Art Fair Insiders

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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.


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Comment by Connie Mettler on November 14, 2011 at 8:41pm

Well, Nels, now there are more than 100 views, but the other thing is interesting. Those widgets that list the # of views of each post are relatively new to the site, so now we can kind of keep track of what people are reading (unless you want to see the google analytics) and what you are pointing out is that the readers of the reviews of shows take far precedence over other topics. So that is why you get way more points than I do

Comment by Terri Drake on November 14, 2011 at 7:57pm

Nels, thanks for the giggles and grins with your post on HOW to blog/post. LOL. I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every response. I never know exactly what I'm going to write until my fingers start moving. In my case, having the fingers move is a lot safe than having my mouth move as sometimes the mouth engages before the brain can say "not out loud stupid!" About then it's time to take one foot out of my mouth to put the other one in.

I think in addition to reviews on shows, perhaps we could have a review and/or recommendation for a class that has been offered in a particular medium or technique. You never know what someone has to offer that could impact how you do a project. Who knows, it could even open a new door for you to explore or incorporate into what you currently do. Just a suggestion.

In any event, I know that no matter WHAT the blog is about, it will be interesting, entertaining, enlightening and filled with tips, tibits and ... well, shoot, you know what I mean. ~2~

Comment by Barry Bernstein on November 14, 2011 at 2:54pm

I didn't realize that I was a pretty good writer until, surprise, surprise, I actually wrote something.  First of all, you have to free yourself from wondering what anyone is going to think.  You're probably smarter than most of your readers.  For that matter, you probably are smarter than most of the people who are writing blog entries.  I've read some posts where I said to myself "That person is a real moron."  Conversely, if someone thinks that I'm a moron, based on what I wrote, well, too bad.  Secondly, almost everyone has a personality.  After, or during, a show, you are making comments or thinking about what is going on while it is happening.  You probably are going to express that comment to someone you feel comfortable with, even if it yourself.  Use that I-phone for something other than watching the storm roll in.  Make remarks to yourself.  You don't even have to type.  You can dictate to yourself. Every smart phone has a free app that can do this.  Then, express those impressions at AFI.  If you don't have a personality, just describe the facts like "The crowd was large," "The crowd was small."  "I saw many packages go by," things like that.  Understand, that you are never alone.  If you had a certain impression of an event, there are others that think the same thing.  And, people who think like you will thank you for expressing what they were thinking. That will make you feel good. So, writing here is worth it.  Thirdly, here is a secret: Not only will you not get blackballed from a show for writing a critical review, you will get into more shows, because show promoters will get to know you from your writing and give you the respect you don't really deserve.  It's worked for me.  You have to be honest and if you criticize, you must give a solution which is easy to do by just thinking about how you would like things changed.   

Comment by Katherine Cuttonaro on November 11, 2011 at 11:07am

Thanks for your instructions on how to begin writing. I forgot about the w's and the h's. 

Comment by Nels Johnson on November 10, 2011 at 5:38pm

Thanks buddy, it is a great idea.  I found it interesting over 600-plus people read my review of Pensacola but only 100 read this.  i guess there just are not that many people out there of our almost 7000 subscribers who are that interested in contributing.  it is a shame.  Just this past weekend we had South Miami, Halifax and Dunedin--and not one single peep from anyone about them.  What gives folks?

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?)

Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on November 10, 2011 at 12:52am

Thanks Jim:)

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 12:40am

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 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)!

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