Some thoughts about Blogging

Last week, one of my readers who has turned into an online sewing friend, emailed me and asked me about my opinions on starting a blog.

It really got me thinking. Writing Sew Delicious has become a big part of my weekly routine. I put a substantial amount of time and effort into it. I’ve been doing it long enough now that I thought I’d share a few thoughts I’ve had since replying to my friend with a very long and detailed email about the topic!

I’m not giving advice here though – there are plenty of places to go for opinions on what to do and how to do it. I’m just talking about my experiences.

Getting Started:
I started sewing when Anna was a baby and I felt like something finally clicked. I’ve never had a proper hobby before, and I got so much of my knowledge and inspiration from other creative blogs. When Lucy was born I was staring down the barrel of another long period of not working outside the home, and I needed something for myself that I could do while I was with the kids.

Hitting publish was hard! That first time I wondered if I’d continue with it. But I have and I’m so glad! I didn’t strategically choose Blogger over WordPress. I just signed up on a whim and didn’t put much thought into it. I am not a strategic person really, I like to go with the flow. I know a lot of people have switched from Blogger to WordPress, but I don’t plan to.

Decisions to make:
Privacy is something important to consider. I don’t have a strong opinion on it other than everyone should choose for themselves. There are many things I choose not to blog about. I am a fairly open book and always have been – that is my personality and I have nothing to hide. That said, I don’t blog about my husband. I refer to him but you won’t ever see a picture of him. That is at his request – it is best for his work that he doesn’t have an online profile. He doesn’t have any social media accounts either.

I refer to my children by their real names. I don’t do the cutesy nick name thing and I find blogs that do hard to read. I like my writing to flow and just be natural, and trying to remember aliases would interrupt that. I don’t blog about the intimacies of our daily life, I tend to stick to my sewing projects, so when the girls appear on the blog it is usually modelling the latest item of clothing or sharing some activity we have done lately.

 There are some people online who like complete privacy. Some bloggers don’t reveal anything about themselves – no names, pictures anything. Totally fine and their choice, but I generally don’t read those blogs – I do like that sense of getting to know someone.

Blogging evolves and changes:
There is always something to fix / change / redesign / add to your blog. I find that I am very rarely satisfied. I would LOVE to get a blog redesign but as I run this blog on pretty much a $0 budget I will have to be content with my efforts using Pic Monkey for a bit longer.

Google Reader is retiring, which doesn’t bother me particularly because I don’t use it. I tend to use facebook, bloglovin, my dashboard and occasionally twitter. There are heaps of bloggers doing tutorials and posts about how to move your Google Reader subscriptions to Bloglovin or Feedly. If I love a blog, I tend to become a stalker and follow everything – facebook, instagram, blog, twitter, pinterest. I am an unashamed fan girl!

Trends:
I’m not good at being trendy. Which I am fine with. You won’t see beautifully styled pictures (although I try!), lots of white (just does not work in this family), the latest fabric trends (can’t afford it). I make what I like and what my kids like and I share it. I can’t compete with other bloggers so I won’t. There will always be bloggers out there who are better at sewing / cooking  / styling / photography. And that is OK. I don’t have endless time to spend on that stuff.

One of my better pictures – edited of course! Thank goodness for Pic Monkey!

Last year I did a few projects that I thought I should do because it would be good to blog about. Bad decision. My heart just wasn’t in it. And readers see through that stuff. You can tell when someone isn’t committed. Lesson learnt – now I only do projects I want to do, then blog about them once they are done. Or facebook and instagram them while they are in progress!

Connections:
The best thing about blogging I have made several real life friends from writing this blog, and I have made many more online. Mainly though commenting, emailing, link ups, swaps and just generally in participating in the online community.

I am also a bit of a lurker. There are blogs I like and read all the time but I never comment. I feel like other commenters have said it all, or that others are so witty and funny that my comment might seem boring in comparison!

Are you a blogger? Are you a blog reader? What are some of your thoughts about blogging? Do have any questions about blogging / my blog / me? Ask away!

27 thoughts on “Some thoughts about Blogging

  1. I love this post Ros and I love Sew Delicious because it does feel like a real place to be.
    I also agree with the trends, stuff I do for our place I do because we want/love it. People will like or hate it and it's okay either way.

    You have been such a great help to me and the easy going style you have is probably what made me feel comfortable to reach out to you, I felt like I already kind of knew you. 🙂

    I'm also a stalker and follow the blogs I love in a million ways 🙂

  2. I enjoyed reading your thoughts, probably because I agree with nearly everything you say, especially the part about making friends in the online sewing community. I find myself commenting mainly on blogs with few comments/readers as I feel like bloggers with loads of comments must find it a chore to reply to so many (if they reply, there must come a point where it's impossible). I wonder if this is true, I only get a few comments so I can't say, although I love that people take the time to read and comment on my blog. I also think your pictures look great!

    1. Thanks Megan! I know what you mean and I am the same – there are a lot of big sewing blogs that get SO many comments, so even though I read almost every post, I never comment. That said, there a couple where I have left comments and the blogger nearly always replies, even if it is a few weeks later. It makes me like them more and read their blog more often! If I have commented heaps of times on a particular blog and never had so much as a 'thanks' in reply, and I tend to give up on those, I will admit.

      I try my best to reply to everyone but it can be hard and when my inbox is crazy sometimes comments get buried. I like to reply via email, so if people are no-reply bloggers I will reply via the comment thread (but not always). If someone emails me directly with a question or something I always reply quickly. I try to use my best manners all the time!

      Sometimes it freaks me out that people even read my blog, so I am very grateful for all my commenters 🙂

  3. An excellent post, Ros!!! I think the majority who have a blog, found it hard to hit Publish for the first time. I certainly did, but I don't regret it and I'm very glad you did. Privacy is an issue I've thought very long and hard about and it has to be a personal decision. It's probably my age, but I don't show photos of kids' faces on my blog, but that's just what I feel comfortable about publishing on my blog. Everyone has to make their own decision about what they feel comfortable about showing for and of their family. My own kids, as adults, make up their own minds about their photos on my blog… they each have very different points of view. Photos of me… well, when I can get a semi decent shot, I'll put it in… LOL!!! Yeah, I know… way too critical of myself. I'm totally with you on the being trendy… never was, never will be. And as far as white goes, that went out the window with kids!!!

  4. I agree with everything you've said! I also find it hard to read blogs when they don't use names. I find the initials most annoying. 'so I made S a new dress today'…to me it just doesn't flow, but I respect that privacy means something different to everyone. And as for being trendy, I've always worn/liked what I liked, not because everyone else does, so I also like to blog about what I love and not what's cool…I don't see the point?!

  5. Hear hear!! The online quilting community IS my quilting group/guild whilst I am away from one in my language. Blogging gives me a focus, and such a fabulous tool to share my makings 🙂 I love your blog and follow you everywhere unashamedly too 😉

  6. What an interesting post Ros! I am currently going through a bit of a blog overhaul mood (prompted by the demise of Google reader), and considering some of the privacy aspects too. Our blogging styles are similar – like you I share a little bit from my private life, and pics of my kids etc. and use real names. It was great reading your thoughts on the topic. (I am one of your stalkers too btw, get your posts by email!)

  7. This was an interesting post. My experience was a little different. I had a well developed web page long, long before I started blogging. My husband convinced me that a blog would be a good extension of that. I tried it and it took me awhile to get into it, but I have been fairly consistent with it for awhile now. I enjoy the interaction with readers that is more open than on a web page. There are other aspects that I like as well. It seems simpler than a web page in some ways.

    I have only recently really gotten into the blog world of quilting, though I've read/watched quilting stuff online for quite awhile. I've enjoyed making quilting friends this way too. 🙂 Since we live out in the boondocks it gives me a way to connect with quilters without traveling. It also gives more personal input from others which feels more friendly than reading commercial web pages.

    By the way, I did a post awhile back on a *free* program called Picasa that is great for editing photos. I actually own PhotoShop, thanks to my husband, but I still use Picasa for some things. If you're interested you can read more about it here: http://thecottonapron.blogspot.com/2012/10/shop-your-own-stuff-shop-your-photos.html

  8. Great read! I'm glad you're sewing what you want and posting what you want. One of my pet peeves is when you're reading a blog and you get the "What do you guys want to see here?" post. It's your blog! Put whatever you want on it! If I'm not interested, I'll skip that post. I guess if you're in the blogging biz to try to get a million readers and make a few bucks, that solicitation *might* make a little more sense–but I still hate seeing it, because it seems antithetical to what blogging about a hobby should be. But to each their own, I guess!

    1. Oh I hate those posts too! I kind of understand it in some ways – sometimes I wonder why people are reading and what brought them to my blog in the first place. But when I think of my own blog reading habits, it's not always that calculated! Often I find people due to a pretty picture, through a link party, via facebook, anywhere really!

      And I also think "I don't know – you're the boss here!" and I've learned that blogging stuff that you think people will like often doesn't work.

  9. I could just about jump through the screen and gobble up those two gorgeous girls of yours Ros. Love you, love your blog and love how its a true representation of you in real life. Just the way I like it. As much as I love looking at food porn and excellently styled craft/sewing photos on blogs, I don't believe those people truly represent their blogs. They're just good photographers.

    xx

  10. I agree with everything you said too! But I do wish that my pics were better, and that I owned a fancy-pants camera, one day, one day (your pics always look great by the way!) I'm confused about the whole google reader thing – is that the same as GFC? Needless to say I've transported everything over to bloglovin' 🙂 Great to hear your thoughts on blogging my friend x

  11. Great post Ros! I am like you with the blogging in lots of ways. I have just put up pics of my sister's wedding – a magical day! x

  12. I am happy that I found your blog! i love everything you said in this post. I also am a sewer and crafter. My posts are not written well and I do use my family and real names. I love to show my projects and other things through my blog. I started with the same attitude as you and had a hard time pushing that publish button too! I still do. Sometimes I feel like "who wants to read this junk from me?" But I keep posting and hoping to connect to someone out there!!

    Hope you join me and I look forward to reading through your previous posts that I have missed!
    Thanks!
    ~ Darlene

  13. This post came at the right time. I WANT to blog, but I struggle because I think I need to stick to one category. I started it to keep in touch with family, but I make a lot of things for my little girl to wear and that's what I like to post about.

    My kiddos names…I agree that it is hard to follow the nicknames. I have been using nicknames for a while, but have been wanting to change it over to their real names. I guess I was waiting on someone to tell me it's okay to do, so…THANKS!

    I love visiting your blog. Thanks for letting us into your life.

    1. Thanks for your comment! I think with blogging it's important just to go with your gut feeling and do what is right for you and your family. If you are comfortable sharing your kids' real names then go for it, but for those who choose not to, I understand and respect that completely too.

  14. I like personal blogs, but I also respect that some people prefer privacy. But I do agree that it's harder to get a following if you don't open up.

    1. I absolutely respect people's choice for privacy – it is the choice of the individual. My choices are what work for me and what I feel most comfortable with.

  15. What a good post! I totally agree that the blogs where you feel a personal connection to the author are those you come back to. And as for blogging about topics you feel you have to do…well I am done doing or agreeing to that. It literally sucks the creativity out of me!!

  16. I love reading your blog for the content and the aspect that I can get to know you over time.
    I blog and cover a broad range of topics and interests in my life. I blog for myself and love it when others appreciate what I am doing and comment. I always try to reply to comments – I don't get very many so it isn't a chore as I have heard it described.
    Privacy is a tricky matter. For me I use my own nicname; Dee. It's what everyone calls me. I have never used my full name or the names of my kids. I use initials JC, EK but have been thinking of switching to their nicnames as they are also well known by those names. The only reason that I am even able to consider this is that the dangerous person who stalked me (and by extension my family) for over thirty years died just before Christmas. Previously a search on any version of my name (or my kids) didn't reveal any information about us. It has been liberating to slowly release such tight security and to not have to keep a check on it at all times. I can say it is not easy to have to live with such strict privacy but it was necessary. Maintaining privacy even went as far as not labelling my photos with more than their code so they could be located via a search; even an accidental find would have been devastating. Some family members thought that I was crazy to even blog about my life at all as it was a risk. I decided that I needed that little bit for me and making it as protected as I could was just the cost I chose to pay for my freedom. I will say though that I did always have the fear the he would find us. Oh and yes it all was worth it. 🙂

    1. Hi Dee,

      Thanks so much for your comment! After I posted I did think that there are some people who need to be very careful – people have a lot of situations like relationship break ups, court orders and situations like yours where they have to be extra careful. So sorry to hear about what happened to you – sounds extremely upsetting and scary. I'm so glad it's over and you have been able to relax 🙂

  17. This is a wonderful post. I really enjoyed reading it… and getting to know you more! I also use my kids' real names in my blog. That was something I struggled with, but, as you said, using nicknames seemed unnatural to me, since I don't do that in my regular daily life. I think there are good arguments for doing it either way, but you have to do what feels authentic to you. Anyway, it was lovely to hear your thoughts!

  18. As a new blogger I enjoyed reading this! My blog is only a month old, and I'm really trying to work this whole blogging thing out! I hadn't appreciated how much time I would put into it – and how hard it is to get my photos like I would really want them! Im not a photographer! I loved your comment about 'beautifully styled pix and lots of white'. That doesn't work for me either! Got a cramped house, not enough time, and bouncy kids! So I think Im going to have to 'let go' a little and just take the view that each post is 'good enough' and then hit the 'publish' button! And see what happens…Do visit! as-it-seams@blogspot.co.uk. Would love your comments.!

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