Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Blogging for Fun, not Profit

Last week I posed the question, "Where have all the bloggers gone?" and boy did I get an earful! It seems that we all agree people are dropping off the radar and throwing in the towel. Some of you have abandoned blogs because, in the words of several people, "It just wasn't fun anymore."

I've been there.  I have been blogging since February of  '07 and I have hit some dry spells too. Mostly when I was busy with my "real life" in a way that made finding the time to blog a lot harder. "Back in the day", way back in ought 7, things were a lot different. Blogging seemed relatively new, we were all so excited to see inside someone else's home and share creative projects of pretty things made from junk we found, or a cute craft. We hopped from blog to blog and left comments, and made real life friends and it was really just like coffee with the girls in the morning.  Giveaways weren't $1000 visa cards, they were aprons and your favorite coffee mug. 
Then people started making rules.  The blog police came out and slapped hands.

It was "rude" to not reply to every single comment you received every single day. 
You should make sure you had a "theme", you had to "define yourself", are you a mommy blogger? A craft blogger ? a homesteader?
Make sure you post on a regular schedule or people won't come see you any more.
Do this, do that, or you won't be "successful"
Blogging became a job.
And we bought it.  What began as a fun hobby was a competition, a chore, a mad rush for "meaningful" content.
As the all wise Pinterest is known to say, "Comparison is the thief of Joy". Amen to that. I know that I suddenly found it discouraging.  The "successful" girls had companies backing them and began showing off the new sofa's, rugs and decorative items that those companies gave them to decorate with. Who wouldn't be tempted by that? I was. I started to think of my blog as a failure. I wondered why anyone would care what I had to write. I contemplated walking away several times, but the friendships I had made and the love of having my own little creative corner to do and say whatever I wanted kept me from leaving.  I finally sat down and asked myself why I started, why I continue, and what I hope to get out of this blog.
I came to realize that...
1. I didn't start this blog for profit and I didn't want to make it my job. That is a really big realization. It took me off the comparison treadmill and stopped the constant question in my head of whether I wanted to advertise or monetize, or sell out to some big company.  I will buy my own furniture, and rugs , (or continue to find them by the side of the road thank you), because I am just ornery enough to not want some company telling me what to write about. I recognize that a lot of the big bloggers started their blogs with the idea of making it their career from the start.  I recently saw one of them say that when she started her blog she had a professional photographer do her photos. I was speechless. That was the moment I realized we weren't even playing in the same ballpark. It was a freeing moment for me because it freed me from the competitive nag in the back of my head. We both "blog" but after that it's like comparing apples and oranges, and that's ok.
2. I will post when I have time and/or something to share.  There I said it. I think this is  maybe the number one thing that burns people out. It is the thing that takes the fun out of blogging. When you feel that you have to come up with fresh content every single day whether you have anything fascinating to share or not it becomes a chore. It eats into your time, time that you should be spending with family, friends, outdoors, dreaming. Stop the madness. Most of us have feeds and when you post, I'll see it. I promise. Don't' apologize either, you don't owe anyone a certain amount of posts.
3. I won't define myself in a narrow category and feel that I have to stick to that.  There  is so much more to all of us than the latest home improvement. Good golly, truth be told there is so much more that I would like to say about life in general, some of you would agree with my views, some of you wouldn't. I don't want to make this blog my personal soap box, but I truly hope to have the courage to put a little more of myself out there some day. Some of the things I write about may not interest you on any particular day. That is ok. It really is! You know, just like real life friends we are often kindred spirits but that doesn't mean we have all the same interests in everything or agree on everything.
4. I may not comment on every post you write, and I want you to feel that freedom too.  That was a tough one to write because I love comments, but once again, real life calls. Over 7 years I have built up a pretty hefty blog list. I love you, but I just don't always have time to do more than quickly stop in. I can literally spend hours a day visiting blogs but I'm not sure that is the best use of my time and life.
5. I am blogging for myself.  There is still a lot to be said for the blog as an online journal.  I have mentioned before that I have completed putting one year of my blog into a hard bound book.  That may be one of the best things I ever did. I made a copy for myself and one for each of my girls. I know that my oldest daughter shows her friends. She is able to look through it and find recipes, memories of important family events, and projects.  If everyone suddenly found me too boring to stand, I would still do this. For me. For them. So that my some day grandchildren can know a little more about me! I have to find time to finish putting each year in print. It gives me some security that the work I have put into this blog will not some day disappear into the ether and the cost is minimal compared to the hours of creative work I have put here. You have worked hard on your blog too, saving it in hard copy is a gift to yourself that you will never regret.
6. Just because I am not making money with my blog does not mean it isn't successful.  It serves my purpose, which is to have a place to share and to find encouragement, and to encourage like minded friends. And on the subject of friends, I have met the loveliest people from all over the world through this blog! I can honestly say my life has changed because of the advice, and encouragement I have found through blogging. I have always been a creative person, but the positive comments and kindness I have found here have given me the confidence to put myself out there creatively in a way I would have never done without you, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your comments and kindness. How can that not be considered success?  The greatest success in the world is not how much money we make or how many followers we have, it is the connections we make with people!  Because of those connections, can I ask you to do something? If you do decide to quit some day please don't just disappear, say goodbye. Even if it is just "goodbye for now, I'll let you know if I return".  Your faithful readers want to know you are alright and that you aren't disappearing because you were in an accident or something.
Bottom line? Do what you want. Do what pleases you. Blog without rules! But do please blog.
I would love to hear your thoughts. What takes the fun out of blogging for you?
How can we put the fun back in?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Monday

A few random thoughts on this Monday in September...
1. We had a wonderful weekend at the Country Living Fair in Columbus Ohio, a little belated anniversary getaway since our real anniversary date was spent celebrating in another way.

2. It was 42 degrees when I woke up this morning, The furnace is running. When I woke up at 7 a.m. the sun had not quite come up yet. I'm not gonna lie, I'm just not quite ready for this.
3.Interesting comments on the last post about bloggers disappearing, lets talk about it tomorrow.
4. Did you ever notice that when you come back from a trip, even a minor weekend trip, you have a lot of stuff to put away and it seems like everything came to life and got messy while you were gone? *sigh* today is clean-up day. 
Happy Monday :>)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Little Whimsey and a Question

I admit it. I like a little whimsy in my decorating.
Since the bathroom remodel I have been trying to figure out what to hang on the walls.
Walls are my nemesis. I see so many of you who have a knack for the perfect piece of art to complement a room, or you can put together a gallery wall seemingly at the drop of a hat.
I agonize. I think. I rethink, I overthink.
Finally, I came across a shadowbox that I had forgotten about and having seen something like this on (where else?) Pinterest, I thought I would give it a try.
 So I dug out my tiny paper stash (I am not a paper artist!) and my silhouette and came up with these.
Forgive the photo quality, it's a darkish north facing room and a gloomy day.
 And I ended up loving them so much that I made two! I think they add just the right amount of color and pattern to the wall.
And just enough whimsy!
Now to the question...where have all the bloggers gone? I don't mean the big deal bloggers who do this for a living and seem to have a never ending budget for new home d├ęcor, I mean the girls who got this party started. The bloggers who share themselves and their homes and their lives.
Is it just me or are we dropping like the proverbial flies?
I check my favorites list and find abandoned blogs, I check my bloglovin' list and find some of my favorites have just stopped blogging with no explanation.
Are we feeling intimidated by the big girls? Losing interest? Busy for the summer and coming back soon ? ( I hope!)  Just so you know, the real girls are my faves.  I check some of the bigger, doing it for money blogs, they have great projects and ideas, but I really come here for the ladies who I can imagine inviting over for coffee and a chat. 
Talk to me, is it my imagination or are we losing peeps? 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This 'n That and Some New Designs

I don't think I've shown you "the girls" since they were little chicks.  They are all grown up now and we expect we will be seeing eggs within the month.  I tend to chose pretty chickens because, well, why not?  This is one of the prettiest flocks we have had.  We let them out for a bit while we were working in the garden this weekend.
  The mostly white chicken with black neck and tail feathers is a Brahma, the other is a Silver Laced Wyandotte, all of our chickens lay brown eggs, except the Aracauna's which lay blue eggs.

 I love the little speckled Sussex above. She has the prettiest iridescent green sheen to her feathers. In the background is an Aracauna and way back in the back is a Buff Orpington.
 We have a few more different kinds but they were too, ahem, chicken to come out and play.
In other news, we have the new color on the office walls.  This color was chosen by the man of the house, a definite departure from what you usually see here, but once I was used to the darker than I usually choose color, I got some great ideas for the room, I'll keep you posted on progress.
I also managed to whip up a couple more decal designs for the shop.  A little something gingham to brighten the kitchen.
 The Sunflowers are my favorites:>)
I trust you all had a good holiday weekend.  I know that according to the calendar it isn't officially Autumn yet, but September always sounds and feels like Autumn to me.  The best part of Autumn when the weather is still nice and the colors start to come out on the trees. Are you ready or will you be wringing every last drop out of the summer of 2014?