Blogging: it’s where I started 10 years ago, sharing my crochet makes (can you believe?), wedding DIYs and then sewing. Soon after that, social media became a thing (ok, I’m giving away my age a bit- but who remembers before Whatsapp? MSN messenger and dial up internet!?)
What happened next was: I started posting more and more on Instagram, and less and less on my blog. It was quick, easy and people started commenting, interacting and following me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been an incredible few years on Instagram and I still can’t believe how many people follow my account. I love the community Instagram has helped build- from the friendships made, to the practical sewing help/advice you can find (I don’t make a pattern without checking out the hashtag beforehand). It’s also a great place to have really interesting conversations and I love hearing peoples view points and learning so much them. It’s also meant that I have learnt about photography, styling and editing. But… (did you guess there was a ‘but’?), something has changed in the past year. I thought maybe I was the only one who felt it but it sounds like a lot of you have feeling the same. There’s been a shift in tone and the way we interact with one another. Sometimes there’s even been tension- from sharing of differing political views, #Ad controversy to eco-policing.
From a personal point of view, I’ve also felt a little pigeon holed.
Yes, I love sewing, and yes- it’s the craft I feel the most at home with. But my crafts have always rolled with the waves of my life, as has my commitment and time spent on them. Even before the pandemic, I was struggling to find the time to sew. After the pandemic, it wasn’t just time I lacked, but the energy and motivation too. I started to step back and refocus on why I crafted- for myself, for my mental well-being, to relax. I started doing ‘couch crafts’ – crafts I could flop on the sofa with at the end of the day, when I couldn’t bring myself to sit at the machine. Crafts that gave me something else to think about when the world (and my work) revolved around the pandemic. But with sharing those there became a shift in the way people responded to my posts. There were the occasional comments about me not posting much/re-sharing older makes. But quite frankly, those don’t bother me. I’ve never been a prolific maker- it doesn’t suit my lifestyle, the time I have to sew/create- or even my ethos. I’m a proud ‘slow sewer’ (or more like, a ‘sometimes-sewer’.) But generally it felt like people didn’t seem to like me talking about anything else?
And therein lies my issue. Reflecting on things, my issue was not that people didn’t engage or seem to ‘like’ my posts/what I was sharing or that they unfollowed me (you know I’m a big advocate of using the unfollow button…quietly). My issue is that *I* had noticed all of this. I had subconsciously fallen down the slippery social media slope and had started noticing the ups and downs of followers/engagement/likes. All that horrible stuff which we’ve been sucked into thinking matters. The ‘Algorithm’… Groan. And then alongside this, Instagram itself keeps reinventing it’s platform- from posts, to stories, IGTV and Reels pushing us further and further in a different direction. It feels like a job in itself to keep on top if it all.
I appreciate that for people who work off Instagram/run business on there, it’s a different situation. But for the average person like me, I really needed to reflect on it’s impact on my ego and self confidence. Last week I found myself feeling jealous of other people’s makes?!? I don’t want to feel that towards other people! And then how many of you have been excited to share something and then feel the come down when you see ‘only X amount of people commented/liked it’? In really simple terms, I don’t want my happiness to be tied to the number of likes a post gets. That’s not the reason I’m posting.
So I’ve had a rethink of why I’m there. I’m posting more general things and trying not to overthink it. I am a multifaceted person and it is my space after all, so it makes sense to do that. I’m posting because I enjoy it- not because I feel pressure to.
But this reflection has also made me yearn for a different way to do things. To have the freedom to write what I want, on a platform controlled by me. To have the space (and characters!) to just muse away. To have a place to record my makes, my successes and my failures without that feeling of pressure. And then it hit me- duh! My blog.
Now, I’m not saying I’m going to be posting everything here and nothing on Instagram. I still love the platform! I know blogs aren’t for a lot of people- who has time to check in on a blog when Instagram has everything in one place? But isn’t that the beauty of the blog? That it’s there if you fancy it. If you don’t, then don’t read it! The control is with you as a reader. I’m still in two minds about the Newsletter thing- on one hand I like the idea of having that route of communication without having to rely on social media (and I know a lot of you are feeling the need to also step back for your own reasons) but also am 100% guilty of signing up for a newsletter and leaving them unread in my inbox. Sigh. It’s a balance right?
Anyway, from a personal point of view- you might see me pop up here more often from now on. I just want to take a step back and remind myself of why I loved blogging. After all, it’s where I started!