I've been thinking lately about this whole blogging thing. I love that through blogging and through the Artful Quilters Web Ring, there's a community of artists and quilters sharing online journals so I can peek into their lives, their creative processes, and their work. And since I began my blog at the end of last year, I've enjoyed the blogging process. It gives me a place to vent my thoughts about things, to share my life with others who might be interested, and it opens me up to comments from others which encourage, help, and inspire me. It makes me accountable to myself, in a way.
But here's a core belief I have, for myself about blogging: I do this for me. It's fun to share the efforts of my blogging and to have readers, but if I start shaping my blog to please others instead of myself, then I lose my own identify in the blog.
So, I know that a lot of people like a lot of pictures in blogs. I do too. But the reality is that I don't always take pictures. And I'm not going to stress about whether people like or don't like my blog because of the pictures. Sure, it's fun to have a reason to take pictures and the blog is a good incentive to document through photos what I'm doing. But I'm not going to make my life more stressful over it. Do I talk too much about my daughter and my family life? Some people don't want to read about people's family lives. On the other hand, this blog also serves as a connection to friends and family far away... and I want to share that stuff with them. The only thing I can do to make sure that the blog reflects me and my life is to write what I want to say, without regard to what some unseen audience wants to see.
I find that I’m attracted to the blogs where I feel a connection to the writer. I’m drawn to the blogger’s personality, as it is reflected in what he or she chooses to post. Sure, I enjoy good photos and nice artwork. But more important to me is the sense of the person that comes through the entries. I develop an interest in and fondness for the writer, and it’s that feeling that keeps me returning to see what he or she is up to. If she’s too busy to quilt, or has detoured into gardening or painting or baking, I enjoy learning about that, too. I guess I like getting a glimpse into whatever it is that the writer chooses to share in the blog.
Others may feel differently. And that’s okay! One of the great things about the world of weblogs is that you can read, or not read. You can follow a blog every day, or you can pop in from time to time and just read what interests you. So, that brings me back to my conclusion, that the key thing is to make your blog yours by writing about whatever you want, from your own point of view, in your own style, however you want. Don't worry about what others want to see or what you think you SHOULD post. It's your journal, after all.
As for the AQ Web Ring, I think that the goal is not to write your blog to fit into the ring, but to write what ever you want because the blog is for you. The ring collects like-themed blogs, but it's a loose affiliation of people with really different lives, different interests, and a common love of art quilting. If art quilting is an important part of your life, it will come through in your blog. If it’s not, it won’t. And again, that’s okay!
I’m reminded of a piece of advice I once heard from a very experienced and successful trial lawyer as his number one rule for how to succeed in front of juries and audiences: "Be yourself, unless you’re a complete a–hole, and in that case be someone else." Kind of sums it up, doesn’t it?!