What Painter Bob Ross Can Teach Us About Blogging

Hundreds of thousands of companies around the globe have started digital community building initiatives by asking staff members to blog and participate in social media. This can be a win/win for companies and their employees, as blogging can help develop a company’s brand, along with the personal brands of its employees.

Unfortunately, many employees who’ve been asked to blog haven’t spent any serious time writing since their last college term paper or high school book report. And for many who already have the writing chops, the idea of putting their thoughts out on the web where anyone can see and comment on them is intimidating.

Luckily, PBS’s famous ‘fro-wearing painter Bob Ross has some words of advice for those of us looking to build our personal brands through blogging. PBS recently remixed some of his most insightful teachings about painting into a YouTube video mashup, and many of them directly translate to blogging.

Both painting and blogging are challenging creative expressions with many similarities. What say you, Bob Ross? Note: The rest of this blog will not make much sense if you haven’t watched this funny but insightful video first.

“I believe, I believe, every day’s a good day when you paint.”

To get over the hurdle of writing your first blog post, you must first believe that it will be good for you. Beyond the benefits of building your personal brand and being recognized, we’re genetically hardwired to enjoy creating. This is why humanity has gotten so far. If we didn’t enjoy creating, we’d still be stuck in the Stone Age. So take Bob’s advice, and believe that expressing your thoughts and creativity through blogging will better your days.

“Believe that you can do it, because you can do it.”

To blog well, you’ve got to believe in yourself. It may sound cliché, but believing you can do it is the first key to successful blogging. In the digital space, authenticity continues to trump formality, so you don’t need a master’s degree in creative writing to blog. All you need are some ideas, a little passion and the confidence that you can crank out 500 plus words that will help people.

“This is your world, you’re the creator. Find freedom on this canvas.”

When you start a blog post, you’re starting with a blank canvas. We may not have a ton of control at our place of employment, but when we blog, we’re in the driver’s seat. Enjoy the freedom that blogging gives you to express your personal style at work.

“Relax, let it flow. Think like water.”

Everyone is familiar with the concept of writer’s block. The opposite of writer’s block is the concept of flow, where words pour out of your head onto the screen almost as if you’re not even trying. This state of flow, which athletes and surgeons need to do their jobs effectively, is also the ideal state of mind for blogging. To increase flow, start by not worrying about perfection at first. Just let your thoughts stream out of your mind, and worry about editing and revising after you’ve completed your first draft.

“Make love to the canvas.”

Creating remarkable blog posts takes real passion. This is one of the principal reasons companies are looking to their staff members for their blogs. When you’re passionate about a topic, you don’t have to be an incredible writer to produce compelling content. Your readers can see your passion in your words, and it’s that passion that compels them to keep reading.

“We don’t make mistakes, just happy accidents.”

It’s easy to avoid writing if you worry too much about the mistakes you could make along the way–and there’s no better way to get writer’s block than to dwell on potential mistakes. We all make mistakes when learning a new craft. But that’s okay, because it means we’re trying—and most importantly, we’re getting better. When a post gets redlined and shot back at you by compliance, or a troll points out an error in your thinking, take Bob’s advice and keep making happy accidents.

“I believe, I believe it’ll bring a lotta good thoughts to your heart.”

Great bloggers write because they enjoy it. It’s as simple as that. Whether it’s painting or blogging, sharing your ideas with the world can provide you with a rush. Blogging is a way for us to express our thoughts, entertain and help others solve problems. In gamification terminology, the feeling one gets from helping someone else overcome a challenge is called “vicarious pride.” This sense of vicarious pride is one of the most rewarding feelings we can experience.

If you’re struggling as a new blogger, take Bob’s advice and believe that you can do it, because you can do it! Simple enough, right? Please tell us in the comments section if you have any more tips and tricks you’ve used to be a better blogger.

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