Tag Archives: content

When Art Takes Years to Complete

About 15 years ago, I was visiting the National Gallery of Canada, taking in the beauty of the permanent collection of artwork. As I was admiring the masterpieces, I was also examining the little cards next to them, taking note of the names of artists, the names of the artwork, the year the work was created and the backstory behind the masterpiece.

I noticed that some works did not have a single year next to them, but instead, a range of years like “1950-1952” was indicated, and I wondered to myself why would that be. For years after that, I kept wondering why it could take months or years to complete a work of art from beginning to end.

That was until I started blogging… then I completely got it!

In a perfect world, I could sit at my desk, write a blog post from beginning to end, proofread it and post it. In theory, it is a pretty simple process. But in reality, for me, that particular scenario might happen in 1 out of every 20 posts.

For the other 19, it is a process that takes time.

In the same way that visual artists need to sketch, that actors need to rehearse and that musicians need to jam, writers also require time to experiment with ideas to see what works. Continue reading

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Filed under Writing

Can a Writer’s Voice Get Sick Too?

TissuesLast week, I was home with a cold. It wasn’t anything major, just a head cold that knocked me off my feet, gave me a pounding headache, kept me under the covers, and had me breathing through half of one nostril.

Even when my first priority is to get better, I can’t help but think that with the extra free time on my hands, it would be a great time to write. But I can’t. When I am feeling under the weather, words just don’t come.

Maybe it’s related to the fact that my oxygen supply is not at full capacity, or that my ears are affected and that I could potentially throw up at any given moment… it’s a little distracting.

But over the last 3 years of writing the blog, I have noticed that if I want to keep to a posting schedule of at least one or two works per week, I need to keep a few drafts in my back pocket for times like this.

The worst was when I was out with shingles for several weeks. I remember trying desperately to commit words to paper, but everything I wrote was disjointed, disconnected and frankly wasn’t up to my usual style or standards. Continue reading

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Filed under Humour, Inspiring, Writing

Instagram: For Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

InstagramMy social media journey had been an incubator of trial and error experiences, striving to see what catches on, what doesn’t, and hopefully figuring out the common denominator. For me, Instagram was the toughest to figure out.

You could say my first exposure to social media was email, which I have been doing since the time that my hair was almost as high as the C.N. Tower. I then launched my own web site in 1999, “The Spin on Life at 33 1/3”, a blog before blogs became popular, which lasted a couple of years. My next steps were Facebook and Twitter, which I figured out pretty quickly. Then of course came my blog, “It’s the Journey” on WordPress.

In my blog post “Blogging… More Than Words”, I explained how that venture into blogging led me to the epiphany and serendipity of rediscovering photography, a hobby I enjoyed since I was very young, to incorporate a visual to help draw viewers to my blog, whether through Facebook, Twitter, Google + or WordPress.

But Instagram remained a bit of a mystery to me. What pictures should I post?

At first, I tried using it as an extension to Facebook, posting random pictures and comments. Before I knew it, I was posting the same thing on two platforms, to essentially the same group of friends. That was a bit of a fail.

I then tried emulating some of the people whose Instagram accounts I liked and enjoyed. In doing so, I posted pictures of the occasional travel picture, plates of food that looked too good to eat, new CDs, new colourful socks, new shoes, pictures to promote my blog and random selfies. Then, as of last year, I posted pictures of Ivy the Wonder Cat. My Instagram account was all over the map.

Was it any wonder that my likes were low and attracting new followers wasn’t really happening. Frankly, when I stepped back and looked at it objectively, I didn’t like my account much either.

But it was in the process of taking pictures for the blog that something recently clicked… metaphorically speaking. Continue reading

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Filed under Inspiring, Misc blogs, Writing

To Prune or Not To Prune?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES With well over 100 posts on my blog, the result of almost two years of writing, I have recently been contemplating the question as to whether I should prune my blog or not. While I enjoy the sense of accomplishment of that many blog posts (which would equal the word count of a substantial novel), I sometimes wonder if there comes a point when some posts should be deleted.

After a bit of quick research on the web, there seems to be different schools of thought on the subject. At its core, at issue is the delicate balance between the business side and the creative side. On the one hand, bringing in and retaining the audience is an important factor. On the other hand, we have the slow and iterative creative process that sometimes takes a while to gain traction and to fully develop the body of work.

Based on my own experience, it is sometimes through the weaker written pieces that we have to put in some serious sweat equity in order to grow as artists. But weaker in whose eyes?

As I have mentioned before, there are some posts that were fully written in under an hour that achieved great results, whether number of views, likes or comments, while I have toiled for weeks over certain other posts that are important to me that barely registered a blip on the statistics. Either way, I am fine with that, but it just goes to show you do not always know for sure what will resonate with the audience.

Being the typical Libra that I am, weighing pros and cons on almost everything, here is a short list of reasons for and against the idea of pruning the blog.

    10 reasons why I could delete a few posts:

1-By decluttering, favourite blog posts should be easier to find for readers.
2-By keeping the blog on a few selected topics and deleting the ones that are outside those lines, it is easier to pitch the blog to a target audience, rather than trying to attract such a wide audience.
3-It could lead to better curated content. By keeping to a combination of the ones that attracted the most views, the most likes, and the ones I enjoy most, a collection of more popular content could be more inviting to new readers.
4-By achieving a better curated content on a limited number of topics, a better established niche could lead a visitor to read more posts on the same topic.
5-If after retweeting several times, a post does not find an audience, perhaps it is not meant to be and it is time to take it down.
6-If a new reader joins in, Continue reading

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Filed under Lists, Writing