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27 Thoughts On Blogging For The Artist

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of April 2008 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Blogging-For-The-ArtistGuest Post: Robert Bruce is one of the most widely read, linked and reviled poets working on the web today. Grab yourself a free poem every Monday morning, subscribe to Knife Gun Pen.

1. There’s never been a better time to be a working artist. Ever.

2. There’s never been a worse time to be a working artist (if you’re not truly dedicated to your craft).

3. Social Media will not help you if you’re sending folks to sniff out a pile of crap.

4. If you’re thinking about SEO while writing your digital novel, you’re already screwed. Quit now.

5. The tech tools do not make the artist.

6. If you’re spending more time on Twitter than on your novel/painting/film/poem/play/sculpture, you’re dead.

7. The creation of great art has nothing to do with Community.

8. You will never have as many readers/listeners/viewers as TechCrunch. Get over it.

9. If you’re the real thing, you’ll be around in 30 years, still working. Most of these services and sites you now admire will not.

10. Your Technorati rank is not as important as you think it is.

11. Do not try to please an “audience”. They will ultimately hate you for it.

12. Income isn’t proof of anything. Ask Van Gogh.

13. Aim for Greatness, not the front page of Digg.

14. If you have a fall back plan, you will, inevitably, fall back onto it.

15. Though tempting, you’ll never crush your own mediocrity working only four hours a week.

16. If success finds you, please resist the urge to open a restaurant or start a line of clothing.

17. You do not need the middleman anymore. Quit begging.

18. If you wouldn’t do it without an audience, don’t do it all.

19. Ultimately, nobody really cares about your work. It may seem “negative” but trust me, this knowledge will serve you well.

20. Artists don’t outsource. Unless you’re Andy Warhol.

21. Make the technology work for you. Not the other way around.

22. Remember that the mainstream culture has yet to catch on to the power of the individual artist online. Keep working.

23. Consider getting a second job instead of slapping another Adsense unit next to the .jpg of your latest painting. Contrary to popular belief, work won’t kill you.

24. You no longer need to live in New York or Los Angeles. See: Hugh.

25. Do not work for the good opinion of anyone. Work for joy, wonder and the Lord God Almighty.

26. You do not need a signed letter from The American Academy of Arts and Letters to begin.

27. Blogging is easy. Art is not.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. very inspirational stuff! I am a Reggae artist as well as a Blogger and I think this post is very useful. I guess the bottomline is to just get the job done. Just Do It Mon!

  2. I agree with some, but I will say that this is the worst time for the arts. I have a feeling that in 2009 the arts will flourish again and you will see an influx of artists online. As for now, we lay dormant. Although I believe a web designer is an artist and finds everything about blogging interesting. At least I do.

  3. Great post! And excellent things for all the web-enabled artists to contemplate.

    It seems they often either think they don’t need the web, and can rely only on traditional media, or they think that they will put their artwork on the web and suddenly become rich. A lot of artists just don’t get it.

    I’m an amateur nature photographer–really more of a hobbyist–and though I don’t have a “blog” per se, I have set up my gallery in a way to provide syndication like a blog, through Feedburner, publishing an rss feed, etc.

    The important thing is to give people some real value.


  4. Quite a creative post, well done.

  5. Quite a few useful tips but there are a few I just don’t agree with and this has more to do with earning some sort of reasonable income form you art.

    I am not sure that everyone really understands art and therefore it is important that you can convey the passion and thoughtful insight to the message if any you are trying to create. You do need to build dialogue around your work, sometimes to help them understand their own feelings. The Blog work well here.

    The middle-man is still important, This could be a gallery owner who is willing to support you by showing your work and with a blog having other more famous bloggers promoting your work from time to time.

    Niels Henriksen

  6. Wonderful post and great insight. I love your honesty. I’m really glad about #24 – that has been bothering me for some time as an artist in NC. Thank you for the reassurance!

  7. Really nice post. Some of the points i feel came straight from the heart. Especially those which differentiate between a professional blogger and an artist.

    Lovely post.

  8. I have taken time off from my creative work to see what further I could do with social networking to increase my exposure. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Stumbleupon, this and that. I have learned a bit but I needed to be reminded I’m a visual artist not a blogger/writer. These are 27 tips I needed to hear. Thanks.

  9. As an arts blogger, this post definitely resonates with the kind of issues I deal with. Thank you, Robert and Darren.

  10. Hey Darren that’s a really nice poem, very unique I’m yet to come across something like this. I love’d it! Any more coming soon? Hope so, great post!

    – Luis Gross

  11. I sat in on a discussion with Stephen King and he said “If you try to write to the ages, you write sh**.”

    I completely agree that this applies to trying to write to search engines also.

    One reason that I waited until now to write
    was so I didn’t have to worry about finances.
    It allows me to concentrate on the writing first.

  12. You make many more good points than questionable ones.

    Something nobody can argue with is: 14. If you have a fall back plan, you will, inevitably, fall back onto it.

    Never look back and never stop pushing forward. Success is always around the corner. But you have to get to the corner to go around it. DON’T QUIT—EVER

    Live From Las Vegas
    The Masked Millionaire

  13. Wow. Great post! And funny, in a dry sort of way! Many truths…. a few points, though, that could be tweaked, depending on the type of “art” one’s speaking of. For literary art, I agree with point #7. For visual art, though, I think there’s a place for “community” – at least a sense of somewhere to bat around ideas and glean inspiration. The bloggy world is good for that!

  14. These are great. Cheers.

  15. Although 11, 19 and 25 are essentially saying the same thing, I think it’s worth repeating. Once the focus is shifted from the self to the other, then your true capacity for creating is diminished. Create for yourself. I gave up obsessive stats tracking and found the process of blogging my photos to be much easier (and more fun). Thankfully, I have a job that supports me, so I’d have to say #23 is dead-on.

    On a similar note, Miley Cyrus has a commercial on the Disney channel (I have kids) where she continually blathers about pleasing the fans and doing what they want, blatantly violating rule 11. She’s destined for a miserable, manipulated experience. Unless of course putting out formulaic, mainstream music is your idea of art. :)

    Good article.

  16. Great list, especially # 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 22, 24, and 25

    Cheers Euphrosene

  17. Hands down! It’s posts like this that reminds artists of what they are. Hopefully, and I’m sure of it. Each of us has gained something from all of this.

  18. Late arrival here… just back from the day job ;)

    Appreciate the warm reception from y’all.

  19. This is cool to see. I’m working through a series on cooking bloggers right now. It’s nice to read some blog posts tying in good blogging principles with blogs on something other than blogging.

    Wow. I used the word “blog” waaaay too many times in that sentence. You get the idea, though.

  20. I love #11 and #25.

    Oscar Wilde said: “… the moment that an artist takes notice of what other people want, and tries to supply the demand, he ceases to be an artist…”

    Thanks for a great post.

  21. I love this point
    14. If you have a fall back plan, you will, inevitably, fall back onto it.
    It’s so true, I have decided to not have a fall back plan
    I am a full time student and quit my job to blog part time
    I am loving it

  22. This is officially the best damn thing I’ve read on the internet.

  23. Great work my friend.

  24. Incredible post. This one stuck out the most emphatically to me:

    23. Consider getting a second job instead of slapping another Adsense unit next to the .jpg of your latest painting. Contrary to popular belief, work won’t kill you.

  25. Go! Darren, Go! So many wonderful points… I was wondering to myself the other day how long before Technorati, Twitter, Digg et all will seem like the 8-track. Cheers and thanks!

  26. This is awesome, i like it very much. Thanks!

  27. I agree with most of the points in the post, but it might have been good to mention some of the plus points about using blogging when you’re an artist. Used wisely, it keeps you engaged in your work in the same way that writers say they should try to write a thousand words a day just to keep their mind working.

    Agree very strongly about the use of social networking sites – there’s an artist I know who promotes his work very heavily through facebook and it just winds up getting to the point where I hate the work without seeing it because of the number of times he’s told me it’s brilliant. I’d much rather read about it in a review somewhere.

  28. Awesome, awesome reminder. I find too that blogging becomes more enjoyable and interesting again when I remember to create for love & joy not popularity. Once, I start looking at the traffic stats, the creativity juice starts needing life support.

  29. I agree with all these points, I’m an indie writer and I’ve been saying this stuff for years to various creative folks I know. especially: artists don’t outsource! No one can write/paint/sing/whatever like YOU do. get your work done, do what you were meant to do :)

  30. God, I just love this. I already read your work every week, or I’d go subscribe instantly. A definite print-and-keep post. Thanks, Robert!

  31. Wow, that was the swift kick in the pants I needed. I’ll definitely blog about this post.

  32. This write up is really important and good to up coming bloggers.

  33. I was going to leave a comment, but I’m to busy painting.

  34. Thanks for this post Robert. I enjoyed reading through the list so much that I’m moved to write my own thoughts on some of the points listed here.

    I can’t emphasise how much I love point 14. “If you have a fall back plan, you will, inevitably, fall back onto it.”

    This is a keeper.

  35. Hi,

    Excellent points.
    We often forget simple things that may cause complicated effects.

    Kind regards,


  36. What a delightful post! I definitely could identify with it. As a person who recently left my engineering job to do my life passion of being an artist, the tips are down-to-earth and very real.Awesome post. Thank you.

  37. Great blog. However, I have a question. I’m a writer, a journalist and novelist. My blog earns money selling books via Amazon and author ad placement. What tips do you have for artist entrepreneurs? :)

  38. Great entry.

    Quick question: #17. Does this relate to becoming published or having a literary agent?

  39. Dee – I’m not the one to ask about making money, I mean, I am writing poems after all ;)

    On #17 – It’s simply the idea of slowly building (over a period of years and yes, decades) to a point where the middle-man becomes irrelevant. The internet, in most cases, has made that possible.

    In my case, it means no more postage costs. I decided long ago that it was silly to send my stuff off to a prestigious literary journal with half the readership as the site I own. Now, because of this choice, I’ll never get a call from the Elite of the poetry world, asking my opinion on anything, but that’s fine. I didn’t start for that reason and I won’t end for that reason.

    I wish them well, but they’re not necessary anymore.

    One man’s opinion…

  40. Eh, I could get into this huge philosophical discussion about why work is not solely defined as “the monkeylike contortions you undertake in order to earn a paycheck,” and why doing art is work as well, and how all too often the more reliably paying work becomes the fallback position, thereby violating pointer number fourteen above. But I get the general gist: you’ll never get anywhere if you die of starvation.

    I think a lot of artists dig in their heels about working full-time or working at a job that makes them want to gouge their own eyeballs out with a spork because it’s not the work they would rather be doing. But art IS work. An artist making art IS working. They’re just not necessarily being paid.

  41. Robert, wonderful, succinct points and really what I needed to read tonight.

    Thanks, Darren, for giving him a platform here, I just made a new discovery and subscribed to his feed.

  42. Thank you for this Robert, you are so spot on with this (ahem 18. If you wouldn’t do it without an audience, don’t do it all.) whole this. Thanks for having the guts to write this…

    Maybe one other thing for artists who blog, network or be screwed. One artist (with a blog) complained a while ago about artists not bothering to comment on other blogs, never posting a reply to comments, being anti-social and so on. After a number of years with my own art related blog I sadly found this to be pretty true. I’m still not certain why this is. I ended up starting a blog project on another topic, although it can go in the direction of art, and find its already more fun.

  43. Many food for thought, especially the part about Van Gogh…

  44. Excellent post, Darren!

  45. Whew I thot I was doing something wrong.

  46. I really needed this tonight. Thanks so much! It was shared among a lot of artists in an Etsy thread who probably ALL benefited from it :)

  47. Thank you I needed this. Especially no. 25.

  48. Its good just having a read at what other think on a subject that you have put some thought into yourself!

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