Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Opening New Doors/Ending November


, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Today, I'm very tempted to slap up a post entitled "I Won! I Won!" on account of the fact that this marks my 30th National Blog Posting Month post. And, yes, if you're counting (or even keeping score) this "officially" means that I've won the "competition" yet again this year. But there's something about winning this year that leaves me feeling a bit, shall we say, hollow.

For starters, many folks who participate in NaBloPoMo are sort of what the Internets like to call "Mommy Bloggers." You know the type I'm talking about here. The 3 am, "oh! I just burped my new baby son Mark!" kind of blog posters. While I certainly respect motherhood and all of the duties it entails (I can't image a "profession" that is less well-paid or under-appreciated actually) I'm sorry but I just don't spend countless hours a day reading up about the lives of Mark or Sally or "the twins" or anybody who is "outnumbered" by their children. You opted to stay at home and have children, please don't blame me if the only "excitement" you now get in your life is an occasional blog post to an otherwise uninterested Internet. Frankly, I've got better things to do with my time and, in case you could not tell, don't really encourage all that much interaction with these types of bloggers (although, I'm the first to admit, some of them, and a do mean a select few here, are quite good writers. I have browsed some of these "Mommy blogs" in the past and found a few gems, surprises and such, but I find it difficult if not impossible to regularly do this given the time constraints of being a working artist. In case you could not guess from reading this, my art and photography take up most of my waking hours, often leaving me little time to do things like sleep or eat, let alone surf the web reading about Mark, "the twins" or anyone else for that matter.)

If the propensity of "Mommy Bloggers" were not enough, I feel as if I've sort of outgrown the "competition" itself. I think I have participated now maybe 6 or 7 times and I've "won" every single time I've started. It's really not all that challenging to me to post once a day, every day for a month. In fact, I could probably do this for six months and still not run out of things to say. I noticed this year, on the BlogHer website (this year's host site for the NaBloPoMo competition) that they are posting things like "writing prompts." Maybe I'm stating the obvious here, but I really don't need a "writing prompt" to do this. Every year I do the competition, I "assign" myself a topic of interest-this year was music-and I've noticed too how I hardly fall back upon this theme or I fall back upon it less and less. This year, for example, I had so much to share, so much to write about, I hardly talked about music at all (did I ever? At any one point, in this year's competition, did I even mention music? Have to check but, mmmm. really don't think so and, if I did it was not too much.) It's not much of a challenge for me to write about my selected topic anymore, let alone just to splash up thirty or so odd posts across the time span of a month.

Then there's the issue of quality. Actually, NaBloPoMo, National Novel Writing Month, and all of these so-called "competitions" leave this out across the board. I tend to aim for quality not quantity. So much of social media is geared towards a model of "success" that centers around raw numbers. I don't want to have 10,000 Twitter followers if there are no other artists or art patrons on Twitter. If my fans, and I mean my true fans (actual fans of my art and photography, not just passers-by or folks really interested in reading about Paris Hilton who accidentally stumbled upon my site instead) aren't reading here, then I'm not doing my job and, if they aren't using a particular outlet of social media (like, say, Twitter) then I'm not going to use it either.

Actually, Twitter is a poor example here because, at least the way I have been using Twitter, I have a core group of select followers on Twitter. And they are all artists and patrons. It's working well for me, Twitter is. Twitter, however, provides me something Blogger cannot. I can control who follows me on Twitter, I have less control (if any control) over who happens to click on by my blog. Because of that, yes, I'm sure I'll get the occasional "Mommy Blogger" stopping in, usually this marks a feeble attempt at mooching traffic from my site, but these people too usually dry up and go away, if for no other reason that the fact that we don't share the same core audience.

Sorry to be the one to inform you, if you haven't figured it out already, but the folks interested in reading a "Mommy Blog" or reading about Paris Hilton's escapades are not going to be interested in reading my site and won't be regular readers here. Likewise, the folks who do read here regularly won't be the slightest bit tempted by comment lures like, "check out my new site to find out news about..." If it isn't related to art or photography in some way, you aren't going to get a lot of traffic and I don't strive to have ten million followers a la Kim Kardashian so there really isn't even a lot of traffic to lure. Those looking to mooch traffic from my site usually turn away empty-handed because, frankly, there just isn't all that much traffic to mooch and, in case you could not tell by the banner, descriptions and all, this is a site devoted to art and photography. It's a personal journal about my life as a working artist. It's always been quite personal, I've not really tried to drive a mass of traffic here, and I use it simply as a means to share what is happening in my art world with my patrons, students, friends, and family. If I sometimes sell a print or two, hey, that's great too, but that's not really why I'm here and that's not really why my "regulars" are here either. To put it bluntly, you will get better results and we will all be happier if you go and sell your news about Kim Kardashian's wedding (or divorce) elsewhere.

When I first started writing Carol's Little World (and yes, I do mean "writing" as pictures were not even available back in those early days) my intentions were clear. To post here my thoughts, to make this a bit of a personal journal. I have always wanted this to be something like an on-line diary of sorts. I never proofread, I have tons of type-o's but that's not why I'm here either. I don't "polish" my writing here-it's off the shelf, off the cuff banter, a slice of life, a post here or there about what is happening in my own little world. It wasn't designed to be a novel in the making, nor is it a textbook. If you want to learn about equipment, if you want a photography teacher, if you want somebody to show you how to paint, etc. it might help in those regards but you'd probably be better off taking one of my classes or taking a class in your local area. I don't try to inform, educate, or entice. My blog, for me anyway, has always been a personal journal. I concentrate on sharing a little bit about my day or something that's happening, going on in my world, something I think might be funny, fun, entertaining, and the like. I seldom spend more than five to ten minutes per post and I seldom put too much thought into my posts. It's usually just off the cuff banter centered around what is going on in my life at any given moment. That's all it started out to be, that's all this site was meant to be, and maybe that's all it ever will become. I maintain other sites, like HouseOfCarol.com if you want a "storefront" (really want to buy some of my work) and I have other hang-outs on the web (like Facebook) if you really want to talk to me in more of a "real time" kind of a way. This is, and sort of always has been, a kitchen table of sorts. It's a behind-the scenes look at what it's like to be an artist and photographer, it's my personal journey, it's my diary, it's a slice of my life and that's all I intend it to be. I'm not trying to turn a book deal, get "noticed" by anybody "big" in the industry, or anything like that. There are other, better outlets for things like that. This is my kitchen table and I welcome any and all who want to share in that but I also recognize it's a small group and probably always will be a small group of core folks interested in what I have to say and share. Not all that many people are truly interested in a behind-the scenes look at art and photography and most who are, well, they are busying doing it themselves too, not reading up on blogs like this one (although, as we know, more then a few of them check in from time to time here. *Waves*)

So, while I may have "won" National Blog Posting Month this month, I don't really feel like this is a true "win" in fact, I'm probably going to move on to bigger and better things next year. Basically, I feel as if I've outgrown the "competition" of sorts and diverged over time from what it was intended to be. I recognize that some of you might be disappointed and there is an entire year (well, eleven months) left before I have to sign-up again, which leaves a lot of time for me to change my mind but, for all of these reasons and more, this November, while it marks my "winning" NaBloPoMo might also mark my last NaBloPoMo at least for a while.

I am happy and do share with all of those who have "won" the competition again this year. It is a job well-done and it is worth the effort to craft and write more posts to one's blog for most people. I hope you enjoyed National Blog Posting Month in some small way this year as well, and I wish the good folks that run it nothing but success in their future competitions. I do also cordially welcome any new followers to this, my own little world, because it is great fun and there is, as they say, never a dull moment.

Well, maybe there won't be any dull moments until November rolls around yet again next year. Hey, we can all hope, right?

Until next time...

3 comments:

Lin Floyd said...

greetings from a grand mommy poet blogger friend, been doing this for 4 years now almost daily. Sharing my thoughts, writings, etc-it's great therapy. I think mommy bloggers support and help one another in their thankless job and that's worthwhile.

Scriber's Web said...

Couldn't agree more. I've had some visitors on my blog who visit and comment only to promote themselves. They often don't even read what I wrote. It is simply, "visit my blog! buy my book! Me! Me! Me!" Very rude. I think when you visit someone's blog and comment, it is not about you and your self-promotion. It is about the person's blog. And everyone sees through the shameless self-promotion. Oh well...

Carol said...

Lin, I do try to support other bloggers by encouraging them to find their own niche in the blog-o-sphere. I'm not a mommy style blogger though, so my support is by definition limited. NaBloPoMo just encourages more that kind of traffic, which I really don't want to attract.

Scriber's, yes, I know exactly what you mean about the shameless self promoters. I hate it when they leave links back to items for sale on their own websites too. That's not good blogging etiquette. Besides, if you are not selling art supplies or photography-related gear nobody reading here would want to buy it anyway (and I have sponsors for that kind of stuff, many of whom I've had to turn away on account of the fact I don't want my blog to turn into a storefront for other people's businesses.)