I’ve had this post a-brewing for a long time. It’s not so much about quilting, so feel free to click “mark as read” and move on. It’s okay.
When I started this blog in May 2012, I was a stay-at-home mom with a 1-year-old, and I was lonely and bored. We moved to our town in Massachusetts about five weeks before Lucy was due to be born, and, in full survival mode, dug into what we needed to do to survive late pregnancy and newbornhood. I didn’t do a good job putting down roots; I didn’t do a good job reaching out to make friends. I felt crippled by my tiny 10th percentile bottle-refusing baby who needed to nurse every 45 minutes.
By the time Lucy was 14 months old, I turned to my husband and said, “I feel like I’ve recovered from a long, terrible illness, and I’m finally well again.” I had picked quilting back up after nearly abandoning it during Lucy’s babyhood. I was sleeping again. Lucy was weaned. And I had this little blog and OBVIOUSLY I was going to be immediately and hugely famous.
HA. It took a year before anyone even started seeing my work. But this past summer, when I joined Beth’s Let’s Get Acquainted New Blogger Blog Hop, I was so overwhelmed by how friendly and wonderful all of my fellow bloggers are! I’m so glad to be having the kinds of conversations I always wanted to have about quilts and fabric hoarding and sewing and kids and being a stay-at-home-mom who tries to sew. Exchanging comments and emails with you-all has been a lifeline.
I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t admit that the same blog hop that brought me so many close and vibrant online friendships didn’t also bring some negative feelings. Feelings like stress and pressure. Feelings like jealousy, which is always really rooted in selfish feelings of inadequacy. “She has so many more followers than me, surely she doesn’t want to talk to little ol’ me.” “He’s so sparkly, he doesn’t have time to yak about which Art Gallery fabrics to buy.” “She’s already designing her own patterns! I’ll never be able to do that.” “How is she managing four or five posts a week? I still don’t know where my camera is from two weeks ago.”
Of course, all that negative stuff is in my own head. In my heart of hearts, I believe that any person possessed by the urge to cut fabric into tiny pieces and put it back together into a thing of warmth, beauty, and love, has a golden soul and is a truly kindred spirit. And it’s turned out to be so true! Every sewing blogger I’ve exchanged words with, big or small, is a lovely, warm person.
In the past two months, my feelings of jealousy and inadequacy have resolved into something more satisfied and peaceful. I used to think I wanted to be a capital B Blogger (like I used to think I wanted to be capital P Professor or a capital E Editor. Or a capital W Writer.) But I’ve learned (through experience) that something essential changes the moment that you do something for any reason other than love. The first novel you read to cite in a paper you’re trying to write so that you can be a fierce competitor on a brutal job market changes you as a reader. The first quilt you make to sell isn’t the same as the quilt you made for love. I’ve not done it, but I imagine the first blog post you write that isn’t for the love of your own little blog isn’t a bad thing–it’s just a different thing.
It’s not like potential sponsors are knocking down my door. It’s not like I get a lot of pageviews. It’s not like I’m getting emails from sewing websites begging me to submit tutorials. But truly? I don’t think I want them to. I need this–blogging and quilting–to be the thing I do out of love. I don’t personally feel the need to spend time growing my readership or trying to get pageviews or plotting a string of tutorials.
(Sidenote: some of the quilters I most admire–some of the PEOPLE I most admire–do tutorials and sell quilts and patterns and blog for reasons other than hippy dippy “love”. I’ll fiercely defend anything a person can do from their own home to support their hobby or allow them to spend less time in an office and more time with those they love. Fiercely. In saying this is not for me, I’m not passing any value judgment.)
So, materially, what this might mean is that I might be here a little less often. That’s OK. Some weeks I might have a ton to say. Some months, nothing. It’s all cool. This is a hobby, right, for love? So if I’m not loving it, I don’t have to do it. It’s also going to mean that I’m going to put even less pressure on myself to link-up-socialize-spend-three-hours-every-Friday-night-commenting-on-as-many-posts-as-possible.
I’m hoping these realizations help me reach a more genuine place as a blogger and as a quilter. It’s okay to be little! And it’s even more okay to figure out that little is always what you wanted to be in the first place.