Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blogging Tips for Photographers 101 (Pt. 4): The Pretty Journal Syndrome

I started journaling when I was 12 years old - inspired by Bridget Jones’ Diary (of course). I remember standing in the back of our family room, watching the movie playing on the big TV on the wall. I was determined to start a journal the next day. My first journal was a black kind of leather skinny book. Looking back, I'm surprised I didn't get a red one, like Bridget's. ha!

It’s been over 12 years since I first picked up journaling, which means I’ve officially spent ½ of my life recording my life. So here’s a dozen years of journaling wisdom….

1) If your journal is pretty, you’re more inclined to write in it consistently (and enjoy the process). Thus, if you like how your blog looks, you’ll enjoy writing on it more. One of the big struggles that photographers seem to have is creating or designing a blog that they like. I know so many photographers that are resigned to the reality that they may never love how their blog looks. They've come to accept that sometimes the grass is always greener on another blog. Their never going to be in love with their own branding or blog design. 

My strategy for dealing with this has been simplicity. I figured I would never get sick of simplicity or regret a simple design. Things only get complicated when I start making the designs more complicated and colorful. For the time being, progress is more important than perfection. Simplicity is my mantra and greatest design guide.

2) If your journal is pretty, you’ll probably struggle to start writing on page #1 because you’re afraid to ruin it’s prettiness. Here’s your solution: take a pen and scribble all over that first page. Consider page 1 as your ‘Scribble Page’. It’s supposed to be messy (you can do it)… the perfection spell is broken and your handwriting on page two will automatically be looking prettier than whatever you did to page one. (Note: This is clearly a problem that only us control freak perfectionist suffer with lol)

If your blog looks pretty, you’ll be afraid to publish ‘ugly’ posts that don’t fit in perfectly with your branding. You’ll feel pressured to publish ‘perfect’ posts. I’m totally in this perfectionist boat with you. There have been days when I've spent 5 hours formatting a blog post so it looked ‘just so.’ Serious waste of my time and I feel guilty about it. It’s like a sick obsession or something.

The best solution I found on my own was to repeat constantly, “It’s GOOD ENOUGH. It’s GOOD ENOUGH.” I remind myself that the top priority is clicking publish and getting people to visit the blog. Sure, readers want it to look pretty but they don’t care if it’s PERFECT.
The best solution I learned from someone else.... "Progress not perfection."
You have to move away from the artist's desire to perfect the product and move toward the business person's mentality of making progress (even if it isn't pretty).
Good luck my perfectionist friends :D

Part 1: Challenges of Blogging for Photographers
Part 2: SEO
Part 3: 10 Ways to Come Up with Interesting Blog Content
Up next is Part 5: "But I Don't Like to Write" [Check Back in 2 Weeks!]