Tuesday, January 07, 2014

old blog posts, new thoughts

I received a new comment from another potter on an old blog post the other day that brought up some thoughts I wanted to share it with you all:

I'm still trying to figure out my message. My (blog) posts have a tendency to be all over the place. Some about pottery, some about my daily health struggles, and some just because! Do you really think that it is beneficial to narrow the point/audience of a blog, or will the "wide net" approach I've got going on work?

When I first started this blog just over 7 years ago, I knew I wanted to share my world with people, but I struggled with distilling my world into interesting blog posts.  My biggest mistake initially was thinking I had to maintain a professional facade for the sake of potential customers. Like my blog is a fancy store or I'm going to sell you an appliance or something.  I wrote about a dozen polite, very restrained, heavily edited posts that I hoped gave the impression that I was a serious artist with deep thoughts. By the way, only click on those links if you are feeling suicidal and think being bored to death might be a painless way to go (it's not).

Then, I had a terrible weekend at a bad retail show and I let loose in a blog post how I felt about it. I was completely honest about my anger, discomfort, and disappointment when I have to stand around like an idiot all weekend and people don't buy my work, or even talk to me.

That post was a lot of fun to write, and I was so scared to publish it because I was afraid of what people would think of me, complaining like that.  But I did publish it, and it was the first time I had more than one or two comments. I made the great discovery that people pay branding companies lots of money to manufacture for them: authenticity creates connection.

Authenticity is scary. Knowing who you are deeply enough to show your authentic self is work in itself, and you also have to accept that some people are not going to like you and what you have to say. And you know what? Fuck them. Not in a personal way, people aren't bad for not liking you. In a general way, fuck the people who are not into your world. The people who love your world can't wait to see what you do next, and they are the people who matter.

The question about narrowing the point/audience of a blog vs. wide net is not what needs to be considered, that's approaching it from the back end. The front end approach is  honing your point of view through writing and sharing. If you don't know what your point of view is, keep writing until you figure it out.