I promised a round-up of the comments that other artists have left about their experiences with blogging and here it is, although much later than I'd planned...
Usiku from Writer's Whirlpool writes:
Blogging has allowed me to reach and meet people that possess a range and depth of human experience, yet it reminds me there is a sameness to us all.
What a lovely sentiment, Usiku. One of the things I love most about blogging is the way it can encourage people reach out and help each other - I've seen everything from people offering words of sympathy to people giving real life support such as organising online baby showers, paying medical bills for ill bloggers, supporting families through bereavement or other difficult times, raising funds for charities or coming together to sponsor art projects.
I get so fed up of all the negative portrayals of the internet because it just doesn't reflect my online experience. Blogging is frequently portrayed as a selfish and egotistical thing to do but I've often seen it used as a powerful and meaningful way to connect with other people.
Michelle from Pencil Portraits brings up a point I hadn't considered:
Another benefit to blogging (for me anyway) is that when I am focussed on updating my blog regularly I am more productive in my art, because I can't wait to post it. But I have noticed a definite correlation in lower productivity when I get slack about updating my blog, so even though it takes a bit of time to post, it is definitely worth it for so many reasons.
I love the idea of using a blog as a way of giving yourself motivation - great idea, Michelle!
Mark from Graf Nature Photography: Notes From The Woods writes:
I use my own blog for connecting with viewers of my own work, as well as exploration of my own feelings and analysis of why I do what I do. Turns out, a lot of readers often wonder the same about their own work. Sometimes it helps just to write things down to work out what you are thinking.
Oh, I couldn't agree more, Mark. I've always used writing, and indeed, making my art, as a way to work out what I'm really thinking and feeling. I've always written about my work a lot so writing on a blog wasn't that big a step for me. I think that so many artists work in isolation and having that link with viewers and other artists can be so helpful - just to get an extra set of eyes on the work, if nothing else. One of the reasons I like exhibiting is because of the dialogue and additional perspective that you can get on the work - I guess you can think of blogging as an informal sort of exhibiting process.
That leads us neatly onto Katherine from Making A Mark, who makes a similar point:
1) Blogging can also be thought of as the virtual equivalent of the 'private view'. Thinking of it like that helps people to pitch their remarks - one to one, helpful, informative - but also professional.
2) I like supporting galleries, exhibitions and other artists on my blog - and they come back and tell me they've sold work as a result. More co-operative support for one another would give a nice artistic twist to "the wisdom of crowds"
3) It should never be under-estimated how much slog blogging can feel like at the beginning - but it is habit-forming and it does get easier the more you do it and the more frequently you post. The growth in visitors is also exponential - my second tranche of 50,000 visitors arrived a lot more quickly than the first 50,000!
Woah Katherine - 50,000 visitors! I can't even imagine that yet but maybe I'll get there one day. I do agree that blogging is habit-forming although I think a lot of bloggers get dispirited at the initial 'writing in a vacuum' feeling. I think you've got to be writing for yourself as well as an audience - if you're getting some personal reward that isn't dependant on other people reading or commenting then it's a lot easier to continue. In that respect it's a lot like making art.
Tina from The Cycling Artist blog brings up the importance of regular blogging:
I've been blogging a while but only recently made a pact with myself to do it *every day*. Strangely enough it gets easier. I used to wonder what to blog about, what was interesting enough to write and direct my fans, collectors and other artists too that wasn't just a rambling self-journal. I didn't want it to be for artists only, so had to find a happy balance. Sometimes I get on a bit of a soapbox but hopefully not too often. :)
It's about 20 minutes each day typing up, copying into two blogs (I duplicate my tina-m.blogspot.com blog over to my MySpace account too). It's a nice start to the day actually. And I've just recently found out about RSS feeds and used feedburner.com to set them up - in case any other artists are as mystified about it as I was!
Tina, I'm interested in the fact that you duplicate your blog over at MySpace - do you find using MySpace works in terms of visitor numbers? I've been wondering about setting up an 'outpost' over in MySpace but I don't want to commit to something that's going to take lots of time.
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