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Over Twenty Unpublished Instructables Because. . . . Answered

I have some instructibles for tools, procedures and other things a significant portion of the readers would be interested in, but I'm not inclined to publish them because I cannot enter them in contests unless I published them after a given contest started. I live for my fifteen minutes of fame [ two minutes at a time].  Why should I publish them when I'm still fourteen minutes and fifty-nine seconds from that fame?


One argument against entering already published instructables is that our overlords want fresh meat. And older ones have probably been polished and perfected based on user feedback, so they have an advantage over new ones.

That said, perhaps there could be a category occasionally for the best of the old stuff, like you have "open" classes versus "novice" and "pro".

BTW: The wine cork cutting jig is cool, and the shop rag dispenser also. I use shop rags instead of paper towels for most cleaning and have been wondering how best to store them.

Considering the amount of contests I have won it may be hard to believe, but so far I've only held back one ible (Deadpool Knife Block), because I had hoped for a 3D printing contest (which started about two weeks later (it wasn't announced by the list)). Usually it is the other way around, I see a contest and remember a project I wanted to make in the past or finally document a project I had made (I always take pictures, I am just too busy/lazy to do the write-up since I usually rather start a new project).

I use my drafts to remind me of project ideas, but very often they only consist of the title.

Are you more interested in winning a prize or getting recognition? In my experience the best way to get recognized is to tell people about what you've made, by contacting different websites or using social media. If you are interested in making money off of your
ibles, you might consider affiliate links or sponsorships. This way not
winning doesn't matter as much (especially if you've waited a long time
to publish something).

I just went through a few of your ibles
and am impressed with what you are making, just a friendly hint:
instructables with good pictures do a lot better in contest. Try adding
at least one picture per step and make sure to use good lighting.

Thanks for the tip. From it, there appears to be a pattern forming with regard to suggestions - I need to place more effort on photos and/or crank
up their quality.

Unfortunately, many ibles I wrote were after
the fact. The project had already been done before I thought to share it. For example, I have a unique cart build, but already had too
many carts. Fortunately, I get another shot at that ible, since a shiny thing took me down
a path, which required me to build another, to replace one I stole from my planer (which was too big for it anyway)

Because of that shiny thing (metalplating and metalforming), I was
able to dedicate the planer cart to building a plating/forming station (ible #21) and build a smaller one
for my planer (ible #22). Then I'll do on on the plating and forming (ible #23)

I will make an effort to ask myself if a project would be ible worthy, and to add and improve my photos.

Good plans. Sometimes you can take photos of steps that overlap, that are common to more than one project. For e.g. I wanted an instructable to show how to replace a broken keyboard, but didn't have a camera. although I finished replacing the keyboard in my laptop, my husband had to open his laptop to fix a cooling problem with the computer's fan. It was his project, but I realized I could take pictures of all the steps of him taking apart his laptop and putting it back together, and use some of those pictures to make my instructable. He was removing an old thermal paste (that is supposed to help facilitate heat transfer and reduce corrosion) and then putting a newer substance, a dialectrical thermal grease TG-7 that also has silver in it. I used to keep art and idea files for things I wanted to draw, paint, make. Now I keep digital photos that may have usefulness across problems, needs, projects. This would be like my own personal 'stock photos' for ibles. Of course, you must be careful that those photos are close enough or generic enough to be used without throwing your readings off into confusion.

Because Makers like you will always have ideas (good ones too) and feel an urge to keep making things. This will happen even AFTER that 15 minutes of fame. There is no cosmic rule that says you may only have 15 minutes. Try viewing your self as someone who has abundance, not scarcity. I myself have had unwanted multiple minutes of fame and wished I could have share my ideas without the media blitz. We will value YOU and what you make, your instructibles, without you needing to be a 'winner'. The best way to win in my world view is to SHARE, with those who appreciate you and your work.

What a nice way to say "[g]et off your butt and get back to what you enjoy doing." Thanks

I do understand the concept of unexpected "fame." A week or two ago I found myself being photographed for a national publication, more by accident than for talent. The reason for that photo is out of a new interest and a unique application of an old process.

In truth, I'll continue sharing, but reserve the right share frustration, even if it does bring out the occasional troll. ;)

It's not about the contests man. Its about sharing how to's with the world and gradually continuing to improve on them and add to them. You can combine them, or split them into multiples, and if a contest comes along, just unpublish your best chance of winning, rework it, and republish it. I tweak mine all the time. Some look nothing like they did originally.

Just publish them already. If a contest comes along, unpublish them and add more stuff to make them different/better and republish them.It will be easier and the instructable will be better than if you waited till the last minute to publish it.

Meh, I have 234 unpublished instructables, but that's largely because I have more ideas than time - many of them are written, but not actually done.

I take it your two hundred thirty-four unpublished instructables are like my meager twenty or so and floating in a drafts folder until a time when you aren't knee deep in remodeling projects, granite shaping and forming, electroforming and plating, woodworking, working a bit of electrical for the shop, playing with some electronics ideas, . . . . etc.

So, yeah, I know what you mean. My shop and life is full of "could be instructables," but those will have to wait to even become rough drafts, for obvious reasons.


Just as I think of something cool to make on the cutter, some mad fool decides to make me use it to make money...

What parts of Instructable do you enjoy, other than winning?


Typing it up?

Answering comments?

I think if you spend a few hours to post an Instructable just for a contest, it might look like it's worth it, but you probably won't win. There's more to Instructables than taking pictures and explaining what you did :)

It started with just sharing, Yonatan24. It still is, but the joking about fifteen minutes of fame is a bit Freudian (i.e., there is a ring of truth).

Though I type well, I enjoy typing only because I enjoy trying to take something complex and put it into words those with little or no experience in the area could understand well enough to do or build the thing the instructable covered.

At the same time, I might be a little burned out on writing, since I cannot guess at how many reams of paper it would take to print out what I've written, professionally and not.

A few of my instructables have a few hours into them, but most are written and re-written in attempt to make them clear to someone who never dealt with certain tools. Others presume at least a rudimentary knowledge of, for example, running an over-arm pin router.

Of course, it remains you are right.

I don't know about you, but my hard written instructables showing up as a feature on the front page is certainly enough to make me feel like I've earned my 15 minutes of fame. You can never guarantee a contest win, but a polished, well written instructable almost always guarantees it will be featured.

Yep, that's why I only have fourteen minutes and fifty-nine seconds to go - I've had six featured and came in a runner-up on a contest. Yes, it is a good feeling.

Those things aside, I don't know what stood that six out, because my table saw set up guide and my Combination Set up Guide (blah blah) are the kinds of tools those of us who've worked wood for decades would have sold one of the kids for.

In the end, it I and others post here because we like to share ideas, but we also like the mentioned perks of being featured and the idea of winning a contest. After all, instructables' does these things for a reason.

To be honest, from what I've seen the highest chance of being featured is having a great cover photo that will look good on the front page of the site. That, along with a clear or clever title that makes people want to check it out. Take a look at the instructables you have sitting unpublished and consider what you have for a cover photo. Now consider staging a photo with nice bright even lighting, to present your idea. I think your ideas are great, I think the problem is that they might not be accurately reflected in your cover photo and that may be causing people to skip by. Therefore not giving you the attention needed to get featured or to gain contest votes. Just my 2 cents, hope that is helpful!

I think in many instances you call tell how good an Instructable will be based on the thumbnail and title alone.

If you can make a staff member already know your Instructable needs to be featured before he or she clicks on it...

Think of an enticing title, and take your project outside to take the picture, since your shop lighting isn't very strong. Then use Pixlr to edit the photo until it looks even better.

I like your instructables. They are perfect and I've picked up a lot of great things from you . . just looking over your full list, the rag buckets idea stood out and is something I will literally implement in my own shop.

As far as contests, there is a workshop tips and tricks contest running now, which seems to be right in line with the style of all of your past instructables.

I'm not sure there's a one-size-fits-all answer to why anyone should publish their stuff. People share instructables for different reasons. My reasoning has shifted over the years.

Contests can be fun, and served as a good motivation for me to complete wish-list-type projects because there were deadlines.

Some of my projects have seen long-term traffic, presumably from google searches by people looking for info on specific subjects I had happened to post about. These have proven to brighten my days every time I get a comment from someone expressing thanks for me sharing something they found useful.

Anyway, those are just some thoughts. I don't think I answered your question, but I figured I'd throw my 2 cents out there.

Downunder35m, interesting tips and conclusions. I love the irony. Was it on purpose?

Inasmuch as you indicate merely including humor in any post is a basis for moving the entire post to an entirely new section, would not your post be better posted elsewhere, such as under writing tips or something?

Though I've posted twenty instructables, I've only entered one or two contests. As such, your inference I post instructables solely to enter contests is erroneous.

As to contests, what do you think their purpose is? I'm thinking it's a safe bet they were incorporated into the site because many people enjoy a chance at winning a spot.

The point of my post remains that I would like to see it made possible to enter [never before entered] ibles in a relative contest.

It is your thread, so feel free to clean it up by deleting the posts, I certainly won't mind ;)
As for entering contest I partially agree that it would be nice to enter existing Ibles but if I remember correctly then we had this topic ages ago already.
Long story short: It is an easy way to get more Instructables published, which is good for ads, users and all.
When I started here ages ago I was onlyreading and using some Ibles for my own projects.
Later I started to publish some too when I thought they were good enough.
But never really with any intentions for contests, if possible I entered them if none was available I just published them.

IMHO the whole contest thing needs an overhaul anyway.
More transperancy for the judging, checking if an Instructable is actually complete and that it is possible for anyone to do it themself...
I saw contest winners with their Ible being incomplete, perfect Ibles with great content missing out altogether and even a single person winning multiple prices in a single contest.
So what really is the purpose of them??? ;)

You bring some good points, Downunder35m.

I have instructables I've been working on for a year. They contain pages of information because I know what it was like to start with woodwork, glass etch, electroplating/electroforming, remodeling, auto repair and so on.

In all, some instructables could represent a month or more of work. Knowing you could enter it in a future contest [one time] very well could inspire one to speed up the process and move on to the next ible.

I, often, go back and polish instructables I published previously to correct grammar, spelling, or to clarify a process. I do this even knowing I won't get a thousand more hits, make the featured list, or be chosen in a contest. I would continue to do that even if the rules change. However, the excitement of possibly becoming famous for two more minutes might compromise time spent on that.

If you only post Instructable to enter/win contests then you are doing something wrong.
It is about sharing with other people, showing off what you can do and so on.
Contests are just a bonus ;)

Well, there you have it. I should just leave because I'm a self serving doo doo head?

Before I leave:

1) Can you point me to the official instructables page that lays out what you just posted? I'd, especially, be interested in the page that discusses how I must or should adhere to some altruistic [or similar] standard and give up a little or all of what I invented, designed or learned.

2) What did you think of my posts (instructables), prior to you making your comment?

3) What is your background, in relation to them, including the ones posted or in the future that are actually patentable?

Finally, I guess I could say you missed the tongue in cheek fifteen minutes of fame (with fourteen minutes and fifty-nine seconds to go) statement. Too, you appeared to have glossed over the fact my post was a thinly veiled request the many things I post, including those that already met your demands/expectations be allowed for consideration.

If, by making this thread you tried to make a joke or be funny then yes, I missed that point.
I did not care about your posted Ibles or the ones waiting to be published because:
a) A thread like this only gives people the impression that they should publish something to win a contest.
b) I posted my response because I think the topic is not really helping anyone.

In case you tried to make a joke here you should have used the offbeat section or random jokes.
If you are serious about only posting to win conteststhen please feel free to go ahead as we only know what we might have missed out on for so long once you actually published it ;)