Tag Archives: Blogging

6 Years of Blogging

A few years ago I kept on having dreams where I was back at university. I don’t know what my timetable was, or where my classes were, I didn’t even know that there is an assignment due tomorrow or next week but wasn’t worried at all. I knew that the assignment would only take a few hours to write that evening or over the next week and I was confidant that I’ve already done more than enough reading. I think that my dreams were about blogging. I guess that since I’ve stopped having these dreams that I must have graduated.

Black Mark at MONA

Black Mark at MONA

It has been six years since I started this blog on WordPress. Things are going well for me as a blogger, after all these years; I’ve got a book deal for my history of Melbourne’s public sculpture. I’m writing articles for magazines and online publications about art. In celebration of this milestone I put together six things that I’ve learnt about blogging.

1 – The convention wisdom about blog stats is that regular posts improve viewing stats. This is, in my experience, not the case. Good stats do not come from regular posts – they come from having good content that will be read again and again by a large audience. A good blog post will keep on attracting readers for years. Writing a regular blog posts is a way to become better at writing blog entries. After a thousand blog posts you should be getting better as a writer.

2 – Most reporters, and sensible bloggers, have a particular beat – science, crime, sport – and stick to it. Mine is the visual arts in Melbourne and I write most of my posts about it. (With a few exceptions like this.) Visuals artists might not appear as important as international politics but as Fremon said on The Wire: “All the pieces matter.”

3 – One way to improve your stats is to be the first one to write about an event that many people witnessed but that was not covered in other media. To write about a topic in depth to be the best source of information on it. That means being prepared to be an eyewitness reporter rather than just using media releases. Being the first to write a report on an event will also get you a lot over readers and links from other websites.

4 – You must do professional development; read, go to lectures and workshops. Gather a group of people interested in the same topic and meet for informal discussions.

5 – Make sure that your blog roll is kept up to date, there is no point in listing blogs that are no longer being updated or with content that you do not endorse.

6 – It is difficult to be a blogger, you are doing it all yourself without the support that a publisher provides a journalist, like a subeditor, an editor. You have to be your own photographers, publicist and subeditor. You really need to be a photojournalist and combine text and photos to make a really successful blog post.

More Arts Blogs!

Melbourne needs more art critics, especially given the number of exhibitions in Melbourne. (I am still exhausted by home renovations and a head cold, so I don’t know when I will be getting out to see any exhibitions.) More critical voices need to be heard and a greater variety of critical voices need to be heard. Where is the aboriginal online art critic? I hope that bloggers can help to solve this crisis because they are easy, accessible and fun.

If you visit art galleries then why not write a blog about your thoughts? There is still plenty room for more online art critics as so many exhibitions remain unreviewed. I want to write something to empower people to be art critics, to talk and write about art beyond simple subjectivist expression of preferences. “Think hard” was the advice that John McKenzie gave in his course Introduction to Aesthetics at Monash. It may sound obvious but actually doing it is hard; maybe I don’t do it enough.

Art criticism doesn’t have to be serious or academic; there is not much variety in art criticism in mainstream publications but that doesn’t mean that is the only way to write about art. For example, there are enough art exhibition openings every week to write a blog of Melbourne’s art world gossip. And there is probably enough poor/unethical journalism in art publications for an arts media watch.

“A critic, especially when he is writing of contemporary work, should be regarded as a guide, rather than a teacher.” Wrote James Gleeson.

Some stupid people believe that you must be an artist in order to be an art critic. Some art critics like James Gleeson have also been artists, others, like Clement Greenberg or Felix Feneon, were not artists; it is not important. I had no insider knowledge of Melbourne’s street art scene when I started this blog but I have learnt as I looked more. I hope that they have provided a different perspective on Melbourne’s street art than a participant/observer.

If you have been thinking about writing a blog about art exhibitions consider this. It is hard work, you will need to think hard, read a lot, check your facts and visit many galleries. There are few rewards to writing a blog about art, aside from glasses of cheap wine at gallery openings. But I’m having fun. And if I can be of assistance to anyone wanting to write an arts blogs please contact me.

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