January came and went and, needless to say, I didn’t post a thing. Not a single word. I could make excuses and say life and work were hectic. Who wants to hear excuses? I need to be more accountable to myself and to you, the reader, and carve out some time for this blog.
According to Brian Hoff, Brooklyn-based designer, writer and speaker, there are three things that are extremely important when first starting your blog:
- Have a few quality articles posted on your blog prior to the launch.
- Have a few quality articles on the back burner so you can quickly post through the first few weeks.
- Post on a regular basis. Why would readers want to visit your blog or subscribe if you are only posting once a month? Give them something to look forward to.
Where I’ve Gone Wrong
I envisioned my blog for a couple of years prior to actually getting it up and running. I kept track of topics I wanted to write about in my sketchbook. I pictured myself writing witty and insightful articles on current campaigns, advertisements, printed collateral and design in everyday life.
In my mind the articles would come easily. All I needed to do was document my thoughts and exchanges I had with other designers and professionals on a daily basis. In reality, it’s difficult to write about topics that are fresh or have not already been touched on by others. I find myself experiencing something that, I can only imagine, would be similar to stage fright. I’m so concerned with presenting quality, insightful content that the vehicle I intended to use to share my expertise, experiences and love of design has stalled. Instead of posting once a week, as originally intended. I’m posting once a month—and last month I couldn’t even make that quota!
The Few Things I’ve Done Right
The wonderful thing about a blog is you can be casual—and I’m good
at casual. It’s fitting to show some personality in your blog. Make it loose and conversational. A copywriter friend of mine once said the charm of
a blog includes some meandering—which is also good, because I’m
good at that, too (a trait I believe I inherited from my mother, a woman of the South, where meandering is an art form). However, your blog should still be professional. Present quality content. Be concise. And don’t post content just to post, which is why I’ve stalled out. I refuse to post something just to make quota, and that list of topics I had… well, that’s far from fresh now.
What I’ve realized is it’s truly about the value of content I present. Not every post needs to be journalistic in quality. If I discover a time-saving trick in InDesign, read a noteworthy book or stumble across an identity design that knocks my socks-off, it’s worth sharing. This is information that is valuable to me and other design enthusiasts.
Working Towards a Goal
Now, here we are mid-month and I’m bound and determined not to
let February fall through the cracks, as well. Along with this brief
insight into how to (or more how not to) run a blog, I want to share
this tidbit of inspiration and design clarity I came across while browsing through Print’s 2010 Regional Design Annual. It’s a quote from Leland Maschmeyer, partner and creative director at the design firm COLLINS: referring to the quality of the submissions.
“It’s one thing for it to be beautiful, but if it’s just beautiful, it’s art. To translate into design, it has to have a message and an impact.”
I couldn’t agree more. This is something I strive for in my own design and the mantra on which this blog is based. As I realize I need to focus my blogging efforts and continue spreading this mantra, I’m reminded of another bit of advice my copywriter friend gave me before I journeyed into the blogosphere: “Be honest about your lessons learned, but always tell the story with confidence in the wisdom gained from the experience.”
I don’t think this post could illustrate that any better, do you?