Darren Rowse, over at Problogger, has once again posted a great read entitled Ten Habits of Effective ProBloggers. It serves as a source of inspiration and advice, and is Darren's submission for his Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers - Group Writing Project.
While I'm relatively new in the blogosphere (I certainly don't have Darren's 4 years of blogging experience) I thought I'd add my two cents to Darren's invitation to participate in the Group Writing Project. You can read Darren's list for yourself, but for the purposes of this blog, I'm going to tweak this post to reflect those ideas and thoughts that I feel will help designers and artists in their own quest to become successful in the blogosphere AND to illustrate the type of quality content that can be found in this medium.
So here is my list of what, for me, makes for effective blogging. I'm not sure I could call these things "habits", but for sure, the most effective blogs I've seen all seem to have similar qualities.
1. Write quality content. You've probably heard this before but I'm saying it again because content is king in the Blogosphere. Offer something of use and worth to your readers. Be unique. It is my opinion that there is a real void in arts blogging. Yes, there are some great art/design blogs and you will find some of them listed in my sidebar, but we, as artists and designers who blog, are at the forefront of this new media. There is room for so many more minds. Be a leader and shine a light on this passion we call art.
2. Never lose your own voice. Don't try to write as you think others want you to write. Say what you feel and think in your own way. Have fun with it, rant, explore and ponder. Join the discussion. I'd like to point you to an excellent discussion that was going on last week over at Arts Journalism blog: Critical Edge. And another at Edward Winkleman regarding Art about Art and Elitism. The voices in these two blogs, and in the comments sections within, are simply sparkling examples of the type of discussions out there and the brilliance that can be seen in the blogosphere.
3. Read other blogs. You can't create your blog and hope others will come visit you if you don't go out and visit them. Don't do this just for the sake of creating traffic to your own blog, but my goodness...go forth and read. It's good for you and some of these guys will blow your mind with new ideas and insights. Again, leave a comment and take part in the discussion. This is about community for heavens sake and I believe those authors who are well read and informed make better bloggers. So, sign up with Bloglines and start adding those favorite feeds to your account.
4. Keep a note pad handy. Ok...this is a habit. I read a lot and often as I do so, I'm struck by some inspiration or idea that I want to share here on my blog. One idea generates another idea and so on. I know I'll forget all this stuff unless I write down a few notes. This serves to remind me of topics and commitments for this blog but also serves as a great resource when I feel the pinch of writers block.
5. To blog or not to blog. I'm not sure that all artists and designers want to become bloggers. It's really a personal decision whether or not to start a blog. But I know that once you make the commitment to start a blog, it takes hard work (often many hours that your readers will never know about), commitment and dedication. Just like when you made the decision to become an artist or to start your own business, blogging will succeed for you if only you don't give up.
6. Don't just post images of artwork. Use the artwork to illuminate what you have to say and vis versa. Add content to the post. Write your thoughts about what inspired you to create the artwork, how you feel about it and where you think it might take you next. People who love art also love the 'behind the scenes" stuff and getting to KNOW the artist will help your blog and your work become successful.
7. Write at night? Yup...this is another habit of mine. I seem to write best at night. It's that time of day when my mind is most quiet and I can sit back and reflect on what I want to say. It just works best for me, but of course, you will have to have your own special time.