Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Why I Stopped Blogging


There was a time when I really enjoyed blogging. I had been quilting for several years before I discovered blogging, but only a handful of people ever got to see the quilts I made. So it was pretty exciting for me to be able to take pictures of a quilt, write a little something about it and post it for the world to see. (And of course by "world" I mean the 5 people who knew about my blog back then). I thought every quilt I made was amazing and beautiful, and I couldn't wait to show them off. Once I did, I really enjoyed getting feedback from family and friends and a few random strangers. I would read the comments they left, get a warm fuzzy feeling, shoot them a thank you email, then get back to quilting. Oh, that it could have continued like that forever. But it was not to be.

 

I think the beginning of the end was the day I discovered the "stats" tab, a few months in. Previous to blogging, I would judge the worth of a quilt by how much I liked it, and the reaction of the person who ended up receiving it. Upon discovering that I could tell how many people were visiting my blog and looking at my quilts on any given day, that started to change. I became more concerned with what I thought other people thought of my quilts (and by extension, me.) Stats and comments became a measuring stick for my success (or failure) as a quilter and it began affecting the way I felt about myself.


The online quilting world then became this competitive place where I felt I had to prove myself. I started comparing my stuff to everyone else's. I began being judgmental, jealous, critical and withholding praise. I didn't allow myself to comment too much or get too involved - I became less and less concerned with forming relationships and more concerned with gaining followers.


I started making rules. Lots of strict rules for myself to follow. I couldn't make the same quilt twice or use the same fabric twice. Every quilt had to be new and different and my own design. I couldn't use patterns or make quilts that others had designed. I could only post finished quilts. Publicly admitting I liked comments was a no no. Inviting people to become followers, hosting giveaways, random blog buttons, advertising -- all not allowed. Keep in mind, I wasn't writing these down...they were almost like mental notes that I barely knew I was taking. Some of the rules were in response to things I saw other bloggers doing. Others were a way to handle to insecurities or the slightest hint of criticism. But most, I have no idea when or how or why I came up with them. I just knew they must be followed. They were necessary to maintaining the illusion of perfection I had created. I couldn't break the rules without being harshly critical of myself so I followed most of them to a T.


And it all happened so gradually, I didn't even realize what was happening. I let something I really enjoyed turn into something I needed to feel good about myself. And that turned into something I didn't love but felt obligated to do, until it turned into something I could barely stand to think about. I didn't stop making quilts, but there were times I thought, do I even like quilting? So eventually I just stopped posting things on my blog. I told myself it was because I was too busy. I had a bunch of kids now. I had a life. Nobody else was blogging anymore- it was just the natural progression of things. Yeah...those were the reasons I had stopped. But at that point, I really had no idea why.


The past couple of months I have been doing a lot of thinking. I have found a way of changing a lot of my thoughts that I didn't realize were affecting me so much. And as a result, I've been having a lot of success at changing old habits and beliefs and starting to fix things I thought couldn't be fixed. One of those things was my enjoyment of sharing myself and talents. So I have decided to start over. I'm getting a new website. I'm changing the way I do things. And I will be throwing out every single one of my old rules. And I will be making up for lost time...since I have about 20 quilts I have not yet shared! I am pretty excited! More details coming...hope to see you again soon!



P.S. I don't share any of these things so you will excuse me or try to make me feel better...I am ok...not proud of some of this stuff...but I am really ok with it. I have learned a lot from these experiences and I now feel like there is value in sharing some of my struggles along with the pretty things I make. Maybe it will help someone to be more wise than I have been. :) 

38 comments:

  1. I missed your quilts/posts and I'm glad you shared why you drifted away. I must admit, I've had similar thoughts (i.e. why did that quilt I loved get so few "likes" on FB? Maybe it isn't as cool as I thought...) Ultimately I've decided to quilt what I want and if it connects with someone great; if it doesn't, well, I still added a little more whimzie the world. I do love your vibe and can't wait to see your new site!

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    1. Thanks for your sweet comment! I love that you said "if it connects with someone" - that is totally what I have been missing - the connection with people! That is why I started blogging in the first place...I just kinda got off track! Glad to be making my way back!! Thanks for your support!

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  2. Oh, hooray! I've only discovered your blog since you stopped quilting, but I've been hoping you would come back to it again someday. I think your senses of color and design are fantastic, and I love the quilts you've posted about in the past. I look forward to seeing the ones you've made since, and the ones you will make in the future!

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    1. Thank you Kristin!! It makes me so happy to know you have enjoyed the quilts! I look forward to sharing more and getting to know everyone better!

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  3. I appreciate your honesty. Welcome back.

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    1. Thanks Christine!! I appreciate it! 😊

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  4. Your quilts are really amazing! I'm sorry you boxed yourself in so strictly but I'm glad you're trying things in a different way. Here's to new habits!

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    1. Thanks Nicole!! Yes! Boxed in is exactly what I was!! Heathier habits feel soooo much better! Thank you for taking the time to comment!

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  5. I can only imagine the struggles you've been through. I'm so happy you will be blogging again?...you mentioned a new website, does that mean blog? Your quilts and your imagination for designing them and your awesome sense for color mixes is divine eye candy.

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    1. Annie! I have missed you! And seeing your amazingly creative postcard art and journals!! Yes, I will be blogging a bit along with some other things...same name...just a new site.
      Thanks so much for the nice compliments! You are so sweet! So glad to hear from you!

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  6. Welcome back Cynthia. Thank you for sharing your story of drifting away from blogging. I'm sure you are not alone in alot of those thoughts but I'm glad you have worked through it and are baack again. Look forward to following.

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    1. Thanks so much Marlene! I am looking forward to it as well! It's a good feeling...I have missed it! Looking forward to getting to know new friends!! So glad you're here!

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  7. What an interesting journey of introspection. You obviously felt the need to examine the rationale for quilting and blogging. I enjoy your quilts and thank you for sharing your quilting endeavours.

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    1. Yes! I never thought I was very good at introspection...turns out I was wrong! Thanks for the compliment-- I'm so glad you enjoy the quilts!

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  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I too had stopped blogging and realise reading your thoughts that I had fallen into some of the same traps. Now I am back blogging but like you I have changed my attitude. Let's hope we both move on and enjoy blogging again.

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    1. Yes! So glad you are blogging again too! Here's to moving forward! Thank you!!

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  9. If you blog about what you love, others will love your blog. It's as simple as that.

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    1. You are so right, Joy!! Thanks for sharing! 😘

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  10. I can relate completely! Stats and pins became my LIFE! So then I just stopped blogging. Eventually after a long hiatus I discovered my blog was getting hacked. So I blocked the hacking, but then they kept trying to get it. Long story short...I had to make a call...do I dump more money into something that was no longer giving me satisfaction and was creating unnecessary stress in my life or do I just cut it loose. I decided to cut it loose and it was soooo freeing! I'm loving what I'm doing again...without the pressures. I'm so glad you discovered what was happening for you and that you are able to reset and continue on in a new fashion! :) You're a talented quilter and I'm so glad the blogging stats aren't getting to you anymore!!!

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    1. I am so glad I'm not the only one! The pressure is the worst!! And the funny thing is, I thought I was doing what I needed to avoid the pressure! Haha! Live and learn! Glad you are loving what you do again!! Thanks so much for your nice thoughts!!

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  11. I only recently discovered your blog, so I am glad you won't be quitting altogether. I do understand all of what you said and thought as having a blog myself for over 9 years now, I too went through being concerned about comments and stats and feeling like so few even cared. I thought about giving up, but then decided that I really started the blog to document my work and share. Things come in waves and the followers who commented so much earlier on are gone and new ones have come to be my steady commenters and imagine some of them will stop comments and new ones will comment and so on as it goes. I too have become less of a commenter on blogs I follow. It does take a lot of time to post as well as to comment, so I had slowed down on both. But I do enjoy blogs so much more than other social media. I do look forward to whatever you do and would like to get to know you better now that I have discovered you. CHeers!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! You are right! Things come in waves and are always changing. Looking forward to getting to know you as well!

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  12. I can appreciate everything that you wrote. I have sorely neglected my blog. . .mainly for the same reasons. And even just trying to blog once a month (so I could take part in some on-line swaps) has been hard to do.

    My answer was to consider it as a journal and if no one read it or commented it didn't matter.

    I still have a hard time blogging. . . but I like reading other blogs. . .go figure! LOL

    Your quilts are wonderful. Have a lovely day.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts Sherry! I like the idea that it's a journal! I always love going back and reading old posts --just like reading an old diary (but without all the gushing about boys!) I'm so happy you like the quilts! Thanks for the compliment!

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  13. thank you for being so honest with yourself, so we will be able to see your wonderful quilts again. I love to read about quilts, colors, approaches etc, and I loved to see your quilts.
    To a colourful future <3

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    1. Thanks so much! I am excited to begin again!

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  14. So glad you will be back blogging, I love your style and missed seeing what you've been up to.

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    1. Thank you!!! I am excited to be back!

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  15. Oh girl, I have missed your posts and so glad you will be showing us some eye candy soon! You don't know how much I loved that we were able to meet in person before you moved:) Glad to hear all is getting back on track. Hugs

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    1. Vicki! I have missed you! I still think of you often...especially whenever I see that darling hot pad you gave me -my girls fight over it when they need something to put under a hot bowl!! Hope you are doing great!! Talk soon!

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  16. I am thrilled you are coming back to Blogland, Cynthia! I didn't start reading quilt blogs regularly until five or six years ago and yours was always one of my favorites. I have missed it.

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    1. Thank you Dawn!! I am so happy to know you have enjoyed it! I look forward to more quilting without all the stress! 😊

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  17. I hope you keep blogging. I love the look of the quilts you have shared in this post, so please post again soon.
    Every time I think about stopping and air my concerns on my blog, I always get lots of positive feedback, mainly from those who follow, read, save photos to Pinterest, but never comment! I like to think I can inspire people to make quilts, even if they don't gush over mine!

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    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment! I do plan to continue blogging...but without all the rules and pressure!! I love what you said about inspiring people to make quilts! That was my original plan but I ended up wanting the gushing over the quilts even more! 😩 Live and learn!

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  18. A thought provoking and honest blog post, found myself nodding at several points in agreement. Looking forward to seeing those 20 quilts!

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  19. Yay, you're back! I'm excited to see your upcoming posts.

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  20. I post my quilts on my blog as a way of documenting all my work, along with the photo albums I have been making. I'm not sure anyone is that interested in my blog, but it is out there as a record, if nothing else.

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  21. I can imagine that it must have been very difficult for you. I was never a blogger, but I was posting all of my quilts on FB and had the very same thinking happen to me. I used to make quilts because I truly enjoyed finding fabrics to make into something I loved. I made what I liked and sometimes people (friends and family) would want them. Then I started doing them based on what others would say about why I used certain colors together or the motifs of fabric. It slowed my quilting and I began to question my choices, stopped posting pics of what I was making. It made my fun, stress relieving hobby turn into "work". I lost the thrill and excitement for fear of being judged. I'm slowly coming back to it and enjoying it once again. I've loved your blog from the first time I found it and was sad when you stopped. I even made my granddaughter's first quilt from your pink, brown and green pattern. Welcome back!! I hope you never feel this way again. You share so much and it's wonderful for so many of us. Can't wait to see what you make next!!

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