Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Life :: 5 Blogging Tips from Musicians

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Besides being a plus size model, my sister is also a talented musician. Elizabeth sings and plays the piano, and has dabbled in other instruments such as the violin and ukelele. I also tried my hand at music, taking piano lessons as a youngster and taking up the flute in marching band, but it's not my forte. I loved singing in high school musicals, but now, I only sing in my car.

For Liz, music is in her blood. Just as writing is my passion, she has hers. It probably comes from my father, who has been playing the guitar in various bands since he was a teenager, keeping it a major hobby even after he joined the corporate world. He bought me a drum set for my birthday one year, and I think I messed around with it for three days, and since then Liz has gotten more use out of it than me. Growing up, my house was filled with magical, musical sounds.

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Though we all have different talents, I believe that all artists can learn from each other -- whether they prefer to paint, draw, write or sing. Here are a few things I've learned from growing up in a family of creatives, and paying attention to the music I listen to daily.

1. Be unique. It's easy for both musicians and bloggers to fall into the trap of what's in style. Whether done purposefully or unintentionally, I'm sure we've all been guilty of following trends instead of following our hearts. Though what's cool might make a lot of money today, it won't last forever. Do you want to be a one-hit wonder, or have a life-long career? Be yourself and you'll stand out, as opposed to following the crowd and getting lost in the shuffle after your five minutes of fame are up.

2. Be personal. The most successful songs are usually those that tug at our heartstrings or are relatable in some way. Bring your personality to what you're creating whether it's a blog post or song lyrics. It's easier for your readers to connect when you go deeper than a DIY. By resonating with your visitors, you are more apt to keep them loyal. I normally don't revisit a blog if it's simply a series of pretty pictures; I can get that from Pinterest.

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3. Be relevant. Keep your audience in mind and be sure to make your content relevant to them. Not everyone will care about what you post, but sticking to one niche is better than trying to reach out to multiple ones and confusing your readers. There are very few musicians that I can think of whose music can spread across multiple genres; two that come to mind are Pharrell Williams (hip-hop and pop) and Taylor Swift (pop and country). If this happens when it comes to your blog, great -- but allow it to happen naturally. The most successful musicians also stay relevant to our culture as a whole and touch on topics that make sense to our generation.

4. Be brave. You need to be able to take risks and make mistakes in order to grow in your life and career, no matter what industry you're part of. If you allow fear to hold you back, you'll never get to where you want to be. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there.

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5. Have fun! The vice president of the company I used to work for said, "go where the fun is." If you're not having fun with what you're doing, then start doing something else! There are many musicians who have gone into acting or modeling, joined a band or left to start a new one, or even simply settled down to raise their kids. Getting burned out will only affect your art in a negative way. Recently, my dad took a whole year off from playing the guitar, which I was shocked about. But he explained that it wasn't fun anymore, and he wanted it to be fun again, so he forced himself to take a break. I did the same thing last year when I took a month off from blogging. Sometimes you need to let go of what you love to get your mojo back. It's totally natural, normal and healthy. Don't feel guilty if you need to switch it up once in awhile. If you're not having fun, then there's no point, right!?

PS: My music favorites through the years, and 8 inspiration sources for bloggers.
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