There's some pretty good reasons why artists should write a blog
but there's also some very good reasons not to. It's up to you to figure out where your priorities lie and what will be the most beneficial choice for your life and career. For your consideration, here are five reasons why artists should reconsider writing a blog.
1. You Are Not a Writer
However literate you might be, if you're an artist, the chances are that you trained as one - you've written some essays and critiques but your prime skills are in the visual arts. Sure, it's important that artists are literate and able to talk about their work, but your primary business is making visual art - not writing about it. And just as you wouldn't expect to be expert at acting, playing piano or writing poetry, why should you expect to be great at blogging? If you are blogging just for yourself, as an online art journal or diary, that's no big deal. But do you know how to write for an audience?
2. Audience. Or not.
Let's consider the audience issue further. Who are you writing for? The question of who reads art blogs, and why is a critical one. I recently came across a very good post on this issue at Gaping Void, the blog of cartoonist Hugh Macleod. Rather than paraphrasing him, I urge you to go and read what he had to say about Why Most Artist's Blogs Fail
. He doesn't pull any punches - cartoonists are good at calling it how they see it. And I think he makes an intensely valid point. If you're not going to be wasting our time, you need to have a clear idea of who you are writing for, and what you are giving them. If you're sharing tips in order to market your workshops, social networking may be a more effective strategy. If you're offering a gallery and CV for high-end collectors, why do you need an ongoing blog?
3.Time and Commitment
Unlike a static website, a blog comes with some expectations. There are various types of blog
; but what most have in common is that they provide content for readers. A blog that exists purely as a showcase for your work won't invite ongoing readership. Secondly is upkeep: a blog is a log, meant to be regularly updated. A neglected blog isn't an inviting place so you need to be prepared to devote time to regular maintenance. A blog needs at least weekly posts; let's say you spend three hours a week maintaining your blog. That's not a lot of time to think about, research, write posts, create and upload images and moderate comments. Multiply that by, say, 50 weeks, and you've got 150 hours a year. Divide that total by a 35 hours - a full-time working week - and you get four weeks. You've got an entire, full-time month spent blogging
. Think about it. A month of full-time work.
4. Bottom Line: Blogging isn't Art
All of us complain about how busy we are, how we'd be more productive if we only had more hours in the day. As we just discovered, by not blogging, you give yourself an entire full-time month of valuable studio time. You're an artist. You're supposed to be making art, not writing about it. Give the critics and historians something to do and spend those hours creating something awesome, not adding to the noise on the internet.