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If You Don't Have Anything To Say...Don't

by Clint Watson on 10/8/2013 8:28:55 AM

This article is by Clint Watson,  former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here or sign up for his newsletter here.


Photo by Katrina DeFrancesco
Photo by Katrina DeFrancesco


I see far too many blog posts that are clearly written just to write something.


Perhaps the writer had set some sort of "frequency of posting goals" and was driven crazy by that nagging "write blog post" entry on his todo list, so he simply banged out a sub-par post.


Or, perhaps the blogger read something about search engines and "capturing the long tail" of keyword phrases, so she decided to simply feed the beast that is Google.


Maybe he's trying to capitalize on the latest internet "meme" and get some quick "viral traffic."


Even some of the blogs and writers I greatly respect occassionally succumb to this temptation, and, frankly, it cheapens the whole "relationship" between me and the blogger.  I (and I suspect, you) subscribe to certain blogs and authors because I feel that they bring value into my life.  When someone writes for any other reason than sharing real knowledge and value, it just adds another piece of virtual paper to the landfill that is much of the internet.


If you, as an artist, blog, it's OK if you don't have anything to say.  When you don't have anything to say....don't. [1]


When you do have something, by all means, share it.  But, relax, you don't have to force it.




Clint Watson

FASO Founder, Software Craftsman, Art Fanatic


PS - Here's someone else's take on the same idea.






[1]  Sharing a new piece of artwork that you post to your blog or send to your newsletter counts as having something to say.


Image used under Creative Commons license from Katrina DeFrancesco




Editor's Note:  You can view Clint's original post here.


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Topics: art blogging advice | art marketing | Clint Watson | email newsletters | FineArtViews 

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Diane Leifheit
Thank you. I have granted myself permission to work on other parts of the incessant lists.
Thank you. D

thanks for that, I have just finished and hung three exhibitions this year and frankly I am pooped. I have been feeling very bad about neglecting my blog so you article has helped me stop beating myself up about it all. I need a rest from art and I know I would not post anything worthwhile whilst recovering. So thanks again ashar

Rob Pitzer
Good article Clint!
And I would invite you to read and follow our blog at!
Your site is a great brain trust for many "young" wantabe artists want to tread the many mine fields of this odd duck business called "art"!

Deborah Weinstein
Actually, Clint, I get that same feeling of "this person actually has nothing much to say" not just about pointless blogs but also about much of the art that I see around me... So many people want to put SOMETHING out there for others to see and respond to, but no great conviction about what that might be. So they produce work that is derivative in the best case and exploitive (usually of the female body) in the worst. Frankly, kind of discouraging.

Esther J. Williams
Clint, I hope it wasn`t me you were referring to. I haven`t commented on an FASO article in many months. I am dedicated to writing blogs, at least once a week. I just wrote a blog yesterday, it took me half the day to compose it along with pictures. It had a lot of meaning to me and was a narrative personal story of a painting experience on a special trip I took. I wasn`t thinking about keywords or viral blasts, I was thinking about what happened to me in the process of an excursion that led to a special painting. I was thinking about the sharing of this blog would be interesting to other artists and lovers of art. I also wanted people to read into what goes on inside me when out in the field. The colliding with Nature and how it affects me, the artistic decisions I must make. If there was not a personal story that made me evolve in the painting experience, then there would not be anything to say. The fact is that every time I go out and paint, it is a growing, impacted event that changes me for the better. I want to express that in words. I write in a personal journal every night before I go to sleep. There`s just something about the night that opens my mind to the subconscious, words flow out like water about what I learned. I look to that journal when I write a blog now. Epiphanies are remembered, important passages are recorded that I can later use to boost me further down the trail to more discoveries. If what I say can help another artist, then it is worthwhile to share the story in a blog. Surely non-artists might find the story entertaining because it is about a life, a soul search and the beauty of creating art.

Clint Watson
Esther - I wasn't referring to you. Actually, I wasn't referring to any artists. It's all good :-)

Donald Fox
Blogging is a kind of journaling, but one big difference is that journals are private until the writer decides to later publish it (Anais Nin and numerous other writers, for example). Bloggers invite comments, and in some cases there can be extensive dialogue and lively give and take within a community as sometimes happens on FASO. The blog then becomes more than the intial post. Having worked as a librarian, I am opposed to censorship of any kind, except perhaps, self-censorship, and that is where I agree with you.

Esther J. Williams
Clint, sigh of relief, I struggle with what content I place in a blog, always feeling vulnerable. All my journal writing doesn`t get out there, only select passages that the words seem to radiate on the page, asking to share. My philosophical writings are mostly kept private too.
Time to go now and paint out by the sea, another experience, hopefully a good one.

Sharon Weaver
Writing at least twice a week on my blog was a must do and I enjoyed it for a while but it soon became a chore. I have decided to write when I am inspired, not to just add content but to add something I want to. There are priorities and then there are things that can wait.

Brad Blackman
This is why I keep a running list of blog topics I want to write on, and write things way in advance. I like to stay a month ahead with two posts per week. It's not always possible, but it is doable most of the time. Often I will spend a Saturday at Starbucks just writing.

Michael Cardosa
Hi Clint,

Now that blogging is an effective form of advertising you get what you get from any typical ad campaign, some bad ads (or blogs)... The difference is that I might not change the station on the car radio or flip the channel on a bad ad but I might stop reading an artist's blog for wasting my time. The difference I believe is that one is a passive experience the other a more active one.

There is a difference between information and filler.

Thanks for the posting!


Clint Watson

"There is a difference between information and filler."

Wow, you just condensed my whole post into one sentence. I could have written that and concluded with "Don't post filler."

Michael Cardosa
Thanks Clint, I had a sales manager early in my career who used to look at business letters (remember those, wow, really dating myself) and tell me to "take out that filler crap! So now I try to...

Brian Sherwin
An art news blog I follow recently did a series of posts about 'selfies'. Most of the articles had little to do with art... I suspect they wanted to tap the keyword search on the shoulder because it was trending at the time. Their subscribers want to read about art... not Internet trends (at least not in that context). Ha.

Clint Watson

I wonder how people who publish such junk are even going to know if it works at all anymore? Google no longer provides keyword data in analytics, so there really is no longer any way to know what search keywords brought people to your site.


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