We're nearing the end of Quilty Habit's Sewing with Certainty series and the topic today is one obviously near and dear to me: blogging about sewing. That said, I wasn't sure what tack to take with it. I brainstormed a bunch of components of writing a sewing blog - personal enjoyment, connecting with other enthusiasts, getting feedback on one's work, sharing tutorials, teaching technique, selling patterns or products - the list could go on and on. In the end I decided to share why I started blogging and what I've learned in the almost two years since I began. (Whoa! And then I realized I have an anniversary coming up, so I think a little giveaway come mid-February will be in order.)
I first sat down and started a blog to document my various craft projects and growth as a sewist* and quilter, and as a way to connect with others because I didn't have a group of friends nearby who shared my interests. Since then I've narrowed my focus, decided on a path to turn my hobby into a business, and have tried to take advantage of every free tip and tutorial out there that I come across. Here are four key things I've taken away from my experience that someone new to writing a sewing blog can use:
1. Jump in! I was sort of embarrassed by how unexciting and unenticing my blog was at the very start, so I didn't tell people about it and didn't link up with many others. I wish I had because I would've learned so much more quickly. The more blogs you visit, the more bloggers you meet, the more clarity you're likely to find about what you want from your own blog and the faster your blogging (and sewing!) skills will grow.
3. Learn something! There is a wealth of education and helpful advice out there if you look for it. From tutorials about blogging (I love the "better blogging" tutorials over at While She Naps), to tutorials about quilting and sewing, to tutorials about sewing tutorials, like this one from SewCanShe. (This is incredibly ironic: I found the tutorial a week ago and then when I went back to start drafting this post a few days later - ta dah! SewCanShe was featured on While She Naps.)
Plus sometimes you'll get helpful advice even when you're not searching for it because other sewing and quilting bloggers are incredibly friendly! A few months ago Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts tracked down my site and email address just to let me know that I was a no reply commenter; I had no idea, but thanks to her very helpful gesture, I'm now connecting with her and many other bloggers that I had been unsuccessfully trying to chat with for months. A Stash Bee hive mate of mine, Daisy of Ants to Sugar, recently helped me figure out an app so I could enter a linky contest. Considering it meant more competition to her own entries, it was an awfully nice and unexpected gesture!
*Okay now, somewhat off-topic, apparently "sewist" (from way back in paragraph two) is still sort of new enough to evoke a slew of polar reactions? I love (like really love - I'm a vocabulary geek) reading articles about language and word evolution (this TED Talk by Erin McKean on lexicography is delightful!), and since the term was marked as misspelled by my editing software, but had rolled off my fingertips with the ease of common vernacular, I looked it up. Despite the fact that seven of the top ten Google hits were for blogs with "Sewist" in the title, this fairly recent discussion of it in the sewing community had a wide range of reactions, many negative. I guess it sounds common to me because I read a lot of blogs from newer authors (amended from "younger authors," though I do follow a lot of young bloggers, but by no means do I think they've cornered the market on the term!) and news sites more likely to use trendy words? I think "sewer" sounds really static (and yes, the potential for misreading exists) and that "seamstress/tailor" is much too narrow for the breadth of what many do behind their machine. What do you think? When you say you sew, how do you phrase it? Feel free to add your two cents on sewing blogs, as well!