In the last couple of weeks, we've been rolling out changes to the journal system, and with the introduction of the Journal Portal
, your journals now have the potential to be showcased in the Footer of deviantART or in the Popular section of the Portal –- something that could draw tons more eyes to your work!
So, how do you make a journal that’s worth sharing? Even if reaching a wider audience isn't your goal, these tips will help you get better feedback and spark more conversation, which is one of the best things about our vibrant community.
's Top 7 Tips for Enhancing the Quality of Journals:
#1. Write what you’re passionate about
Love black and white photography? Let’s talk it! Do you have a deep philosophical discussion you're itching to bring out to the world? Fluffy and serious blogs alike, the most important part of any journal entry is showing your audience you're passionate about the subject matter. It encourages readers to come back! Merlin Mann
, a popular blogger and independent writer states, "A blog shows me where someone's attention tends to go. Then, on some level, they encourage me to follow the evolution of their interest through a day or a year." Community is about bringing kindred spirits together over a common passion, and how cool would it be if your blog is that unifier?! As long as you're talking about and sharing what you love, people will want to read what you write!
#2. Show and tell
This is deviantART! We have tons and tons of amazing artists all in one place, so spice up your journals with art! Love comics? You could really spice up your journal entry about Wolverine by adding some great pieces of art, like this:
This is deviantART! You have an almost infinite supply of images to make your journal beautified! For example, take this recent journal
. The photos throughout the post (and his fantastic story-telling!) keep you hooked the entire entry. Whether sprucing up your words with imagery or explicitly sharing your curations with others, you could turn your journal into a one-stop shop for the very best of what deviantART has to offer!
*j-b0x's Toys in the Making is a quick, yet beautiful, example of one deviant's recent projects.
*KatieAlves's Nyan Cat Make-up Tutorial does a fantastic job of both showing and telling, in her colorful and informative journal entry.
#3. Great titles make a world of difference
Having a great title is a simple way to grab readers' attention from the start. Let's say, for example, I want to rant about Van Gogh. Instead of titling my piece “Van Gogh,” I might try something provocative, like “Starry Night Sucks and Here's Why.” Now, that's
a journal I wouldn't be able to pass up reading, even if it's just to see what the author has to say. Whether I agree with the sentiment or not, it's sure to be a great conversation starter.
Not all titles have to be controversial. For instance, Quick Tips: On Referencing Anatomy
cuts right to the heart of the journal's content and makes me more likely to
, as it obviously features helpful content.
#4. Ask questions
Asking your readers for their opinion encourages intelligent conversation on the topic. In the Van Gogh rant example, if my journal is just about how much I hate Van Gogh for paragraphs on end, I might only get a few comments -- most of which will probably just be "I think you’re crazy" or "Van Gogh RULES!"
However, say I rant about Van Gogh and then ask, "What do you think? Do you think his works are over-hyped? Has his time passed?" The comments here are bound to be more thought-out and interesting to read and respond to. For example, a recent #hq journal
has over 13,000 comments. But the number isn't the focus here; it’s the comment quality. The piece asked five open-ended questions of the reader, and a quick glance at the comments reveals that nearly everyone replied with something thoughtful and intelligent.
At the end of *humon
's journal, Lifestyle or action?
, she asks readers questions based on the information presented. As you can see from the explosive response, people were happy to share their opinions.
#5. Complete that thought
It's easy to get caught-up in the flow of writing and forget to make one clear, solid statement. Would what you’re writing change the way your reader thinks about an issue? Spur an idea? Be worth emailing to a coworker? If not, you’ve got work to do. (Source: CMI
#6. Make it personal
Have you published your own comic or exhibited your artwork in a gallery? Relating personal experiences can be a powerful way to connect to fellow deviants. Plus, sharing lessons you've learned the hard way can help younger artists solve problems they may be having.
#7. Pay it forward
If you see a journal doing these very things -- provoking your thoughts or inciting interesting conversations -- show your appreciation! Fave (
) the journal, respond to a comment, respond to people who respond to you! Check their galleries, +watch them, comment on their
thought-provoking journals. It's the circle of life!
These are just a few ideas to take your journals to the next level. Journals that hit these bullet points are more likely to be well-received, may garner further views, and provide interesting reading material for all. Win, win!
Not every journal you write needs to be all-encompassing and thought provoking; it's fun to share what you did at school today too! But when you're ready to have your message heard, the above tips will surely help you garner the best possible audience and response. With that in mind...
What are some things you like to keep in mind when writing a journal on deviantART?
Have you found anything that's particularly useful or something that should be avoided?
Share your thoughts in the comments below! (See what I did there?) And if you find yourself inclined to write a noteworthy journal, let us know. You may see it featured somewhere... `megturney