A Beginner’s Guide to Blogging What is a blog? A blog can be seen as a way of documenting the process and out-comes of your creative work, a place to show your personal journey, and express yourself in a more articulate way. A blog is where your voice can be heard. Over the last couple of years there has been an increase of blogs as it is a great way to get across what you want to say. Your blog can be a brilliant way to research deeper into your creative subject and learn about new artists, opportunities, history and so forth. As a blogger your writing style should reflect you, however don't worry too much, you’ll develop your own style along the way. A blog doesn’t have to be just text but can be accompanied by visual images to captivate your audience. It will be a bonus and kick start to your career, if you start a blog about your work you will come across ambitious and passionate about what you do. It will sets you aside from everyone else, you’ll be one step ahead of the game. Creating a blog will hopefully inspire more of Shape artists to follow on, and you'll be able to see what other Shape artists are up to and get inspired by each other. Why do we have a blog on Shape’s website? We thought it would be a brilliant opportunity to and find out what everyone at Inspiring Futures is up to, and how far their work has come along. The blogs forum will display the talented young artists we work with and inspire new artists to join. It’s a learning platform that allows discussion to be created and also to showcase everyone’s stages of development. Without your creative talent, we wouldn’t have anything to write about. Will starting a blog benefit me? You might be asking yourself is it necessary for me to start a blog a blog of my own? Well, having a blog will help inspire creativity and promote confidence, it will set you apart from the rest, and you’ll be one step ahead. Creating your own blog will help self-promote you, and your work, as well as enabling you to develop your writing skills, to kick start your career. As a creative individual having access to a blog will enable you to learn more about yourself, so you can easily express yourself and your work. The more your write about your creative subject and push boundaries the better, as well as been a learning curve .Not only will having a blog expand your writing skills however it will naturally boost your confidence leading your writing and confidence to blossom. You can think of a blog as a documenting a journey and look back at what you’ve achieved. You can explore new topics and expand your knowledge in your creative area. Just remember that people don’t have a lot of spare time, so keeping it concise is important so nobody gets bored! Content should be Engaging Succinct Concise Relevant Interesting Varied Structure To be read quickly, not too in-depth Share-able Should work around a central point or purpose Create a narrative: a short introduction, a body then a conclusion Incorporate images Language The goal is to sound relatable and confident and to convey that you know what you’re talking about Needs to be in first person Think about who will be reading the piece and what you want it to achieve Your own personality, but as Unlimited’s ‘voice’ You should come across as passionate about the subject of the blog When writing about art projects and pieces use ‘art writing’ language Ensure correct, inclusive language is used to write about disability Avoid clichés and platitudes Use bold, friendly, contemporary, chatty, casual language. Don’t be afraid to be colloquial. Stay away from academic and formal language Unlimited needs to look like we’re at the forefront of a movement and we’re not saying anything that’s outdated. To write well about a subject, you need to stay abreast of contemporary ideas, what people are talking about and what language is used when they do These days, if discussions around marginalisation and oppression aren’t intersectional, they are really not taken seriously The writing itself The first sentence should be your ‘hook’ and describe what the blog is about or for Break up long sentences with punctuation; not just commas but also dashes and semicolons Integrate quotes into sentences Use statistics Avoid repetition of words Don’t use ‘blah’ adjectives like ‘interesting’ or ‘inspiring’ – a blog should sound like someone’s talking to you so don’t be afraid to say things like ‘I really love…’ or describe something as ‘really great’. This makes what you’re saying sound genuine Likewise, rather than saying ‘it was…’, say ‘I found it…’ Use a thesaurus to find the right adjective for what you want to convey Use conjunctions that aren’t just ‘and’ and ‘but’, e.g. ‘what’s more’ but avoid them if they’re florid or crusty, e.g. ‘what’s more…’ and ‘not only…’ are great, but try not to use ‘furthermore…’ and ‘scarcely…’ Start writing with bullet points, then flesh them out into paragraphs and order them according to the narrative Good to include contemporary humour and fun references to pop culture – even things like internet jokes and memes Contextualise what you’re saying and provide examples if you make claims Good to mention, share and quote from other organisations, media sources and industry-respected individuals to tie Unlimited in with them both in the minds of the reader and from a PR perspective. Editing Write too much to make sure everything you want to say has been said, then chop out anything that’s repetitive, tedious or irrelevant Read back over everything and make sure that the language works to portray the content as engaging, succinct, concise, relevant and interesting Ensure that the writing reads with a good pace and flows well If anything sounds really clunky it might need to be totally overhauled; if that’s not possible, chop it or incorporate it separately elsewhere Try to read the entire piece from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know you or Unlimited. If the writer (you) comes across as fusty, boring, old-fashioned, uninformed or over-intellectual, in all likelihood just a few things will need to be changed. If the piece reads too much like a report or academic writing, try to put a bit more opinion and emotion into it. Further Reading Twitter is so great for writers! If you don’t have a Twitter account, I’d really recommend getting one and following journalists and blogs. Obviously not everyone has time (or desire) to be sitting on Twitter all day, but using ‘lists’ you can create a sort of digest of things to read. There are many media platforms, blogs and writers who reflect my ‘content’ notes and do the whole ‘lots of writers but with a central voice’ thing really well, such as The Vagenda (http://vagendamagazine.com), Disability Bitch (http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/writers/disabilitybitch.shtml), the ICA blog (https://www.ica.org.uk/blog/), Corridor8 (http://www.corridor8.co.uk/online) and We Make Money Not Art (http://we-make-money-not-art.com/) If anyone feels like they need or would like to brush up on the ‘art writing’ lingo, would recommend buying a copy of ArtReview and having a read. I’m also starting to work on them atm for future press coverage so couldn’t hurt…! General blog-writing tips: there are a lot of ‘how-to’ sites out there which are way too basic but https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140602121530-3161863-20-quick-tips-on-writing-great-blog-posts and http://www.textileartist.org/write-artist-blog-post are very helpful and don’t talk down to you So now you know the ins and outs it's time to get creative and get writing!