This week my blog will be 3 years old!
And, in some ways, my blogging experience has been a bit like a toddler, trying all sorts of new things, experimenting with what it can and can’t do, and occasionally learning new skills along the way!
This winter, through the Surface Pattern Course, I’ve come into contact with a wonderful group of artists, some of whom are just starting out on the blogging road and others who are still thinking about it. A common question that puts people off from starting a blog is, ‘What shall I write about?’
Committing oneself to finding something to blog about, week after week, or even month after month, is a pretty daunting thought! And to those who are still holding back, I would love to be able to say that it gets easier! But the truth is, I still often wonder what more is left for me to blog about. I worry that I’ve said all that I have to say and that very soon my blog will run out of ideas and end up in that great blogging graveyard in the sky - or should I say 'in the cloud'?
But somehow, something always comes up!
One way to make taking the plunge easier would be to decide on a type of blog subject matter that will never run out, such as posting about different artists or designers every time. For that type of blog, all you need to do is regularly spend some time searching the web for new artists to promote – and my guess is that the supply is endless!
A blog that charts your progress as an artist, with updates on your work is fascinating to read but could be more difficult as there may be times when your work isn’t producing anything to write about!
When I started my blog I had very little idea of where it was going.
I vaguely thought that taking the various stages of my life as an artist might provide some structure but beyond that I had no plan at all. In fact, I decided to allow my blog to be a bit of a ‘hotch-potch’, at least until I discovered what my ‘followers’ were most interested in reading about.
So I have blogged about:
1. My own artistic endeavours, going back to my schooldays: When Icicles Hang by the Wall: My Soft Pastel Tree Paintings
2. Tips for artists and designers – and others, such as impecunious gardeners! Ways to Make Money from your Greeting Cards: Six Useful Art Tips - part 1: Gardening on a Shoe-string
3. Seasonal posts to do with the weather (snow paintings, photos of autumn trees, first flowers of spring etc) and seasonal 'Holidays'. Autumn in the Park: Painting Snow: Recipe for a St Valentine's Feast Harvest/Thanksgiving - my Naughty Pencil
4. Progress reports on my attempts to ‘monetise’ my artwork. Red Dragons for Sale! The Traffic Wardens of Style Coffee and Cards
5. The progress of individual pieces of my own artwork and sometimes instructions for a specific technique. Collage Greeting Cards: My attempts to make Repeating Patterns by hand
6. Musings on the life of an artist, the questions that occur to me in relation to it and occasionally even the solutions I’ve found. Is Rejection always a Bad Thing? If Van Gogh had a blog . . . Do you know what you're doing?
8. Art-related and other ‘Funnies’ – including YouTube clips: Something from Wales for your entertainment Nothing to do with Art and Design
10. The occasional rant! Recycling - is it always the best way? Celebrating the Book as Contemporary Art
Three years on I don’t have a clear idea which of the ten types of blog post is the most popular.
So I'm afraid I can’t advise anyone who is just thinking of starting out. All I can say with confidence is that my readership and daily page-views have increased steadily over time.
And I’ve been really appreciative of all the comments that reassure me that I’m not just talking to myself!
The thought that what I write can be read by anyone in the whole wide world with access to a computer is enough to make an introvert like me go and hide under the covers. But I’ve made some wonderful friends through my blog and although it was scary to start with, I would say to anyone who is hesitating, go ahead and do it, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway!’
Sometimes it will seem like a drag, just another claim on our all too precious time. But even though I do sometimes feel like that, such feelings evaporate instantly when someone writes in the comments that my post was just what they needed to hear at that moment! That, for me, is the ultimate reward from blogging!
So, on the third ‘blogiversary’ of my Art & Design blog, I’d like to say a very big THANK YOU to all my faithful followers and especially to those who have braved the challenge of the dreaded captcha and left their comments!
PS - And an extra big THANK YOU to all who voted for my Lovesick Bunnies Valentine's card - thanks to your votes, they won the contest!