Want to see something embarrassing? Here’s the first post I ever wrote on my blog:
Oh my goodness. Housewife? My head is now on my desk. But there’s something to celebrate here, too. The date. That was eight years and 1,065 posts ago. I’m still here regularly writing in this space. Starting a blog was one of the best moves I’ve ever made and keeping it going was another.
But why? Why should you, or anyone, have a blog. And tied to this fundamental question is the equally important corollary: how do you hang in there.
First the why. 9 reasons to write a blog:
Make space for reflection and self-examination. The process of sitting down and formulating my thoughts helps me see myself more clearly. Countless times I’ve come to the computer without knowing what I would write about and somehow ideas bubble up that I wasn’t aware of. Once they’re on the
surface I can act on them.
Keep a record of what you were thinking and what you’ve done. When I started blogging in the spring of 2005 I was going through a shift in my identity. I’d left the workforce and become a mother and was feeling rather useless (hence the “housewife”). Rereading is painfully embarrassing, but also such an incredible reminder of who I am and who I was.
Get motivated to finish the projects you start. I often describe my blog as a hungry mouth that needs to be fed. It’s hunger pains get me off the couch and into the studio to create something that will satiate it, at least for now.
Express yourself. My blog is my kingdom and I don’t need permission from anyone to say what I want, how I want, and when I want. There’s no editor here (although sometimes I wish there was). I go with my gut and explore what I find interesting.
Connect with people. I sew alone. I began sewing and blogging at the same time so for me the two have always been tied. This blog took something solitary and make it communal. There simply aren’t all that many people in Wellesley, Massachusetts who are really excited about designing sewing patterns for stuffed animals (ahem, I’m the only one). Hooray for the internet for making it easy to find likeminded people all over the world.
Create a living portfolio. When Charlie watches me as I come across a new blog he always laughs because I scroll through the first four or five pages of images saying, “What do you make? What do you make?” If I see something I like I’ll stick around. A blog is dynamic and ever changing. It’s what you’re producing today, last week, last month. In a glimpse I can see your creative life.
Show social proof. Comments, likes, tweets, and shares are evidence that what we’ve said matters to people. That evidence feels good as personal validation, but it is also a demonstration to other, more powerful people and institutions that our voice and our creative output is being noticed. Use the numbers as leverage to get whatever it is you’re seeking: a freelance job, a book deal, a licensing opportunity. Use your blog to put your work in front of the people who matter.
Get better at writing and taking photos. Nothing beats practice. I’ve certainly written more words here than in college and graduate school combined and I’ve become a better writer for it. A craft blog is a type of hyper visual media that demands good photography. Take a great photo and make even a crappy project look amazing. Take a poor one and you might as well have not made the project at all. My blog has made me into a photographer.
Be part of the larger conversation. I’m a keen observer of the craft industry as a whole and often find myself with something to say about what’s happening. On my blog I draw attention to what I think other people aren’t saying. I feel compelled to shine an honest and forthright light on what’s I see happening and I can do that here.
And now to the other vital piece: how to hang in there.
Realize that your blog can change as your life changes. You don’t have to start over, just shift directions and keep going. If you go back through my archives to the early years (Oh no! You’re not doing that now are you?) you’ll see I was decorating cakes for about six months, and making a crapload of origami, and
planning a flower garden that died. I was sewing tote bags and aprons and learning to be a mother. And then it became about softies.
Life isn’t a one-directional focused march and your blog doesn’t need to be either. Like with any healthy relationship, it’s okay to change.