Thursday, May 03, 2012

Your own drumming blog: general practices

Three easy steps, followed
by a bunch of other steps. 
A lot of new drumming blogs have been cropping up recently, which suggests to me that there are even more people thinking about starting blogging, but haven't yet. That's a good thing- there are a hell of a lot of knowledgeable people out there, and the more information circulates the better and stronger the musical culture.

This series of posts will outline how to go about it, first dealing with general practices, then with useful/necessary skills, software, web sites; finally I'll outline my workflow for making a single post with a downloadable pdf.

General practices:

Post often.
It helps generate traffic and cultivate a regular audience. This means you have to:

Keep it brief.  Because brevity is the soul of not wasting everyone's damn time. Every post cannot be a dissertation, nor should it be. This is blogging. Every extra word is a barrier between your audience and the point you are trying to make. This goes quintuple for video lessons, should you choose to include them.

Research. Blogging- or even "real" writing- is not just about being a fount of knowledge: it's about finding and recognizing things that are good, and directing people to them. Your message and identity as a writer is a composite your knowledge and of the things you recognize as good and pass along.

You should hopefully have a fair amount of original work in you, too.

Links are currency. The lifeblood of blogging. Maintaining a blogroll and linking to things in your posts- videos, articles, and other blogs generates traffic for yourself and others. You're doing something nice for someone every time you do it. I need to do more of it, in fact...

Read on after the break:

The mechanics of written communication on the computer. Formatting, design, data organization, and plain old command over the English language. I can't muster anything interesting to say about them, except that you have to care about them a little bit. Or a lot, in the case of language. A little online introduction to html should give you a good idea of the guidelines for effective formatting for the web.

Opinions/authority. They're traps. Musicians love giving opinions, and we all know a number of people who's fondest dream is that theirs should have the weight of authority. They want to be able to decree who's for real and who can't play and have it taken seriously, and to that end they dedicate a lot of energy to building themselves up as cats. In reality, no one cares, and no one is going to be fooled for long into thinking you're a bigger deal than you truly are. I try to stick to concretes: my own learning process, things that are useful to me, or things I've experienced in the field.

It's good to keep in mind is that even valid opinions serve to shut down the learning process in the people you share them with. So wield them carefully.

Geeking out. Don't be afraid of it- it's where your niche lies. Along the same lines, don't feel you have to be understood by absolutely everyone. If assume no knowledge on the part of the reader in every post you do, you'll never get anywhere. Anyway, it's good for beginners to be a little bit confused: interest + confusion = the beginning of a search for answers.

The internet is public and permanent. Everything you write is going to be available to everyone basically forever. Take care with how you present yourself.

Next time: Useful skills for bloggers.

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