31 May 2010

Blogging and What I Learned on the Therapist’s Couch

Posted by Moshe Mikanovsky

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. 

Gemini, from the Zodiac

Gemini, from the Zodiac, Watercolors

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

This article was published on FineArtView blog on May 20, 2010

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