Starting this new blog has been so energizing. Although a fresh start wasn't my intention when I moved to blogging on my website, it's been an unexpected, but very welcome, consequence. The thought of having a fresh space to craft into whatever I want has filled me with ideas. I'm excited to share some new posts with you. But first I wanted to talk a bit about blogs and blogging.
My old blog and I changed and grew a lot over the years. My journey to become a watercolor painter was documented in that space. I shared projects I was working on (painting and not), thoughts I was pondering and encouragement (for myself and my readers) to discover joy. I introduced interesting people and shared recommendations -- of books, of art supplies, of recipes. There were ups and downs (in my blog and my life). I stumbled. I made mistakes. And I also celebrated my successes.
There's a lot of pressure to Be Successful and as creative people we can get bogged down in the comparison game. It's easy to focus on the negative, the rejections, the missed opportunities. Although I think we can use rejection to inspire us to move forward, I also think it's important to celebrate our successes. My blog will always be a place where I invite celebration, mine and yours (share yours with me!).
Through blogging I've met so many wonderful, creative people. Forging connections and creating a space for shared celebrations is important to me. Each of us is unique, interesting, quirky. It's one of the reasons I started the Artist Interviews and Sketchbook Conversations. It's the reason why I ask questions in my blog posts, why I welcome comments and make sure to always respond to them. I truly believe we're all in this together. It's not a competition. There is room for us all. The world needs what you bring to it. Isn't that something to celebrate?
This new blogging space won't be much different than my old one.
Over the years on my blog (and in my creative life in general) I whittled my focus, pared down what I shared, concentrated my attention. And yet at the heart, behind my pictures and words is a real person. I'm driven by my interests and passions and my quirks can't help but show through. This past winter I was feeling a bit antsy and I realized that part of it was that I'd whittled too much away. I wanted to get back to other creative pursuits. I wanted to sew and craft and be creative with more than just paint. Turned out it was just what I needed.
One of the most common pieces of blogging advice I've seen is to write with a very narrow focus. Abby Glassenberg's The Creative Blogging Cookbook shares that same advice. But she also writes "People aren't actually niche. People are complex. They have more than one deep interest. Nobody's life follows a strict and narrow road. And we're always changing and growing."
This is so true. It also explains why the blogs I most enjoy are those that reveal the people behind the words and photos on the screen. It feels as if there's a movement going on in the blogging world, a breaking free from too-narrow constraints. Here are a few people who have been inspiring me lately:
- Ruby Josephine Smith is a blogger, a dancer, a choreographer, a baker, a traveler and a photographer. I find her courage in embracing all these parts of herself so inspiring. A few weeks ago she celebrated the 2 year anniversary of her most recent blog with this post. After reading her list of why she's "still here", I'm thinking I might have to create my own.
- Lindsay of A Wooden Nest recently wrote a beautiful post about "breaking the rules" when it comes to blogging. I couldn't be more on board with her thoughts.
- My lovely friend Maya from the blog Spice and Sprout and I have talked about the constraints of focused blogging. She's been experimenting with branching out from strictly blogging recipes and recently she created a new website to share her gorgeous photography that she felt didn't have a place in her blog. It's a good reminder that we need to do what is right for us, not what anyone else suggests we do.
- On my old blog I wrote a post On Being Authentic; in it I shared what Rochelle New wrote about reclaiming her blog. Her joy is evident throughout the post and it's just what makes reading blogs compelling to me (you, too?).
- I've been following Helen Redfern's blogging contemplations on A Bookish Baker over this last half year or so. Although I don't always agree with what she says, this post about blogging rules really struck a chord with me. The times that I've felt LEAST inspired in my blog is when I've tried to follow someone else's rules.
And so, yes, I'm feeling energized by this new space and by thoughts of being rebellious in my own small way.
Ok, your turn. What sorts of blog posts do you most like to read? Who has been inspiring you lately? Is there anything you wish I'd write about in this new space?