The Gifted Blog

March 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions: February Update

Is it March already? As I did last month, here's a quick check-in on my 2010 resolutions for The Gifted Blog.

1) Write a gift wrap tutorial. - Check! (and also "In process" since I'd like to do more)
- 1/11: Easy paper-covered gift basket
- Coming next week: a recycled, reusable gift topper!

2) Write a guest post for a blog I admire. - In process
The first offer I received stalled out. But, there's another guest post in the works that should be a growing experience! Guest posting means adapting to a new audience and learning how to talk about your work (both things I'd like to learn), so I will continue to look for more opportunities!

3) Teach another workshop. - Pending
I think the biggest block here is doing it alone - from promoting to processing registration to teaching, I feel a little daunted. There's also that scary bit in the beginning when you wonder, "Wait! What if no one comes?!" Just waiting on this one for now; I think the right time will come.

4) Learn from better bloggers. - In process
My resolution was to apply some teaching points from "31 Days to Build a Better Blog" (31DBBB) by Problogger. Making my way through the list, I perused many of these 27 Must Read Tips and Tutorials for Bloggers (Day 6). One of the most interesting articles in that list was 10 Reasons Readers Don't Leave Comments.

Whether you read the post or not, it got me curious - when you choose not to comment, what's the main reason? (Is it #6 on her list? Because I've come to grips that this entire blog is me geeking out about gift wrapping...)


  1. On the days I don't comment (on this blog or others), it's usually because I'm in a rush to clean out my RSS reader and don't have anything useful to add.

    I don't mind the geek factor, it's what keeps me coming back.

  2. I think I'm a more visual person, I like to look at pictures and comment accordingly. I tend to scan words... sorry. I'm not sure if I'm a model reader, but for me more pics = more comments :)

  3. I don't often leave blog comments, but in general (and not just on your blog), I often tend to comment more on blog posts with pictures featuring actual projects (and not just stills of their cat or paragraphs about gardening). I am also drawn to posts that have a sense of narrative, and occasionally to ones that have a sense of humor about life at large. I'll sometimes also comment when there is a point of personal connection -- for example, I recently commented on a stranger's food blog when she told a funny story about her toddler son because his behavior reminded me of something I might have done as a kid.

    I comment on more frequently your blog because your internet persona comes off as friendly and humble, and because I truly enjoy many of the ideas you post. I may not always comment on every post (I don't always have something to say), but rest assured that you're not doing anything to drive people away, least of all "#6," as you fear!

    A very small suggestion that I do have is that you might want to consider thinking about different lighting and styling situations for your photographs. I know it's super difficult to find good indoor light in the middle of winter (a lot of my own blog photos are terribly underexposed) but it can help to photograph things during the daytime whenever possible(morning and evening are often the best times for soft light), either outside in soft shade or indoors next to a window (I've been known to put food on a chair by the sliding door before!), to include more than one shot in a post (a closeup as a teaser and then an all-over of the project), to make use of unusual angles and shapes in composition (but not to the extent that the identity of the object being photographed ends up being difficult to distinguish), and to use plain backgrounds whenever possible for small objects for which detail is important (I've started to use plain white paper or colored cardstock behind photos of jewelry now b/c it makes it easier to see in closeup; whereas for other objects like greeting cards, which would appear oddly flat if I cropped out the background, I try to include a bit of something behind -- books, my desk, or the like -- for dimension). I've found that especially eye-catching photography can help to attract people to posts; many of my favorite blogs feature down-to-earth writing and good storytelling combined with one or two beautiful, but unpretentious, light-filled (and well focused and composed) snapshots in each post that reflect the items being posted about in an everyday type of setting.

    I hope that was helpful! (Sorry that it was so long).

  4. Hi all - Wow. Thanks for the feedback; it's interesting to get a look at the blog-reading process from your perspective!

    Silverkeys - Just looked at your Yo-Yo Brooch post. Great photo! It seems counterintuitive that a plain, white background would make a more compelling image, but the proof is in the pudding.

    It would be an interesting challenge to grow in photographing my work. My philosophy so far has been "perfect is the enemy of good". Being a perfectionist, I have had to tell myself to chill out - do the best I can and call it 'good' if I can keep sippy cups and Cheerios out of the shot!
    : )

    I appreciate your thoughts, though. Have you considered posting about lessons learned about blog photography?

  5. No time and to many steps to get the post posted. Password, coded word... you get the picture.

  6. I am the same way (in terms of the perfectionistic streak)! Last year I gave up blogging for Lent (except on Sundays), in part b/c I was constantly thinking, "oh no, I took those pictures and never posted them!" Now, I almost never announce ahead of time that I'm going to post something on a blog. That way, nobody cares (me included) if it never happens. :) As for Cheerios in the shot -- definitely keeping it real! I occasionally find cookie crumbs in my pictures. I like to eat at my computer.

    Don't know about doing a post on blog photography; I still consider myself to be very much in the learning stage of things! In case you're interested, though here are some posts by other people that I've found helpful (in part):

    By the way, there are some people who say you need a DSLR to take good photos. It can help, but it's totally NOT true -- a point and shoot and a free photo editing software like Picnik can work just fine. :)

  7. Beautifuliving - I feel you. Definitely don't want to give readers too many hoops to jump though!

    Silverkeys - Aw, thanks for taking the time to point me towards those articles - I just took a look at all three! I appreciate all the "bad" examples in the last post.

    We'll see, maybe growing as a photographer will become an unspoken 2010 blog resolution. : )

    Thanks again for your thoughtfulness!


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