Follow Your Bliss

FollowYour Bliss.jpg

Have you ever wondered what the “next step” is for your blog?

Have you felt like you were supposed to take it to the next level by doing any of the following:

  • growing your social media presence strategically to get more followers?
  • blogging for a store or blog tour?
  • monetizing your brand?
  • starting a pattern line or online store?
  • start teaching classes?
  • pattern test for the cool kids?

Look, I’ve tried or considered all of the options above… and I’m here to say: They aren’t the only measures of success.

If you want to go pro, do it! How amazing. I’m so grateful for all the indie entrepreneurs that make my sewing possible. And if you need to income to offset the cost of your time or materials, then earn that income, because you deserve it.

But if you don’t get joy from those things, it’s also ok just to stay as you are. Be proud of your small blog, your community of online friends, and the joy you get from your hobby. YOU DON’T HAVE TO MAKE YOUR HOBBY A BUSINESS.

Personally, I prefer to have a full-time career that I love, which takes all my creativity and passion from Monday to Friday. On the weekend, I want my hobby to be fun! I want it to be spontaneous and relaxing. And sure, I enjoy the odd bit of easy pattern testing, or the fun of earning fabric in return for blogging for someone… but the moment those are all I have time for, then I lose my sewjo and fall into a funk.

So, here’s my point: Follow your bliss. Do what you love. Let your sewing be a hobby or a business, but don’t be influenced by fear of missing out or the desire to “keep up” with other sewists. Same goes for what you sew, or how much you sew – life is not a competition!

So I’m going to leave you with a bit of Kid President, and challenge you to think about how you make the world more awesome, just as you are:

Do you ever feel pressure to grow your hobby or make your blog “bigger”? Do you find that inspiring or oppressive? I’d love to know how you feel – and of course, you could totally disagree with me, and that would be fun too. I love discussion!

 


75 thoughts on “Follow Your Bliss

  1. This was really nice to read, Gillian. Sometimes you just have to do things because you enjoy them. I was watching a documentary about indie and subversive crafting in Melbourne, and one of the businesswomen said the fastest way to suck the joy out of a hobby is to make a business of it!

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    1. That’s certainly true for me! i used to sell handmade items, and I HATED having to make things perfect instead of sewing the quick and easy way I like!

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  2. One of these reasons I started a blog was to participate more fully in the community in an effort to make friends. I’ve not had much luck in sparking conversation or even attracting more than the occasional stray comment. I often wonder if I’d invite more interest if started doing all of the things you describe. My husband has even offered to buy me ad space on Reddit to drive traffic. I definitely feel the pressure to turn my blog into a business if I want to be noticed.

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    1. I’m not a “big” blogger by any means, but if you are interested, I could link to your blog at the end of my next post? Let me know your blog address and maybe a one-sentence blurb about who you are and what you sew? We all start somewhere, and I’ve definitely gained many of my followers by being mentioned by other blog friends!

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      1. Thanks Gillian! I’m an almost-30-year-old living in the North Carolina Triangle who’s learning to overcome her perfectionism in the pursuit of a more beautiful life through sewing, knitting, and (eventually) DIY home improvements; I blog at http://www.practicemakespretty.com. Which reminds me, I’m overdue for a post (the casualty of an intense period at work + travel). 🙂

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    2. I don’t know that you need to buy ad space on reddit… I’ve definitely found new bloggers by looking at submissions to r/sewing that have caught my eye. Chat with people in related subreddits (for example, I’ve found a little community of sewists in r/FemaleFashionAdvice) and see if that drives more traffic to your blog.

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      1. I’ve been reluctant to join Reddit because so much of it is toxic, so it’s reassuring to hear that r/sewing is a nice place to hang out. (And that it isn’t stagnant–I’ve heard that r/knitting, for example, tends to be less active because Ravelry exists.) This may just be the push I need to get myself an account!

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  3. Gillian, you are speaking to me this week. I am a stay at home mom who just sees for fun and last week I felt this weird feeling. I wasn’t having as much fun so I took a break. I don’t have sewing obligations and I don’t currently want them. I simply sew for my own enjoyment. And that’s enough right now.

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  4. I have work/life purpose I love too and in absolutely no way was I ever interested in making sewing a business or money maker (I can hear my husband laughing hysterically in the background at this rather gargantuan understatement) I sew for so many other reasons…the joy of creating, the challenge for my aging brain, and the satisfaction of making myself clothes that fit out of fabrics I love against my skin are at the top of the list. Serendipitous is meeting other sewists off and online which is why I created my blog. I love to interact (as I’m doing now) with other sewists who are doing similar work across cultures, age groups, and nationalities.I figured in case someone was curious about who I am as a sewist, I should have a place that lets people know me a little better. I don’t promote my blog at all – it’s just serves as a rather passive info pamphlet 🙂 I love your blog Gillian – you keenly interact and share who you are with such a colourful generous spirit that always shines brightly through your pictures and words 🙂 I know there are those who use their blogs specifically for business (all the way from selling patterns, fabric, notions, classes to attracting opportunities for free stuff) and they won’t post comments that are “controversial” and may compromise their opportunities for sponsorship in which case I simply stop following them. I think bloggers who neglect to approve comments that are submitted with a spirit of sharing, respect and yes a desire for lively debate are making a mistake. And that can be the conundrum commercial bloggers must deal with all the time. It’s a challenging fine line that you never have to deal with when you blog for fun and pleasure only.

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    1. Ooh, the issue of not approving negative comments is such an interesting one! I know on the Curvy Sewing Collective there were a few times when people got furious that we hadn’t approved them – without understanding that we are volunteer private citizens with day jobs and lives, so yeah, sometimes it’s 24 hours before someone notices that some comments need approval! Every indie designer I know talks in private about the frequent vitriolic hate mail they receive when someone can’t print the pattern right etc. I know many of us have been torn apart behind out backs in online forums that despise our sewing choices… and while I’m grateful that I can’t remember any blog comments that hateful, I do wonder if I would post them or delete them for my own sanity? I like to think the sewing community is perceptive enough to read a hateful comment and think, “wow, that commenter is going over the line there!”, and that’s comforting.
      On the other hand, I think what you are talking about is constructive criticism and honest feedback that the blogger feels negatively impacts their bands, and yeah, I hate seeing that sort of thing blocked too. Honest conversation in a kind manner is a good thing! I do believe that to some extent, if you don’t have something kind to say on the internet, you should stay quiet… or think a little harder and rephrase your criticism in a better way! You are ALWAYS a kind commenter and such a great cheerleader, and I so appreciate that!

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      1. I completely agree that “controversial” shouldn’t ever mean disrespectful, or heaven forbid insulting or bullying! I’m horrified myself (20 years online with web sites, I’ve come across my share 🙂 ) at the degree of cowardice displayed online by those who would say things they would never have the courage to do in person. And to me that should be where the bar is set – would you say it in person to this blogger’s face? If not, then why do you think it’s okay to do it on their blog or posting? But as you say constructive honest experiential feedback/debate should be welcome by all. I SO appreciate honest reviews of patterns, fabrics and fitting guidance – I’m sure it saves many hours of wasted hard work, money and heartache by sewists.

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  5. Great post!
    Last year I wanted to take serious steps into making my sewing my job rather than my hobby. I work fulltime in a job I dislike and find unfulfilling and have several friends who were encouraging me to make my hobby my job. I tried, teaching classes at weekends and some evenings during the week, committing to projects for blogger networks to promote myself more, having a formal schedule of blog posts and topics, etc, and it made me ill with anxiety.
    So far this year I’ve taught hardly any classes and have – other than a few projects I was already committed to – sewn what I want, when I want. I’ve hardly blogged, in fact I’m wondering whether to continue with my blog at all, and the pressure is so much less. Part of me would still love to make sewing my job, but I appreciate that it is highly unlikely to happen for financial as well as mental health reasons.

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    1. It’s so hard to make money through sewing! Teaching a class sounds great, but when you break down the hourly wage divided by the hours or prep/travel/set-up etc, I don’t find it lucrative. Same with all that promo stuff for other blogs – the hours of work it takes for a few views! I think people who want to make sewing a job really need to LOVE growing their business (and I know bloggers who do adore that process!) and be willing to stick with it for years. I”m glad to hear you’ve found a happier balance this year!

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  6. Thanks for the great post, Gillian. When I started my blog, I decided to do it in a way that would be sustainable for me. I’d rather keep my blog going long term than put too much energy in for a short time and get burned out. I’m not active on social media, I only write when I want to, I take a break when I need to, I post not-so-great pictures if that’s all I feel up to, etc. I want to share sewing and patternmaking ideas, but I don’t want to stress about it. I don’t handle stress well, so I certainly don’t want to add stress to the one hobby I have that really brings me joy! Having said all that, I still have to constantly remind myself that I don’t need to try to keep up with anyone else. Somehow the pressure to keep up with other sewing bloggers keeps trying to creep in.

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    1. Leila, I just realised you *aren’t* Leila from Three Dresses! Which means – Hello! Sorry I’ve been confusing the two of you! I’m a Leila too, as it happens – it’s my middle name, named after my grandma. How do you pronounce it? (I’m Lee-la, but my cousin’s daughter leila goes by Lay-la!)

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  7. Gillian, you are totally on point with this one, and I love the way you have approached the topic. I totally agree that people have to do what feels right for them, and enjoying the process is what matters most! I have added a business aspect to my blog in the past year (patterns, as you know) and I have really loved the experience so far. I am not doing it full time yet, so I can take my time, not stress about sales numbers or exposure, and just connect with the people who are making my designs. It has brought me a lot of joy and has become a part of the hobby as a whole. If people are interested in monetizing, I agree with you that it is a valid pursuit that any hard working blogger deserves. I like to keep my blog as a place where I can feel free to express myself and celebrate the wonderful hobby that we share, but it is expensive to keep up and it’s nice to have the added income. I would love to teach classes one day and it sounds like you have been enjoying that IRL experience. I read all kinds of blogs and follow lots of hobby sewists and small business owners. I don’t love any one more than the others, they are all contributing to the community and have my support. I will say (for anyone just getting started) that getting more blog traffic can be a challenge, it took me about 1 year of blogging 2x a week to see any kind of following. Consistency is key here, and you have to give things time. BUT, all that said, if your blog is your personal journal of your makes and musings, blog traffic is irrelevant! Instagram might be a better place to connect with people directly, it’s so much fun and low pressure!

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    1. I just wanted to say that I not only love seeing what you’ve done, but I also really appreciate the roundups of the blogosphere that you do. I’m sure it’s really time consuming to pull together, but it’s introduced me to so many new people. So thank you!

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      1. Thanks so much!! I love hearing that people are enjoying the Wednesday Weekly, it is really fun to put together and it always inspires me so much to go through my blogroll! I also love featuring newer bloggers and reading some of the comments on this thread, I’ve realized I need to be more vigilant about finding new people and promoting new blogs.

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    2. I agree with Bird Mommy below – I love your weekly round-ups!
      I also appreciate seeing how you make the business side work with your normal sewing. I always enjoy when you swap patterns with other designers, because I’d like to think we can all get along and that a rising tide raises all ships, as the saying goes!

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      1. Thanks, Gillian! I love it too, I have connected with a lot of fellow pattern designers over skype and instagram to chat and support one and other, it is one of the most wonderful things I have ever witnessed in business. We can all help each other reach for what we define as success and encourage each other to keep pushing to achieve our goals, whatever they may be.

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  8. Gillian, you put it so well! I’ve sometimes thought about trying to “do more” with my blog, especially since it has become a semi-regular source of hobby time for my husband as well, with his photography. But ultimately, I don’t really work toward that; my blog is an outlet for me to share and commune with other people, as is my Instagram to an extent (the latter with a more personal flair, since I don’t have a separate blog IG). If someone were to take notice that would be fun I guess, but I am happy with the status quo because I love talking to other sewers and sharing among ourselves. And as you said, I worry that I would lose my creative fulfillment with deadlines and any sort of prescriptions in the mix. (And frankly, I have concerns about being true to my voice–I like to swear and be irreverent and sarcastic, and I doubt that partner companies are looking for that type of person! 😉 )

    Anyway, all that to say that YES, it is perfectly okay to blog without having a plan for growth or elevated status behind it, just as it’s perfectly okay to want to monetize and use a blog as a platform for something beyond itself. Doing what makes you happy and getting what you need from your hobby is what’s important!

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    1. I love your blogger “voice” – it’s one of the reasons I enjoy reading your blog. It would be so boring if you ever lost that edge! 😉

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  9. Thanks for the pep talk Gillian! You always have such a way with words; getting to the core of the discussion with easy dialogue.

    Most days, I’m really happy with my blog. I like documenting my makes and sharing bits of random nothingness while I’m at it. When I started reading sewing blogs, it really hit home that I had almost no record of all the sewing I did when I was young. I couldn’t change the past, but I could give a go at blogging my current makes and I’m really glad I did. I love having a visual diary of the garments I’ve sewn and I do refer back to earlier posts from time to time, comparing fit or style etc. I also love the connections made with other bloggers and readers.

    The thing that I struggle with from time to time is ‘the next step’ syndrome, particularly number one in your list. At times I feel that if I’m not moving forward, then I’m going backward. {Please someone tell me this isn’t just me.} In these moments I gauge the success of my blog by the growth in my readership. I mentally berate myself for not being more social media savvy and tweeting and IGing and pinning strategically. I’ve even considered joining Facebook, my personal nemesis, kidding/not kidding.

    Your post is like a gentle slap to the head, LOL. It is about Following Your Bliss and I thank you for the gentle reminder.

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    1. I do look at blog readership, too… though maybe only every few months? I look at stats a lot more often, because I’m curious what people like to read. Sure, I blog for me, but I also want to contribute to the community something that they value!
      I tried pinning more strategically this winter, and UGH! So boring! I didn’t see any extra traffic from it, and I’ve gradually forgotten to keep it up. For me (and I suspect for you), it’s more fun and realistic to get involved with the occasional sewing challenge/blog tour/pattern testing, and gradually build a bigger community that way. It feels more authentic to me, and I think the connections I make that way are stronger!

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  10. FYI: I still follow your blog precisely because you’re still “just you”. I’ve unfollowed heaps of bloggers because they started having sponsorer posts, drowning the personal content in pattern testing etc. Blogs to me are a chance to learn about real people, and as soon as someone starts with anything connected to business I lose trust and interest.

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    1. I”m glad you feel that way! I figure I do have at least a post a month which is pattern testing, fabric for review, promoting my upcoming classes, or blogging for a store… but I’m glad that stuff hasn’t been too prominent in the mix. I enjoy all that stuff in moderation, but I always enjoy posts more when they are purely for ME!

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  11. I *have* felt the pressure! I felt like I needed to post at least twice a week, preferably three times. And then, I would sew faster projects or spend time thinking of other material to post and it got stressful. I would try to get into everything. And then I didn’t have time to do what I really wanted or what my wardrobe needed. I’ve since scaled way back. I have three items to post but I haven’t had the energy to take good pictures so the posts are still waiting. So be it.

    Actually, thinking about it, I still feel the pressure. I’m a SAHM with two kids in school so I feel like I need to have something to show for all that time I have. The difference now is that I fight back against that pressure.

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    1. Can I suggest that if you want to post more, but not feel the rush to sew, that you consider conversation pieces like this one or blog series? I find including those in my feed means that I don’t feel pressure to always be sewing something new for each post, and it’s always fun to get discussion going too!
      Then again – it’s also ok to post less often! Post when you want to, because you’ve got lots going on and that is all important too!

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      1. It’s a good suggestion! I actually used to do that. I did some posts on subjects I cared about (like sustainability in our sewing and shopping). I think now, the issue is that I’ve gotten involved in some local activism and that’s just more than I’m willing to get into on my blog. It takes time and energy though and I end up blogging less because of it. I do believe I’ll eventually make my way back to more frequent blogging though. Just taking those few minutes to comment on your blog is making me want to blog more!

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  12. Amen! Back in 2013 when I decided to take a creative sabbatical from work, I assumed that I would also open an Etsy store selling stuff I’d sewn or dyed, or get into patternmaking. I ended up dreading both endeavors! I really dislike production-style sewing and I just didn’t really have any designs I was excited put out into the world. I have so much respect for the people who want to turn those things into a business – it’s just wasn’t for me! What I love is playing around with fit and techniques and blogging whenever I feel like it.

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    1. I *love* watching people as they go pro- there is clearly so much energy and passion behind it as they launch their online store or pattern line. But while I enjoy watching it happen, I’m like you, and just don’t find it fulfilling for myself!

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  13. This is so true! Before I went on social media and started my blog just over three months ago I was much more productive with my sewing hobby! I love IG and my blog but there are so many influences out there that have made me feel I need to catch up and do what others are doing but that in turn has stifled my creativity. I’m learning quickly to not follow the trends and just admire but follow my heart and what feels right for me. Hopefully that will start to bring the enjoyment of my hobby back and allow my creativity as an individual to flow once again. Great post 👍🏻

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    1. Social media is so fun, and also so easily addictive! When I haven’t posted an IG pic for days, I miss the interactions and positive feedback… and that kinda scares me! That said, I’m just not organised or living a photographic enough life to ‘gram it ever single day. I also keep my account private because I’m a public servant, so I”m never going to have a huge following. Hope you find your happy medium too!

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    1. Exactly! I’m grateful that commitments like Cali Fabrics and the CSC have always been flexible and allowed me to contribute what I want to, without pressure to do complex projects or sewing that isn’t “me”!

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  14. I LOVE this post. I, like you, have never felt the impulse to monetize my blog or brand (though I did love my Etsy store for skincare – which I no longer have the time to maintain). My blog is so important to me because it’s a platform for communication. Crafting is so important for me because it’s a creative and technical challenge. But I’ve been at this for 10 years and I’ve cared to start a pattern company or become the next big blog. By my own standards, where I’m at is where I want to be because I control things, they don’t control me.

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    1. Your blog is such a great online journal of what you are thinking about and planning, in lots of aspects of your life! That wouldn’t make a good starting point for a brand, but it does earn you lots of loyal readers! 😉

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  15. Word. Not that this would be a possibility for me, but considering my blog isn’t even searchable on Google and I’ve blogged only sporadically in the past year, I’m obviously not interested in taking my blog/sewing to the ‘next level.’ And why should I? Why should anyone? This reminds me of how stupid it is that companies that are doing well by making solid profits but not “growing” do poorly on the stock exchange. Ugh. I mean, yes, I want to improve my sewing, and I know I can always be learning (and this is why I am seriously grateful to the entire bloggisphere, pro and amateur alike), but my blog is a record for me, and having readers outside of my mother and aunt and contributing something to the community is a bonus. (This is also my rational behind back-posting — I want a chronological timeline. Do those posts get read? Sometimes. Do I care? Very little.)

    I read recently that to actually be effective, you can’t just take your social media from 1 to 2 hours per day. You have to go to something like 10 hours a day. Nope nope nope.

    I think the whole “find out what you love to do, then find a way to get paid for it” thing is true, but with a caveat. There is absolutely no job that doesn’t have parts to it that are no fun at all. If you’re lucky, you can afford to pay someone else to do that part for you (hello, can I get TA? Please mark my lab reports! Anyone? No?), but that’s probably not going to happen when you’re starting out. It’s not realistic to assume that you will even make minimum wage at first if you calculate your actual salary as net income/amount of time spent. (Some people do, obviously, but that’s why they’re doing it and not me:) ) I remember a ‘Til Debt Do Us Part episode where one woman “owned” a crafting store, but couldn’t afford to draw a salary from it. Gail Vaz Oxlade said “that’s not a job; that’s a hobby.”

    I see this in my social dancing hobby. Someone in my community said they got angry at dancers who refused to continually improve by taking lessons and going to workshops and wouldn’t dance with them. Grr. (Of course, my reaction is too bad for him; he’s missing out on some amazing dances.)

    This is not to say that anyone who *wants* to go this route shouldn’t; they just shouldn’t feel they *have* to in order to be a useful and fun part of a community.

    Sorry. Hijacked your comments. Clearly, I have feelings.

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    1. I agree with you on all fronts! I can see the appeal of going pro – it’s why I do say yes to things like blogging for Cali Fabrics, pattern testing, teaching sewing, or working on the Curvy Sewing Collective or Sewcialists website. But every time I take on one too many projects, I’m keanly aware that while I find that end of things fascinating, it’s not what gives me energy.

      The difficulty in making profits seems really clear to me too – I mean, surely only the biggest indie companies (Colette, Grainline, Closet Case Files, Jalie, etc) are actually living on their profits… and how many years would it take me to earn even half of a teacher’s salary through crafting? So unless you can afford to push through several tight years before you make any income, it seems to me a bit of a false economy to start a sewing business! (Of course, if the person doesn’t have a steady paying job, I’m sure things look quite different!)

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  16. Yes I sometimes feel pressure to do what others are doing, and may add that “thing” to my to do list, but I often think about it a lot before proceeding. People have said things like you should teach a class or whatever, and then I think about it. Do I really want to teach classes? Or sure I could sell prints of my paintings (or try to), but do I want to be filling orders. While sometimes I wish someone would tell me what to do, which direction to go in, I enjoy thinking about all the possibilities, trying the ones that appeal to me, and then moving forward from there. Like you said – this is my hobby – so I want to do what I enjoy and not find myself in a position where I’ve ruined it for myself. Thanks for the thought provoking post and sorry for the babbling 😄

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    1. I like how you talk about reflecting for a long time before deciding if a new venture is right for you. That seems like a smart approach! I’m more of a “jump in and get too excited at the start” person, which is how I end up with commitments I regret! 😛

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  17. Great post, Gillian, and I’ve really enjoyed reading the comments. I started my sewing blog over two years ago simply as a personal record of my sewing, and had no interest in growing a following or tracking stats. At some point over the beginning of this year that has changed, however. I’m getting more organised in my sewing and posting, but at the same time my income has dwindled (royalties on books I wrote before having child #2). I’m finding I can’t afford my hobby, so I’m slowly looking into opportunities for blogging in return for free fabric. I’m adamant I’m not going to make anything unless I really want to, though, as I’m keen to keep my hobby enjoyable. I can still remember how trying to turn doll making into a business sucked all the joy out of it. Can’t stand production line sewing!

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    1. I hope you can find a good partnership! I’ve wondered about approaching the big fabricstore chain in Canada, where I buy most of my fabric, to see if they’d be interested in having a blog team… but they don’t have one right now, and I’ve been too shy to email them for the last 5 months! Have you figured out a game plan? I’d be curious to hear how it goes!

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      1. I’m in the UK and we have one online fabric/craft shop that already have a blogger team (Minerva), so I’ve approached them with a proposal for a post and will receive my first parcel of supplies this next week. Yay!

        I thought I’d try emailing a few of the online fabric retailers I’ve bought from in the past to find out if they’re interested, with an example of a project I’d like to make and a link to a blog post using their fabric. They might say no, but I reckon it’s worth a try 🙂

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      2. I do much of my fabric/notions shopping at ‘the big fabricstore chain in Canada’ too. From time to time I have wondered if they would be interested in a blog team. Do the clerks at the store you go to know you blog? At my regular store, they don’t know me from my blog, although they do know me as a frequent shopper.

        A Colourful Canvas

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  18. Hi Gillian, What a pertinent post. Having a blog was always for me about connecting with other people who shared the joy of creating things and/or the vintage junk that I tend to hoard. At the time I started my blog I was sewing professionally, as well as the science day job, teaching sewing, even drafting patterns for production that I couldn’t blog about for obvious reasons, but never had any plans to ever use my blog as a sales pitch. Unfortunately, having the time for professional sewing has come and gone as I am juggling too much day-job (watch this space though. I might pop out of retirement for a swan song). I am *utterly* turned off by blogs that were once interesting but are now nothing but constant advertisements for the new pattern/book/sewing retreat. My choice though. I am so happy to have met all the lovely people that I have through blogging, that is more than enough reward in itself. Xx

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    1. I didn’t know that was your sewing background! I”m looking forward to seeing what coming up on your blog! ❤

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  19. What a great discussion! I’m on hiatus right now – partially for personal reasons, but also to get off the hamster wheel of ‘shoulds’ wrt growing my blog. I started to ask myself what I was growing toward, and didn’t really have an answer! So I’ve taken time off to sort out my life, and also refocus on the reason I started my blog, so I don’t get distracted by other bloggers’ professional photos and videos and massive followings. :-p

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    1. The caliber of blogging just goes up and up, doesn’t it? Sometimes I look back at the “big” bloggers from 5 years ago, and what seemed like awesome photography/sewing skills/content then seems just average now. (My own posts from 5 years ago make me laugh, for sure – but they were authentic and that’s all that matters!) I hope that if you decide to come back to blogging, you can enjoy it in your own pace, in your own way!

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  20. Fabulous post, Gillian! My blog just had its two year anniversary and since that moment, I’ve been thinking about the issues you’ve raised here….do I try to grow my blog, or keep it a simple diary of my makes around which I hope to have a conversation with other kindred spirits.?It’s hard not to be effected by the frenzy created by ‘pro’ bloggers out there who hire photographers and make videos. Some days I just ignore them and go my own way. Other days I feel pressure to compete. Ultimately though, my blog is my link to you and other wonderful creatives, and that’s really all I care about. Thanks for a thoughtful post that made me think!

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    1. Well said! like you, I value my blog mainly for connecting me to the sewing community and recording my makes. I do occasionally get envious what I see people really putting their heart and soul into blogging/filming/podcasting/etc, and I wonder, “Why am I now doing that?” It’s really important not to overextend and burn out though, so I try to be cautious about what I take on!

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  21. This is a great post! I had to really pull back from my blog to some extent a few years ago and I miss the regularity of it but I also need to stay sane. 😉 In a lot of ways working at Fabricland part time has been perfect for feeling “pro” without a lot of pressure, but it is a bit of a time-suck. I’m excited to try my hand at teaching sewing formally for the first time later this summer, as I think I will enjoy that a lot more than I have making stuff for others or for sale. I do need to find an outlet for offloading makes I don’t want to keep, though… I don’t like sending them to Value Village but the closet is getting full! 😂

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  22. I agree! I get asked quite a bit if I would try to turn my hobbies into jobs. The answer is NO. The amount of grind it would take to make even a bare minimum wage out of sewing is so full on. I love my hobbies and I want to keep enjoying them! I don’t want to make what is ‘marketable’. I don’t have a specific drive like making patterns or launching fabric lines. I am good at my day job and have finally found one I like, with people I like. The balance is slightly off in terms of time spent at it but I’m working towards maybe dropping down to part time (fingers crosssed). Why would I trade that in for less money and less enjoyment?!

    Likewise I blog for a variety of reasons, but the biggest two are having a record for myself and interacting with the community. Strangely I get HEAPS of readers now (well… what I consider heaps and some would consider a tiny amount! :P) – I think probably because of the CSC. Although that might taper off because I have a closed ig account so I probably won’t be submitting to the monthly roundups anymore – I could email them in but probably won’t remember. But almost no one leaves comments! I’m not sure what the best way is to foster commenting. I don’t mind as such – I read lots of blogs myself that I don’t comment on. But it’s a bit odd to know hundreds of people are reading your posts and not have any idea who they are. I do try to comment on more people’s posts because I think it’s polite and it’s important to me to give back to the community, even if that’s posting saying ‘I read your post and I liked it!’.

    But anyhow, I like having the blog as itself, I have enough trouble with finding time to get to it without feeling guilty if I don’t post regularly or don’t post the ‘right’ content or whatever.

    This is the trick of capitalism! If it’s not ‘productive’ ie generating money, it doesn’t seem worthwhile. Well, I am lucky enough not to have to think about how to make money every second of the day. My ancestors slaved away to get to this point. The least I can do is enjoy it!

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    1. YES TO THIS! We’re lucky to have the income to not need to pour hours into low-return sewing-related “jobs”, and I know that’s not the case for everyone. Your comment about readers coming in from the CSC and other links is true for me too – lots of readers, almost no interaction. If I get mentioned by a weekly round-up or newsletter, I see a bump in stats, but not in conversation. I prefer my trusty readers who are here fore the community!

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      1. I’m glad it’s not just me! I wondered if I was doing something wrong 😛 I think I probably get more readers who comment from commenting on other people’s blogs. I have to say, that’s a reliable way for me to find people I want to interact with and whose blogs I want to read!

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  23. Amen, amen! I feel like I’m always wondering about growing my blog. I had a blog-brand Twitter account for awhile, but that really just didn’t do it for me so I scrapped it. Right now I’m documenting my projects to keep a record for myself and future designers for testing, but I always wonder if I should be doing something else. I know I would have more readers if I put myself out there more on my personal social media…I don’t think I’m ready for that though.

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  24. Ah, yes. Thanks for this refreshing post, Gillian. Sometimes I feel like I don’t blog “enough.” I see other sewing bloggers who can churn out one or more garment posts a week, whereas I’m lucky if I can even finish one garment, let alone photograph it and write my blurbs. It usually ends up being one every other or every three weeks.

    On a personal level, I don’t mind. I prefer slow sewing and having immaculately finished garments and a few handmade items that are investments over the “fast fashion” of the sewing world. But on a blogging level, I can’t help but feel it’s not enough. It helps to remind myself that it’s totally okay to just do what works for me.

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  25. I completely agree with you on your post! But it’s always good to read it from another person.

    Reading the comments however gave me a new to me insight: I’ve been following a lot of blogs for about 5 years now. I just never really thought about using it as a way to communicate. I love reading them, but I hardly comment because , I didn’t expect the writer to be interested in my opinion, because English is my second language and it takes me to much time.
    But after reading these comments I’m going to comment more.

    I’ve been trying to use my IG more because I think it’s nice to have a record of what I’m making. But working 3 days and being a mother of three (the third is 4 weeks) makes my time spears and apparently IG is not high enough on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I comment a lot (as certainly Gillian will attest to :)) ) I figure if people are going to put so much time and effort into writing and editing their blogs AND taking and editing the pictures to go in them, they deserve to know that people are actually reading them and finding them helpful and enjoyable. But I have a great story about commenting! A lovely woman emailed me yesterday after reading a comment I left on a blog. We intersected on so many experiences and passions (including of course sewing) that it’s truly mind bending (which is why she felt compelled to email me directly) Add to this that once we had connected by email it turned out she lives only a 10 min walk from me! So we’re meeting for a tea tomorrow afternoon to explore this amazing connect in person. Isn’t that the best reason ever to leave feedback for all these hard working bloggers? 🙂

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  26. Thought provoking indeed. A couple years ago when I decided to blog seriously, that list really was at the forefront of my mind. None of them felt right for me though. While I’m still pretty focused on gaining numbers, I find more pleasure in knowing that I’m creating a positive experience for my fellow bloggers on my blog tours, that I’m building good relationships, and being a member of the sewing community that builds up others.

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  27. Hi, I am really glad you wrote this, I, like many others it seems have a blog and a love of sewing. My husband wants me to work towards earning something from sewing, maybe thru etsy or similar, but I have no interest. Much as I love it when people read my blog and comment, especially when people advise how I should have done something so that I can learn, that’s not the whole purpose for me. I include far more construction details than most, partly to help others, but also to help me next time I make the pattern, or use similar material etc! You are all welcome to visit, http://www.sewsmart.co.uk, just don’t expect me to start making anything to sell, or making things to a schedule!

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