Taking stock and reviewing our goals, what we wish to achieve and whether we are progressing is essential for everyone, regardless of their career or life path. Asking ourselves what we want out of life; fulfilment, enlightenment, blogging celebrity status, wealth, lifelong happiness or all of the above is useful to ensure we are heading in the right direction. It is also imperative to know we are progressing and that we are actually improving professionally or as a person, maybe even spiritually.
This post isn’t even going to attempt to address that final issue as I do not profess to be qualified in anyway to do so. Fortunately assessing improvement in professional terms is much easier to quantify. It is important to gain feedback from peers and those that they are creating for. This is how productivity is measured and improvement is gained. Taking note of constructive criticism to avoid repeating mistakes is essential and let’s face it, receiving praise from colleagues and readers is always welcome.
“new media and blogging needs to be perceived as professional”
The main reason we need outside criticism is simple; if unaware something is incorrect it is never going to be addressed. Sometimes errors only become apparent when they are viewed by objective eyes. It is for this reason that whenever an obvious grammatical or spelling error is spotted on another site I discreetly inform the author. In some cases this ‘interference’ may be resented but personally I welcome any assistance in professionalising my site and wish more would do the same. Ultimately new media and blogging needs to be perceived as professional and cutting out blatant errors on our sites is one path to achieving this.
It is equally important however for the writer or artist to continually critique their own work. Reviewing a piece that was published recently is essential. Written prose can often be ‘tightened up’ and errors which were originally missed corrected. Minor editing can be carried out on photographs which may appear differently in natural light instead of artificial. It is equally important to look back over long completed work, errors still maybe found but also we can see any trend, hopefully that trend is improvement.
It may highlight any potential for future success, new directions the author wishes to explore and subject matter which merits further discussion.
The reviewer needs to look at their work with a critical eye, looking for ways in which it can be improved. This is progression, genuinely looking for areas in which we can produce better, more creative and readable work will improve our sites, attract more readers and ultimately produce success. This is a constant in any walk of life.
Self-congratulation for every piece of work produced regardless of the quality is self-deluding, ultimately negative and will stifle genuine improvement.
“Photographs capture the imagination”
However despite this I’m now going to pat myself on the back! In the last few days I’ve been going through all my posts. The main reason is to try to improve upon the SEO as this has been poor to non-existent in my early blogging attempts. As a consequence of this the opportunity to critique past posts has arisen.
It is slightly more difficult to assess whether my writing has improved significantly. Fortunately photography is much easier to assess. Imagery has always played an important part in this site, it is a subject discussed at length in other posts. Photographs capture the imagination of the reader, they inspire and encourage them to actually read the prose which accompanies them.
Photography also played an important role in my climbing years, taking thousands of images in the form of slides for presentation. The importance of good composition has been realised for sometime however it is only since beginning to publish that I’ve begun to understand the technical side of photography. A much greater emphasis is now placed on achieving the right result ‘in camera’ with minimal post capture editing being employed. The value of using RAW images is also understood.
Looking through past posts from the inception of the site to the very latest published it is gratifying to see the results. The improvement in the images published now compared to the beginning is startling. Handling of low light conditions, harsh light, contrasting light and even the basics of composition are all significantly better.
“I am failing miserably”
They are not perfect, far from it, there is still a great deal of improvement to be made. Learning to be quicker and more efficient in using a tripod increasing the likelihood that one will be employed more often or immediately resetting camera settings are just two. However looking through the site is like flicking through chapters in a book, it is possible to chart a steady progression which encourages me to continue to strive to improve.
My motives for blogging are not to make oodles of money or to gain celebrity, if they were I am failing miserably. It is for the love of travel; the aim has always been that I will be afforded more opportunities to travel in which sense there has been a degree of success. Although also being monetarily comfortable still remains a goal.
The aim of this post is not to sing my own praises, it is merely to emphasise the importance of self-critique and in doing so the possibility of receiving some encouraging signs of genuine improvement.
It is essential that we continually take stock of our lives, we all sometimes reach a crossroads which require us to make decisions. This can only be guesswork if we are unaware of our strengths and weaknesses. I urge every publisher to critique their site, review past posts in comparison to recent ones. Most will almost be pleasantly surprised and able to distinguish that there has been appreciable improvement.