Monday, July 9, 2012

On Blogging: Welcome to the "end of my hallway"

Plum and June

This post is in conjunction with the "Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop" over at Plum and June.  Beth contacted me a couple months ago to participate in her Advice for New Bloggers series.  Please check out her blog and some of the great advice people have posted recently.  Thanks so much to Beth for asking me to participate! 

A couple of years ago I was out to dinner with two childhood friends.  We were neighbors growing up and have known each other as long as we can remember.  While chatting, one friend shared a story about her mother. Like my mom, this woman sewed many of her children's clothes when they were young.  Instead of allowing the project to be used or worn immediately, she would hang it at the end of the hallway for a few days to admire and enjoy her work before it became just another thing in the drawer.  I can just picture this young mother at the time taking a few moments to appreciate the work that she put into something.   

This simple story resonated with me.  I was just beginning to blog and share my projects.  I loved the idea of my blog becoming the "end of my hallway".  It is a way to share my projects with others who appreciate the work I put into each project and can celebrate a success with me or understand a failure.  I didn't start blogging to make money, become a super blogger or anything of the like.  I simply started blogging because I love the projects I've been able to create and wanted to share them.

I am constantly reassessing my purpose for blogging and asking myself why in the world I spend so much time on this.  I truly enjoy the connections, both local and online, that I have gained through blogging.  This has been a great blessing to me in my little world as a SAHM.  I try to stick with the original intent of my blog.  I find whenever I veer too far from this, I don't enjoy blogging.  Adding too many obligations, giveaways, or sponsors takes away the fun for me.  I know of many bloggers who enjoy these aspects of blogging and even thrive on this.

I've watched many bloggers go through a similar journey to mine in trying new things and finding what works and what doesn't work for them.  For me, I've found one of the biggest challenges in blogging is keeping my mind off the popularity contest (for lack of better words) that seems to exist in the blogging world.  It can be hard when so many other bloggers have more followers, sponsors, giveaways, etc.  They might have more projects that receive fabulous praise.  They constantly receive bundles of fabric and other products from companies or shops.  They seem to always be designing and selling some new quilt pattern. Unfortunately, this aspect seems to make blogging competitive (even if just in my head), taking away the fun for me as well.  I have had the occasional opportunity to have some of these blogging perks, but they aren't common for me.

When I get discourage about this, I have to remind myself why I even started blogging in the first place.  I just wanted to share what's hanging at the end of my hallway as well as an occasional story about my frantic life with three small kiddos.  When it comes to blogging, I've learned I can't do it all even though I've tried.  I've slowed down in what I try to accomplish and publish on my blog. Perhaps down the road when my kids are in school, I'll have more time to devote to this space--better pictures, more projects, sponsors, etc.  For now I'm pretty content. 

Finally--my advice to new bloggers:  Find a purpose and stick with it.  Decide what drives your desire to blog.  Don't compare yourself to every other blogger and feel you have to measure up in every way.  If you want to make money blogging--focus on networking with sponsors and build your content.  If you hope to build a successful online shop of homemade items, focus your efforts there.  If you simply want to share your projects, just share your projects.  Don't try to do everything. It won't make you happy. I promise. I tried.

I was browsing through photos of previous projects this weekend and was once again reminded why I blog.  It just makes me happy to look at pictures of some of my favorite quilts I've made. Thanks for celebrating with me the projects that "hang at the end of my hallway". Have a great Monday!
1. World of Goo Quilt Front, 2. Finished_Subway_1, 3. Imperfection_1, 4. Strings Quilt Back, 5. A Day at the Aquarium Front, 6. IMG_3675, 7. Hexagon Quilt Back, 8. Pixelated Color Wheel Quilt, 9. Color Quilt

69 comments:

  1. Well said. I am like you and have to keep reminding myself of this. I love looking down your hallway. What a great description. Thanks.

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  2. Thank you Kati! As a newbie to blogging world, I have become excited and overwhelmed by everyone's achievements! My blog has morphed from helping me balance my hectic life into a primarily quilting blog... Thanks for reminding me of my purpose and permitting me to be ok with what I post, when I post and happy with my 4 followers.
    Ann

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  3. Great post, Kati! I've enjoyed following your blog for a while now, always excited to see what's "hanging at the end of your hallway"! I'm with you about the competition in blogland, although I think a lot of it is perceived rather than actual. As my blog has evolved, I've learned to relax and enjoy what comes to me, and rejoice with my bloggy friends when they have successes and the perks that come with them! Keep up the good work - and thanks for the beautiful montage of quilts. Some of my favorites are in there, and I appreciate the reminder of their loveliness!!

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  4. fantastic advice! i love looking at what is hanging at the end of your hallway!! I especially am drawn to your "Imperfection" quilt! beautiful!! Thanks for sharing!!

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  5. Very thoughtful post, and I appreciate your sharing. I really enjoy just what you do, and it's good advice to make your blog 'your own.' Thanks...

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  6. Thank you for the picture of "the end of the hallway", a truly lovely idea.
    I started my blog so we have a record of our lives & friends & family can keep up with us, as we recently moved from Australia to the UK.
    Having a few regular readers & a whole 3 followers is just the cherry on the cake.
    I recently met some of my "imaginary friends" & had a great time connecting in person but even without that I would still blog.
    Love seeing everyone's quilts, it is so inspiring & feels like a quilt show in my home everyday!
    Cheers
    Lush
    London, UK

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  7. It's always good to remember what you set out to do ... and not get sidetracked. Thanks.

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  8. Great post, Kati. It makes me realize I am not the only one just looking to blog about my projects. The occasional win or opportunity to host a giveaway is icing on the cake!

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  9. You are SO right. And your creations are WORTH having a place on the internet to share! I LOVE LOVE LOVE them and I would be SO sad to see you stop blogging because of the weird competitive nature of the blogging world. Just create. For you. And enjoy your time. I had to reassess and do the same thing with paper crafting and I cut back over half of my "obligations" and got back to just the ones I really really enjoyed doing. It has made such a difference! Hugs! And I'm honored to have part of your "hallway" in my house! :)

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  10. Appreciate the insight. I've only been blogging a few months and am still finding my way. I really enjoy yours.

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  11. Thanks Kati! I feel the same way. I actually quit blogging about a year ago because of all the thoughts you've expressed here. I need to remember that that was what my blog was for . . . only a place to "hang" my projects. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Thanks, Kati, for sharing this. Please know that there are many people out here who enjoy your blog and enjoy seeing your work, possibly BECAUSE there aren't a bunch of giveaways and sponsor stuff. Not that I object to a nice giveaway once in a while, but that's not my main purpose in following the blogs I follow. I love seeing other people's work, and I learn so much from all of you. Keep up the good work.

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  13. You're like super wonderful just sayin'!

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  14. Here here! So down to earth. I totally agree. It's great to share projects with people who know exactly how much work goes into it, and who don't judge you for "staying home and sewing". It's also so hard to meet many younger quilters these days, but there's lots of us in blog-land!!

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  15. Great post!! My husband asked me why I started blogging and I gave him pretty much the same reason as you. I just want somewhere to document my projects so friends, family and online friends can see what I like to do in my spare time.

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  16. Thanks for your wonderful insights...they are something that I have to keep reminding myself of. And your mosaic has some beautiful quilts in it!

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  17. Thanks for the advice ... it's good to remember the reasons for doing something (now I don't need to feel bad about not hosting QALs and not writing tutorials and not organizing anything ... )

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  18. Thank you for the advice. When I started blogging, I was so discouraged and quit for almost a year. But I decided to do what makes me happy and I have been OK with this :)

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  19. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on blogging. Those beautiful quilts make me smile :-)

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  20. Thanks Kati! I love the idea of the end of the hallway. I do this (though not in the hallway) and I never thought about the blog as a way for it. I guess it would help if I actually took pictures of half the things I make.

    I love your content as what it is... Just what you're doing, without the need to be the biggest and the best. I have so many blogs I loved that have turned into product placement on the web. I stopped following so many people who are creative becaue the creativity leaves when they try to be something they're not. The sad thing is that there was a while when I thought I wanted to be that person, who gets free stuff and has a giant following and everybody thinks is so cool.

    Then I realized I left high school a long time ago, and I don't need to thrust myself back into that kind of social situation. It really does make for a happier me, a happier home, and more genuine content when I do actually get around to posting.

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  21. Thanks for sharing. It is hard to focus on our own purpose and not be swayed by the productivity of others. I love your work....your quilts are masterpieces...they are art. Thank you for the reminder. It really resonated with me and has given me much to think about.

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  22. thank you so much for this post! I think every blogger needs to step back once in a while and refocus! so that's just what I'm going to do!

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  23. Such solid, down to earth advice and honesty. You said what so many of us are thinking/feeling, thank you :)

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  24. Thanks for this, Kati. It's really important to remember to stay true to oneself. I really enjoy hanging out at the end of your hallway - it's a fun and inspiring place.

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  25. This is such a good article. Thank you very for such wonderful common sense!

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  26. Great post Kati! I often will hang something about for a bit just to enjoy it for a while before releasing it into the wild. ;)

    And boy do I struggle with that competition feeling. I don't know what the solution is for that other than just being honestly pleased for other people's popularity and success. Trying to figure it out hasn't helped me. So I'll just celebrate with them!

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  27. Thanks Kati! This is great, from the heart advice. When we are authentic, it shows and we find the most joy. I loved looking at the end of your hallway...your work is beautiful!

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  28. I just realized that you made the pixelated quilt. It is my favourite ever! One day I must do something similar :-)

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  29. Such a wonderful post, Kati. It means a lot to hear your thoughts on this subject, as I am in a place very similar to where you are right now. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  30. Great post! I'm over from Plum and June and thought this was just perfect, especially for me. I have four kids ages 2-6 and I get overwhelmed some times with all that can be involved in the blogging world. I too started off as a show and tell and I keep having to remind myself that even though I only have 15 followers that's probably better than the number of people who typically get to see my quilts. Thanks for the post and the renewed perspective!

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  31. Thanks for such a thoughtful post Kati! I think is great advice for us new bloggers to remember throughout our blogging days. It was really great as a SAHM with no sewing friends to find this quilt blogging world to connect with people in the same "place" as me and to learn from and support each other. Thanks for putting this all into words!

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  32. Very sound advice. Every time I feel a slight twinge of envy over the big sponsors and giveaways, I remind myself that it totally wouldn't be me if I was spending most of my time advertising for people

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  33. Well I sort of think of you as one of those popular bloggers so maybe it is just perspective. I love all your quilts and your encouragement and inspiration. I do hope you will continue to have fun blogging and sharing as I will continue to read. Thanks for sharing some of your story.

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  34. Thank you for sharing Such a thoughtful post Kati!

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  35. Your quilts are amazing !
    I love your style. I like looking at the blogs and keep thinking about doing one myself. It is is fun to see and share projects. Thanks for the advice to maybe future bloggers

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  36. Thank you for such a thoughtful post. I love your "end of the hall" and your wonderful projects!
    I love seeing others work and find it affirming when others are kind enough to stop by and comment on mine.

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  37. Thanks for those words of wisdom, Kati! And thank you for sharing your works at the end of the hallway.

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  38. Kati, I love this post! I have this conversation with myself everyday. I really love making things and photographing them BUT I don't like feeling pressure to always be putting something new on my blog. I told myself at the beginning of summer that I would just post once a week if I happen to have something I've worked on. But I'm done planning my whole life around it. I want to enjoy so many other things, like my kids and the beautiful weather. Thank you for this. It was a very good reminder to me :-)

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  39. Thank you Kati for such great advice. As I new blogger many times I get discouraged for not finishing as many projects as other bloggers I follow. But your advice is very encouraging.

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  40. I love what you've said in your post! It really spoke to my heart, and I love the imagery of putting things to "hang at the end of my hallway."

    That is what I like about my sewing blog. It's a place where I can go back and remember how lovely I remember things being. And I also appreciate the kind remarks of other people. It's nice to share and also be appreciated.

    Thanks so much!

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  41. This was exactly what I needed to read today! Thank you so much Katie, I'm so thankful that others have gone before me and are kind and willing to share there experiences!

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  42. Nothing makes my heart sing like seeing your fun work Kati, and since I can't see it in person anymore, I'm so happy that you do blog. I love that you love something and share it.

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  43. Your post really resonates with me. I , too, just want to share a little bit of my craft life and business with the world. I really enjoy blogging and I'm glad to read that I'm not the only one trying to avoid the popularity contests and blog envy. Thanks for sharing.

    samkaydesigns (at) gmail (dot) com

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  44. I know exactly what you mean when it comes to blogging politics. If you let it it will over whelm you and consume you at the same time. Love your post by the way. I am glad that you did not allow any of the politics to over run you.

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  45. Thank you for not being one of those blogs that scream "buy me, buy me" and for having nothing but "give-aways." I have deleted all those from my list.

    I visit blogs to see other people's projects and progress. Since I work two jobs, I have no progress of my own and live vicariously through the blogging world.

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  46. Lovely post Kati! Lot of truth.

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  47. Wow. Really thoughtful post. I've only been blogging 9 months and I completely understand what you are saying.
    I thought it was just me! LOVE 'the end of the hallway' idea. Thanks and take care, Byrd.

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  48. I love that you put this out there for the world to read. I also get caught up in the popularity contest. This is my last summer with my daughter before she starts kindergarten all day, though, so I've been working hard to savor that time and remind myself that in September I will be able to really focus on quilting and blogging without mom guilt. :)

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  49. What a great post, thanks so much for sharing your honest feedback. It's hard not to want to be one of the cool kids - I never was!

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  50. Love your post, and of course, your projects. Something I heard in a talk in April really resonated with me, something about "Don't be jealous because someone else chose to be nice." I switched it up to be "Don't be jealous because of someone else's success." And then I remind myself that I choose not to devote as much of my life as I could to it, and that I really like so and so who had such and such happen and try to move on. :) But, yeah...

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  51. I know exactly what you are talking about. I have gone through many of the same feelings and thoughts. I just started my third blog earlier this spring. My first one began after my husband's cancer came back for the second time. I used that one to vent, to inform, and to comfort myself as well as our family and friends. This new blog is for my entertainment and to promote my free motion quilting business. Keeping everything in perspective is very, very important. I remind myself of that everyday.

    Good luck with your blog. I hope it grows by leaps and bounds and that it is everything you would want it to be. :)

    Cindy@inastitchquilting.com

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  52. Well said! I think that keeping focused on what makes you happy about blogging is the key to not getting burned out. Thanks for sharing your personal story too!

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  53. Wonderful post, Kati. : ) Very well-said.

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  54. I think you've said it very well. I don't blog about my quilting experience very often because I've noticed this aspect of the quilt-blog world. I, like you, started blogging with a very specific purpose in mind (it's all about the writing for me, sort of a personal memoir that allows me to reach out to others in the blog-o-sphere) and I try very hard to remember that my blog is actually all about ME, and nobody else. Anybody else who wants to come to the party is invited, but at the end of the day, I am responsible for the content on my blog, just as I am responsible for my own happiness. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

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  55. Thanks for the reminder that while I read other blogs to find inspiration, I write my own blog to mostly journal my quilting accomplishments. Meeting and chatting to others and discovering that i can also inspire others is just a bonus to me!

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  56. I can't tell you how much this post resonates with me. I've been blogging for four and a half years, and I've struggled with many of the things you've mentioned. I plan on taking your advice and figuring out the focus and purpose for my blogging!

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  57. This blogging advice really resonates with me too! I've been quilting about a year and I really enjoy blogging as a record, an incentive and a way of connecting with other crafters but I'm concerned that it could easily become a job in itself which takes me too much away from sewing. I find it a difficult balance :)

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  58. This post is a breath of fresh air! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Like many of the other commenters I blog mainly to keep a record of my quilting - making connections with other quilters is a fun by-product though!

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  59. What beautiful quilts. As a new blogger, I just want to have a "scrapbook" of my work. It would be great if i could make something as inspirational as some of your pieces but that will be down the road a bit after I've acquired some more skills. I agree that it's easy to succumb to the little voice inside that says you need to do more because you're not as popular as someone else.

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  60. I love your story and the mental image of hanging work at the end of the hallway and taking time to appreciate it. So special! Thanks for sharing.

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  61. Kati, this is such a great post with very sound advice. One of the things I always enjoy about your blog is your authenticity. It's so sincere. Not to mention the amazing inspiration that you share!

    I am constantly going back and forth in my feelings about blogging, but definitely the times that I enjoy it most are when I'm just me, sharing something I love and grateful for this outlet to do so (I LOVE that 'End of the Hallway analogy!) The times I enjoy it the least are when I start comparing and worrying that I need to be someone I'm not. One of my favorite quotes recently is: "Comparison is the thief of joy" because it is SO TRUE. (Teddy Roosevelt, via good ol' Pinterest.)

    You are awesome. Thanks for sharing your talents so generously. It was great to see you last Sat!

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  62. Fabulous post, Katie. I've tried to keep my focus fairly simple......sharing my quilting journey. As a result the pressure has been minimal and the experience amazing. Of course the fact that my children are grown up does help with the pressure thing as well.

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  63. Thank so much for this post Kati. The idea of "looking down the hallway" is just divine and helps to put everything into perspective. As a newbie in the blogging world i sometimes feel overwhelmed by the stunning blogs I see, and think that I can never measure upt to that...This post helped me breathe! I can't do it all, and am trying the best I can.

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  64. Thank you so much for your fresh perspective. I have read the other "advice to new bloggers" at Plum and June and started to get caught up in the "should I..." conversation. You talked me back from that ledge--thank you. Nice to remember what my little blog is about and why it makes me happy, regardless of the followers or page-views.

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  65. I just love your blog, Kati. I thinking of starting one and your advice was extremely helpful. Keep up the great job!

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