This past week, I had the opportunity of answering some stimulating interview questions about why I blog.
In this post, I'd like to share my answers with you and challenge you, if you happen to be an "artsy, fartsy" blogger like me who has a tendency to pooh pooh such exercises (a passive resistant way of avoiding being "nailed to the wall" with our answers LOL. The fact is, once you know something definitively, you can't undue it so delay, delay, delay
I know that some of you would like to blog but have hesitated setting a blog up. Perhaps out of a fear of some kind (i.e. I am not a writer, I haven't got anything to share. et cetera...you know all the stuff we think we aren't good at) or because you aren't really sure what you want your blog to be about. I'd like to challenge you to mull these questions over and answer them for yourself. Wouldn't it be cool to get some clarity that could move you forward towards a blog of your own?
Personally, I found the exercise to be quite thought provoking and insightful. It made me really think about what my blog was all about and what I had to offer readers. As I thought about and answered the questions as truthfully as I could, I was struck by the depth of my passion to have this blog be a place where you can come to relax, enjoy and learn in the spirit of friendship and camaraderie. There is a part of me that has always known that but WOW it really struck home as I answered the questions on paper! Simple as the questions may seem, answering them has filled me with happy juice and inspired me beyond words. So without any further fanfare... here are the questions and my answers!
How would you describe your blog?
MyStoryART is a delightful, eclectic blog that passionately shares with readers and listeners, wisdom tales and art adventures in mixed media, digital collage, polymer clay, assemblages, jewelry, tutorials, thrifty art tips and techniques.
Describe the purpose of your blogging, what are you trying to accomplish?
Share my knowledge, improve my writing skills, encourage others, be a positive light in the world, have fun yakking about stuff (like art and creating) I enjoy with like minded folks from around the globe.
What blogging platform do you do and why?
What the heck is a blogging platform? Techie talk I guess LOL. I use Google Blogger because it is an easy way for folks like me who are "technically challenged" to do our blogging thing.
What do you blog the most about?
Oh my gosh... that's a tough question! I guess whatever strikes me as relevant for my readers when it's time to write. I write about my experiences in "doing" art, passing along knowledge I have gained or tips I have discovered that may be helpful/useful to my blog readers. I share the fruits of my "fun" labour through show and tell and encourage interaction through contests and giveaways. I seek out wisdom tales and stories "with a point" and record these for my blog. This is my way of sharing my love of and for storytelling and demonstrating to my adult audience that stories are not just for kids!
What kind of blogs annoy you?
Blogs that use foul language. are "mean spirited" or appear "stingy". Blogs that are not well written, designed or are just downright boring. Bloggers who just slap a bunch of words together in a post without much forethought. Blogs that are pushy or "sneaky" in their "reason for being" (i.e. backhanded sales pitches). Blogs that overpromise and underdeliver!
Now let's talk about blogs that use blinkies or are too cluttered. They annoy me to no end and make me very cranky. LOL
Blogs that have ads that pop up and cover what you are trying to read will lose me in the blink of an eye! (Pun intended) I don't care how good their information might be... I'm outa there before you can count to 10.
Give five of your best blogging tips.
* speak from your heart
* write as if you were talking to a good friend
* share photos of your "work"
* say thank you to your readers for their support
* be open, honest, upbeat, human ... don't be afraid to share your mistakes
What are some things you would NEVER blog about?
family/personal issues/problems, gossip, in depth details about "living" relatives, friends, children, grandchildren, political and/or religious views and affiliations are just a few that I can think of off the top of my head.
Did you start blogging for the purpose of making money and if so, are you making enough?
I started blogging to improve my writing and share my art, ideas and knowledge with others. I want to continue doing this plus gently moving into offering select art pieces, jewelry and digital "hands on" art tutorials and designs that I enjoy creating for sale to my readers. This would be a wonderful way for me to share my "creations" with an appreciative audience and earn some $$$ to support my "art addiction" LOL and defray some of the blog/web presence expenses.
How long have you been blogging?
Since the late summer of 2008.
About how many hours do you spend blogging?
I usually try to post at least once a week. I spend a full day beforehand getting my post together. Blogging every day would take too much time away from my personal, family, day job obligations as well as other interests that are important to me.
What promotional techniques work best for you and why?
I have found that I get good responses to contests and giveaways. People seem to like the opportunity to get "something" for free or have a chance at winning a prize. I try to give away stuff that a winner can easily download from my site but I also give away "stuff" I have made myself. Why? Well I do it for the pure joy of giving something to someone who will appreciate it and the work/time that went into creating the "treasure".
Because I don't make any money from my blog, I don't do this as often as I might like to. The production and mailing costs for these "giveaways" comes directly out of my personal "art budget" mad money. In order to continue doing this and perhaps even increase the frequency, the free "giveaways" are becoming an incentive for me to begin selling some of my "creations". This could support me in having a way to pay for the expense of maintaining the kind of blog I'd like to have.
I also participate as much as my time can allow in online art groups I belong to, many of which allow posting a brief notice for blog updates. It's great to be able to do this...and I appreciate the generosity of the group owners who do allow this. It's kinda like asking your "art friends" that you hang out with to come round for a latte and have a peek at your latest creations.
Lately, I have been seeking out blog directories to get listed in. It suddenly dawned on me (duh!!) that arts and craft enthusiasts in the world can't drop by for a blog visit if they don't know that my blog even exists or what the "street" address is. Blog Directories are like the "Yellow Pages"...they let your fingers do the walking and it's up to the blogger to do the talkin'!
What mistakes have you made that you could warn others about?
I haven't really stepped into any big cow flops so far... at least none that I know about!
Keeping a blog current has turned out to be much more time consuming than I originally thought it would be. Writing soaks up a lot of my time. I want to write well. I think my readers deserve that. I want to have a quality conversation with them at least 90% of the time about something that goes beyond idle chit chat. I'm just not a chit chat person! But I have discovered that good wordsmithing doesn't come all that easily for me. It's not unusual for me to labour over a blog entry for the most part of a day. Good thing I find the end result rewarding or I would have given up the idea of blogging a long time ago!
Then there are those times when I don't feel stuck about what to write, I just know I want to write but it just isn't coming to me. I have a list of "stuff" I am interested in writing about but it doesn't seem to do much good at those times. It's kinda like that itch you have and you are darned if you can get at it to give it a good scratch! LOL
Have you met anyone offline as a result of your blog?
Yes I have. Folks who live in my area seek me out as a result of visiting my blog or I "happen" to meet them at art shows, gatherings or local events. They generally know who I am. It's interesting getting to know who they are! I have often found that we have much more in common than either of us would have initially thought. Birds of a feather do tend to flock together!
I often get to meet blog readers who attend art/storytelling courses or festivals in Canada and the U.S. that I go to. It's a fun, surprising experience. Many times, when I have introduced myself, someone will inevitably come up to me and say "Oh, I know you. I read your blog. Gosh, you talk just like you write!".
I have met long time blog readers/followers that I have corresponded with over time (kinda like the "far away" pen pals I had as a kid) who come to our city on vacation/holidays. We will often meet for coffee and a delightful chat ensues about art, life, hopes and dreams! How cool is that?
How can blog readers show their support for bloggers?
1. Be appreciative of the blogger's time spent and effort invested in their posts. Take a few minutes of your time to leave an encouraging/positive/praise comment on their post. Let them know you are out there.
2. Remember your manners and say thank you for "free" stuff from the blogger! Leave a thank you comment on their blog or send them a private "thank you" email. They will appreciate it more than you know.
3. If you like the blog, tell your friends and give them the link. If you don't, keep it to yourself and find one that you do. As mama always said: "If you can't find something nice to say, don't. Move on." Good advice to remember.
4. The majority of bloggers I know are givers. They like to share. They are sincere. Even though you may have heard along the way that some bloggers blog mainly for themselves and don't need praise... give it to them anyway. A sincere word or two of praise and appreciation makes anyone feel good and goes a long way to creating the kinder, gentler, more gracious world the vast majority of us humans would like to live in.
This blogger would like to say thank you to you... for visiting my blog and being one of my readers! This blog wouldn't exist for very long if you didn't stop by for a visit...
Have a great weekend everyone,