Thursday, March 11, 2010
Let the ideas spring forth
I don't know about you, but I've always loved spring. When I was up north for college, spring was my favorite season because it marked an end to the long and gray winter. As soon as the mercury crept above 50°, my friends and I would put on our shorts and head outside to "study" on the lawn. More often than not, our books got set aside and we'd just lay there daydreaming about what life might have in store for us after we graduated.
Spring here in Florida isn't as dramatic, but it's still really beautiful. I celebrated today by pulling out my new springtime skirt that I made for the under $5 challenge in "So You Think You're Crafty." And I also spent a little time reflecting on what might grow and bloom in my world this spring.
Along these lines, I've been making a committed effort to be a better blogger. What does that mean? I've definitely been posting more regularly, which I think is a good start. But I know that quantity isn't everything. Quality matters. Connecting with readers matters. But what else should I be thinking about?
It just so happened that Sister Diane was offering a related (and free!) online class today called "The Crucial Element of a Strong Online Personality." I stopped by, read as much as I could, and realized a few things.
Blog mistake #1: Head over heart
I've probably been putting too much emphasis on trying to be informative and haven't been allowing enough of "me" to come through in my posts. Yes, providing useful information can help your blog be "high value," as Diane puts it. But I definitely think my posts need more passion. It's funny because I'm actually very passionate about the crafty stuff that I do. I mean, why else would I do things like spend 7+ hours hand sewing a necklace? There's gotta be passion in there somewhere! I just need it to come out in my posts like it does when I'm crafting at home or out teaching workshops.
Blog mistake #2: Thinking too hard
Several people in the class commented that one of the hard parts of blogging is that you constantly have to come up with blog topics. I have to say, this isn't something I've ever experienced. In fact, I have the opposite problem. I feel like I have a ton of great ideas but they all just seem to tumble around in my head instead of finding their way into posts. I think that rather than figure out what might be the "best" topic to blog about at any given point, I need to just go with what I'm feeling for that day. And along those lines, I need to realize that it's okay to post something that might still be a little rough around the edges, or to post something short and sweet. They certainly don't all have to be as long as this post is shaping up to be! The bottom line is that I just need to keep posting.
Blog mistake #3: Skip topics that other bloggers already covered
Let's say you really like to make things out of recycled wool sweaters. But over the past few years, a number of bloggers have been posting tutorials on how to work with felted sweaters. Does this mean that you shouldn't put up your own felted sweater tutorial? Absolutely not. Sister Diane reminded us that each of us has a unique voice, and our voices will connect with unique individuals out there in the blogosphere who want to hear what we have to say. It made me realize that I need to finish that coptic binding tutorial that I put on the back burner a few weeks ago. I really believe that it has a good shot at being the kind of high-value tutorial that Diane encourages, because there's nothing out there right now that's like what I want to do.
So what about you? If you write your own blog, what sort of roadblocks and opportunities for growth have you encountered? How have you gotten past them? And if you're reading other people's blogs, what sorts of things do you savor?
And getting back to the topic of spring, don't miss Scoutie Girl's blog post that includes a roundup of how different craft bloggers see spring. It's especially fun for the Northern gals to get a glimpse of what's already blooming here in the South!