Now about this wonderful monstrous hydra we’ve created: blogging. If not conquered, or at least managed, it will sink us all. First some thoughts from others.
Rachel of Stitched in Color writes a fine post aimed at new bloggers, with her own list of Readers’ Pet Peeves. I laughed when I saw two of mine on there: “blurry photos” and “people’s feet” (I get tired of seeing pedicured toes, so thought it amusing that others have the same reaction).
Ez of Creature Comforts gives her advice for blogging:
“Be passionate. Blog about something that truly matters to you. Believe in yourself and be an active and friendly member of the blogging community. Oh, and have patience! It might take a while before anyone knows you exist, but keep at it and never be afraid to ask for help when it is needed.”
No guilt. No apologies if you don’t blog, but do give us an explanation if you’ve been away for an interesting reason, like you went to Australia, or had a class in color theory, or just spent time walking the beach with your children. We do want to know how you recharge your batteries, and we might follow your lead. I always love those posts about trips, esp. to New York’s fabric district!
Decide whether you are a “commercial” quilt blogger, or a “personal” quilt blogger. While we’re happy to have both, it’s sometime irritating to have a personal quilt blogger suddenly start pitching a product or an online fabric shop in that “advertising” way. I’m always happy to learn about new products from the bloggy world, but we readers recognize that those who take money from their enterprises have an obligation to sell. And you know quilters: we love to buy, but hate to be sold. (And this includes Too Many Giveaways!!)
Blog only when you want to. While they say the muse inspiring writing only comes if you apply your backside to a chair, sometimes it’s better wait a day or two for an interesting idea than to force your blogging to a schedule. Caveat: if you are blogging as a line of work, then you have to treat it like work. You know, show up with interesting content, a new idea. It’s about the showing up part that’s important (but be aware of the previous idea of commercial vs. personal). Which leads me to my last idea:
Avoid too much secondary content on your quilt blog. This falls into two categories:
1) personal stuff that overwhelms the quilting stuff. Moderation in all things–open another blog for yourself if you find that most of your posts are about your cat. Or kids. Or whatever; and,
2) importing from others to fill your own blog space. While those who run design blogs do this quite frequently (you can only redo your own house so many times), I think that we as quilters have many things we can write about as we sew. And while a nod to inspiration is good, I like seeing all topics of the sewing universe on quilt blogs, from the new trend of sewing clothing (all things Old are New again) to how you like to put on your binding. There’s also the technical aspect: too many videos is a drag on our bandwidth. Again, moderation in all things other than quilting.
Be a blog reader and commenter. We can’t read all the blogs all the time. Choose a few of your favorites and read fairly regularly. I’ve made some great friends by doing this, and they have widened my circle as well. Think of it as the new pen-pal system. Follow some links occasionally to gain new inspiration. But perhaps a time limit for computer viewing is a good idea, as we all know we have quilting to do!
Forgiveness and Fun. I’ve tresspassed just about all of the above listed pieces of advice at one time or another, and we should have a bit of forgiveness tucked away for bloggers, just like we do for when we stitch in a tuck and hope no one notices. And FUN! Yes, hopefully blogging is enjoyable.
Above all, write what interests you. Be yourself. Share with us your struggles. Avoid cattiness, but healthy dose of snark can be fun.
Be true to yourself. E. B. White, a famous essayist, noted that “Your whole duty as a writer is to please and satisfy yourself . . . the true writer always plays to an audience of one.” But if you write it, we’ll read it!