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Blogging and What I Learned on the Therapist's Couch

by Moshe Mikanovsky on 5/20/2010 12:16:49 PM

This article is by Moshe Mikanovsky, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.


For a very long time, I have read about the benefits of having a blog and how it can help in promoting your art. But the resistance to start blogging was so strong that I just postponed doing it on grounds of different excuses.

One day, about 8 months ago, I met a good old friend, who has some history and experience in psychological analysis.  I told him about this anxiety and how it doesn’t make sense! He suggested to do a role play game, where he will be the “therapist”, or my inner mirror, and I will literally sit on the “couch” and analyze what is it that make me be so, well, afraid.

The results are actually staggering. 

But let me first list some of the things that kept me behind:

I had nothing to write about. This was probably the thing I was most afraid of. How could I come with constant content on regular basis, day in and day out? After all, what I really wanted was to promote my art, so how much could I say about it? I also wanted to be original, so I didn’t care for writing another how-to-draw or what-color-mixes-work tutorial. These I could find (and so could everyone else) on other sites and blogs. 

I was afraid to be too personal and “expose” myself. Now this was really an irrational fear. For some reason I thought that my entire private life would be exposed once I write a blog. And one wants to maintain some separation, keep our private lives to ourselves.

Who would want to read it anyway? Hmmm, if I kept it original, assuming I had something to say, would anyone really want to read about it?

Even if I wrote once or twice, it would be too hard to maintain it on a regular basis. Being afraid of creating a habit is a funny thing. It might relate closely to the other fears, but if it’s a good habit, what is the issue here exactly?

How would I get people to find it? What if I wrote and kept going with it on a regular basis, but no one read it? Wouldn’t that be a waste of time?

My mother-tongue was (is) not English. Was I good enough to write constantly in English, while it is “just” my second language? I am not an English-major and still have lots of grammar issues.  {Note from the editor:  Editing Moshe's articles isn't that difficult...he's being much too hard on himself!}

I never learned how to do it. I wasn't a professional writer and I didn’t really know what I was doing.  

Thinking back about it, it wasn’t obvious to me how to tackle each of these issues. My friend’s help was to first talk about it, put it in perspective and try to think logically if any of these fears are real or not. Then, he suggested that if I really feel I should start blogging about my art, then to take baby steps. There is no need to write anything personal. There is no need to commit to write every day. Once a week should be a good start. He suggested I should pick few of my existing paintings, and just tell a story about them. And then – see what happens.

And that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t hesitate another day, but started immediately. If I would have waited, who knows, maybe I would still try concurring my fears, not writing these words at this moment. 

Looking backwards, here are some of the things that helped me:

I had nothing to write about. That’s not true. Starting with few of my paintings, and the stories behind them, I started thinking about other things to write. I created a simple log of ideas in a Word file, and every time I had a new idea, I just wrote it in there. Then, if I have nothing to write about, I just pick one of these ideas from the log. And right now I have quite a few. Ideas are coming all the time, from different resources, and you don’t need to have ALL of them when you start blogging. They will come to you in time. 

I was afraid to be too personal and “expose” myself. I am the one who controls what I write about. So I can control how personal to be. And people like personal stories, but it’s up to me to decide what is in and what is out. I am my own editor and have full control.

Who would want to read it anyway? Surprisingly, many people do. Not everyone is interested in everything I have to say. But that’s OK. I try keeping it varied. Also, I don’t focus only on my art, but I give a stage for other artists and other ideas that I like. And people connect with that.

Even if I wrote once or twice, it would be too hard to maintain it on a regular basis. Well, it’s not easy in the beginning, and still sometime a juggling act with many other activities and life’s demands. But once we see our success and we enjoy it, it makes things easier. One of the tricks is also to keep a success journal – writing down all your success stories, when they actually happen. Later on, when in doubt that you were really successful or not, all you have to do is read your success journal. It will remind you of every success, and will bring you back the feeling of being successful.

How would I get people to find it? Patience, being friendly with people, using good SEO practices, making it simple, networking on social media, helping others – there are lots of ways to connect and get people interested in what you have to say.

My mother-tongue was (is) not English. So what? Doesn’t seem to bother anyone really.

I never learned how to do it. Again, so what? Most people didn’t learn how to do it; it comes with time and practice. And anyway, some things cannot be taught. When you speak true and be original, people won’t care if you learned it paying premium dollar on the way, or just talking from your heart.

Like I said, I am amazed with the results. It really works! One proof of that is the fact that I am writing this article, for FineArtViews, as a regular contributing writer. How awesome is that?

So if you are like I was, with some of these fears, or maybe others, to start blogging, or maybe another activity you were always wishing to do but never had the courage – don’t hesitate. Analyze it, concur your fear, be strong, and see the fruits of your success coming shortly after.

With blessings of strength and courage,

Moshe



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Related Posts:

The True Value of an Artist Blog

Alyson Stanfield's Suggestions for Bloggers

Blog Post Ideas from Barney Davey

Blogging is Easy . . . Art is Not


Topics: art marketing | artist website tips 

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 38 Comments

helen horn musser
via fineartviews.com
Moshe, Thank you for your blessings of courage; need more of that

Elizabeth Stone
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Moshe, your comments about blogging are timely for me. I just posted my first blog on my fineartstudio website yesterday almost by accident. I realized I had something to say about a new painting I put up on my site ("Red Putto") and fineartstudio makes it so easy to create a blog page that I did. Now you are inspiring me to write another blog and another and another. Why not? I think keeping a little journal of ideas and successes is a good suggestion too.
Elizabeth Stone (a.k.a. Betsy Stone)

liza myers
via fineartviews.com
The hardest part is finding the time! There are so many wonderful, interesting, significant things in the art world that I want to share, but if I spend too much time blogging then I am not making art!

Stede Barber
via fineartviews.com
Thank you Moshe for sharing from the heart on a topic I've been hesitating to do...your suggestions, including being my own therapist!, are terrific.

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
Hi Moshe,

Excellent piece! It probably hits all the issues that the rest of us have about starting a blog. As to English not being your first language, who cares and by the way, you at least have that as a fall back excuse that many of us who didn't pay as much attention in grammar school can't claim. Now, if I start my own blog, I wonder what I should write about? Maybe commenting on blogs!

Michael

Diane Tasselmyer
via fineartviews.com
Moshe,

I love your 2 step plan toward blogging and overcoming these "roadblocks".
1. So What!
2. Just Do It(be a Nike)

Carol Schmauder
via fineartviews.com
I enjoy your posts, Moshe. You bring up interesting points about blogging. I only blog when I have something to say, so I blog inconsistently, but enjoy doing so when I do.

Maria Soto Robbins
via fineartviews.com
Very good post, Moshe. Thank you for sharing that. I think a success journal is a great idea. Writing down ideas that come to mind in a Word document is also very sound. I always learn something interesting from Fineartviews posts!


Sue Martin
via fineartviews.com
Moshe, having gone through a similar thought process (and fears), it's comforting to hear that someone experiences the same doubts and has been successful in overcoming it. Thanks for sharing.

Scott L. Hendrie
via fineartviews.com
I finally started a blog the end of last year taking small steps to accomplish the task. I'm glad I did. I don't usually have a lot to say, however all the pieces of my art have stories to them.I have a small following and I'm quite happy with that. As I add more quality art, I hope to gain more followers.

Thank you Moshe, I had some of the same excuses you did or fears. I'm glad they have been set aside for now.

Scott L. Hendrie
scottlhendrie.com

Heather
via fineartviews.com
I've had a blog for about two years now, and when I first started I had many of the same fears (particularly the one about not having enough to write about - I'm generally a very quiet person). I write about one post every week or so, usually works in progress and drawing tips, but I also work in art book reviews, special events and such. I keep my personal life out of it. Last month I was named one of Blogger's "Blogs of Note," and traffic to my site and the number of "followers" increased significantly. Even without that, I would say it has definitely been worth it keeping a blog.

Yvonne Colclasure
via fineartviews.com
Thank you Moshe. Although I do have a blog, I still face some of these same issues. I will look at them differently now. This truly is a wonderful era we live in, so much good information available to us from so many informed and talented contributors.

Judy Mudd
via fineartviews.com
Wonderful post, Moshe. Speaks to my own fears and hesitations. Thank you for sharing how you worked through these issues. Congratulations on your achievements and becoming a great blogger!

Kathy Chin
via fineartviews.com
Hi Moshe,

You accomplished a lot by conquering your fears and getting onto the blogger's track...and we're all the better for it. Thank you very much for putting into words what a lot of folks, artist and otherwise, have secretly worried about.I found myself, as I'm sure others did, nodding in agreement to nearly everything you said. I started a blog, but have not kept up with it, probably for some of the reasons you mentioned. Sure, I've been busy, but maybe that's not the ONLY reason. Sometimes many of us think too much about what others might say,or worse yet, we think they might laugh. But I found that, guess what, I'm still alive, even after writing something. From now on my attitude WILL BE, "I'm going to write this, and if someone doesn't like what I'm saying, that's their problem, not mine!" And if no one sees it, so what too...I'll still be a better person for having written it!
Thank you very much for helping a lot more folks than you know!

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
I have had a blog on Blogger for 4 years, the posting has been sporadic but I have kept it going. I am going to add to the problems list for not doing blog posts. One problem is, I have saved so many other blogs I am following that I spend too much time reading. Then there is not enough time to be creative with my own blog.
Next, is family, there is always an applecart that gets upset around here and with my office being the formal diningroom, I have front row seats to the drama 24/7 in this house.
Somehow I manage to squeeze a few written words and an image out once every few weeks or month.

The same goes for my monthly news letter, each month keeps going a few days more into the next month. I am overdo for one right now.

As mentioned above, I do like the success log, lately I could use the positive self reflection.

I think my gray hairs are really mounting in numbers, someday I will look back on all of this and say Whew! I made it through it all!

Moshe Mikanovsky
via fineartviews.com
Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments! Its almost like a group therapy now, sharing our similar feelings and fears, and encouraging each other to be more successful overcoming them.

I would love to reply to each one of you, but will do it shortly this time:

Liza - you are so right about time and dedicating it to either making art or to blogging... One of the reasons I don't write everyday, and keep it right now for once a week, is because I am actually busy making art! And I am planning to post the new art on the blog, but then I am even busier making some more, and preparing for an art show, etc etc... Balance is the key thing.

Michael - commenting on blogs is an excellent idea. Even more, writing feedback in your blog about other blog posts, with links to these blogs, will bring you much traffic and interest. It becomes a community thing, people will notice, especially the other bloggers. So try it out... I have done it myself (one of the ways Clint noticed me...)

Carol and Scott - regarding not having much to say - I am sure you will find more and more as you go. One thing I realized is that its not always about me and my art, but also about others... For example, if your art is in a specific niche, its nice to write about other artists in this niche. And do it few times, and more traffic will come over from people searching on this specific niche. I have done it with the niche for "Ketubah art"...

Heather - congrats for the Blogger's notice!

Kathy - wonderful change of attitude! :-)

Thanks again everyone!!!

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
Moshe,

Thank you for the response and the ideas. I appreciate both!

Michael

Gary Smith
via fineartviews.com
Re: Blogging and What I Learned on the Therapist's Couch...by Moshe Mikanovsky

This article was so interesting to me! It voiced my own concerns and answered them. I think it could e used as a guidline for coaching in many areas.

Good article.

Karen Steffano
via fineartviews.com
I started blogging about three months ago and found to my surprise that I enjoy it.
I have a passion for tango as well as art, so I blog about that too, which helps the gap between artworks and gives me something else to talk about. All my tango friends like to read those so it helps.
Plus I found out today that a friend of a friend who was sent the link to my blog wants to buy one of my paintings I posted on there.
So I agree, blogging works, you just have to get going and do it.

Carol Schmauder
via fineartviews.com
My biggest question is: How do you generate traffic to your blog?

Carol McIntyre
via fineartviews.com
Moshe, thank you for the "kick in the pants!" I have been blogging sporadically for about a year, but have a stack of ideas, in my head, that I keep in my head and I don't write about them. I guess I best "do it" and see what happens.

I need to listen to what I would tell my beginning students who were afraid to put brush to paper, "We are not on the front line of a war zone, we are taking steps to express ourselvs and to share with others."

Moshe Mikanovsky
via fineartviews.com
Carol, this is a very good question!
And not all traffic is the same... You want traffic that will generate you income, as this is the main reason to do it in the first place, right?
It is not a question that I can answer easly. Its something you will have to try yourself and see what works. I have blogged on diferent topics, all related to art, but in most cases it wasn't about my art at all. I tried to get some attention, and once I got it, I hoped there will be some revenue generated. I believe this started already (sold few artworks, some items on Zazzle, new licensing opportunities, writing assingments etc). It takes time for it to be substential though, but that's part of every blog.

Hope this helps,
Moshe

Carol Schmauder
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Moshe. As a result of my question here, FASO contacted me with some ideas to try out. I appreciate your response to my question and always enjoy your articles.

Marian Fortunati
via fineartviews.com
Moshe... Glad you were able to overcome your fears... It's interesting to read about them..

I find that blogging has introduced me to so many wonderful people and types of art from all over the world. I love it. Perhaps some aren't interested in reading what I have to say, but as you said,... so what... others are.

And I find that blogging focuses me ... forces me to think about and evaluate my art experiences and balance in life as well as look at my work from a different point of view. I love it!!

Now I'm off to pop over to your blog and check it out!!

Donna Robillard
via fineartviews.com
Thank you so much for the article and how to get started. Your ideas certainly do erase a lot of uncertainties about what to blog about. Maybe I'll get started soon. Thanks again.

maxhulse
via fineartviews.com
I readily identify with Moshe and his reluctance
to post a blog.

The ability to come up with new, original thoughts each day, have the time to write
them, and then hope that someone would find
and read them keeps me reluctant to begin
such a project. It seems I hardly have time
to read and respond to emails and still have
time to paint each day.

Thanks Moshe.

Max Hulse

ABRAMOVICH PATRICIA
via fineartviews.com
Moshe
That s really interesting to read your feelings
about writing a blog.
I can tell you I feel really the same.
I hope I will overcome my "fears" like you did.


Moshe Mikanovsky
via fineartviews.com
Thank you everyone for the new comments...

Here is another idea for you, if time is the issue. We all know that blogging is one of the aspects of marketing online, and for marketing you have to invest some time... So instead of doing it on a daily basis, set up a day of the week that you spend the time for it, prepare all your posts for the following week (if you want more than one post), and then just publish it on the day you want it published.
I have done it on Friday - wrote 7 posts, that I am planning to publish every day in the next 7 days... All is written and ready to go. This will free my days to do other things (like make art) and still keep my blog busy...

Hope it helps
Moshe

Sue Martin
via fineartviews.com
Another great tip...thank you, Moshe!

Jennifer Moore
via fineartviews.com
Moshe, this is a very good article. Many of us go through this dance with blogging. It IS a dance, really. You have your idea and want to get it down, and maybe you do, and maybe you get blocked. You journal ideas, and they take months to manifest, or you bang them out that day.

I AM a writer, and I still go through this.

A thought about English not being your first language: What about blogging on art from your original culture's perspective? That could make for very interesting reading for folks of other cultures.

One thing I do, too, is I make use of my blogging platform's "Draft" function. If I have an idea, I jot it down as a post, but save it as a draft to return to later. Also, on most blogging platforms, you can program posts to post later, so if you have a day where you have, say, four blog posts come to you, you can set them up so that they will publish one at a time, say 3 days or a week apart. Some things to think about.

I'm not real consistent with my blogging, but I find that the response is good.

Good luck!
Jennifer Moore
JenniferLynn Productions, LLC

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Moshe, To write a head of time is a great idea. Thanks

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Moshe, another great tip!

Michael

maxhulse
via fineartviews.com
Moshe That is good planning.
Thanks for this thought.

Max Hulse

Joanne Benson
via fineartviews.com
Thanks for an informative and encouraging article Moshe. I think we can all relate to most of your concerns! Keep up the good work!

Mike Cullen
via fineartviews.com
Sound advice. I've been wrestling with this topic for quite some time. Just can't seem to get past the old 'internal editor'...this comment alone took most of the day for me to compose!

max hulse
via fineartviews.com
I agree with you. It is hard to imagine
having time to paint and write a column
if you also have a private life.

Max Hulse

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Mike, Just try not to take yourself too seriously; we are all your friends here.

Sue Cooney
via canvoo.com
Thank you Moshe, I actually clicked onto this article after receiving the newsletter and reading Celebrating the Unknown Blogging Road.

It can be tricky, and it's easy to feel I'm just talking to myself.

A number of the comments here have helped, especially Jennifer with her comments as a writer, very refreshing to have the cobwebs of my own imagination given a thorough dusting.

Your posts will help me keep going.

Very best wishes,
Sue Cooney











 

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