Monday, March 14, 2016

Expanding & Contracting: Considering My Future in Blogging

It has been two weeks since I last blogged. Truth be told, I took a deliberate break to ponder my future in blogging. I began serious contemplation of ending Lost Coast Post last December during my annual, end-of-the-year hiatus. 2016 marks my tenth year in blogging. This space has brought many joys and insights to my art life but also many inescapable anxieties. I am deeply tired of worrying about follows, comments, and page views. No matter how much I tell myself to post and walk away, I still take it hard when I post something and not a soul responds. You'd think that after ten years, I'd have made gains, however small, in followers and yet, I've actually been steadily losing followers. I'm sure there are any number of factors, most of which are out of my control, but it doesn't really matter. It is still disheartening. (And I'm willing to bet that most bloggers out there care about such things even if they say they don't.)

I recognize that my style of blogging is nearly extinct (if it ever existed in the first place.) I write more than I post pictures. I don't end my posts with a lengthy link list of supplies to purchase. While I have some small art pieces I'd like to sell, I don't have my own product line to hawk. I don't host online classes (although I'd like to) and I don't hobnob with any of the big names in the industry. I don't brand, license, name drop, publish, or advertise. I'm just a small-town, part-time teacher and full-time artist trying to show what I do and talk about how and why I do it. I value process over product and that's becoming an increasingly difficult position to hold. It's not that I don't buy stuff or that I don't have stuff to sell; it's that my world (and this space) doesn't revolve around making a buck or promoting my name. Many do that and do that successfully in honest, passionate pursuit of a career making art; that's just not me.

All in all, I'm in an odd time of contracting and expanding: feeling the need to do more work for my eyes only and yet wanting to show more here. Case in point: a brand-new, significantly better camera arrives today that should take improved videos and photos. I'm not sure though that I have the time, energy, or smarts to get really good at editing. I love my work more intensely than ever but it often feels like that fever actually diminishes if I bring my new work out into the public eye. It's not an issue of copyright protection but rather a need to make art just for me so I can grant myself full, unhindered freedom to explore whatever direction I desire. I alternate between feeling like I've said all I want to say and making lists of all the new things I could blog about.

Anyway, lots of thoughts bouncing around in this tender, busy head of mine. I know that I won't make any firm decisions until summer break so that I am not influenced by the cloud of fatigue and overwhelm that envelops my life while simultaneously trying to work and manage my health. I'm going to start blogging just on Mondays to see if dialing back my posting schedule while working helps ease my racing thoughts. If you are one of those people who read regularly and comment (or not), thank you! I intend to hang in here as long as I can.

PS: Please, please, please don't feel guilty or bad if you read but don't comment! This isn't a ploy to get you to comment. I am the Queen of Crazy Busy so I totally understand reading but not leaving behind a note. The comment situation doesn't bug me as much as the page views/follower count...and you guys are right: nowadays a lot follow via feed readers or email so there's no truly accurate way to know the number of followers. I do know that Google discontinued Friend Connect for non-Blogger sites, forcing everyone to have a Google account to sign in. (No more signing in from Twitter, Typepad, Yahoo, Open ID etc) That automatically dropped follower counts for Blogger in late December/mid January.

21 comments:

Dotti said...

I confess. I'm guilty of not commenting! I do enjoy your blog...and I especially like the diversity of the artwork you do present. You are very talented!

Did you know that there are probably lot's of folks following you through Feedly (that would be me) or maybe Bloglovin', or who knows what else is out there? I like to keep the list of emails in my box as short as possible. They are mostly Ebills now or messages from friends and relatives. Most of the blogs I used to follow thru an email post I now have in Feedly. So you my have a lot more followers than you think you have!



Unknown said...

I read regularly, Michelle, through my blog reader (Feedly). I don't know how that affects your reader count. Love, Mareena

Özge Başağaç said...

Hi Michelle. I totally understand you when you say the blog is only for sharing what you do but not making a buck out of it.I feel the same about followers/ visitors and so on.The strategies to gather and keep followers are so overwhelming to me. But i like blogging whether i only post images or spill what i have inside. Perhaps blogging only once a week will take the pressure off from you.I try to post on Fridays for example and link to online art challenges like Paint Party Friday, Kitty Party Friday.I don't follow any rules when i'm making art but once it is out in the world i share.This way there is always some artists who visit my blog and i get to explore other artists' work.And if i don't post, well, you know it is not the end of the world.Posting once a week, on the same day, made me more accountable to myself in terms of making art regularly.Sorry for the long chat, i just wanted to say i am always happy to visit your blog.Have a nice week...

Jennifer Shelby said...

I would miss your blog if you stopped, but I know exactly where you're coming from. I post a vignette of fiction every day. I started it to ensure that I write every day, exercise my imagination, and stretch myself creatively. For the longest time it was a great inspiration. Then bad days came and numbers suddenly count and that takes the fun away fast. I got in the habit of posting everything at least a week after I've written it so I am less emotionally attached and it doesn't hurt when there is nothing but crickets to receive it. I hope you find something that brings you back to loving what you're doing, but ultimately, do what's best for you. I'm pretty sure that's what the lovely Mr. Genie up there would say.

Kris said...

Michelle,
Maybe you would find that a different outlet for your energies would be the best thing for you personally.Maybe you would enjoy teaching art in person, or with online groups like Artist Network TV, Lifebook, Carla Sonheim, etc.Maybe you could find a tech savvy helper to help you edit lessons of your own. In any case, I wouldn't agonize over the decision. Focus on choices that light you up when you consider them. I guess I'm suggesting that you follow your bliss. :-) There could be better things coming out of this.

suzieq23 said...

Hi. I totally understand your feelings. 10 years is a very long time,but I would miss you and your art very much. I might not comment all the time, but I follow your blog religiously. I wish I was 1/4 as talented as you are. Nothing you do on your blog or art is passe in my opinion.

So, whatever you choose for your next journey, I am sure you will achieve your goals and the best of luck to you.

Daisy Yellow said...

Whatever you decide, I love your work. I love that you share your artistic insights and your art journal pages. Your blog provides a dose of reality, a little calm in the storm of fakery. Thank you for all of the time & energy that you invest in your space on the interwebs.

Loulou in Texas said...

I really admire you for blogging and for putting your art out here for all to see. I'm amazed that you have found the time and the energy to create art and also write so candidly about your process, your ideas, and the various challenges you are facing. I can't begin to imagine how difficult it must be sometimes to complete all the tasks you've set for yourself and stay in balance. I think it's good to question yourself every now and then about why you're doing something and whether or not you're getting the personal satisfaction back from the efforts you are putting into it. Of course, I'd love to see you continue with your blog, but I'm sure you'll weigh your decision for what will work out best for your future.

Love your genie page and the mark-making. He looks to be in deep thought, too! :)


jane eileen said...

I've been reading every single one for a while, and love getting the word that there is a new one from my email. You clearly have to follow your heART and do whatever is best for you, but know for as long as they last, I am a fan. Being involved in the same and similar endeavors as you, I totally get it.

kenjenick said...

Please continue blogging. You have one of the best blogs out there. I appreciate that you don't have lists of materials (unless you're truly impressed) and I appreciate that you don't have lists of online classes. Your blog is always thoughtful in a way some others are not. I like reading about the process and the exploration of your future in art.

I receive your blog through my email and I hope that counts in your follower numbers.

Karyl said...

Michelle --

Your type of blog is the kind that I love to follow! I don't often comment unless I really have something worthwhile to share! Keep on doing what you do until you no longer have any doubts about stopping! Thanks!

molly said...

I love your blog but have never commented. My apology. Your blog is the one I check first. Please do what is best for you. Thanks for all the joys and inspiration you've brought into my life.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I follow(ed) your beautiful blog for years. Never was able to leave any comments. They just would not appear. But your are is original and amazing! Anna

Clare said...

I just happened to find you blog today . . . from what I see - I hope you do not quit. I will keep checking back.

Heidi Orndorff said...

I am a fan & I follow you as an e-mail subscriber. I do read your blog but do not comment often. I would hate to see you drop your blog however totaly understand if you do. I would be interested in an online class if that is something you decide to do. Best wishes for your future art endeavours.

Kat said...

I recently found your blog when searching for art journaling websites, and it's one of the best ones out there. I noticed that you don't seem to have any social media icons on your blog such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. I think that if you started with at least a Facebook page for your blog, you would gradually start getting more followers. Instagram is also a great way to connect with other artists because it's so visual and you can showcase your work instantly!

Anyway, don't give up--- just maybe seek new ways to connect with people. Your blog is good but people need to be able to find it easily. :)

LAL2911 said...

I just found your blog for the first time, hope you continue but of course it's your choice and I support your decision either way.

Ryusho said...

I appreciate all the work you do to make the blog possible. At this time I am revisiting art making after being away for 30 years. Wow, I can hardly believe the number; the years do slip by. I have found your site, the art you've created, the efforts to make and share, and all the other not so obvious consumers of time and energy. I put a small tip in your jar a while back to thank you for your work. Regardless of the final decision you make I would again like to say thank you. As a side note, I love your palate of colors, I love them and find for whatever reason I am unable to get there. I end up with more muted and grayed colors. Seeing your posts come through my mail occasionally has been helpful in reminding me where I am trying to go with my colors and the playfulness I enjoy in art from the heart.

Be well and be in peace no matter which direction your path goes.

Ryusho

molly said...

I MISS you. Hope you've feeling better.

Sarah L said...

I'm not much of a commenter on the internet, but your blog is one of my favorites in my feed, I adore your monsters! Please keep posting! :)

Janet said...

I just found your blog and was scanning through it when I saw this post. I can relate to everything you said! I think blogging has changed over the last few years. Everyone seems to want Facebook or Twitter or Instagram...fast, quick, impersonal. I love blogging and when I first started there was a real community that followed, visited, and commented. Now not so much. I have debated about closing my blog (and some may think I already have since I'm so sporadic about posting!) but I do it mostly for myself. I like to document what I've done and look back over it later. I hope you continue with your blog but I understand if you don't. It's a lot of work.

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