Posts tagged ‘Blogging’

What I’ve Learned About Blogging

So its been about a year since I’ve been blogging.  First, to those who have been following me or just visiting my blog,  welcome, and I appreciate your taking the time to read my posts!

I’d like to share my  personal thoughts and lessons learned on this whole blogging experience.  Trust me, I am no expert and some of these ideas you may have heard before.  I, however, can at least say that I have attempted these things with some amount of success.  I don’t profess to have a huge readership but as long as I grow day by day, month by month, then that’s progress.

Visit other blogs and comment

This was one of the first bits of advice that I came across.  I actually read this  from an article written by WordPress on how to increase blog traffic.  I do agree that it is a great way to not only increase your readership but also build relationships with other bloggers.   It’s nice to visit  familiar blogs on a regular basis.  It reminds me of hanging out at a friend’s house.   What would really be great would be if once a year there was an event where fellow bloggers could all meet each other face to face.  Who knows?  Maybe something like that does exist.  There are definitely some writers that I’d like to meet.

Write often and consistently

Yeah this is the hard part.  I try to post about once a week.  That’s probably the best I can do.  I am in awe of people who can post something every day.  For me coming up with the subject matter isn’t the hard part, it’s trying to organize my thoughts in a post the best way possible.   I spend too much time correcting grammar and making sure my sentences are flowing correctly.  That’s important I know, but I wish I could do it in a more efficient manner.  In spite of it all, I feel that I am getting better at writing the more I continue to blog.

Identify the Best Time To Post

I noticed that when I publish my post in the morning, that I receive more hits.  I suppose people like to have their morning coffee and their blog soon after they roll out of bed.    Most times it’s not until the evening when I finish writing a post.  After it’s all written, I am so eager to have it published that it’s all I can do to wait until the next day. When I look at the stats though, it’s worth the wait.

Use Your Tags

Tags can be pretty useful for bringing more traffic to your blog site.  This blog, “Drawing Out Loud”  is art-focused, so no matter what I write about, I always add the tag “Art.”  Here in WordPress this at least puts me under the right category if someone is reading about art.  This is the audience that I would want to attract (although not mad at anyone who randomly stumbles upon my posts and likes them anyways).  Then of course I add the other tags that come from the stuff that I am writing about at the moment such as drawing, painting, the title of an art piece, art fairs, etc.

I have heard that the more tags you use, the better, but I try to keep my tags at a reasonable number like maybe ten at the most.  I’m not sure what is considered to be too many. WordPress actually has link on their homepage site that shows a list of popular tags to use.

Post on Twitter and Facebook

My posts automatically upload to Twitter and I also post on Facebook.  Twitter seems to be more effective to me than Facebook because I am reaching an audience that is more far-reaching and outside of my circle of friends.  I feel that with the Facebook page, I get better responses if I publish pictures of my work rather than my blogposts.

Write about lessons learned from past experiences.

Personally I like to read about blogs that talk about this very thing.  I appreciate that these writers help me to prepare for what lies ahead when doing a particular task as well as warn me of any pitfalls that may come my way.

Make good use of your format.

A good format makes all the difference in the world.  You should break  up your text with headings, lists, or pictures.  Your readers will more likely read the blog it in its entirety rather than skim through it.

Well that’s all I have for now.  I’m sure there’s plenty more I didn’t add and if so,  then that’s more blog fodder for the another post.   What are your thoughts?

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2011: My Year of Firsts

As this year is coming to a close, I thought I would write a short list of first-time experiences that happened to me in 2011.   While this list might not be the most exciting, that’s okay.  This isn’t a competition.  These steps were important for my own personal growth and development in one way or another.

1) Taking a Capoeria Class

At the beginning of the year one of my Facebook friends sent out an announcement that a beginners workshop was being offered by the NC Dance Theatre for Copoeria and Samba. I decided to go ahead and sign up right then before talking myself out of it.  It fit perfectly as one of those things to do that was completely out of my comfort zone.

Capoeria is a Brazilian martial art founded by African slaves that incorporates rhythm and dance.   You are constantly moving from side to side in a crouching position which gives you a great workout in the legs, especially the hamstrings.  We learned how to do evasive moves and kicks.  This made me well aware of how little flexibility I had, especially with kicking.   I wondered what happened to the 15-year old girl that used to do aerial roundhouse kicks during karate class at the Y.

I’m sure that with continued practice AND stretching I would do a lot better, but overall it was a great time.  My night did not come to an end, because after that, we learned the Samba.

2) Learning the Samba

Is it humanly possible for a butt to get dizzy from all of the shaking from side-to-side?  You will make this discovery soon enough when you learn to do the Samba.   Our instructor, who also taught us Capoeria, taught us the style of Samba that was based in the martial art and not what one would see at Carnival.  I’m just glad we didn’t have to wear thongs.

We actually did do a move where we dropped it like it’s hot.  One of the ladies in the class commented that it was a great way to release her inner bad girl.

One thing for sure, I am athletic and NOT rhythmic.  There are some moves that I took to easily, like the skipping circular spin moves that made me think of the African dancers in “Coming to America (remember Prince Akim’s engagement party?).”  Most of the time,  I was way out of sync.  I tend to overthink everything.  I  wouldn’t say that I was bull in a china shop, but rather a bull in a china shop standing on its hind legs using the hula hoop.  I would argue that I was the worst one there but no one really paid any attention.

3) My First “Art Market” Experience

I remember what a wreck I was trying to prepare myself for the Arts Market in NoDa.  Preparing for the unknown was hard and at times I felt incredibly alone in the process.  My sister, who is also an artist, was very helpful with providing suggestions and  setting up this blog to give me some web presence.

Of course all during this time I was plagued with self-doubt.  I think part of it was because of this perception that since I was in an ARTS district that  my work should be at a high-level.  Would I measure up? Would my art be well-received by the public?  Ultimately I gave those doubts a kick in the behind after about an hour into the event and started enjoying myself.   It was fun when my friends came to visit to help pass the time.   I also made new friends with artists in nearby booths who were very encouraging.

Having gone through all of this has lit a fire inside of me and I am overwhelmed with the desire to continue to get my art out there in the public eye.

4) My First Outdoor Fair

Read my earlier post if you want to get the details on my adventures at the outdoor fair.   This was harder than participating in #3  for sure. Anything that requires a putting up an outdoor tent  is hard.  Fortunately my sister came into town and we showed our art together. It’s always good to have a buddy with you when you do these things.

We were both disappointed in the dismal showing in spite of the high number of participating artists, good weather, and well-coordinated efforts of the fair itself.  The wind kicked our butts out there and one of my pieces met its demise.  In fact, you could hear artwork crashing all around thanks to the murderous gusts. Pretty nerve-wracking.

While we hardly made anything considering the investment, it still doesn’t quench my desire to participate in other outdoor fairs.   The key here for me is to always consider audience and location before making the commitment to do them.

5) Blogging

Here is another form of expression where you just put yourself out there, except that you have to be all grammatically correct about it.  On top of that you have to blog regularly.   I enjoy the writing but it’s a bit tense at times because I have to make sure that my statements reflect some semblance of intelligence. I haven’t built up a huge following yet but I trust in time that will become apparent. In the meantime, I will just swoon over my own fabulous collection of SPAM.

6) Twitter

So a little birdie told me that everybody was using this app called Twitter.  I am not one to jump on the social media bandwagon so I had no intention of setting up an account.  One evening I spoke with my sister who is technically savvy and she was telling me that it was a great way to build contacts and even get her art out there to people whom she normally wouldn’t reach by using other social media. So at that point, I decided to give it a try.

I do like that the app forces you to keep your posts  short and sweet.  You also can select or “follow” people who have similar interests and find links to informative sites and blogs.  In my opinion, generating followers is a lot harder than generating Facebook friends.  Oh and I still want to click a “Like” button.

7) Mammogram

Yes women 40 and over, I’m talking to you. You need to have this done.  Mammograms are one of the best preventative measures that one can take against breast cancer.  As a black female, I am at higher risk of getting breast cancer at a younger age than my white counterparts.

Fartknocker that I was, I put off having a mammogram for two years.  I wasn’t all that thrilled about having a machine flatten my boobs down to little pancakes, but to my surprise,  the process was quick and relatively painless.  I had made an appointment with the radiology center early in the morning and was probably done in less than a half hour. I couldn’t believe I was such a dork for waiting so long to get this done.

8 ) First Outdoor League Volleyball Championship

Weeeee are the champ-yuns my fri–ennnndss!  Weee keep on fiiightin’ til the eeennnnnd!

This kind of thing would only be important to me and my doubles partner and possibly to those in my outdoor doubles league.   Yep, my partner and I played for years together before we finally won a final.   Our prize?  Two brightly colored volleyballs hard enough to snap your forearms in two if you were to serve-receive.  I’ll be putting mine somewhere on a mantle.   Oh well, it’s all about pride.

So that’s it.  I hope you didn’t fall asleep while reading.  What were your first-time experiences in 2011? Hit me up!

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