I volunteered to speak to one of the Maryland neighborhood groups of the American Sewing Guild and Andi suggested I talk about being a sewing blogger. Hmmmmm, there are hundreds of you out there who would be better at giving this talk than I am but I guess I'm closer to Rockville, MD than most of you are. So I thought I'd write my random thoughts about why I blog as a way to gather the random threads in my mind and try to weave them into something coherent.
I was the odd person in a room of beginning bloggers at an adult ed class a few years ago. I didn't really care about statistics or Google searches. When I told the instructor that my goal was "to make friends" she smiled wanly and moved on to the topic of analytics and site optimization. She never did answer of my questions.....how do I segment my blogroll into categories, how can I use a different font such as a sewing stitch design for my title, how come my reader list isn't the same as what shows up on my blogroll? We were not on the same wave length at all. But wave length and a common interest are exactly what prompted me to start blogging three years ago.
I've always enjoyed the internet for its strictly passive fun. I love to read and what could be more enjoyable that a 24 hour a day open library of all the information I'd ever want to know on any subject in the world. But one thing I noticed over the decade was that people were so enormously generous with their time and talents. I was inspired by early sewing bulletin board posting people and then by those same people who became bloggers. Before there were "blog readers" to gather daily posts together, I had a huge list of bookmarks of those sites. I admired their sewing projects, their energy (with jobs, families, responsibilities they still found/find time to blog.....and I can barely get the bathrooms cleaned.) So when Google made blogging readily available for someone as non-techy as I am (trust me, we just got a family cell phone plan and smart phones after more than a decade on a flip phone and pay as you go wannabe) I wanted a way to give back for all those hours of fun and to "meet" some of you via this funny WWW. I just enjoy finding kindred souls who love sewing, patterns, fabric, techniques and clothes as much as I do. And who find detailed discussions, (with pictures!) on bound buttonholes and interfaced hems equally enthralling. I'd love to meet all the readers and bloggers out there but since that's not possible, here's the way to enjoy one an other's company virtually.
2. Inspiration I don't mean that my garments or my design talents are going to inspire a younger generation. I'm not that gal. But I am a 62 year woman who still enjoys clothes and being a girl and I want to motivate other women of my generation not to fade into the sunset.....not that there's anything wrong with that, if it's your choice, not your default. I've have many decades behind me of disliking my body, my proportions, my weight, my whatever. But I've done a lot of work on my inner self in the last decade and a half and I have put a stop to that madness. Sewing a fun, varied, appropriate wardrobe is a way to reflect my happiness and that's what I'd like to inspire others to do. It does take more time than shopping to test a pattern, fit it and adjust it and then sew it up. But I think the final product always looks better than anything I could buy in a store. Let's not settle, ladies. Most of the women of my generation know how to operate a sewing machine. Find a sewing/fitting friend, get some fabric and a few patterns and give it a go.
3. Record-keeping My mother always said I'd forget my head if it weren't attached. Blogging forces me to slow down and put on a page just what I did sew, imagine, read, buy, create. I like that. On days when I feel totally unaccomplished and incompetent, my blog reassures me that I am not those things. And my mom was right, I will forget so much unless I put it right there in front of me. This visual record is a great internet gift to myself.
4. Anti-aging These are not my middle years....unless I'm going to live to 115. I like that blogging in its own little way forces me to learn something new and certainly puts me in touch with a generation of sewists previously unavailable to me. One of the reasons I loved moving back from southwest Florida to Baltimore is that I love being around the energy of all generations and blogging links me to that same type of energy. So I think blogging is one of the things I do to keep mentally young. I love being older and more accepting of myself and others but without continually learning I've seen how people become mentally stuck. This is a time in my life to celebrate the blessings of time and energy in my sewing space but also to connect to an ever changing world outside. Blogging helps me do that.
5. Comments I may feel the freedom to create and wear what I like with less regard for others' opinions at this stage in life..... but I also love the comments that we share among one another. I know that the blogging world has grown larger and larger and therefore commenting time becomes scarce when there are so many great blogs to read. But I fell on the floor laughing in recognition when Carolyn wrote her "Comment Ho" post a few years back. http://sewingfantaticdiary.blogspot.com/2011/04/value-of-good-comment.html
I'm a small blog presence in the sewing blog world and seldom have to deal with s p a m, thankfully. So if you comment, I say thanks, and if you don't, I sure do understand.
6. Pictures I hate taking pictures but I love what the pictures tell me about a particular garment or outfit. Well, I don't loooove it but I so appreciate the value of those photos. No more kidding myself about how that item looks in real life. Pictures have made it easier for me to quit a project early, make some needed adjustments the next time around or better accessorize an outfit.
7. Friends and family I reluctantly joined Facebook a few years back and ended up being very glad that I did. Not so that I can connect with lost acquaintances from my past but because it gives me more info and insight into the daily lives of my not local family and friends. One of my cousins lives across the country and his wife posts a picture each day of their almost 1-year old first child. That's a treat to see. My blog does something similar for my small but scattered family and friends.
8. No Guilt, No Pressure I get to blog about my hobbies not to try to earn a living in this struggling economy which does make me one the very luckiest people on the planet. I love the fact that people have found a way to reach new audiences for their services and products. I am fascinated by this whole new area of commerce. I once worked very happily for more than ten years in the check printing industry (told you I was a dinosaur) and only twenty years ago it was revolutionary to think that consumers could order their own supply of checks directly without the bank middleman (some of you may have to stop and ask your parents what a "check" is) The internet has changed all of that. But that's not my situation. I don't have ads or a product to sell and so my blogging is as erratic and scattered as I am. I'm a terrible typist so I have many more blog post ideas than I will ever get to in reality. That keeps me interested in blogging but also puts it in perspective for me. My sewing, reading and sometimes cooking blog gets to be on my schedule and that's a freedom I celebrate as well.
Well, I am not going to change any minds about whether or not to take up blogging but I've clarified better for myself why I enjoy this new world. And to those of you who were pathfinders long before me, thank you. If you have stopped writing, I miss you. If you are still writing, I admire you. If you have just started, I'd like to cheer you on. Happy blogging and happy blog reading.