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6 things I learned in 6 months of blogging

April 1, 2013

pilgrim

You guys… this is my first list post! I’m usually against list posts because it feels too forced and “bloggy” but I want to experiment. (See #3.)

What have I learned after six months of Pilgrimography?

1. Focus on what you love. When I started, I took an e-course, Blog Love, whose main influence on me was reminding me to blog only about what makes me light up inside, to end up with a blog that I personally love, connect to and would want to read. My head was full of “you have to market your niche for your target audience” blog tips, but really, a blog means nothing unless it inspires the writer personally. This blog is conversations I want to have, things in the back of my mind that I haven’t worked into everyday conversations.

2. Sometimes your initial idea isn’t what sticks; adapt to your own changing interests. When I started the blog I wanted it to be more academic (maybe something like Urban Cultural Studies or Ethnography Matters) and more about urbanism and mapping because I was super inspired by an art collective in Mostar, AbArt, that uses the city as a focus for artistic reactions and strategies. My initial blog brainstorming also had a more journalistic bent, interviews, etc. I have a bit of that. We’ll see.

3. Experiment until you find what inspires you. My blog ended up being much more of a photo blog than I anticipated. My previous blogs were only writing, so I didn’t have an initial vision for photos. In my first posts, I would post maybe 1 or at most 2 photos, but now I regularly post 5-10 photos… right now I like that. I find that I sustain my own natural written voice much better in short spurts– I start to get pedantic in longer form. (Actually I even went back to old posts later and added more photos and shortened posts when I realized this, haha.) I think I initially shied away from photos knowing my photography isn’t that great. But again– it’s what’s inspiring me right now. (#1.. broken record..) Visual inspiration is so important for me right now, and learning to tell stories with a combination of text and images. I have a background in video so working with photos and writing, rather than audio and video images, is a great change of pace. I am having so much fun with it. (Cf. Elsie’s Thoughts on Lifestyle Photography)

4. Give yourself the chance to fail– just keep working. I realized I can’t predict in advance what I like and don’t like about my own work and ideas. I have to actually experiment, post, and then realize days or weeks or months later that I like or don’t like that post. (I went back later and deleted some posts I realized I hated!) For me it takes the pressure of knowing something is “live on the internet” to sharpen my perception. I let myself click the “publish” button, knowing I can always delete later. I just need to start with something. Ira Glass has these super inspiring videos about the discouragement of creative work, where one’s abilities and level of taste just don’t match– “the most important possible thing is to do a lot of work, do a huge volume of work.”

5. Share something personal- your unique personality is what you  offer the world. A big step for me was posting photos of myself. I realized that I was trying to talk about other people’s lives while avoiding sharing myself. Sharing doesn’t have to mean photos, but that was important for me; I was surprised by the positive response. The vanity of taking self portraits says something about self confidence. It’s also practical– faces are one of the most interesting things to photograph and it’s rare to find someone who will let you photograph their face from all angles and then put the photos on your blog. (They might think you are a psycho! heh. So… anyone wanna let me photograph them?)(Cf. Elsie’s 5 tips for better self portraits and 365 photo project)

6. See what else is out there. I also started reading blogs like crazy. Not to compare, just to enjoy different perspectives. People have such different styles, voices, topics.. Seeing other people experiment, innovate and adapt their content and topics helps me figure out what I want to blog about.

Future goals: I want to take Arrow and Apple’s photography e-course Study of Light. I’ll  do a blog redesign sometime in the next few months with e-course Blog Design Love. I want to blog about indie filmmaking, languages, urbanism, tv stations, art/museums and photos from daily life.
(What do you think about “list posts”? I could have written the same things, in paragraphs, without the numbers and without making it a how to. I kinda like it though. To be used sparingly. Maybe. If I feel inspired!)
[ Side note: I liked Shauna’s post about how blogging opened doors and Elsie’s Thoughts on six months of her photo blog ]
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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2013 12:49 am

    I like the lists! It’s really fun to read this and see the discoveries you made through blogging. I love the ideas that you’re exploring (self-portraits, experiments, perspectives), and I feel like I am getting advice from an expert blogger! I’m inspired to write a list post… have to think about this one!

  2. eldinsmille permalink
    April 2, 2013 9:34 am

    You´ve learned enough!
    I didn´t learned nothing since I have this new blogg!
    (:

  3. Julie permalink
    April 2, 2013 10:02 pm

    i like the list format!

    i’d forgotten that it’s only been 6 months since you started — it seems like a part of you now, not just an experiment 🙂

    • April 3, 2013 9:25 am

      yay! i still have this feeling that I “just started” so I love your perspective. i hope i keep blogging in the next years, it’s such a fun hobby 😀

  4. April 11, 2013 10:24 am

    I agree with (almost) all you said. but I would add one thing (at least for me): take time between seeing and blogging – It takes time to really understand what you have seen.

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