Guest Blog: Special Topics in Calamity Business – Hey, Lookie Here! The Fossil and Blue Jay Project by Anna Powers

Anna Powers from misosouper shares her 2nd post in her blogging tips series. You can read last week’s post here. for those indie businesses that are as of yet uninitiated into the world of blogging. Anna will be back on the next  Thursday as well.


by guest contributor Anna Powers from misosouper

If you’ve made it through the week excited rather than horrified by Blogger’s blank screen of death, then you’re ready for part two of this series. While last week we focused on why indie artists and craftspeople should blog, let’s try to tackle the how.

For the most part, good blogging isn’t about good writing. (Yes, there are many notable exceptions to this rule, but there are even more great blogs that prove it.) By all means: strive for clear, descriptive, grammatically correct prose. But don’t let the red-pen-wielding specter of your 7th grade English teacher deter you from writing your posts. The key to good blogging, in my experience, is good reading. If you’re a good reader—that is, if you’re reading thoughtful, helpful, interesting things—you can be a good blogger. At its core, blogging is about sharing links; let’s call this the “hey, lookie here!” phenomenon. The things to be looked at can include your own designs, those of your friends/peers/community, or the amazing painting of a blue jay that reminded you to use more color in your work. More on this in a minute.

Birds in Hats from Poor Dog Farm

Also, and I can’t say this loudly enough: it’s not about you. To quote the apt title of shopping blogger Maggie Mason’s book, no one cares what you had for lunch. (Except perhaps your cubicle mate.) There is a tremendous gulf between discussing your cute popsicle-covered toddler’s trip to the zoo, and sharing detailed photos of the zoo’s fossil collection, and how that led you to meditate on the nature of curvature and repetition. The toddler stories have their rightful place, which is on another, more personal journal about your life. This blog? This blog is about your craft. Personal anecdotes, used sparingly, let us see who you are; personal essays, on the other hand, can make us flee for the safety of fossils and blue jays.

Bear. It’s cold. from Hamburger Panda

Finally, don’t feel as if you have to post every day. Several of my favorite blogs only post a few times a week, and because of that, their posts feel like a special treat, like the ice cream truck unexpectedly coming down the street. I’m a preacher of quality, not quantity. If you post three times a week for a year, you’ll have an archive of 156 posts for Google and readers to discover. It’s OK to be quiet for a day or two to read, create, and let your ideas percolate. Disclaimer: I usually post twice a day, but then again, writing a shopping blog is my job. (I have very few other marketable skills.)

If you’re still with me, try this: bookmark 10 blogs in your niche, and 5 blogs outside of your niche. These will comprise your blogroll. (If you already have a blogroll, then I’d still hunt down 15 new sites. The results will be invigorating.) The task of finding 10 niche blogs will probably be easy, since you are probably already checking out what others in your field are doing. Digging through other’s blogrolls will help as will visiting Bloglines, Technorati and other similar sites.

As for the 5 outliers: if you’re serious about blogging, I’d read all of the Problogger’s “31 Days to Building a Better Blog” series, in addition to the articles on Modish’s new Biz Tips blog. Also useful—shameless plug alert—are shopping and design blogs, like Indie Fixx and misosouper. They can give you a sweeping view of what trends are on the horizon, suggest new projects, and introduce you to new artists. Make of these wild card links what you will; parenting blogs and weird news sites work too.

We’ve examined the why and how, so next week, let’s discuss the what. As in: what in the world am I going to write about?

Computer Geek Print from Art by Shano