This is a Q&A post. Well, really it is a S&R post (situation and response). I don’t like the term “question and answer” for anything related to the big matters of life because 1) there’s no expert on those matters and 2) there’s no one answer for those questions. What I share here feels more like a response, the thoughts and memories that the situation evokes for me.
This comes from Barbara Swanson Sherman, who is an artist and a reader of my blog.
I just posted a reply on your blog, but I have something more personal to add. You’ve inspired me with your response to Kim.
I’m starting a blog, to bring people to my website and I’m feeling a little paralyzed. (Is that like being a little pregnant?) I thought all I had to do was show my art work, but now I have to write too? Drawing is easy, actually transporting, but writing is hard.
When I look at my life I see that I’ve done a lot, in fact, I’ve lived the live I wouldn’t have dared to dream of when I dropped out of college. Teaching, raising two kids, staying married, making and keeping friends, entertaining, decorating, serving on the boards of my church and my art school–there are so many different parts that it seems a bit out of focus.
I have found that I need to talk everything over with someone before I start–maybe I should just put it out there and see what comes back?
When I look at established blogs I get totally intimidated.
There’s so much in this email — so many different ideas and points I want to respond to.
1. I feel your pain! As you know, we’re in the middle of this shift in which artists and authors now have the opportunity (which is wonderful!) and the responsibility (often overwhelming!) to handle much of the marketing for their work. They need skills in PR, blogging, selling online, making video or audio to do that. I think that in 10 years, maybe even in 5, many more resources will be available to support creatives in growing their businesses, but for now, there’s a lot of fragmented pieces creatives have to do on their own.
2. In the midst of that overwhelm, it’s hard to discern what advice to follow and what it’s okay to ignore. When I first started blogging, I felt like I was in a foreign country trying to learn the culture. If someone told me “we wear neon green socks here” I started stressing about whether I could live with wearing them everyday!
What I found, through hard-won suffering is this: there’s a dance, really a sacred dance, between taking in all the new information/advice about online business AND, on the other side, putting up a boundary to it, and discerning what’s true for you. You can throw out advice, break rules, and do your business in the way that works for you.
3. So the question becomes, “what’s your way – not only your way with blogging, but more broadly, your way to get what you want for your business? ” If we were chatting about this, I’d want to know what your most important goals are, with regards to your art and your business. Not anyone else’s vision for where it should go, but your real desires. And then I’d want to explore, what are possible strategies to get you there? I’d say, let’s brainstorm 25 possible strategies — realistic and unrealistic. Then let’s look them over and choose some to pursue, adapt, etc.
We’re looking for a strategies that meet three criteria: they 1) tap your strengths 2) are enjoyable/energizing for you and 3) help you meet your goals. Maybe its blogging maybe it’s not, but there are no “have-to’s” here.
There really is no one-size-fits-all — it’s about thinking clearly about your goals and finding a strategy that helps you reach then AND is the right fit for you. If it feels draining, heavy, un-fun…it’s not the right strategy for you.
I’m going to write a Part II in response to the second half of your note…more thoughts about being a beginning blogger, if you do choose to go that way — that’s coming soon!
p.s. Barbara’s note plus a few others I have received lately have inspired me to do a free call about my own journey/learnings growing this blog. If you are a blogger, or are thinking about it, and want to know what I wish I knew when I started, what’s worked best for me and all that good inside scoop stuff, SIGN UP for next Friday’s free call HERE. Signing up will also give you access to the recording.