Wow is it December already? This year has been really busy and hasn’t left much time for the blog. A quick look at the stats shows that people are still visiting though, so I’m glad you’re still finding the content worth showing up for!
Since it’s been six months since my last post, here are some things that have been going on:
- The Capital Illumination Plan is done. Find a link to the completed oeuvre here.
- Artsfile did an article about the Plan.
- My employer, the NCC, published a blog post about it here.
- I bought a house in a Campeau development from the ’60’s this summer and I’m really happy with it.
I grew up in a fairly creative family. Both my parents are creatives who put their ideas out there, but who mostly hate self promotion. My dad has had some success with his paintings and my mom with writing.
Both have worked really hard for their achievements but I think both of them have mostly focussed on ‘products’ rather than on being seen creating. At our house the basic understanding was that you work hard and that creativity and products of creative work are the outcome. Being seen making things and putting the process itself on display was never a focus. I always felt there was something missing in this equation.
This is why I find Austin Kleon’s New York Times bestselling book Show Your Work! so compelling. He’s made a very good case for being out there as a creative person; for being open about what you do and being seen doing it. When I read his book, one reaction I had was “…of course, this is so obvious …” because in fact what he’s talking about are the reasons I started a blog in the first place. But he has a lot to offer in this book including ideas about what makes good content, how to address your online audience, focussing on process, and myriad other useful ideas. It’s a great read.
Mr. Kleon’s ten ways to put yourself out there, to keep doing it, and to deal with criticism:
The way we consume information about our cities is changing and so too is the way we are getting involved with local urban issues. This was an important theme of an event last week hosted at the NCC’s urbanism lab. I don’t usually blog about work, but this event was particularly good I thought.
Speakers included Jillian Glover, Robert Smythe, Brandon Donnelly, and Marc-André Carognan and these four successful bloggers did a great job of representing the changing landscape of how we tackle urban issues in Canada today. Jillian is a Vancouverite known for her involvement in issues affecting urban families in Vancouver through her blog This City Life. Robert is an Ottawan and a fan of modernism and heritage architecture; themes of his blog Urbsite. Brandon Donnelly is the author of Architect This City and writes about urban issues in his local Toronto most notably, the Laneway Project and the fate of the Gardiner Expressway. Quebec architect Marc-André Carignan writes about architecture and urban design in La Belle Province.
I learned a lot from these bloggers and I plan to implement some of the concepts they talked about in their own experiences with blogging about urban issues. Some ideas were directly linked to improving your readership; don’t be afraid to pitch sites like Guardian UK’s cities site about featuring your blog. Get social media accounts for your blog.
Other pointers had to do with being more focussed about what you’re writing about, like simplifying your site’s vision statement. Jillian has had a lot of success with more personalized blog posts that address issues she and her family face.
Ottawa yesterday evening. Photo by the author.