Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Why I'm Quitting The Craft Blog Rat Race




With Sew Can Do's anniversary coming up this month, I've been thinking about all that's happened with this blog in that time.  Being sick a lot this summer and having a lot of real life things taking up my usual "blog work" time has given me a new perspective on crafting and what I want for Sew Can Do.  I've realized it's time for me to change what I do here, so it makes sense to explain this new direction and why I hope you'll join me.

6 years ago I was just learning to sew my very first pair of pajama pants.  I had no aspirations other than to take one project at a time and see if it actually turned out. There were maybe a hundred craft-related blogs out there and they were a lot like mine. Mainly on-line journals of people learning new skills, showing things they made and sharing ideas & tips you couldn't find in a book or class.  We were looking for others who enjoyed the same creative kinds of things & shared our enthusiasm.  It felt like a community where you could comment on someone's post or ask a question and discover a kindred spirit miles away.  No one had custom styled graphics.  Photos weren't expertly taken and real, lived-in looking homes, kid's toys & other clutter were usually in the background.  I felt really connected to people who read my blog and the people writing the blogs I enjoyed.



Then blogs got bigger.  Making fun crafts wasn't enough.  Having a lot of followers became a measure of how great a blog was and everyone wanted to get noticed.  Expertly styled sites and 100% magazine perfect looking projects in every photo became really important. Social media exploded and every crafty blog needed to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & all the rest.  Professional craft bloggers became a thing and sponsored posts & affiliates started making up a good portion of content everywhere. And not just for other small crafter shops, but big brands - many having nothing to do with crafts.  Popular blogs started doling out advice on "How to make your blog/photos/page views better" and "Why you need a media kit".  This was coupled with constant talk about key conferences & shows to promote your brand and the need to network with craft corporations. Thousands more crafty blogs popped up left & right with thoughts that they too could be like the big success blogs and quit their day jobs, get book or sponsorship deals and be paid to craft it up.  The pressure to change, improve and constantly be trying to do more became immense.  



On a personal level, there were a lot of positives from the extra work & effort.  I learned some new skills like basic graphic design & photography.  A lot of things I'd never dreamed of, like having a business selling my own creations & patterns, getting published and going from newbie crafter to being an actual freelance designer, came out of all the growth and change. And the new ways to keep up with things online helped me discover many tremendously talented people.  All of which has been amazing and appreciated. 


But with all the great things comes a price.  Suddenly deadlines, outside expectations & full marketing campaigns are part of every project instead of just making something because you feel like it.  Taking the time to come up with something, make it and write about it isn't enough - it's got to have beautifully staged vignette photos, copyright info, precise instructions and shared on 5 kinds of social media for any hope of it to getting more than a quick glance click or maybe be pinned so it can be forgotten 2 seconds later.  More things to do means more time doing work and less time being creative or being a real person with a family.  Staring at a computer screen for hours every day is part of the blogging "job", but when you work out the hourly rate for any paid work, you'd make twice as much bagging groceries.   It brought back the feelings I had when I used to have papers to write in school & my last 9 to 5 office job.  It sucked the fun right out. Crafting became work and I'd dread when it was time to work on a project instead of being excited.  

And the volume of craft stuff thrown at us online everywhere has left me what I call Craftatonic:



This happens whenever I take more than 5 minutes to look at my feeds or get on Pinterest. That feeling of never being able to keep up, have enough time or that every idea is already out there.  Oh Pinterest, I love your concept, yet hate you for taking over the internet.

So, I've decided to quit the craft blog rat race and not let the the numbers game of page views, social media fans or clicks per post affect what I want to work on...or not work on. I'm going to start doing things a bit different than the rest:


Make Crafting Itself More Fun.  Life's about the journey, not the finish right? Is anyone really going to put "Had the most repins" or "Was a big craft blogger" on their tombstone? Should we even care?  Let's make the process of crafting the most fun part - creating and feeling creative should be why we do it not for page views.  For me this may mean I show less of certain types of projects or more of others - depending how the mood strikes.  Right now I'm thinking about getting back into soapmaking, doing more whimsical sewing and trying out some new stuff all together.  I'm not 100% sure - I'm going to see where things take me. New tutorials may take longer in coming, but it'll be because they're more interesting and made with more enjoyment.  



Thinking Small Time and Old School.  I miss the conversational feel and thought sharing back when commenting really was the social media for blogs. I'd like to share more and ask you to share back.  Things like crafting tips & ideas, challenges faced, what stuff we're liking (or not), what we'd like to try next, etc.  That individual connection is worth so much more and more inspiring than 1,000 anonymous, forgotten in 10 seconds, pins!



Keepin' It Real.  I'm going to keep my photo taking & content writing time to a minimum with a more "yes there's a messy house in the background" kinda feel because real people don't have 8hrs a day to work on stuff to be perfect.  And you're not going to hear how AMAZING something is because I got paid to make a project with it or write a post about it. The products or places you see here are things I genuinely like, buy and support.  And they'll be related to crafting and/or homeschooling (who wants to read the 1,000th "this cutting machine is awesome" paid review posted in one day or about store bought pudding cups or mouthwash on a craft blog!?!). And I'm going to tell you when something was a pain in the butt to make or took a huge amount of time.    
 
Staying Craftastic.  No worries about the Craftastic Monday Link Party & Craftastic Facebook Mixer changing or disappearing.  They'll still be going strong:)

Sure one day I'd still love to have my own fabric designs manufactured, or finally publish a book of my whimsical hat patterns (the finished book proposal has been on my desktop for a year), I just don't need to do it all right NOW. I don't want to miss enjoying today's small creative joys for lofty goals for tomorrow.  I want to make stuff that brings a smile to my face, not a sigh that it's 2am and I'm still on the freaking computer writing a blog post or rush to finish something by a campaign launch date or a company's insane deadline.  I want to get a good night's sleep. Have time to play with the kids a bit before they're 18.  Some time to do laundry & clean more...(well maybe not much more cleaning). 

I hope you'll join me in quitting the craft race, enjoying being creative more and putting fun into the Sew Can Do adventure together:)



82 comments:

  1. Cheryl, congratulations on making your blog what YOU want it to be! It takes courage and self confidence to go against the flow! I'll be following along from my messy sewing room!

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    1. Thanks so much Patsy. Seeing this first thing this morning really made me smile:) And I'll be right there with you on the messy rooms - you'll start seeing mine more often here!

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  2. Congrats to you. You have expressed what I have felt for sometime. For years people have been telling me I should be selling stuff I make. I knew if I did that it would take all of the fun out of it. My blog gets updated when I have time and something to share. Most of the things I make go to people as gifts and that makes me very happy.
    good luck to you on your new journey.
    Ang

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    1. Ang you are wise for realizing that before straining yourself and zapping out the enjoyment! I learned that the hard way after a couple years of selling handmade items in my Etsy shop. This time of year used to be my most stressful with the Halloween season, so it feels good not to be scrambling this year.

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  3. I totally get where your coming from. I started blogging originally in 2007 and it's changed so much since then and nor just for the better. X

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    1. It is a bit shocking in how much has changed isn't it? Sometimes I feel like an old lady missing the "good 'ole days of blogging", but am glad I'm not the only one feeling that way.

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  4. Good for you! That's more or less why I've backed off of blogging lately - just too much pressure to keep up with the blogging Jonses that it wasn't fun anymore. Can't wait to see what you have planned!

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    1. Exactly Caitlin! I can't wait either - have some things planned and letting the crafting mood strike on others, so here's to bringing the fun back!

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  5. I am so glad you wrote this! You've put into words the same things I've been feeling. I still enjoy blogging, but it becomes dampened by all the things you've mentioned above, and feelings of "Why don't I get this for free? I sew!" And "How many times can I read about a Silhouette giveaway?" and so on. You feel like you're doing something "wrong." But when I think of the blogs I always read as opposed to a quick skim, they're the ones that are real life and show real homes and messy ponytails and so on and so forth. You feel like you're connecting with real people as opposed to some corporate enterprise that makes you feel inadequate, when you're really doing just great. So again--thanks! I'm going to just keep on keeping on, since I know I'm not alone :)

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    1. YES! With so many blogs changing in the same way it does make you question yourself and how you measure success. I think the more of us switch off from the herd and find what makes us happy individually, the more rewarding and truly successful we'll be. I find myself drawn to the real life blogs too, so it's worth keeping on in that vein ourselves and taking the time to let those bloggers know how appreciated that realness is!

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  6. Yes to all of this. While I've always been small potatoes, I stopped blogging altogether around May sometime because it just wasn't as fun as it used to be anymore. And I wasn't even trying to do all the things that so many craft bloggers do. Honestly, just watching what others did made me feel exhausted. I'd actually like to start up again here and there, if for no other reason than to share the projects that I have worked on recently. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who wants to get a bit more back to basics. I used to find so much inspiration in what others did before it was all on Pinterest and created to drive page views and all that jazz. While it's nice to have tutorials and what-not, I feel like it's also nice to just see what real people are making because they wanted to. Not because it's this season or that season or whatever, but just because it interested them and they did it. I've cut down on so much blog reading because it all feels done. And Pinterest is something I keep around to pin stuff I find around the internet for myself . . . it's fairly rare for me to sit on Pinterest and look through my feed to repin stuff. I'm just over it. Thanks for writing this post. Someday I might get around to posting my similar feelings on my own blog. Or maybe I'll just keep making stuff over here and post about it when the mood strikes. Cheers.

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    1. Please do come back! So very many regular bloggers have stopped altogether, and I miss them.

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    2. Skooks I hope you do - it sounds like there are many of us who just want to enjoy seeing and making things again without benchmarks to hit. There weren't so many tutorials out there in the past and just peeking at what someone had done was fun and inspiring. I hear you on the second hand exhaustion too - I only posted a couple times a week and was wiped out! I'm so thrilled to hear so many commenters want to get back to basics too:)

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    3. And P.S. Baye - I'll still be here - maybe a little less frequently, but with goodies I think will be more enjoyable for all of us.

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  7. Only YOU know what is right for YOU ... and all I can do is follow you !! LOL :-)

    I have enjoyed your blog since I joined and the blog has to be fun for you or its just not worth it .. Looking forward to see what you post ... Maybe take a break then start up again in a while . You deserve a good vacation and rest !

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Casoppia and I'm so glad to have so many wonderful readers like you that make this worth doing!!

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  8. As I've watched some of my favorite blogs turn into professional ones, I've become so disillusioned with the whole blogging experience. I'm tired of being bombarded with "I absolutely love this new (or old) product that I'm being paid to blog about. Maybe it's true, but I know we all feel pressured to find the good when being paid to advertise something. I'm tired of constant posts about how we all need to improve our blogs. I was about ready to quit altogether. Instead I decided to post when I please, stop obsessing about getting "professional looking photos, and start spending more time making crafts rather than reading about them on blogs and Pinterest.

    So glad to hear that someone is reining in the over-commercialization on craft blogging.

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    1. That's the right attitude to have - it really should be about the crafts and the good feelings they create more than anything else. I've turned down a number of random offers recently because I don't want to use this blog and my reader's time as infomercials. When I share a review or product it's because it's something I'm genuinely interested in, think my fellow crafters would enjoy and would/have bought myself.

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  9. Thank you for this post. I am not and never will be a blogger. I truly enjoy following you and several others. I must admit, I quickly delete or click off a blog advertising most everything. I search out new blogs based on a recipe, craft or adventure which has caught my attention. I am never going to be able to do more than tell a friend that I enjoy reading your blog. However, if you want to share something, ask for an opinion or prayer, I am there. I admire your independence.

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    1. I agree that blogs with random advertising thrown everywhere are just distracting from the real content. Having readers who enjoy what they see here is what I want most of all, so thank you for being part of that.

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  10. I loved your post! It is sad how companies use bloggers (moms) to their advantage. Because overall, the companies could not care less who you are or what you do, they want profit and advertise. Too many bloggers fall for their flattering e-mails and put time and energy into advertising products for pennies. Same reasons why I stopped blogging at my old blog and simply started an old school blog, more personal, blog when I can, nothing scheduled ahead, no FB page. No advertisements of any kind or even blog buttons (I even got rid of my sidebar!), just a clean project/creative journal. Good luck to you, your readers like your projects and creativity more than any giveaway.

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    1. It's very true Dora and your new blog looks beautiful. It's so clear and nice to look at. The loveliness of your photos really stands out. Definitely stands out from the rest!

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  11. I totally agree, Cheryl. You're one of the very few blogs that I will continue to follow!

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  12. HOORAY for YOU!!!!! You have probably lifted at lot of stress off of your shoulders. Enjoy what you do and if you want to share, we will still be there with you. Enjoy your life. Who cares about the Finish Line...you are right, it is all about what you do before you get there. Enjoy!!!

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    1. It does feel so good and even better seeing so many people feel the same way and are looking to get back to the fun side again with me!

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  13. Same here, I started blogging to put what I like to do on a place where my friends in real life could see it. I don't have a ton of followers, but a few have come along. I don't have any advertising. I don't do Facebook or Twitter. I write about the things I am interested in. I have done a couple of giveaways, but only for items I personally like. My pictures aren't professional, just my little point and shoot, but you can see the projects and I like to do tutorials. I've also stopped following some blogs with pop-ups that want me to get a newsletter or 'like' them on FB. I don't put any pressure on myself to publish, usually I do a couple a week. So, you go for it, Cheryl, be true to yourself and do what you like. I'll keep reading!

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    1. That's what I enjoy most about reading other blogs - the peek into something a little different and learning new things. Doing what we love and find interesting should be the reason to keep going, so I'm glad we both are!

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  14. AWESOME! Good for you Cheryl! I have a number of bloggers who have grown so much in the past three years that they no longer even answer posted comments to me like they used to do every single time I would comment. And there were a few of those who would email me anytime I would send an email asking a question. Now? Nope. They can barely ever reply to comments and getting an email from them is something I have given up on thinking it will even happen. It's good for them that they've made a name for themselves, but at what cost? The readers, like me who don't have a blog and followed them because they liked them and their blogs rarely, if ever get any replies back, or have just given up thinking they might ever get one.

    Years ago I did cake decorating and love to bake. I researched opening my own little bakery/coffee shop in our small town as there isn't one now, but with three boys and me a single mom at that time, I chose to not follow my dream and do it. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that I didn't want to turn what was a small business from my home into something larger with so many customers that it was no longer any fun.

    Old school is.......well, old, but I applaud you for seeing what is much more important. YOU! AND your readers/followers AND MOST importantly - your own children. They grow so quickly and spending the time with them when they are young is something they will always remember. They also remember as they get older if they were consistently told to 'wait a minute because Mommy needs to finish this or that'.

    I sometimes wonder when I see websites that have a list of about 10 ways to follow them and stay in touch. HOW is it possible for those people to have ANY time to themselves, much less be any good to their family? Technology is seriously a good thing, but wow, it's so bad too because the personal touch is being lost very quickly. I get very angry and hurt when my own children think that calling me takes too much of their time so even on my birthday or wedding anniversary all I get is a text message.

    Wow, do you think you struck a nerve with me by that rambling I just did? LOL Sorry for that! I'll shut up now before I make enemies with my comments. :) I am happy to hear you are going to do what you love because you want to do it and not because of a deadline and want to spend more time with your children. I love hearing that from any Mom because our children are so important and need our attention. GOOD FOR YOU! Enjoy your life ~ you only have one, so you may as well do it now. There are no second chances.

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    1. I so agree Vicki - seeing comments or emails is so much more important to me than seeing bigger stats or being known to other bloggers. And this time with the kids goes fast, it's important to enjoy it - they are what got me going on this blog and creating in the first place. A lot of blogs seem to have lost sight of that, so I want to show how we really are and not some picture perfect facade.

      Not only does it feel good to see so many others want the same things, but seeing all these comments that are more than just 3-4 words is just the kind of personal connection and interaction I've really missed about blogging, so thank you for taking the time - it means a lot!

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  15. Good for you! I know exactly what you have been going through and am living it now. I am really trying to cut back and I am sooooooo over self absorbed craft bloggers trying to be the next bloggy STAR. I have found it to be so disappointing to leave comments every day on blogs and then post something and only get one or two comments, it really makes you feel your work isn't worthy. I have finally come to the realization that my work is great it is the bloggers that have the problem. And yes, professional look photos, deadlines, etc. etc are ridiculous. I applaud your decision. Good luck to you.
    Pam
    scrap-n-sewgranny.blogspot.com

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    1. I've felt that same way Pam - it is hard when you put a lot of work into something and people are too busy promoting themselves to take a moment to comment or answer back. The focus on going viral or getting noticed by companies and not connecting on a personal level seems like the wrong priorities. I'm really excited about going in a different direction.

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  16. Pam the lady who commented above and I have talked about these same issues for almost 2 years now. January I made the decision that I would go back to having fun and remove myself from all the drama. I now craft what I want, when I want and write what I want about it. I now only visit and leave comments for those who are TRUE followers and leave comments for me. I no longer rush out and feel like I have to buy everything on the market because SO N SO said it was good. I now enjoy crafting again. I know in time you will too enjoy the love of JUST CRAFTING!!!
    Nana
    mycraftingchannel.com

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    1. Nana what you are doing is EXACTLY what I want too. Here's to making that happen!!

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  17. I know what you mean! I so miss the commenting/replying to comments that happened more in the past, and want to bring it back (I still comment regularly... if I like something, the writer is pretty likely to hear about it, unless I've commented 20 or so times on their blog with absolutely no acknowledgement of any kind). And don't even get me started on the completely irrelevant sponsored posts. I also applaud your decision, and look forward to seeing some things that you really enjoyed creating and writing about. =)

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    1. I think the lack of comment activity has been the thing I miss the most too - 5 unique comments or replies meant a lot more than 20 likes or 50 pins. I'm going to try to do more with commenting - maybe if we all keep it up the tide will turn a bit.

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    2. I agree with Charity and you Cheryl. Actually, I was just thinking the same thing - I hope to see a change in the world of blogs. Because where it is headed is not the same direction I want to follow. And Cheryl, thank you for visiting me and others as well. That's what blogging used to be about. Finding others, making new friends, connecting to real people.

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    3. I think it can be again. After hearing from so many people on this post, it sounds like it's what a lot of people want.

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  18. Thank goodness!!....I'll be with you all the way!! The blogs I love are the people just being their real selves.....
    I will be looking forward to every perfect "imperfect" post!!...

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    1. Me too Kathy - seeing so many enthusiastic comments echoing the same feelings tells me it's just what's needed!

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  19. WAY TO GO! I'm always tempted to give up my blog as well because I know it's going nowhere fast (the fashion blog scene is just as bad if not worse than crafts) but for some reason I can't quite do it.

    Stay true to yourself and the rest will follow! :D

    -Rebecca
    Idealism never goes out of fashion
    http://mn2nz.wordpress.com

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    1. Don't give up Rebecca - I think your advice of staying true and not worrying about the rest is spot on. And I'm so glad you commented so I could discover your blog - heaven knows I need all the fashion ideas & inspiration I can get!

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  20. I really enjoyed your article, thanks for sharing!!

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  21. Hi Cheryl,
    I have been thinking about this and dealing with scaling back for about a year now. I took something that was fun for me and made it work. The deadlines that I set up for myself and the expectations for myself are not what I had in mind when I started the blog. I have slowly been scaling back over the last year, and have even taken time off, except to put up the party each week. It helps me get a fresh perspective on what I want. I don't want to stop blogging, but I don't want it to rule my life. I have been trying to find a happy medium. I am not as concerned about having 300 people at a party, but more concerned with making a new recipe or learning how to make a new piece of jewelry.
    Good luck and enjoy your life.
    Debi

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    1. Debi you are right on about not letting it rule your life or getting caught up in numbers or taking on too much. Sound like we're both on the right track to getting the fun back and letting the self-imposed stresses go:)

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  22. Good for you. Put the fun back in your life
    Sandy

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  23. I totally approve! More time for crafting and living, less time for blogging :-D I look forward to seeing your super real blog :-D

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  24. thanks for this post. i knew there were wonderwomen out there, but thanks for being real among the mass of plastic. pinteresting makes me craftatonic too! (great word. I'm gonna use it more.) good luck with the decision :)

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    1. Thanks so much Jaya and I'm glad I'm not the only one who goes craftatonic looking at that!

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  25. This is why I don't monetize my blog. I want to be able to write, and write what I want when I want, not because my latest ad campaign needs more page views. I do drive myself insane with stats, and I realize every time I do it that it's insane to do so. My projects are driven by what I want to do when I want to do and my pop culture content is driven by the stuff that I actually enjoy. I could probably make myself a bigger 'brand' but I fear that somewhere along the way I'd let go of the stuff that I actually like. There are enough competitions and stressers in the world, I really don't want something I started for stress relief to be one of them.

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    1. I think it's not getting caught up in it all that's the key to keeping the enjoyment there. Taking on lots of paid work or obsessing with checking stats turns it into work not just having fun with things you like. You feel like you need to change to make those things improve & then you lose what makes you unique. I think it's possible to take on paying projects you'd want to do anyway, or have advertisers here and there that you like to shop - I will still do a little of that to help support my crafting supply costs, but the key is to know when to say no and not let that stuff outweigh the for-the-fun-of-it things.

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  26. Cheryl, I'm glad you're going to do this. I've seen lots of bloggers with young children cut way back on, or even stop, blogging. You only get one chance to do things with your kids, and it's now. There are no do-overs. I hope everything works out just the way you want it to.

    Noreen
    Crafty Journal

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    1. Thanks Noreen. I don't think any of us is going to look back and say "I wish I'd done more blogging" instead of doing things with our kids. I really want this blog to be more a way to record some of the special and creative things I do with and for my kids rather than take time away from them.

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  27. You're like a strong up of coffee....giving us a dose of reality that we really need. You go girl! I have no doubt that you will do fine...because there IS something extra special about writing and creating from your place of passion. And attracts other passionate people...and students. ;)

    Blessings!!

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    1. Aw Diane, thank you! Your comment gave me such a big grin and I needed it after 3 days without power around here!

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  28. I think I love you!
    I started a year ago, totally inspired by blogs just like yours, I just wanted to share what I do.
    You are so right though, I started to read posts about optimum pinning and tweeting times, I considered getting up at 1am to link to parties that start at a sensible time in the US but in the middle of the night for me, I started looking at my stats every day - really!!! What is the matter with me!
    It's so easy to get sucked in to comparing yourself with everyone else, which is seldom helpful. (inspired by others is fine, compared to - not so much) I'm glad you will still do the party, I love popping by to ink up and see what others are up to.
    Balance is the key isn't it? Family, home, friends, work, blog and hobbies. At the end of the day we are all just jogging along doing our best and hoping for the best.

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    1. You've got it Julia - I think the balance got thrown off when people started turning their hobby blogs into the equivalent of online magazines and still claimed they had plenty of time to make time for their kids, keep their homes neat and dress fabulously every day and the rest of us started thinking we must be doing something wrong. It's taken me a long time to realize it, but when the blog or craft goals start to run you, it's time to make a change. Here's to reclaiming our blog fun again!

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  29. Oh my gosh, thank you for this! I always feel so guilty when I don't keep my blog updated in a timely manner. Since becoming a mom-mom to five adorable boys in the last 3 years, I have very limited time, especially since I also have an elderly mom who requires a reasonable amount of my free time. Add in a husband, three adult kids, and a big family who likes to get together fairly often, I hardly have time to craft, let alone to blog. I'm going to adopt your attitude. If I lose followers because I don't blog enough, or craft enough & then blog about it, so be it!

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    1. That's exactly it Teresa. You're already doing an amazing job with even having a little time to do those things with everything you have going on. Keep crafts & your blog fun and a source of relaxation from the rest of life - not something that will take more time away from what's really important: a loving family.

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  30. Cheryl - thank you for being so honest in this post. I have often wondered how people that have these successful blogs who make $1000. a month or more do it and keep it all together. It sounds like any other business to me that you have to sacrifice a lot and work late hours to make it all happen. I started my blog a little over a year ago and have learned so much and still need to learn a lot. I have realized though that I want my blog to be about me and the things I like to do and enjoy so I have not ever signed up to write any paid posts. I think that would take the fun out of things for me. No - I am not making hardly any money doing this but it is fun to me and I have made some good internet friendships. For a while I was trying to do link ups every day but now if I miss a day or two because I am enjoying my kids or spending time sewing or baking I don't stress about it. The link ups will still be there next week and the week after. Our sermon yesterday at church was about pseudo connections and how if you are doing something just because you need it to make you feel better but it is actually causing stress and havoc in other areas of your life then you need to re-examine your motives and change some things. As you mentioned in your reply above what is really important is a loving family and having time to enjoy them. My boys are getting older and one will graduate in a couple of yrs. I want to make sure I teach him how to be a good person and give him the guidance he needs to be successful in life. My sister-in-law told me once that your kids still need you just as much when they are older as when they are toddlers - I thought she was odd for saying this but now I understand. Take care - glad you will still be doing the link up. -Kimberlee

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    1. I hear you about the kids - I've found blogging harder the past year or two than it seemed when they were a newborn, toddler and little kid and I couldn't figure out what I was "doing wrong". They need you to really listen and interact more as they get older rather than just take care of basic needs & that's the difference. Craft blogging has turned into "what can I do to go viral and make $$" rather than a real enjoyment of making things & sharing experiences, so I'm going to try to turn that around in my own little corner here and hope others give that a try too.

      I suspect most bloggers making $1000+ a month spend an insane amount of time on it and everything else in life is put second. I've never made even close to that and it was still running me ragged. It's also funny since there's so much time to put in to make that money - when worked out it's way less than minimum wage!

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  31. Amen sister! Totally feeling this way lately. I feel like I have lost track of the blogs that I loved when we began as they grow bigger and become shinier LOL I miss the community feel. Pinterest was the game-changer in my mind. I coordinate local blogging courses and many students say that they began/want to start blogging because everything beautiful pinned on Pinterest came from a blog. There is a distinct difference between the before pinterest and after pinterest blogs. New blogs are so much more polished and seem to build a following quickly and effortlessly. But is the relationship still there? I have even emailed bloggers that I "used to know" with no reply as I am sure that they are swamped with contacts, schedules and projects. I am genuinely thrilled for their success but I just don't have it in me to be creative on a schedule. Also feeling like every craft in the history of the world has already been done! ha ha Take care Cheryl ~ sharing this! xo

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    1. I feel that way too Heather and remember when we both were starting out & how different it felt! I agree that Pinterest really amped that up more than anything else. It is a bit crazy how crafting wasn't really a big deal a few years ago and being truly creative isn't all that common or easy, yet there's a never ending stream of crafty projects being pumped through Pinterest. Things have "slicked up" so much since then and it does feel impersonal.

      I don't want my blog to feel like a magazine - I want it to feel like a place to get together with crafty friends and sharing ups & downs of trying things were interested in. I really miss getting comments and then clicking over to their blogs and discovering that person and what we have in common. Pinning a project or liking a page completely takes that personal element away.

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  32. Your post was so refreshing to read. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

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    1. Thanks Amy and seeing so many comments on it and people sharing the same feelings really does help. I'm feeling enthusiastic that it's possible to make things fun again:)

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  33. I agree 100%. I started blogging knowing nothing about it about a year ago. I quickly got sucked into the rat race aspect, trying to keep up with everyone chasing numbers...then one day I stopped. I even wrote posts about saying no to social media and the realities of my messy house. Right now I just want to write, craft and take pretty pictures! Refreshing read, thanks and enjoy your free time! :)

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    1. It's amazing how quickly we all got sucked into the machine of it - it's really hard to ignore the pressure to do more. And for a while there was even a trend with a lot of perfection bloggers saying to scale back, let things go, enjoy your family, etc. Then they'd come right back and announce loads of new things, posting daily and be back to pitching even more stuff.

      The internet doesn't ever sleep or take a break, but real people need to! Keep on with doing want YOU want and forget the rest. The more we all do it, the more that pressure will die down.

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  34. Good for you! I felt the same way after blogging for three years - it lost all its joy. I quit my blog. After four months away from it, I decided to start completely over - doing it simply. Posting once a week *if I felt like it*. Quilting on my time plan, not to please the blog clock. Stating up front that I'm a simple girl, because I really am. I may enjoy occasionally looking at someone's amazing home pics, but honestly that's not the way I want to live. Now, all the blog stress is gone, and I feel free and happy with blogging. Thanks for sharing what many of us feel.
    Mary

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    1. I think you put it perfectly Mary - pleasing the clock and worrying about strangers opinions more than your sanity is not the way to live. So glad to hear your success story on slowing down and just enjoying yourself.

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  35. Good for you. I'm lucky that I co-write the blog with one of my best friends so that automatically makes it fun. I really get what you mean about the loss of personal connection. I've noticed it in the last two years on our blog as well. That's one of the biggest reasons I suggested to Kelly that we start writing cuz we both like to share and make new friends. We host a weekly link party and I'm super glad we have some faithful weekly link partiers but it seems like getting comments, messages or feedback on any of our other posts is rare. It's usually only when I spend hours a week going to over a hundred other link parties, posting our goods. I also host a craft club at my house that has seen some changes over the years and we are making a big push to get back to the craft aspect rather than getting distracted by a TV program or just sitting around. We can do that any old time. Wow this is a super long comment.... anyway, just know you are not alone in your feelings and we at Rhinestone Beagle are all about keeping the fun in crafting.

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    1. Having someone to co-write with you probably does make it a lot more fun. I think that's why it's been hard seeing the personal connection dwindle - when you're a one-woman band it can be lonely when you work on something, or start a dialogue, and it's just crickets. I really love that I see a lot of familiar faces linking and commenting at my Craftastic Monday parties - some I've known for years and that feels like a little community. And I really appreciate parties like yours that I'VE been linking to for years as well:)

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  36. Cheryl I completely understand! I have had moments when I looked around at other blogs and thought I could never keep up with that! At first it discouraged me and I didn't want to share my simple sewing projects that I was making for my kids because I wondered if they were "good enough" to share. But I've learned to be selective in what blogs I read and try to follow people that craft just for the love of it. I also tell myself "that's not who I am" when I come across an amazing blog that posts a few times a day because I just cannot keep up with that kind of pressure. Crafting and sewing should be fun and it should not be something anyone dreads just because they worry their project won't be pinterest worthy. I love sewing and always will and I want to sew for my kids as long as they will let me. I hope you craft whenever you feel the urge and share whatever you are proud of! You have always inspired me! Good luck scaling back and getting back to crafting for pleasure. Life is too short to do otherwise.

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    1. Jenny, I've done the same thing with avoiding blogs that just feed the self-doubt or peer pressure to be more. Since I've starting ignoring the buzz and focusing more on what makes me happy & finding others who feel the same way it's been a much nicer experience. I think your self-reminder of "that's not who I am" is fantastic - who wants to be one of those people so obsessed with their blog that it takes over everything else in life?!?

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  37. Cheryl, you have EXACTLY said what I have been thinking for the past 6 months. There is no way I can be as great or wonderful as some of the bloggers out there. I don't write the titles well enough, or take pictures well enough, or ANYTHING well enough anymore. It's almost like "what's the use?" I used to do crafts to enjoy all the time. Now I HAVE to do crafts (being Crafts a la Mode) and they have to be great and like you said, the pictures have to be perfect, magazine perfect. How can any one person keep up that pace without getting burned out? I love your post and I'm right there with you. I still want to do crafts but I don't want the pressure to come up with the most viral craft. I just want to have fun again.

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    1. Linda I think you've captured the mindset most of us have fallen into - we crafts have become a task instead of being a sourced of enjoyment. And we feel we need to keep up in an imaginary race. It's giving me an idea for something to help keep the enjoyment in crafting and remind us what we really want to get out of blogging - an excitement to make things and community of doing crafts.

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  38. Amen! I totally agree with this post. Blogging can take over your life, and it shouldn't. While I should've been resting after having surgery to remove a bone tumor from my hip, I was still trying to keep up with the blog and crafting for the blog. And now I have a 3 month old and a 3 year old, but I'm still trying to keep up with this blog... To keep up with the bigger blogs, you need to constantly post, host amazing giveaways, post patterns, etc. It gets to be too much at times...

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    1. I think because a lot of the incredibly driven professional blogs out there started out as casual hobbies many of us compare ourselves and feel like we 're not doing enough. Most of the bigger blogs spend the bulk of their time being obsessed with their blog & staying on top and (whether they admit it or not) let a lot of real life pass them by. Maybe they don't care, but I don't want "Had most re-pins or highest page views" or "She was an incredible blogger" to be what my kids say about me when their grown.

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  39. Wow. There is much to say in agreement to this. When the whole craft sewing blogger thing broke out I was selling on etsy. I was pretty successful and even started a small amount of blogging because that's what they told you to do. My tutorials looked homemade just like everyone else's. After awhile I decided that I just didn't want customers any more. It wasnt fun. So I decided to just blog. For fun. But somehow it sucked me in and became all consuming. I was ignoring my kids and missing out on life. And.I wasn't even making 1% of what I made on etsy. It became a just because rat race. One day I quit. I wrote a journal to myself and eventually posted it 6 months later with commentary on what I was feeling. My one question is why s it so hard for us to let go and not be perfect bloggers? I have found that by staying of social media and reducing the blogs I read helps a lot. Food for thought. Great post!

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    1. I hear you Shelly. Not looking at what everyone else is doing has helped me too. I also scaled back with my Etsy shop a while back because it was exhausting and found I ended up pushing myself with the blog instead and feeling worse. I think the reason it is so hard to let go is because we see so many other people "having it all" and saying "You need to do X, Y and Z like I do if you want success like mine." and that peer pressure is hard to ignore. Truthfully, there's no magic formula and the people who obsess about it will never really be satisfied no matter how big they get or how much time they spend on it. I find it's better to truly enjoy being creative and share what I want, when I want and let other people run themselves ragged with a never ending finish line.

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  40. Oh my gosh!! I know this is an older post, but I relate to it so much. I miss old school blogging and crafting. I just miss how blogging used to be. I am so happy to hear all of this written so beautifully. I "like!" Thanks for sharing this great post.

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Getting your comments brightens my day. I'd love if you left one:)

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