This is a question that is popping up a lot recently. Some asking me directly and some asking the question in relation to blogging versus a social media presence.
To the latter, all I can say is that having your own website, a base, that is yours and run by you is very different from having an account on a platform that is run by someone else. You have no say over how that platform is run or when it may vanish from the world. Yes, you can use it to grow a following but I like the comfort of knowing that this space is mine.
This blog started as something to allow me to grow a skillset and to deal with the transition into motherhood. Something that was mine and protected from the fast pace of change around me. Over the last 5 years, I went from being single to married and to having two children. I changed from a job that I loved to having to figure out how I could still contribute to the yarn industry from home without becoming a designer or a dyer.
This blog was the stable part of my life that allowed me to log, to write and to photograph. To share those indie dyers and designers big and small that I came to know and love both on the blog and podcast. I’ve been featured in magazines and been a contributing photographer and writer. Neither of which I would ever have thought possible if I never started this blog. Last year’s blog award is still peeking out at me and I’m still telling myself that this should be Evin’s.
When you start a blog you are told to think about your clients, your customers, your followers and your niche. I didn’t really do any of those things. To this day if you ask me to pin it down, I will say that this blog is my virtual creative playground that I share with all of you. I found a community that I adore through the #sixonsaturday posts and I was surprised at just how many crafters also loved the DIY, Garden and ullet ournal posts. I’m very grateful to each and everyone who reads the blog or follows on Instagram and emails me or replies to a newsletter.
The Things They Don’t Tell You
The thing is, there are a number of issues that people don’t talk about when you start to grow a following and the one thing that absolutely no one can tell you is how you are going to personally react to it. How you will deal with the comments, the direct messages, the emails and the content mill of social media. It’s a personal growth curve just as learning how to create a blog and all that goes into your online presence.
For me, this was the most difficult next to deciding what to give my energy into (for those just joining in I chose Woollinn, This is Knit and some indie designers) but also having two small children makes it difficult to be ‘on’ all the time. There is a balance but sometimes you have to go past the line to figure out where that line is for you. My advice? Listen to your body or learn to. It will tell you when you’ve run past that line or ploughed it over on a steam engine.
The next thing that no one tells you is that it is a lot of hard work developing a style that you love and a consistent presence. The ‘consistent’ part is even harder than the style part. While you can look up VSCO style guides to develop a photography skill and typeface pairings you can’t make more time. Time that you need to spend writing, creating content and in the case of DIY/Craft actually making the objects of your content. Please bear this in mind the next time someone wants you to work for free. Only work for free when it is mutually beneficial. Some of my best photography was some time sharing with an amazing friend where we both benefitted from the photos and the session.
You can build healthy habits from blogging. You can find a support system that you never knew was there but it can also be the loneliest job in the world sometimes. You answer to yourself, you set your own goals so there is also no one there to tell you when you have done a great job because sometimes your followers don’t notice the thing you put your heart and soul in to. So even if you did a great job there is no one to say so. I don’t mean you need to be told constantly that you are awesome (because you are) but it would be nice to know that all this work and attention to detail (cough, sometimes a blog post does just get knocked out) but that someone cares and you aren’t shouting into the void.
Should I start a blog?
Should you start a blog “Hells yeah.” My little blog has been life-changing in many ways. I’ve learned so much about myself and also gained a much larger skillset enough to sit exams. You just have to nosey around this blog to see most of my achievements.
But, you should ask yourself why you want to start a blog. Do you want a following? Are you trying to be an influencer or YouTube star? Are you trying to sell or do you just want a space for you to write and document things? Remember that blog stands for Web Log; it is a log of thoughts and writing posted publicly on the World Wide Web. This was it’s purpose before it became a world of e-commerce. Do you have to be the best writer…no (case in point) but you need to know why you are creating the content. Is it for you? or for those reasons above and then give it your all. Becasue if you don’t, you’ll never know if you could have. You can’t be brave if you have never been scared, right?
Thank you for reading my ramblings.
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