I've been asked numerous questions about my experience with blogging, so I've decided to share some of my thoughts here. Blogging is very personal, I think, and after almost two years of a friend's recommendations I began blogging myself and have enjoyed every moment of it. My physical journal is written and/or sketched in daily so this really is just an extension of that practice. Unfortunately my original blog which was started about five years ago disappeared into the stratosphere, I don't regret anything about it, even losing it entirely. I've come to appreciate the fact that there is a time for everything.
Because of blogging, I have met amazing people and had the most incredible opportunities. My first foray into collaboration happened because of my blog...you can view the results of a year-long labour of love at http://innerworkscollaborative.blogspot.ca.
What I like about blogging is that it's basically a website but not so static. I occasionally write for other blogs as well. Just because it's fun and it really is a pleasure to connect with others. Here are the 'steps' that I have followed in my blogging journey:
1. Research. Just like anything I do, research is key. Fortunately I love researching everything so this is a natural progression for me. I took notice of what I liked and didn't particularly care for on other blogs and found that I loved things to be clean and simple. And, being a visual person, I gravitate towards anything with a pretty picture.
2. Decide what you'd like to share. Photos? Videos? Writing? Updates? Work-in-progress? Recipes? What is it that interests you? What inspires your work/life? What are you involved in? My personal choice is to share books, quotes & poems (love literature), work-in-progress, and because I've often been chastised (in a good way) for not sharing what I'm involved in, such as exhibits or arts in my community, I'm also sharing more of my daily life as an artist.
3. Find a platform you like...first of all, free was key for me as I had decided many years ago that my art supplies are expensive enough, I really don't want to pay for anything on top of that (well, within reason of course). And I wanted it to be user friendly (translation - "easy"). There are so many different blogging platforms - Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, SimpleSite, Posterous, Tumblr, among others, and my current platform Weebly.
4. Decide how much personal information you'd like to share online. I've found blogs that share every emotion throughout every day to be exhausting. Also, because I have a family history of clinical depression I try to make a point of having as many positive experiences in my day as possible so I tend to gravitate towards those blogs that share happy thoughts, beautiful photographs (even of the most mundane daily things) and interesting tips. But it really is up to you. I also keep my family a little more to myself, because lets face it, not everyone agrees that my children are the most beautiful and perfect beings on the planet (VDH?!? - acronym for my German relatives' "Vat da heck").
5. Speak in your own voice. A few years ago I took a number of writing classes just to improve my written communication, especially in my work as I write statements and articles for publication. The best thing I learned was freefall writing...just start writing and don't worry about editing for grammar and punctuation until you're done. I never plan my blog posts, I just sit down and write whatever it is that I feel like sharing at that moment. I've had some of the greatest experiences when I met people who connected with me through my blog and said that I was exactly the same in person as online. A huge compliment (I hope!).
6. Take lots of photos...if that's what you chose to add to your blog as they are great fodder for blog posts.
7. Decide on the frequency of blog posts. Some blog once a month, others daily, and others whenever they have something they'd like to share. I typically blog during the week, leaving my weekends for my family but I don't always follow that structure. I really want to enjoy this experience so if I'm not well or tired or especially busy, I let it go until I'm ready to blog again. You never need to apologize for not blogging when you choose to blog again.
8. Remember that everyone has something interesting to share. Honestly, if you love it, someone else will love it, too. It's a real pleasure to connect with like-minded souls.