. But you won’t be able to Publish the lens live until you can demonstrate that the violation has been addressed. Thanks.

When you click on the various links offered, you get more details. This lens is one I chose not to work on based on its previous performance (low traffic/low earnings). It was commercial and thin in content. If it had been a good earner, I would have attempted to revise it to meet the new standards.

Ball Christmas Ornament (ball-christmas-ornament)

This Squidoo lens was ‘warned’ for 21 days, and is now unpublished and locked from public view.

The lens has demonstrated content and policy violations that are against our Terms of Service. In addition to enforcing our TOS, we reserve the right to unpublish (lock) lenses that have shallow or poorly written content, or for any other reason. Read more detail about our locking decision below, which is the same warning the lens was given prior to this action. More questions? Read this FAQ.

This lens is no longer earning royalties, is not visible to the public and will be deleted entirely in 60 days. Here’s how to export your lens content if you want to save it before it gets deleted.

This might be the standard message, since I don’t think the lens had 21 days of warning. The standard right now is 7 days for a lens in a non-giant account.

The other message offered is pretty much the same one you see when your lens gets a “heads up” with the yellow icon on the lens list.

 Low Quality content 

This lens appears to be too commercial, or otherwise low quality

Our system has flagged this lens for being overly commercial, and for being generally lower quality than our community would like to support.

How to Export Your Content

What to Do if your lens Gets Locked