- Get out of bed
- Drink whatever caffeine stimulant appeals to you.
- Take & upload a few pictures of the cat.
You think I'm kidding?
Sometimes managing #1 is a challenge; #2 is then a requirement. Without #3, this blog would no doubt have stayed in dim obscurity -- this is not how I imagined making The New York Times.
If your topic is narrow, you are likely to have a ready-made audience; all that is needed is to bring your blog to its attention -- assuming, of course, that you provide good content. If you are not blogging for business, or around some specific topic or hobby, then how will a potential reader find you? Well, one way is that they may stumble across you while looking for something else; cats, for instance.
Why would you be blogging, if not for work, or money, or politics, or some other specificity?
Maybe because blogging (that ugly, guttural word) is, itself, an art form. Or can be. Then blogging is simply a tool, or a medium -- like clay, or language. So one must learn to use this tool -- to sail this craft -- just as another artist must learn the qualities of canvas and paint and color, or whatever means of expression s/he uses.
That means some tedium; learning at least a bit of code, so that one can display that cat picture in the most appealing manner -- floated, or centered, or wrapped in text, as the case may be. It means learning how (and whether) to do a blogroll, and how to ping the services that send you readers, and how to market whatever art it is that you are making. And let's not pretend that marketing doesn't matter. If you didn't care whether anyone looked, you wouldn't put it online.
Somewhere around #4 & #5, you add your blog to yet another directory, and spend some time reading another blog -related blog, to see if there is something new to learn. And you learn it. Because if blogging is your art form, then you must keep exploring the techniques, the possibilities.
It's a different thing than using a blog to display some other kind of art -- paintings, or photographs, or poems. Then the blog is simply a gallery, or an online page. Many are, and quite good ones at that. But I mean something different -- something I don't even know yet. Something I am discovering as I go.
The most important thing -- whether you are blogging for art, or blogging for business -- is the missing #6 on the list. It's idling.
Idling meaning, doing something, reading something, imagining something, apparently unrelated to blogging. Doing nothing. Meandering, physically or otherwise. While wandering about, one is likely to stub one's toe on an idea, or an image, or a link that sparks yet another, and another -- and then here you are, at the keyboard, blogging.
It's a challenge, that balance -- to take the time, the silence and solitude, to find something fresh; and to take the time, the noise and community, to stay connected and current. To write; to post.
But then, you can always take a break and go look at other people's cats: