“When Van Gogh was a young man in his early twenties, he was in London studying to be a clergyman. He had no thought of being an artist at all. He sat in his cheap little room writing a letter to his younger brother in Holland, whom he loved very much. He looked out his window at a watery twilight, a thin lamppost, a star, and he said in his letter something like this: “It is so beautiful I must show you how it looks.” And then on his cheap ruled note paper, he made the most beautiful, tender, little drawing of it.
When I read this letter of Van Gogh’s it comforted me very much and seemed to throw a clear light on the whole road of Art. Before, I thought that to produce a work of painting or literature, you scowled and thought long and ponderously and weighed everything solemnly and learned everything that all artists had ever done aforetime, and what their influences and schools were, and you were extremely careful about *design* and *balance* and getting *interesting planes* into your painting, and avoided, with the most astringent severity, showing the faintest *academical* tendency, and were strictly modern. And so on and so on.
But the moment I read Van Gogh’s letter I knew what art was, and the creative impulse. It is a feeling of love and enthusiasm for something, and in a direct, simple, passionate and true way, you try to show this beauty in things to others, by drawing it.
And Van Gogh’s little drawing on the cheap note paper was a work of art because he loved the sky and the frail lamppost against it so seriously that he made the drawing with the most exquisite conscientiousness and care. ”Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
What if the next blog post you write is your last? What if, for whatever reason, you never get a chance to punch those damn keys, to share your thoughts and ideas with the world?
What would you choose to write about?
Listen to this article:
What sets your soul on fire? What is that one story, one idea, one dream that almost comes to live whenever you close your eyes?
What makes you feel alive?
What makes you fall in love with yourself whenever you think about it? What are the words that we must, absolutely must read from you?
Write about that. Write about it without fear of failure, of criticism, of being ignored or laughed at. Write about it, because only you can. Write about it as if you were trying to show us the incredible beauty that resides inside your soul.
To be honest, that’s why I chose to call this space, “The Art of Bloging.”
Because, you see, art is a lot of things, and art can be used to define a particular mindset that might help you on your journey towards the blogging stratosphere.
1. Art is also craft.
Okay, so let’s just get this out of the way.
Art is a personal expression of the world you see around you, but you can’t express what you see and feel until you master your chosen craft.
There’s a craft to any artistic form of expression, the same way there are certain elements of blogging one must be aware of in order to write a brilliant blog post.
Dive into the disciplines that will teach you how to stitch words together in ways you haven’t tried before.
Study poetry. Study screenwriting. Study short stories.
In other words, never stop learning.
A writing workshop can be a great start, but there are also lots of wonderful books on writing well. Click here to find some of them.
2. Artists must produce the work, whether they feel like it or not.
Nearly all great writers, musicians, painters, and other artists tend to work in well-defined work cycles. It does help that most of them have strict deadlines, so they almost always have specific times of day set aside for creative work.
Stephen King famously said that he writes every single day except for Christmas and his birthday… he then admitted to lying. He writes every single day.
As a blogger, as someone who writes for the entertainment and education of others, you need to get to work. Every. Single. Day.
3. Artists know that most of their stuff will suck.
Failure is essential to the artist. I’d say that failure is what keeps one going. After all, if you managed to create the perfect painting from the first try, then why bother painting after that?
Failure is the fuel that keeps an artist creating.
Painters call it “brush mileage.”
If we keep working, keep doing our best, we’ll keep getting better.
At first, your articles may need a lot of editing. As you mature creatively, your rewrites might get faster, but you’ll still find that genuinely good work needs the discipline of multiple rewrites.
4. Artists ask questions. A lot of them.
I’m curious. Like terribly so. I see a beautiful woman walking down the street, and I want to know what breaks her heart. I want to know what would someone do if they knew they couldn’t fail, or what is their favorite time of year, or the most beautiful memory, or which is the work of art that left them speechless. Or what is it that they’d do with the love of their life in a room full of art. What would they be staring at?
Questions lead us to new places. Questions help us connect dots.
5. Artists are good at connecting the dots.
Art presents endless opportunities for recycling, rethinking, and problem solving.
Artists also understand that it’s not enough to have some wonderful idea.
We have to figure out how to translate that into something other people can see or hear or touch.
6. Artists need an audience.
Art begins in self-expression. But we also have a deep desire to find an audience for our creative work.
It’s a bit of a zen paradox.
Art is about you. Art is also about everyone else.
That’s why it doesn’t make you a “hack” to want to build an audience.
Blogging is a creative endeavor, and it requires one not only to think outside the box, but to think as if there is no box. To think… like an artist.
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