Blogging, the Craft

by Robyn on May 18, 2010

picture of fir trees in the mountains

Fir tree in the mountains

This past weekend I attended Camp Blogaway. The camp was the brainchild of Patti Londre of The Londre Group. She blogs at Worth the Whisk about recipes and food. As part of her presentation on

    Treating Your Blog as a Business

she said something that made me think. In fact, that one statement had me cogitating over it for days.

Patti said she believed blogging was a craft. At first listen I shrank at the thought. A craft? Surely what I’ve been doing for the past few years was more than a craft. Silly me, I was trying to initially equate it with a Martha Stewart do-it-yourself pipe cleaner project. Or crocheting an afghan for a new baby. Or even something like decoupage. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
After spending those few days thinking, pondering, and digesting those words, I finally understood the meaning. Craft by definition is an activity involving skill in making things by hand or a skilled activity or profession. Tom Colicchio’s Restaurant Craft is a great example of using that definition. Skilled activity. Not something to be taken lightly. When you make a reservation to eat at Craft you need to be prepared to drop anywhere from $100 to $200 into Mr. Colicchio’s till. A cook doesn’t command that price, a chef does.

a picture of the tools a wood worker uses

The Wood Pattern Maker's Tools

My grandfather was a skilled craftsman. He was a wood pattern maker. He designed and crafted things out of wood that would later be built of steel. His skills had to be perfect, if they weren’t the steel could not be formed. He helped design tanks for the U.S. government. Were it not for his apprenticeship he would never have attained the title of master craftsman. Just like Tom Colicchio, grandpa spent years perfecting his technique and becoming good enough to be “that guy” to get the job done. He also made wood jewelry, bracelets, necklaces and earrings of wood as a pastime. I still have a few he made for my grandmother.

Writing is a craft. The tools are different than Tom’s knives or grandpa’s saws. They’re our words, our emotions, our knowledge. Refined and shaped by our experiences. There were over 75 people at Camp Blogaway. Each of us were there for two and a half day. Each of us sat through the classes and presentations. We heard the same words. However, we filtered them through our experience filter and we’ll write about them in blog posts all over the internet. We’ll tell our story.Our experience there. What changed in us. What light bulb went on over our head and what we wished we’d known a few months or years ago.

That’s what the craft of blogging is all about. It’s telling your story. The root word for blogging is “Web Log” shortened to “blog” over time. It was a way to put our words down to share our experiences with others. To connect to a greater audience. It is not about monetizing, or advertising. It’s about the content of our lives. Is it okay to monetize? Is it okay to advertise? Of course it is. However we all must remember that the reason people come back day after day is the content. We must hone our skill so we say something that is worthy of reading each time we hit that publish button. And if we do, those people will come, the stories will be read. Those stories are in each of us.

What’s yours?

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May 19, 2010 at 9:13 am

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Robyn October 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Thank you Paula for adding these thoughts to this discussion. Many times we think we don’t have the right tools, or the right voice to begin writing. As you state, it’s a process, it truly is. And it gets better by doing. Practicing the craft and art of putting voice to paper. It is a gift that can outlast even ourselves.

Paula October 2, 2010 at 10:17 am

As every craftsperson knows, in order to do a good job, you need the right tools. Our tools with blogging are not simply our words and our photographs but the *crafting* in blogging is learning how to utilize the tools at hand to create a piece of work that when completed, has truly become an extensive of ourselves. And like ourselves, it is a work in progress.

Jason August 1, 2010 at 8:33 am

That was a very nice piece…enjoyed it. Just really getting back into blogging. I found your page from Fussy.org & saved it to my favorites & put you in my blogroll on mine. I love blogging & reading others….Jason

Robyn May 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Greg, good to know I wasn’t alone being struck by the choice of words. Word play suits you!

Patti, you’re welcome. Pondering leads to good things.

Chris, thank you. I didn’t get to meet you personally, but I watch your tweets and love those links!

Chris May 19, 2010 at 9:01 am

Very nice post, Robyn!

Patti at Camp Blogaway May 19, 2010 at 8:46 am

You heard my point! Dedicated actors work on their craft. Good writers hone their craft. Passionate chefs better their craft. Blogging (in my opinion) is neither an industry (as in the Food Industry) or a profession (such as the Public Relations Profession). “In my opinion” (those of you at Camp know why I repeat this), blogging is a craft. Thanks Robyn for this great post.

SippityUp May 19, 2010 at 7:30 am

I too was struck by the word craft. I decided that Patti did not necessarily mean cooking (though cooking can be craft, art, or business). I think she meant the process of blogging. So that means a blog on politics is just as much craft as is a blog on cooking or even on crafting. Sorry I could not resist the word play. GREG

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