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HOW TO WRITE AN INTERESTING BLOG--and not necessarily be witty about it

One of our recent contributors to my latest post, Ruth Finkenbinder, got me thinking.  How do I write an interesting blog?  I am not necessarily witty like Nels but I want to contribute good info.

So here are a few pointers that might head you in that direction.  Read on, you just might like some of the ideas.  Think of it as a free workshop on writing.

Ernest Hemingway, one of my all time favorite authors used to say the best way to get over a mindblock about writing was to just write the simplest sentence you know.

It could be like, "The darn cat ate my lunch."

This then begs the question, first, how did the cat get in the refrigerator, and second, what did he think of it?  You see, it gets things going.

Another simple lesson from my early days of journalism, was the use of the "Five Ws and the H."

This stood for "where"' "what"' "when"', "why"' and "how".

If you could answer those questions in your lead paragraph it would give a lot of info consisely, and easily lead into other things.

So for example if you were coming back from the Dunedin Art Harvest show last weekend you might start off like this.

"Just finished Art Harvest in Dunedin last weekend, a two-day show with a Friday setup.  A lovely show held on the grounds of a local art center that is put on by the local art league, now in its 22nd year.  I decided after bombing at Halifax for three years and never getting into pensacola, that I would give it a try.  Boy am I glad we went..."

There it is all in one concise paragraph.  Then it leaves you multiple directions to go on.  You can talk about setup, awards, sales, artists you saw, how it compared to other shows you have done recently.  I hope you get the drift.

Most of us are not blessed like Barry Bernstein who can type with one toe and give more meat than an All-You-Can-Eat at Porkys.  Or Munks just let

s Bill the Cat, his eager alter ego write for him.  Me its all about pre-meditation--no tequila needed.

When you are driving back from a show that is the perfect time to think about, organize and picture what you want to say.  When you get home write a brief outline of topics that are important to you to tell us about--it is just that simple.

Another way of getting into the mode is to think how you would tell about the show if your best buddy, like Terri causey was listening.

You might say, "Terri, I was at Dunedin last weekend, can't get in Pensacola.  You should a seen the lowend stuff go by my booth all day.  More "art on the stick,  They were killing them."

When I was driving back from Pensacola, an eight-hour drive, I knew right away how i was going to start my blog using the "Pufferfish" as my opening.  Then one thing lead to another and I had it.

Nobody, especially if they are uncertain about writing, nails an absolutely perfect blog, but who is keeping score.  The more you write, the easier it will come.

Remember, keep it simple and expand like a conversation with your best friend and you will be amazed how things will pour out of your subconcious--and we all will be the better recipients for it.

And of course it never hurts to have a little glass of bubbly, or a good wine, or even a  great cocktail at your side.  I know Hemingway always did and I learned from the best of them .

Well I hope this little primer helped.  Love to see more info and insights coimg from some of you "lurkers" out there.  Aloha, Nels.

Views: 817

Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on November 9, 2011 at 8:26pm

Thanks Coach Nels!!  Appreciate the pointers and suggestions, and now I feel a little more human knowing even the best blogger can make mistakes - you added one more letter to my already way too long of a last name.  So, mistakes and all, let's share our stories, information and help others with show reviews that provide some real insight to help us all choose future shows and enjoy a few good laughs along the way.

Comment by Jim Parker on November 9, 2011 at 8:33pm


Ray Bradbury, the famous sci-fi writer, started writing by rolling a sheet of paper into the typewriter. (You do remember the typewriter, don't you?) He would hit the carriage return a couple times, space a few times, type the first word that came to mind. Then he'd roll down the page towards the bottom and type another word. After that, it was a matter of filling in the space in between. I always loved that. Never had the guts to try it, though. Never needed to. 

As you can see, writing is really just about writing. Most of us know how to talk, but get tongue-tied when it comes to writing. If you think about writing the same way you think about having a conversation, it gets easier. And the more you talk, the more you loosen up. Writing's the same way. For us older guys who never learned to type in high school, that might be a handicap, but most everybody knows how to bang on the keys nowadays. Do they even teach typing in school anymore? 

You don't have to start at the beginning, either. Try starting in the middle, or at the end. "Dang, that was a terrible show. It rained for two days, the tourists stayed indoors, and so did most of the art. We made one sale at the end of Sunday..." 

Thanks for the tips, Nels. Missed your voice.

Comment by Connie Mettler on November 9, 2011 at 8:57pm

Then there is the always useful 10 tips to surviving an art fair; 10 reasons why I should have stayed at home this weekend; 10 reasons my parents said I shouldn't go to art school, but I showed them; 10 most interesting people I met at the show, imagine they all turned out to be my buyers; 10 reasons I will never do a show in Naples ever again; 10 reasons why I love this lifestyle...

Comment by Nels Johnson on November 9, 2011 at 10:11pm

Sorry for the misspelling Ruth and i even took the time to look up your name and i still got it wrong.

Parker brngs another good side to how to write--and he does it very well.  Hats off to Geoff Coe, who seems to be finding his voice better with each blog he does.  And of course, lovely melanie up in hot Atlanta who brings her twang to things.  I also like Michelle Wermuth from kentucky.  She is a newbie but she is not ashamed of discussing her insecurities about the biz--she brings an insight that many can envision.  Let us not forget our special Miss Piper from the land down under--she may be far away but she is relevant.  Hopefully, this discussion will encourage more to participate.  Bill the Cat gets way too much credit--but he does know his away around those keys.

Comment by Nels Johnson on November 9, 2011 at 10:15pm

I know, it is late at nite and my hand can't find the key for uppercase so you gets lots of lower case on what should be proper pronouns.  Now I can diagram this sentence if you want me to.  Can even offer an adjectivial phrase up on one of those elevated platforms above the sentence.  Oh if Martha Pence, my eighth grade English teacher could only see me now.

Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on November 10, 2011 at 12:37am

LOL, love it folks, you really know how to make me laugh on a day that was less than fun.  Just to share, attended a memorial service for a member of my extended family.  You know, typos, spellling errors and grammar issues are just not a big deal in the grand scheme of life.  I enjoy this site, I love hearing about shows I'll probably never be in because they are about as far away from Seattle as you can get and still be in the continental U.S (thinking of those Florida shows), but I love hearing about them, sharing and learning from this community.  Let's share our stories, triumphs and frustrations because no one understands one artist better than another artist as we all live out the life of an itinerant artist (and yes, I borrowed that from Jim Parker's blog which has also made me laugh and cry, so Jim, hope you don't mind a little plagarism)!

Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on November 10, 2011 at 12:40am

oh heck, I think I spelled plagiarism wrong, ok, back to my red wine now!!!  Thanks everyone for your patience with me, or to add my old Texas twang, thanks y'all!!


Comment by Jim Parker on November 10, 2011 at 12:47am
Go ahead, Ruth, plaggaraze all you want to! My blog has been missing me lately. It's been a while since I had thenergy to write something pithy. This year took a lot of energy.
Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on November 10, 2011 at 12:52am

Thanks Jim:)

Comment by Geoff Coe on November 10, 2011 at 4:39pm

I was just lifting weights at my local Planet Fitness--you know, the gym with the big signs that say "JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE," and ran for awhile a very funny commercial where a Schwartzeneggar-style power lifter got tricked into leaving by the back door.

And it occurred to me that people relate to writing like they do to going to the gym, worried about getting laughed at by the creatine goons. Hey--I know how they're thinking: my first writing job was to write about the newspaper business for employees of the Washington Post. Used to sweat over the copy paper, brain-locked, worried that Woodward and Bernstein were going to snicker at my stupid "Inquiring Photographer" feature.

I can't help but notice that most of the folks writing on this thread are pretty frequent blogsters, and yet the thread's been viewed over 100 times already. So some encouragement is in order, 'cause this is good information.
So let's create a "judgement free zone" of our own: how 'bout everybody copy the link from this thread and send it to at least one person in your "Friend" list on AFI who is lurking, and ask them to review the next show they do? ( And lurkers: if you don't want to write a review, make a comment on a review somebody else did of your show?)


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