On the necessity of a blog for recognition

A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:

“Someone told me I have to do a blog if I want to get an award. Is that true?”

A reply from the Minister:

I felt like I have heard this kind of question before but I couldn’t remember if it was one that I had already posted about or if it was one I was still needing to write about it.

So I checked my archive and there it was.

“If I’m trying my hand at A&S, should I have a blog to document my efforts?”

I wrote my reply to that question almost a full year ago back in September of 2017. So, let me revisit my words from that post. And make a few edits to that content to make it fit this question better.

“Have to”. That’s where I’ll start. The only thing I think you “Have to” do is “Have Fun”.

Are you able to learn while doing it? Excellent. Are you able to teach while doing it? Even better.

Now about that blog.

Maybe you’d enjoy making one? It depends on what your goals are.

Blogs have a lot of good things going for them:

  • It can be just for you and you don’t have to share it with anyone.
  • They can be used for informal reflections on your work and progress.
  • You can make them less formal than typical documentation used at arts and sciences competitions and displays.
  • They can be more approachable to your audiences than typical documentation.
  • It is a way to teach people.
  • Your local students can reference it.
  • You can also reach a wider non-local audience.
  •  It is a place to house your research and documentation.
  • It is a way to record your progress.
  • It is a chance for you to show your step-by-step process.
  • It is a way to reach people who are also doing the same kinds of work you are doing.
  • It may push you to actually capture all of the work you do in one place.
  • It can be a starting off point for fully documenting your work if you hadn’t already done so throughout earlier blog posts.

Maybe I need to also clear up a misconception before finishing.

You are not required or expected to create a blog before becoming a Silver Brooch, a Maunch, or a Laurel.

You’re not.

Could it help? Of course.

Those Orders are looking to learn more about the historical research and activities you are pursuing. A blog is just one, of many!, ways to help you share those things. It also happens to be efficient.

Let me expand on this point over the last time I posted. And be more explicit about some of it.

Members of the order may want to experience your work before polling positively on you and recommending you for inclusion in the Order.

They will ask questions like “What events can I meet them at? Where have they taught? Where have they displayed? Where can I see their work? Can you share any class handouts? Can you share any documentation? Do they have a blog I can read?”

You see? That’s just one question among many. Order members, by asking it, are not implying that it is required. They are asking it because it helps them learn about you.

You can make it easier for them by putting your work online.

You’re then able to reach a larger audience more directly and quickly. Many members of the Order, but not all, will appreciate this option to learn about your studies and abilities. Some members of the Order could still want to experience your work in person. It is different for every member of the Order.

But! Please let me add.

If you are using your blog to help you demonstrate your worthiness to an Order, then, you will also want to make sure that you are adding value with your blog.

It is hard to teach people about your arts if you are posting pictures without context.

You would want to add your research, comments about what you have learned, thoughts about where you’d like to improve your work, your sources, and more.

And yet another thing.

“Blogs” can be a lot of things.

Yes. You can make your own webpage and set everything up there. Or, you can do other things.

You can also post information here on facebook. On your own page restricted to your friends or open globally. You could post information on SCA groups and art specific groups.

You can also post information on your Kingdom wiki page. Or on Google+. Or through google docs. Or other means.

They have different audiences, so, where you chose to post, means you get a different experience with what you share.

Okay. And, just one more item.

You’re not alone. You don’t have to be a computer expert to also share your work. You can ask for help.

We have an awesome support community that gets people access to the Kingdom Wiki. Use it! I did! That’s how I have anything up there at all! Because I asked for help.

You can also get help with how to post more effectively on social media or on creating a website presence. Start by asking for assistance. People will lend a hand or at least direct you to the tools online that can help get you there with a little bit of effort.

So, what to do?

Just ask yourself what you’re looking to do with A&S. And then ask yourself if a blog would help you with those goals.

Also?

Be prepared that it may take you a good deal of work and that you may get a very limited number of hits. Maybe no one even reads all this hard work you are doing. Will you be okay with that?

I hope so.

Even if you get only one reader? That reader could be the one person you need.

Maybe you help them learn a craft they’ve always wanted to do and never figured out. Maybe they teach you something you had trouble figuring out on your own. And maybe you make a new friend that builds into a wonderful creative partnership.

Oh, and not into doing a blog? That’s okay!

As I’ve written before, there are other ways to share your work! There’s teaching, entering competitions, participating in displays, making things for others, and more.

And now?

Does anyone else have thoughts to share? Tell us what’s worked for you. Why do you do a blog?

Maybe share a link of yours?

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.