Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why You Should Have an Art Blog - Part 3

Bearded Iris in Blue
(yes, this is the same image as yesterday,
with a blue background, couldn't decide which I liked)
6 in x 6 in, acrylic ink and brush
copyright Rose Welty


This the third post in a series on the benefits of blogging for artists. See part 1 and part 2.

Difficulties you face and how to face them
  • Challenging yourself - this is often the trickiest bit, challenging yourself to go beyond your current limits. Well, they are your limits, you can leave them there or you can move them.
  • Learning some techie stuff - this is daunting, but you can take it one step at a time. You can start a blog very simply through blogger.com. Just start one, don't tell anyone, start it, post a few times to get the hang of it, delete what goes wrong and when you feel comfortable, tell others. I started just by telling my parents I had a blog...my heart raced with excitement. We all begin somewhere. As well, one of the best things about bloggers...after they figure out how to do something (especially tech-related), they usually tell the world.
  • The "not polished, not professional" spot - when I began posting, my flash was throwing glares all over my sketches and I didn't know what it was for an ...embarrassingly... long time. It took a while to figure out what I wanted to talk about on a regular basis, how to say it, and how to sustain it. You know what? We have all been there! No successful blog out there began perfectly (or if it did, you'll find out later that it isn't the person's first blog.) These things develop - be patient with yourself, you are building skills. One other note on the subject of "not perfect," in some cases, this is a plus - people like to know that you aren't perfect and that you are learning too, this can make you less intimidating.
  • "No one reads this, no one cares" - publicize yourself and they'll read. Write good stuff, post good art, they will care. Seriously, people will find you. I haven't gotten around to the SEO optimization yet, I signed up for technorati and haven't done anything else...and yet somehow people have found my blog. I do comment on other blogs and participate in group things when I can, but I do those things because I like to join in on discussions, say thank you, and learn from others - people clicking the profile and finding my blog is an unintended benefit.
  • "What will I say?" - Well, that depends on you, ask yourself questions like: what is a topic I really know about? what am I passionate about? what do I want to research or know more about? can I tell funny stories? Art blogs lend themselves to diversification to some degree. There are many art blog types: "here's my image and the link to buy it," "here's my art and what I did today," "here's how I make my art," "we're chatting in my studio," "here's my art, my kids, and my cookbook," etc. Find something that works for you.
  • "I have nothing to contribute" - I don't think you really believe this, otherwise you wouldn't be making art, right? And as the Bible says, "there is nothing new under the sun." Even if someone else has talked about a topic already doesn't mean you can't discuss it in your own context.
  • "I'm just a learner" - (cue Star Wars music) we are all but learners...when artists become jedis they tend to stagnate. :D
  • "Spammer and Identity Thieves scare me" - they scare me too and they should scare you. Although, don't let them scare you to the point of not progressing with your art journey! Spammers are a nuisance, but they can be marginalized. Identity theft is a serious issue and handling it is a personal decision. But you are in control...you control what info about you is on your blog. Don't name yourself, keep your location secret, give only your first name, etc. I've seen lots of clever use of nicknames. Just like you protect your wallet when you are out in public, protect your identity when you are on the Internet.
Please chime in on the comments if you have something to add...

9 comments:

Valerie Jones said...

Rose - I love your encouraging posts about blogging! You answered a lot of questions that have been in my subconscious.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Rose - well done!

This has been a really well thought out and useful series of posts about blogging for artists which should definitely be shared - in my 'who's made a mark this week' blog post on Sunday!

I'll also add them all into the why artists should blog section of my information site Blogging - Resources for Artists as yet more encouragement to those who are still thinking about it

Hopefully you'll have a few more people coming to visit you! ;)

Robyn said...

I'm sorry I missed these posts as you were writing them, Rose. Anyway, I've caught up now and absolutely agree with you about the value of blogging for growing one's ability as an artist.

For me, it is a great motivator not to go too long without painting something to post and the great bonus is the unexpected friends it brings; the incredible generosity of people who visit and those that share their skill and techniques.

I can't imagine life without my blog.

Joyce said...

I enjoyed reading your blog about blogs and it's so true. Also enjoyed your paintings.

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks for this series of posts and so eloquently expressing what I think I've thought, what I've thought and forgotten and what I should be thinking about. After 9 months of blogging I still sometimes wonder why and my heart still thumps at my audacity...but I think interaction is what it's all about. It is wonderful to be able to glimpse into other artist's lives and have them come into mine - and a great motivator.

Rose Welty said...

Thanks everyone for the nice comments!

Katherine, thanks for the publicity.

Robyn, exactly, I can't imagine life without it.

Joyce and Cathy, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Tracy said...

Hi Rose,
Sorry I missed this while it was posting. These are great!

I've had my blog for 9 months now, and I just love it. It does all the things you mention in here. I started it reluctantly kicking and screaming that I hadn;t the time, but what a joy it's been.

Thank you for putting it all so succinctly!

Jo Castillo said...

Thanks, Rose. This is great information for new bloggers and a good reminder for the rest of us.

Lynne said...

Well here it is, many months after you posted these excellent points about blogging for artist! But it is still so very well thought out and expressed. Thank you very much!
Lynne