I will be talking in class about establishing a blog structure, with categories, navigation, features, but since last week I was being asked by students to talk about the actual process of blogging I have gathered together some thoughts here and some links. I will be expanding on many of them in class this morning.
Set a goal
Decide what type of blog you are writing, and its subject matter. Ask yourself, who do you want to reach and why? What are these people likely to be interested in that you can talk about? Lorelle on WordPress has written an excellent piece on Starting With a Purpose and a Plan and follow the links at the bottom of the page for the rest of the series.
What do I write about? This question is a bit like the question what do I draw? Look around you and what do you see?
Yes content is king but unlike many bloggers who need to look for content, students in the visual arts or designer makers are at an advantage. Students are in a studio all day making things, and thinking about why they make them. Students already produce cultural artifacts of some kind. In other words they make things. Write about this as it what you do and is already rich in content.
Write about the design process, the techniques used and choices made in the production of studio work. Write about how you come to make decisions and why some courses of action are not taken while others you decide to do. Sources of inspiration, both visual and written can be shaped to form a blog post.
This type of writing has two advantages. It will help you clarify your thoughts about your work and will improve how you write about your work but also along the way you will discover readers who are interested in your work. Hopefully you will build the blog to a stage where you get feedback. People will ask questions and you will be able to see your work from a different viewpoint.
Look outwards and offer tips tricks and advice. Students have the advantage that they are in the process of being trained in their field, whereas many people who are interested in the visual arts are not trained. Share what you learn and you will gain readers. Look at what is happening in your field and write about that. What other artists are doing, what exhibitions you have been to and what you think about it.
Provide links to resources for people who are interested in your subject area or any area in the arts that is of interest to you. Linking to websites of interest not only keeps a record of sites visited for you but it also provides resources for your readers. Link to other blogs too!
Above all write about what is interesting to you. Lorelle on WordPress makes this point well in Are You Blogging Your Passion or Blogging to Blog?
Do I have to write every day?
Many professional bloggers would say yes you do but they are thinking in terms of using a blog to generate a full time living such as Probloger . Chris Garrett recently asked the same question. See what he has to say in Creating Compelling Blogs – Do You Have to Write Every Day?
Your goals and a professional bloggers goals are different. I think that for a studio based artist writing regularly is more important than writing daily. Decide to write something say twice or three times a week and stick to it. Make it a regular day for instance every Tuesday and Friday so that readers will learn to look for post on those days. Remember that primarily your income comes from work in a studio not as a writer. Keep it in perspective.
Use the draft function and prewrite posts as you think of them. This has a number of advantages. You can write as an idea hits you and develop it into something better. You can think about what you are writing, mull over what you really want to say. It also takes the pressure off as you are not faced with feeling pressured to write something quickly.
Unfortunately unlike many arts degrees Visual Arts do very little writing because students spend most of their time in studios actually creating objects of one sort or another. We depart the courses we do with a completely different set of skills.
Last week I spoke a little about paying attention to grammar and spelling. I can’t stress enough how important it is punctuate properly and pay attention to spelling. If you do not do this it makes you look bad. Full stop.
A useful tip from Lorelle on WordPress Do You Get to The Point or Ramble to the Point In Your Blog?
How to articles, blogs on blogging, advice and resources
Don’t miss reading Lorelle on WordPress
David Airey lists the Top 7 blog mistakes to avoid in his opinion
Darren Rowse’s A – Z of Professional Blogging includes blogging tools, services and various methods of making money from blogging