My friend, Sunny, as I have mentioned, is involved with the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). Her main interest seems to lie in the reproduction of period costumes, and the idea of maintaining integrity to the era that is being represented by the group at the moment. She is able to incorporate her love of art history AND her love of research. She posts on Facebook when she finds something new and interesting.
I love to read what she posts and the conversations that she starts, so I told her that she should blog. Because, after all, I worked with her briefly – albeit in a different department – so, that entitles me to tell her how to live her life. She responded with a predictable list of excuses why she couldn't. I mean, "I don't want to" would be a legitimate answer. But, if you're going to give me lame excuses, I shall retort. Let's look at some of them, shall we?
"I don't have time"
Fair enough. She has two small children. But, she's posting on Facebook, so she has that time, which she could reallocate to the blog. And, I feel that what she puts on Facebook would be perfectly good material for a blog post. (The period costume and related posts, that is.) Not every post has to be 10 pages, complete with footnotes. Her posts are compelling and interesting, even to somebody who has never sewn in his life. (That would be me.)
"I'm not an Expert"
Sunny introduced me to The Modern Maker on Facebook. He is an expert on period costumes and he also is a professional – in making the costumes and also in lectures and books. While I've enjoyed what he writes, it's a bit over my head. I am more interested in what Sunny posts. Why? And, why should she care?
I am a likely follower of hers. Sunny would be much more likely than I to follow The Modern Maker because she is serious about the pursuit. I am merely interested; I am not a part of SCA and I don't have much interest in becoming a part of it. I do like her take on the topic, though. While she may not be the expert (and I'm not certain I agree), she is exploring. And, she has her own passions that she brings to it, and her own problems – like a life to live aside from the costumes, for instance. How does she balance it? Many people have to do this balancing act and they are likely (and grateful) followers. There are a lot of people like myself for whom her perspective is appealing. Don't believe me? Look at the number of people responding to her posts on Facebook.
"I'm too shy / scared / insecure"
Do it for your daughters. Show them what women can do. Do it for yourself. Every creative person knows that that feeling of insecurity, of being scared, is the next challenge to conquer.
Some thoughts from Kristen Lamb: Facebook may not always be around – or they, as a company, may not always be nice or cooperative. Your posts on Facebook are Facebook's property. Your blog posts are your own property.
So, maybe Sunny doesn't need to work right now. Perfect. Building a loyal following takes time. Kristen gives a general number of 200 posts before your online presence really kicks in. Then, all of this discussion, research and writing are your valuable commodity. Your followers are yours, not Facebook's.
"But, I love Facebook because I like to keep up with my friends." Great. That's how you promote your blog anyway. Not by "promoting" your blog, but by socializing with people of similar interests.
I'll close with two more thoughts:
1. I wish that I were HALF as passionate about ANYTHING as Sunny is about period costumes.
2. Every time I see her post a gem on Facebook, I feel like she's giving a part of her creative self to them, and she can't really get it back.
3. (I lied.) What does she have to lose? Maybe the cost of the blog/website if she starts on her own to begin with (which Kristen recommends and explains in her book Rise of the Machines.) But, there are free sites – Blogger and WordPress, for instance.
I know that Sunny has mentioned my suggestion on FB before, and her friends rallied around her, encouraging her. I get the feeling that she kind of wants to do it, but maybe doesn't have the confidence that she feels it would take. I hope that I have come across as encouraging and not being pushy. And, I hope Sunny knows that I would love to work with her while she builds a blog, if that's what she wants to do.
Okay, I'll stop now. Thank you, Sunny, for putting up with me. I hope to see you soon. Until then I remain...