Bridgeen Gillespie is a freelance writer and illustrator with a passion for fabric and embroidery designs. In short she is someone who has 'been there, done that and bought the t-shirt'. Now she takes a few moments to share some of her blogging expeirence with us!
As an independent publisher, I’ve long been an advocate of blogging. For over 10 years I’ve maintained various blogs from promoting my small press comics, to blogging for past day jobs. Cheaper and easier to set up than a website, blogs have been the free online platform of choice since long before facebook, and in my opinion have gone on to surpass many conventional websites. The reason for this is the direct personal voice behind the blog. Not so surprising as the word originated as a contraction of ‘web log’, or web diary if you will. Successful businesses have learned to tap into the power of this personal touch, with most major websites now featuring a regularly updated blog section. The simple charm of talking about the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of what you do interests people and gives them a means to relate to you, (and ultimately to your business, products or services).
Maintaining a blog is just like keeping an online diary, a notebook, a sketchbook or even a scrapbook. From a personal development standpoint blogging is a great way to discover your core interests and what makes you tick, while connecting to the wider world and finding an audience for what you like and what you do. There are more blogging and social networking platforms out there now than ever before, and my advice is start with one, and see where that takes you. (You can create complimentary sites on other platforms as you go, just make sure to call them by the same or similar name to your primary outlet, and use similar colours and branding so that people will know it’s you).
So where do you start? I recommend beginning by choosing a platform that suits your needs. Think about the kind of content you are most inclined to generate, is it text based, or image heavy, will you be compiling content from elsewhere on the web? When I started CherryandCinnamon.com I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to be about, but I knew I wanted it to be a home for my various writing and illustration projects. So I chose Wordpress, a blogging platform that was equally good for text heavy posting as it was for images. My blog has grown with me during its first year, and though time I’ve realised that my core subjects are my fabric design, experimental embroidery along with intermittent book and movie reviews. It’s all still illustration and writing, but not in the form I originally envisaged. I’ve found that blogging is also a fantastic motivational tool. Blogs that post regularly are popular and get the most attention, so try to post at least once a week. You’ll find yourself starting to plan ahead for the next item you want to share, and that weekly deadline will keep you writing/creating/compiling in spite of yourself.
Tumblr or Blogger would have worked equally well as platforms for me, but you gotta start somewhere. Pick the platform that most appeals to you, find easiest to use, or one that already has a number of bloggers with similar content or interests to your own, and start building a community around your blog. Link to sites that inspire and influence you, visit other people’s blogs that you genuinely like and leave them comments and ‘likes’. What goes around comes around and they will do the same for you. Remember your manners, and don’t post other’s work without permission. Cultivate a generous and encouraging atmosphere around your online presence. People will remember you for it and gravitate towards you. Be yourself, have fun and you will make friends. There is a bigger world out there, represent yourself, go and be part of it.
Bridgeen Gillespie is a freelance writer and illustrator with a passion for fabric and embroidery designs. Check out her blog: www.cherryandcinnamon.com You can follow her on twitter: www.twitter.com/cherry_cinnamon , and you just might find her on a few of those other platforms too ;-)