The same fateful week last year when I was getting nudged towards opening a Facebook account, I was getting nudged towards starting a blog. If you read last week's blog, you'll know that I wasn't very excited about Facebook. But a blog? Every week? I was intrigued, but not so confident that I could pull it off ... but I took the plunge anyway.
So knock me over with a feather, today's blog is my 61st! Not exactly earth-shattering, award-winning news ... unless you're me! If that's the case, then it's nothing short of astounding!
Now despite all this – ahem – incredible experience, I'm not exactly a blog expert. I can't tell you what to write, or how to write. I can't tell you the magic words and the order to put them in to have the internet and vistors scrambling to read. But I will tell you that it's one of my favorite chores as a website owner.
I go poking around the internet ever so often to see what great blogging advice somebody can offer me. According to lots of blogging "experts" out there, I'm not doing it right. Because I should be doing it lots more often, and I'm supposed to be giving Google all those magical words that will make them come find me and put me at the top in searches. And despite a dependable, steady stream of 61 weekly blogs, Facebook has dependably and steadily reminded me 60 times that "folks haven't heard from you in a while ... post something!" ... usually about 2 days after I posted! By Friday I'll get the 61st reminder ... I truly am trying to love Facebook, but they don't make it easy!
So I made an executive decision and decided that I'm doing just fine. I don't care if the experts like it or not. And Facebook can nag me all they want, 'cause I'm getting really good at ignoring them when I need to (which is very often). I'll probably keep poking around the internet to see what the experts are coming up with, because every once in a while there just might be some nugget that will actually be valuable to me. But in the end, I got this. Blogging might be the hardest thing I've ever done. But it sure is fun!
While I can't tell you what or how to blog, I can tell you how I approach it and how it's benefited me and my work. If you're considering starting a blog, I hope you'll find something useful here ... and when I contradict those "experts" I'll tell you why. Remember that every situation, individual or business is different and has different needs. Whether you're listening to those experts or me or anybody, consider it all carefully when deciding what your own situation calls for.
• First, I think that once a week is fine. The experts tell me that daily or even multiple times daily is best ... egads! I wouldn't have time for anything but blogging! There must be industries or situations where that's necessary, but I wouldn't think it would be so for the average creative person. And frequent blogs would have to be a lot shorter with a little less depth. I prefer blogs with a little more meat on their bones.
• I write month's worth at a time. It saves a bit of time ... if I had to sit down every week and get next week's ready, it would really eat into every week's schedule. So 1-2 weekends plus a few evenings does the trick.
• I tend to center a month's 4-5 blogs around a theme. Many months that theme will be based on whatever new art and articles I've put on my site, or if I've gained some insight through a workshop or just doing my own work or some experience or encounter I had.
• Regular blogging keeps me pondering and considering what I do everyday. Even if it's something you love, working everyday can get rote and routine. You can find yourself just going through the motions. With the blog, I get to sit down once a month and tell myself and the world why I do what I do and why it's important. Then I go back to my daily work with renewed interest and a spring in my step!
• One thing the experts and I absolutely agree on is to keep the writing and the tone conversational. Somehow I manage to pull this off, but it's not because I'm so brilliant and talented ... it's mostly just because God lets me draw everyday, and then He gives me a blog where I can tell the world about it! The brain edits it, but the writing is straight out of my heart! I'm so blessed!
• Blogging has given me more clarity. I'm a thinker. It's a needed skill for dreaming up worlds and characters and stories and tales. But too much thinking can muddy your brain! All this writing helps me to organize my thoughts and writing those thoughts out where they can be examined and analyzed helps to edit out the clutter. I've noticed it most when corresponding with clients in emails ... I seem get to the point a little more directly and not ramble so much.
• It gives me some built-in structure, routine and accountability. And this applies to my whole website including the blog. Working alone is fertile ground for getting derailed and letting hours, days, and weeks flow by ... where did they go? What got accomplished? The regular, monthly deadline of needing to have blogs, art, and articles ready for posting has been a Godsend for this flighty artist!
There are all kinds of blogs and blogging sites. I didn't realize until I started poking around looking for information and advice, that some blogs are strictly for making money. They are filled with ads and pop ups and click-heres and invitations to sign onto email lists. And I understand that some bloggers have valid reasons for those kind of sites. You won't find any of that nonsense here.
Come hang out with me any time and enjoy a quiet break from the noisy world. I'll tell you about drawin' and writin'. You can a comment and straighten me out on a few things. And we'll have fun while we do it!
And if you are a website owner, and your web guy is nudging you towards starting a blog, don't worry ... go ahead and jump in with both feet! You're going to love it!