Monday, January 14, 2013

the art of blogging


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I get all kinds of email and asked TONS of questions about all sorts of creative things and once in a while I will take the time to answer many of the frequently asked questions here on my blog!


Something I get asked more than anything (besides questions about my sketching process) is about my blog- my blogging schedule, inspiration and ideas, how to start a blog, etc. So I put together my top 5  blogging tips- these are the things that are most important for my blogging routine and keep me on track and inspired as a blogger. Please keep in mind that these are my opinions based on my own experiences. 




Back in 2005 I was working two day jobs and pursuing my career as an artist in my evenings and weekends. I was taking on a lot of creative side jobs, projects and art commissions in my free time and I decided that a blog would be a fun way to document everything I was doing. At the beginning my purpose was to simply document my journey as an artist for myself and friends. Over time, as doors opened and opportunities came my way, I found that my blog was a great tool for marketing, networking and sharing my work with others. Over the last 7 years my blog has grown and changed with my creative goals. Back when I was working a day job I wasn't able to give blogging as much attention as I desired but as soon as I went full time as a creative entrepreneur I began changing the way that I blog. I set out to create a space that would always be inspiring and uplifting to visit, where I would share my journey but more than anything I would share all kinds of ways to "redefine creativity". My little blog has grown into something I never could have imagined- I currently have hundreds of thousands of readers all over the world, many of my posts and projects have "gone viral" or been picked up by a variety of sites and magazines but the best part is that I have been able to connect with amazing people! I live a whirlwind of a creative life and having a platform to share my artistic philosophy and inspire others has been such a joy!




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I am a big believer in being true to yourself and your strengths. This also applies to keeping a blog. I have found over time that it doesn't make any sense for me to make art, create projects, teach classes/retreats, write or share things that don't feel "like me". Instead I work within my skill set and my strengths. For example- I am not comfortable sharing a lot of personal or emotional information on my blog. Once in a while I will indeed share from the heart but I know this is not one of my strengths. Instead, I made the decision for my blog to be a space where I show- not tell. I am much more comfortable expressing myself through photos, art, sharing DIY projects and inspiration.  I can't tell you how many times I have read blogs where bloggers reveal their heart, their personal life and experiences and I have wished I was comfortable doing this. But when it really comes down to it, I know that I have to be true to myself.

Tip- When you set out to create a blog post try to forget about feeling pressure to write or share the way others are doing it. Instead take some time to really identify 1 or 2  of your strengths and find creative ways to express them in your posts.



Unfortunately with Pinterest, websites, blogs and the internet- keeping things fresh and original can be a challenge and sadly there seems to be a lot of copying and "idea borrowing" going on in cyber space. The #1 rule that I live by as a blogger is to be as original as possible. In order to do this I try not to look for blogging inspiration on Pinterest or other blogs. Instead (like in my art) I challenge myself to use my life, my own experiences and creativity when it comes to ideas and things that I share on my blog. With that said- its hard to be original and chances are there is someone out there with similar ideas or style. When I have an idea for a post (DIY or craft projects) I will first search to see if my idea has been done. And if it has been done- I will not move forward OR I find way to really make my idea unique. In the end I would rather share my own concepts, projects, and ideas than use something that another blogger spent their time and effort creating. 

Tip- When looking for inspiration for your blog stay off the computer! Instead try challenging yourself to look for blogging ideas in your everyday life.



I get asked all the time how I come up with my ideas and where I find inspiration for many of my projects and posts that I share. The answer is that often I can't seem to turn my brain off when it comes to creative ideas!  At any moment (in the grocery store, going for a bike ride, cleaning the house, etc) I can experience a flood of inspiration and creative ideas for projects and blog posts. While I don't always have time to put my ideas into action I will write them down. I have detailed lists of things to make, photograph and share that would take me years to actually complete. I keep my lists on hand when I am preparing to blog and select topics and projects that are timely. 

Tip- Don't underestimate the power of a little idea. Something that starts small can be material for a blog post. Some of my best posts are things that began with something simple and evolved into a tutorial or project.




The only way that I can run a business, be a mom and manage to blog consistently is to stay VERY organized with my blogging. For me it is helpful to keep a good record of all my blogging ideas and inspiration. All those lists that I keep end up in my planner or even up on the wall (see above) where I can see everything. I also keep a blogging calendar on hand- this is where I organize and schedule all of my blogging ideas and posts. At the beginning of each month I will take a look at the calendar and assign a blog post to each day of the month. Then I dedicate 1-2 days to creating, photographing and writing as many posts as possible for that month. This helps me stay ahead of blogging so that I don't feel pressure every day or the day before to come up with something to post.  





I cannot tell you how important it is (in my opinion) to take the time and thought to capture good photos for your blog. I am a very visual person so photography has become the most important way that I can express my ideas and inspiration on my blog. I find that it is helpful to always have a camera on hand (even if it is just the phone on my camera), so that I am able to build a library of photos that I can use for a variety of posts. 


Tips-

Use natural light. I never use flash, instead I make use of daylight to capture my subject matter (including art and craft projects). I have a different locations, next to large windows around the house and my studio where I can set things up to photograph.



Play with angles- try moving around in all sorts of different ways and positions to capture interesting angles and details. 

Keep your eyes peeled for color, pattern, texture and details around you and in everyday life- these kinds of photos can always be used to accompany a blog post.

Take photos of everything! I bring my camera everywhere and try to photos. Even if I am photographing a craft project I will take photos of my supplies, my paint palette, my studio. I file these photos and use them for future posts.

44 comments:

  1. hey there ! recently i have struggling to change my blog template from dynamic to simple one. and trust me it took me so much time to decide which template i should chose, in terms of uniqueness. Your point "be original" is what i had in mind, that my space should not look like anybody else. :)
    You post is really very useful. thank you so much for sharing!

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  2. Great advice. Thanks for sharing. I especially liked the suggestion to stay away from pinterest and other blogs. Will have to make that shift myself.

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  3. I love your insight story about blogging! I so agree with how you think about it/do it!! Although I am blogging for over 4 years now - there's still some new tips for me in your post today. Thank you!

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  4. Thanks as always for you insights Alisa :)

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  5. Lovely and very practical tips about blogging for beginners as well as for those who are in this field for years....

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  6. Thanks for sharing! I love your blog!

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  7. Thanks,very nice your post and very useful...I love how you do it....I love your blog and your little girl is so pretty...
    Hugs

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  8. thank you for sharing your experience! I always follow your blog!

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  9. Thanks for sharing! Like you, I have trouble being intimate in my blog, although I do share some things. I do enjoy some blogs that share; the insights seem to make us feel closer, but you have to do what's comfortable.
    I spend a lot of time outdoors exploring so my art is also reflective of that.
    I'm amazed at how organized you are!

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  10. Kathy4:42 AM

    I am in the process of starting a art/craft blog and am a bit overwhelmed. Thank you for your ideas.

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  11. Some very helpful tips! I appreciate them SO much. Perfect timing! :)

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  12. Your second tip is my favorite! Everybody keeps begging me to get on Pinterest. "I pin your stuff there all the time," they urge. "I know you'd love it."

    Yeah, I probably would love Pinterest, but I believe in this second tip, to challenge myself. To be inspired by my life, my experiences, my view and perspective.

    I really appreciate your voice.

    Kelley~

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  13. Your blog is one I visit every week. Thank you so much for posting these tips. It's very helpful for those of us with a blog! I especially like writing posts in advance. That's one thing I always need to do. My iPad is very helpful with that. I can load photos from my camera right onto it and use an app to write my post. I find that much easier than the computer !

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  14. Love this! I just started a blog so this is great advice for me! I am also really looking forward to starting larger than life today!! Hopefully I will be getting my invitation from blogger soon!

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  15. Thank you, I adore your blog.

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  16. Thank you for the great advise. I have been blogging for just over a year now and am still putting it out there for my friends and I. Blogging can be time consuming so by using the tips you've set out I think I'll be much more organised. Blogging here in the UK about my life/week/living in the countryside is a great way to document a moment in time. I so enjoy reading your blog and seeing your countryside/way of life ~ its fasinating. Thank you X

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  17. Lots of great and useful stuff here, thank you! I need to get myself more organised and start scheduling more posts ahead of time

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  18. Thanks for the honest and very helful ideas on blogging. I too want to be original but it is gettting harder and harder to be unique.

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  19. I love that some of these tips are very much, "DUH," bits of advice! Sometimes, it's nice to have someone confirm what you've been thinking and just lay it out there for you like this. Getting this whole blog thing down is proving to be way more difficult than I expected but this helps fa sho! :D

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  20. thanks. photography is my downfall. i don't think i have the patience. i definitely don't know enough about my camera. but i think the directions were in chinese! ha.
    i recently had several project ideas turned done from crafty websites because the picture wasn't interesting enough. so i definitely need to practice more.
    thanks for the tips though!

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  21. Amen.
    I often struggle with a lot of the concepts you mentioned above. This is a great post!!! Thank you!!!
    I am going to post a link to your blog post on my blog today - this is too good not to share!
    Samantha

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  22. I really think that having a blog is a good thing to track your ideas and share inspiration. It also helps to promote yourself but a blog alone isn't enough. Things that you do like getting published and offering workshops are really the means to attract readers. I think you do an amazing job!

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  23. Great insight! thanks for sharing.

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  24. Thanks for sharing!
    You are very original with everything on your blog. It inspires me to look around me and stay offline for a while each day.

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  25. Thank you so much for sharing I think all us newbies get horribly lost sometimes... well I do!
    What I would like to know, is how do you manage to post such big pictures? They do take time to upload on my side by oh how much I love them all.

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  26. What a great post. You are so honest and genuine. That is why we keep coming back.

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  27. Fabulous post, thanks for sharing your tips. Love your blog

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  28. Thank you for sharring this!!!
    I love your Blog for a long time and your work is stunning.
    Love Helmie.

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  29. thanks so much for the advice. it is so hard to stay away from the temptation to copy others work. i am starting to learn about creating from my own life experiences.

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  30. Terrific advice Alisa! Your blog always feels so fresh and inspiring to me. And even though you may not realize it, it also feels very personal and always very you. You are so gracious to share your knowledge with us!

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  31. Great advice especially on the organization. I am going to stick something for a list on my wall. Love your blog.

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  32. Anonymous11:08 PM

    I love visiting your blog for the very reasons you list. I like the fact it's less intimate than some, I feel inspired to create something, and I'm in complete admiration of your ability to combine all this and be a Mum too. I'm a fairly new visitor, but it's on my daily internet rounds now - I look forward to Fashion Friday's too!

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  34. Ah Alisa. Always an inspiration. You are my blog hero! thanks so much,
    xo

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  35. As a non-blogger myself, your tips helped me to realize how much work putting together such a terrific blog actually is. I always look forward to reading your blog - you do a marvelous job. Thank you for sharing your ideas, your creativity, your inspiration.

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  36. Awesome article and great advice. Thanks so much for sharing. I have been working on my blog a bunch over the past year and am really enjoying watching it grow.

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  37. It is always a pleasure to stop by your blog because, as you wrote in this post, your photography is always a big part of your posts and is visually stunning! Thank you for so generously sharing your blogging tips. You are a continual source of inspiration.

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  38. Anonymous2:41 AM

    Thank you for this post! I have been reading your blog regularly for a long time, and I wonder how you do it all! This helps me!

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  39. Wonderful advice, Alisa. I especially like the one about scheduling future posts instead of doing them daily. It would sure take the pressure off.

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  40. Wow. I'm so glad I found your blog. I re-pinned one of your art ideas with crayon awhile back, but never actually clicked through to see the original post. I so, so love your blog. And I find this article very helpful + inspiring. I'm so looking forward to seeing more. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  42. Thank you so much for the excellent advice :)

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  43. Thanks Alisa for the great blogging advice. I just switched my blog to WordPress and finding I am having a much easier time so I want to blog more.
    I am always looking for advice on the essentials and want to make sure that my followers enjoy reading what I post.
    I've taken many of your online classes and recommend them to everyone I know.
    thanks for all of your help
    Paige

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