Right now I’m working on a lesson for the Guidesses in my Creative Journey Facilitator Training program.
I’m showing them various ways to talk about their work, including beginning to show their work, write about it, and try to explain it to others.
Learning how to share and talk about one’s work is really the foundation of marketing. But marketing can big, scary subject, abstract and tactical all at once, and usually overwhelming.
So without talking about marketing, they’re doing fun creative projects to learn how to do marketing, by doing it. Does that make sense?
Searching for some real-world examples, I harnessed the magic of the waybackmachine to find my very first blog post.
Why I Started Blogging in the First Place
In 2002, when I woozily hit publish on my first website in the middle of the night (hoping no one was looking) after weeks of agonizing over every detail (I designed it myself), I was simply trying to find a way to share my own creative process with my students.
I’d already been teaching in-person workshops on writing, painting, and creativity for almost 10 years. The workshops were so focused on the students and their work, that I rarely showed my own. I didn’t want to take up air time blabbing about my stuff.
So I started photographing my visual journal pages and then sharing something about the techniques, methods or process I used. Sometimes, I typed up the text from the written journal entry, if there was one, like you’ll see below.
I wasn’t thinking about what I was publishing as marketing. I was simply trying to show my work. After going through the trouble and expense of getting my MBA and specializing in marketing, while also continuing to do my art and teach, I’ve learned that for creatives, sharing one’s own work and process is simply the easiest and most effective kind of marketing there is. It’s not the whole picture, but a big part of it.
So, without further ado, here’s what my first blog post looked like:
madre agua: mexico is mother energy, part 1
Wednesday, January 22, 2003, posted at 10:50 PM
This was a visual journal entry from one of my trips to Oaxaca, Mexico.
“After a day at the beach I surrendered to being on the coast. Mazunte is just past Zipolite, cozier and not as seedy. It took over an hour of squirming, but eventually I settled in after a long float in the ocean. The water here seems saltier, more buoyant, that other ocean waters I have experienced. Does the salt concentrate in certain areas? The water is warmer here than in Hawaii. I can get right in without wincing…
On the way to the beach, I realized how hard I was being on myself. I hadn’t factored in culture shock. Somehow, I expected to ease into existence here, after all, I’m on “vacation”. What I didn’t expect was the impact this culture would have on me. I’m having so many perceptions that are jarring my reality.
For me, Mexico is Mother Energy. Even the ocean feels like womb water. As I floated, I lay all the way back, trying to let my neck feel supported. In the water, I could feel the immense tension I was holding in my body so tightly. I felt ashamed of it. Guilty for being so tense. Too intense!
Floating in the warm ocean waters I heard: Madre Agua, Madre Agua, mother water, mother ocean over and over like a mantra. Hold me. Float me. Let you depth and your warmth carry all the is nonessential away from me…”
The picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe was scored at a vendor booth outside the Cathedral Soledad in downtown Oaxaca City. (About ten hours away from this beach through the harrowing so-called roads of the Mexican Sierra Madres–but that’s another story.)
I pasted the picture (with a photo gluestick) onto a sheet of blank watercolor paper, and using the colors around ‘Lupe, extended the mountain scene. Since I was on the beach, I made most of the background the color of the ocean lapping against my feet.
The paper is from a pad of 9×12 Strathmore Cold Press sheets. They’re cheap, as far as watercolor papers go, and the size fits perfectly in the Itoya Profolio books I’m fond of using to store my pages on the road. For watercolor paints, I use a 12-color Windsor & Newton travel set.
The journal entry was created first. I have notebook I carry around at all times to pick up observations. It’s blank, so I can sketch in it if the inspiration strikes. There is something about lined paper that just bugs me.
I wrote the text from my journal over the watercolor with a waterproof black pen. I like the Uniball pens by Sanford, and also the Sakura Micro pens. They are so far the only pens I’ve found that don’t leak after extensive air travel, or do strange things in torpid humidity. These both write smoothly over watercolor.
/// end of post ///
This was all there was to my first few years of blogging, and you know what? I miss it?
If you guys like this approach, I’ll bring it back. Let me know in the comments.
Still Going Strong
Even after all of these years of working in visual journals and teaching the process, I continued to be awed, surprised, and delighted by what this work does, and how much it serves and supports others.
If you’re curious to learn more, check out the workshops page to see what’s coming up. I’d love to work with you.
Are you an artist who blogs? What inspired you to begin? What do you share that resonates most with your readers? What’s rewarding, and what challenges you, about blogging?
Are you a creative who is intimidated by showing your work? Don’t know how to talk about it? What’s the simplest and easy way you can think of to show and tell your work with one person? Let this question percolate for awhile, and then share the idea that came to you.
Are you an artist who does NOT blog? How do you share and show your work?