Try and explain to your friends and family, why you blog and why you put yourself and your work out there on the internet, can lead to a stumbling mumbling conversation that leaves them looking at you right funny. Some won't know what a blog is and others won't understand why you would want to blog in the first place, especially when there's Instagram and you can read lots and lots of other blogs already out there.
I was also struck yesterday by a link I followed through Abby's weekly While She Naps newsletter. The message was Create before you Consume! Get to the sewing machine first thing in the morning instead of the iPad to check social media. It got me thinking about things you create as a blogger. Writing about the process and ideas in creating blog content and creating physical tangible quilts gives not only to the family and friends we make for but gives back to the wider quilting community too. Blogging has real value.
I'm not talking about monetary value and sponsorship and marketing your goods though that is also a valid reason to start a blog. I'm not sure those reasons are what sustain a blog or a blogger year on year. I will admit that maybe there is a teeny bit of vanity that comes into wanting to share the best bits of your work with the world, kind of like a nice selfie but to be fair it's not all about look at me, I made something pretty, pat me on the back. There's a lot more to it than that, though a pat on the back is always nice to get! And here on quilt blog land people are brilliantly supportive and encouraging which helps with the first thought that came to me on blogging. It takes a bucket load of bravery!
Contrary to popular belief, most quilt bloggers are actually quite shy peeps. And even if you are not normally a shy person, sharing a bit of yourself with the world online is a little bit scary - especially for those first posts. Too many words, not enough pictures. You write them awkwardly at first, maybe you are not used to blogging and have yet to find a groove. Safer to keep them published but private before taking the plunge and making your blog public and findable on search engines. I never read my first posts - I think I would be afraid to!
|My original blog banner!|
The writing part does get easier, you find your groove. The photographs get better as you take more time over them. Blog posts get more polished and informative. Blogging will surprise you. Posts you spend hours on, putting large parts of yourself into will disappear into the ether. Others you write in no time at all will somehow resonate with your readers. It can be very unpredictable. The blog itself gets fancier as you learn more about html, adding links to photos, making grids, adding numbers to comments. You create more content and over time add more interesting places for people to visit like Tutorial pages, Galleries, Patterns and you put yourself out there even more joining in Blog Hops and linky parties. The dreaded about me page gets an update but still there is that fear to overcome - what if no one visits, what if people don't like what I make, what if no one comments which can make it feel like what if no one likes me?
Things like The New Bloggers Blog Hop are a brilliant way to help with some of this and be supportive while you figure all of these things out. Most of my best bloggy friends are those I met on past Let's Get Acquainted/New Bloggers blog hops and these are the people I turn to for advice time and time again!
Yvonne @Quilting Jet Girl, Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs and Stephanie @ Late Night Quilter. If you have a moment please reward these new bloggers bravery and hard work with a visit to their blogs, leave a comment and say hi - it will be greatly appreciated!
For my part if I had any advice for myself of 4 years ago, I think I would say:
- Be brave, what's the worst that could happen?
- Take your time - build good content and give your space time to grow.
- Ignore the stats pages and the number of followers on bloglovin'. Don't get hung up on anybody's else's numbers - do your own thing.
- Give back, visit and comment on others blog posts - you have to put yourself out there to make friends.
- Enjoy the process and most importantly have fun!
I can't imagine now, not writing and have learned so much not just about quilting but grown as a person, learned about branding/marketing, creating, designing and have made wonderful friends. I don't regret it for a second!
What advice would you give a new blogger? And if you don't yet blog are you tempted?