Over the years, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with blogging. At times, it feels like a chore. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laid in bed, unable to sleep, pondering all the things I want to write on my blog. It can be a bit overwhelming. And there’s the whole “invisible ladder to nowhere” thing. You know – what’s it all for? Unless you’re blogging simply to keep in touch with family members and share photos, others will often wonder why we bloggers spend so much time curating, collaborating, designing, writing and editing. (Don’t even get me started on checking analytics!)
So lately I’ve been wondering – why do we do it? Why do we move all the furniture out of a room just to get the perfect angle for a photograph of our Christmas stockings? Or paint entire rooms to create the perfect backdrop for photos of our kids wearing our creations? Or stay up until 2am just so we can schedule that SUPER IMPORTANT post that we know everyone’s going to just LOVE?
The holidays bring so many questions from curious/skeptical/well-meaning family members and friends: “Why do you do it? When do you have time? Do you make any money? How do you make money? Do you feel bad posting pictures of your kids? Don’t you feel exposed?”
And others have no filter at all: “You’re wasting your time. Your priorities are wrong. Blogging is pointless.”
Well, dear friends and family (and the occasional stranger), I beg to differ. I’ve given this topic a lot of thought, and I’ve determined that for me (and for countless others I know), blogging enriches my life every day.
I improve my skills.
I used to feel like I had no goals as a stay-at-home mom. I mean, there are the assumed things: keep kids alive/well/fed/clothed, make keep husband happy/fed/clothed and keep house moderately clean/intact/smelling decent/from falling in, etc. But with my blog, I’m able to set other goals for myself and actively document my progress.
Photography is a great example. I am still quite terrible at it. But I get lucky sometimes. And having this blog as a place to post my photos helps me get better and better. I go back through my posts and find the ones with stand-out photography, and I work to re-create that look. I check the camera settings, look at the white balance and consider my styling. Through my blog, I get better and better as it – and the “lucky” photos get more and more commonplace.
And there’s sewing. I have been sewing a long time – about 25 years. But you know, until I started blogging, I wasn’t really that great at it. I took shortcuts, and I didn’t pay attention to detail. My work was often sloppy, and I usually wasn’t pleased with the end product. As a result, I didn’t love sewing as much as I do now because I wasn’t really making things I wanted to wear or have my children wear.
But now, when I’m working on a project, I’m always thinking about how I’ll photograph the garment and what details I want to highlight. Because I know my work will be on display on my blog, I strive to make it better. Since I’ve started thinking this way, the quality of my sewing has dramatically increased. I feel proud when my daughter wears things I’ve made for her, and I don’t feel the need to point out all my errors when someone compliments me on a hand-made garment.
I discover opportunities.
Before I had children, I went to college and got a degree. I went on to graduate school, and I had a career with a salary and a company car and business suits and all the things. I was surrounded by opportunities – opportunities to impress my boss, to do continuing education, to get new clients, to get promotions, to change companies, to make more money, to collaborate with other professionals, to win new business, etc.
That’s not to say there aren’t opportunities to excel as a parent. Of course there are. But blogging helps me maintain my individuality and the ability to pursue selfish goals (rather than goals related to helping others). And I think that’s really important.
For example, my blog has given me the opportunity to network with other creative individuals – other bloggers, sewing pattern designers, knitters, and conference organizers. Through my blog, I am able to create relationships with these people that lead me to opportunities to collaborate on designs, to attend events, to market my services and to discover new hobbies.
Not only that, but my blog gives me the opportunity to make money and perhaps even create a job for myself once the kids are off to school and more independent. I don’t make much now, but the occasional few bucks from a pattern sale or affiliate commission is great. (And I definitely plan to release more patterns soon and ramp up this side of things!) Because I do the design/programming/marketing of my blog myself, I keep up-to-date on social media trends, CSS/HTML, web design and the crafting industry in general. These are all skills I could potentially use if I choose to re-enter the workforce (or start my own business) when my time frees up in a few years.
So thank you, blogging…the ambitious side of me loves you!
I have ownership.
As a mother, I often feel like nothing is my own – not even my body. At any given time, I have an infant attached to my breast and a two-year-old clambering up my leg. The time I wake up, eat, sleep and leave the house is pretty much dictated by my children. But my blog? It is completely my own. I feel proud when I like the design I’ve implemented or the photos I’ve taken. I decide when to post, what to post and how often to post. It is MINE.
The beauty of feeling like I have something all my own is that I then feel like there’s more of me to give. If I’m able to dedicate an hour or two to my blog without interruption, I am then able to shut my computer and give my family complete focus. Otherwise, I find my mind wandering – “Did I respond to that nice email? Will I ever finish that quilt? Do people like my new design? Do I have a purpose anymore? Is changing diapers all I’m good for? Do I really have to read this book for the 14th time today?” I’m much better able to put that all out of my head and be present with my children when I’ve had dedicated creative time.
…and the best part:
I make connections.
You see that photo up there? The one of me with Rae and Karen? That meeting would never have been possible without my blog. And those ladies? They are awesome. To call them friends is such an honor. In fact, the connections I’ve made through my blog have been some of my most fulfilling.
In fact, before I started meeting my blog friends in person, I felt somewhat isolated and lonely. I found it quite hard to find friends with common interests and values, and I sometimes isolated myself as a result. But blogging has taught me that I don’t have to be JUST LIKE a person in order to be their friend. I have blog friends who are single…who have different religious/political viewpoints…who have no children…who live in other countries…who work full-time…who are younger…who are older… But the one thing that binds us together is our desire to CREATE.
And isn’t the desire to create a part of human nature? So perhaps we ALL have this in common. Just think – creativity could be the key to world peace.
So the next time someone asks me why I blog, I will tell them, “Because it makes me a better person, and that makes me happy.”
I’m curious… what drives YOU to blog?