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I recently read an interesting quote from Ira Glass. Everyone who gets into creative work, he argues, gets into it because they have good taste. But then, for a while, there is this ‘gap.’ Your work has lots of creative potential, but because of your killer taste – the thing that got you into this in the first place – your work is never as good as your ambitions. And this is the point where a lot of people quit. The only way to avoid this, to close this gap, is to go through a large volume of work. ‘Nobody tells this to beginners,’ Glass said, ‘I wish someone had told me.’
If there is one piece of advice for blogging I’d like you to take away from this article: it’s to just do it. Set yourself deadlines, and do it. It took me – no joke – several years to come to this conclusion. I was reading inspiring blogs, taking a lot of photographs, and I always thought: I could do this. I want to do this. But, somehow, I never started blogging. I didn’t have a title, or the layout wasn’t perfect. And then last summer I finally did it. I sat down, uploaded a few pictures, typed a few lines – and then, over the next few months, I kept at it. And now I have a blog.
For me, it’s a fun form of self-expression and a way to keep track of my life – an online journal, of sorts. It’s an opportunity for me to share bits of my life, travels, current creative endeavours and things that inspire me with friends, family and even a few strangers. The way I see it, everyone has opinions and everyone is passionate about something. The internet gives us the freedom to share it, so why not take it? It’s free, and there’s nothing to lose but so much to gain.
On a personal level, it’ll help you become a better writer and give you the chance to connect with people that have similar interests. A frequently updated, professionally presented blog is also an incredibly lucrative thing to add to your CV. That being said, remember that like with any creative work, if your aim is solely to please others, it won’t be good. Originality, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is dead. The only thing that’s left is authenticity. Content-wise, be true to yourself – that’s what people will identify with.
If you’re looking to gain readers, use your social networks. Start by tweeting or sharing on Facebook whenever you post something new – in many cases, that’s an existing audience of several hundreds of potential viewers. Once you’ve got a steady stream of returning visitors, set up a Facebook page. Pin on Pinterest, email your family. Look into Search Engine Optimisation to make sure your blog appears at the top of search listings. Install Google Analytics to understand where your web traffic is coming from.
In the same way that the secret to cooking well is being able to eat well, staying up to date with interesting blogs is an essential part of creating good content. I use a lovely app called Feedly for organisation and staying up to date, and read across a broad range of categories. A few favourites, by category, include: food (Thug Kitchen, Manger, Food52), niche (Things Fitting Perfectly Into Other Things, Des Hommes et des Chatons), style (Ann Street Studios, The Sartorialist, Into the Gloss) and design (Swiss Miss, GrainEdit).
There’s a blog in everyone, no matter what you’re good at or what you’re interested in. So why not try to start one?