It's been a "Hip 100 Hooray!" for My Mia's Art this week. My Facebook page (finally) thumbed up 100 'Likers'. 100!! This may seem a very insignificant number in comparison to some other FB pages out there in Google land, but to a Mum that 'lives her life at the end of a paintbrush' , it feels a pretty darn good number. It has slowly plodded (unaided and unpushed) its way up from the handful of friends I started with 9 months ago, to what it is today...
100 101 likers on FB and 34 followers on WordPress, from all over the world. Some are friends, some are family, but most are genuine followers with an interest in art, photography and a life of creativity.
Can I let you in on a little secret? It took me 6 months of deliberation to find the courage to start my FB page and blog. I was PETRIFIED of hitting publish. Terrified of exposing my thoughts, plans and creative pursuits to anyone who cared to read.
I knew I wanted to blog. I'd had a little blog seed rattling around in my thoughts for a very long time. But I didn't know how to blog. I didn't even know what I would write about or even if I could sustain regular writing - I was a 'one week wonder' diary writer in my youth. Not a good track record. Yet even with these questions clinking around in my head, I wanted to give it a shot.
So, with a great conquering of my inner negative voice, I muddled my way through setting up a WordPress site and Facebook page and hit 'publish' on the 12th December 2011. It took me 24 hours to get my first comment. Voila! I was a Blogger. I had made my debut on the blogosphere and I have not looked back.
People are funny though...I have been asked numerous times Why? Why do I blog and how can I be bothered? My answer is simple...I'm an Artist. Being an Artist is often a very lonely, self absorbing, selfish, insular occupation. My art has turned me into a hermit and that's not healthy. I have great friends, a beautiful family, a busy life as a mum, but put me into my studio for 4 or 5 days a week, and I can rapidly lose touch with the outside world. Creativity is like that.
Blogging (and my FB page) gives me a community to which I can connect to, from within the 4 walls of my studio. After a solitary day of painting, with only the radio and a furchild or two or three by my side, I can share my struggles, achievements or thoughts with a group of people (other than my family and close friends who are a little bored of my art chitter chatter after many, many years of hearing it!) who are cheering me on. That cheering from the sidelines, helps me push through the doubt; through the tedium of the early stage of a painting; through the challenges an artist grapples with daily or just to shout a happy "WOO HOO" when the work is going well. It certainly takes the pressure off my immediate family to have to "Ooh" and "Ahh" over yet another painting.
The biggest reward blogging has given me though, is personal commitment. Knowing there is a group of people yahooing from the sidelines, holds me accountable to trying harder; to doing that extra 10, 20 or 60 minutes that is needed to finish a painting and upload it that day. It gives me the incentive to have plans and to not taking much of a break in between paintings.
It's also helped my photography. I started a 365 photo project in January. Initially, I started it as a means of keeping momentum on FB. I knew I couldn't paint fast enough daily, but I could use my love of photography to post daily. My photography skills have grown immensely as a direct result of the 365 project. I've been pushed to be imaginative, creative and to think laterally in the quest to take a great photo everyday. It's made me become a tourist in my own town by seeking out new scenery; its made me a better chef as I have discovered the joy of food photography and its made me sit quietly and just observe my home and family and beloved furkids as I capture our day-to-day lives in a year long photo diary. It has been the most brilliant project.
From this 365 project I have subsequently painted quite a few of the photos I have taken. My photography and painting have blended into a combined joy. The photo project has forced me to devote time each week to learning more about photography so I can improve the photos I upload each day. My online community of followers (some being professional photographers) have been incredibly encouraging and it has made me think seriously about pursuing my photography further.
I look forward to my blog writing. I aim for quality over quantity and have found my happy zone of writing regularly once a week. I Facebook daily - snippets of painting and photos and fun, with WordPress being my place to write more seriously or just to ramble, depending on how I feel. I may write more regularly in the future, but for now, 1 post a week is cutting it just fine. No crash n Burn at this rate!
If you are thinking of starting a blog...just do it! It's fun, it's community, it's sharing your joy and passions with like-minded people. Blogging and FB have given me the incentive and accountability to paint 15 paintings this year...which is 10 more than last years effort. Yes...possibly I would have done this without an online community but it sure has helped to know there is life outside of my 4 studio walls!
So, thank you to my 34 WordPress followers and 100 101 'Likers' on FB. Your support, encouragement and positive comments have been amazing. The world has become a much smaller and friendlier place.