By Kevin O'Keefe

Is blogging an art form?

20130527-193500.jpg Andrea Tomkins (@missfish), a veteran blogger and managing editor of Capital Parent Newspaper in Ottawa, asks “Is blogging an art form?”

I think so. If art is defined as self expression, I think it can certainly be argued that blogging is art. There is, after all, an art to blogging. Just like someone can pick up a brush and express themselves with paint on canvas, I can do the same using digital tools to weave a picture out of words, sound, photo, and video. And it’s a picture that grows a little bit every day.

I think that if you pour yourself into something, and it’s truly the work of your hand working in tandem with your head and your heart, it must be art. If an artist took a giant canvas and painted something on it every day for the rest of her life, is it art? What if she decoupaged the odd receipt or bus ticket or photo in there. Is it still art?

I have always thought of blogging as something closer to art than writing an article or marketing something. If we need to get into the ‘art or science’ thing, blogging’s the former.

As Tomkins says, you can’t lay down black and white laws for blogging, ie, every post must contain an image, be under 600 words, and be posted at the same time each day or week.

Like art, who’s to say what’s a good blog or a bad blog?

It’s only my opinion whether a blog is good or bad or pretty or ugly or inspiring or a total snoozefest. I might not follow your blog because I’m not interested in giveaways for diaper creams and baby toys, but other people do. Who cares what I think?

I became unglued when the ABA Journal announced its first Law Blog 100. I’ve tempered, but who was the ABA Journal to tell us what a good blog or a bad blog was? Were we to follow the ‘good blogs’ to the exclusion of others?

Whether you follow a blog or not is determined by where you want to go, who you want to meet, what you want to learn, and where you want to grow. We don’t give best highway awards out because who uses what highway is determined by where you want to head.

If there is no good or bad? What ought to guide you as a blogger?

A GOOD way to blog is to be true to yourself. If you are true to yourself you will be happy and productive. If you force yourself to be someone you are not you will start to feel empty inside and it will show in your writing, and if you’ve worked hard to grow your audience you will slowly see it seep away because you’re too busy being a pretender as opposed to being The Real You.

Can you as a lawyer be true to yourself as a blogger? Sure.

  • Blog on area you’re passionate about. If you’re not passionate about anything, find something.
  • Blog in an area you want to learn more and want to meet the thought leaders, maybe even the un-reachables.
  • No more dry case and regulatory summaries that could be written by a first year law student.
  • Blog as you talk. It’s a conversation after all. If you cite cases and use footnotes when out to eat with clients, then have it when blogging. If you don’t, leave them at home when blogging.
  • Have a position, even one where you’re holding your cards close to your chest. You offer your take on matters when speaking at seminars. How might the courts interpret this? What precautions do you see businesses taking? How does the change in the law impact me as a reader?
  • Blog when you feel like it. If you’re blogging in a fashion that is true to yourself, you’ll find time for blogging and you’ll find blogging enoyable.

I hated to write articles. Still do. I think I have written one article in the last 10 years.

Yet I have penned thousands of blog posts. There’s something deeper and richer going on with blogging. Blogging, at least for me, is a means of releasing my passion, skill, and talent. Hopefully without feeling untalented and without worrying too much about what others may think or say.

Be true to yourself in blogging. You’ll enjoy it.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Leogirly4life.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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