Woo hoo! This blog is three years old today! I’m still astonished that something which I started as a random experiment three years ago is still going strong. Usually, most of my projects only last for a fraction of this time but, for some reason, updating this blog has become a regular part of my everyday life. For three years!
So, as I did on this blog’s first anniversary in 2014 (here and here) and on this blog’s second anniversary in 2015 (here), I thought that I’d list a few of the things that I’ve learnt about running a blog over the past year. Yes, I know that this goes against my “don’t blog about blogging” rule – but it’s a special occasion!
1) Some things change, some things don’t: One thing that I’ve noticed in recent weeks is that virtually all of my daily articles seem to be about making art at the moment.
Although I’d originally expected this blog to be a blog about writing (with a few reviews and articles about making art), it now slowly seems to be turning into a blog about making art (with a few reviews and articles about writing).
This is probably mostly because I’ve been practicing making art a lot more than I’ve been practicing writing fiction. Even so, it’s still surprising to see how much the focus of my articles has changed over time. And, yes, if you write a blog for long enough – then there’s a good chance that it might start to drift in a direction that you may not expect it to.
My advice is just to go with the flow. Writing about what fascinates you at the moment (as long as other people are interested in it too) is more important than trying to maintain a consistent theme on your blog.
This is because it’s easier to write about what you’re interested in at the moment and because it’ll help you to keep feeling enthusiastic about blogging. Yes, it might alienate some of your readers slightly, but it’ll also ensure that your blog keeps going.
2) Recycling (and time/energy budgeting): When I’ve been working on an art project, a comics project or (on one occasion) a writing project, I usually need to focus more of my time and mental energy on that particular project. But, at the same time, I also want to keep posting daily articles on here.
As such, I usually have to try to write my daily articles in a more efficient way when I’m working on a project. What this usually means is that I’ll write about things that are related to the project I’m working on at the time (so that I don’t have to think too hard about what to write about). In other words, I recycle what I’ve been working on in order to make an article quickly.
It also means that many of my articles will contain recycled title artwork – since making new title artwork for each article by hand can take anything between a fifth to a third of the total time it takes me to write an article.
One fringe benefit of this is that I can often digitally add whatever artwork I’m working on at the time to my title artwork. With a little bit of creativity, this can sometimes actually result in more impressive title art than usual. Like this example from earlier this month:
Still, if you’re working on another project whilst also making your blog, then it can be useful to work out ways to “lessen the load” so that you can keep blogging.
3) When (and how) to make it about yourself: One of the early rules that I set myself when I started this blog was that it wouldn’t be all about me. In fact, this is probably why this blog is still going strong three years after I started it (compared to my previous short-lived attempts at writing diary-style blogs).
However, when I’ve been feeling uninspired or unenthusiastic, I tend to write about myself a bit more. This is for the simple reason that it’s often easier to write about yourself than it is to write about other things. But, there’s a right and a wrong way to do this.
The trick here is to make sure that you still include some kind of general advice or information that other people will still be interested in reading about. For example, if you’re writing about a painting or a drawing that you found difficult to make, then explain why you found it difficult and – more importantly – describe what you learnt by trying to make it.
If you also provide something that other people will find interesting or useful, then you can write about yourself more than you might think.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂 Here’s to the next year 🙂