So my resolution to blog more regularly is still a work in progress, but hey! That’s OK. I’ve crossed the one-year mark in my blogging adventure, and it’s been interesting. I just wanted to write up a little bit about the things I’ve learned and ways in which I’d like to improve my experience as a blogger and a crafter. I knew this year was going to be a wild one since I’ve been settling my new house with my fiance and planning our wedding (and the surprisingly bizarre sense of stress that comes with that). It’s so hard to believe that we’re already at the end of July, I mean seriously, what the heck??
Things I’ve learned (and am still learning):
1. Try not to compare your journey to others’
3. Social Media
1. Try not to compare your journey to others’
I’ve learned a lot since I first started this site and, while it’s already been a year, there’s a severe learning curve! I’d initially started out because I’d seen lots of other really cool crafters running their blogs and they were so gung ho that if you’re passionate, you should just do it! So I thought, “Why yes, I *can* run a blog!” and that was basically what had me going. I love to make things and I love trying my hand at probing my creativity.
But they don’t tell you about the dry spells.
What if nothing really strikes your fancy creativity-wise for a week, or a month? Well, people have to work past that. It’s definitely a skill that I myself need to develop. I’d fallen into a loss-of-crojo-hole for a longer period of time than I would really like to admit. Partly from focusing on other things going on in my life (house, wedding, work, life in general), and partly from falling into a weird brand of FOMO or jealousy. You see other more successful bloggers, creators, crafters, humans, simply doing better. It’s tricky to feel amazing about your work when you see others getting hundreds of instagram likes within an hour, or they work with the newest lines of yarn because they’re sponsored by a major company. It’s easy to fall into that jealousy.
But at the end of the day, you can really only do you. It’s your blog, your ideas, your spark. If people don’t see it for a while, that’s ok. You’re allowed to feel down occasionally but you have to get up and walk it out eventually. Write the things that feel good for you and share your ideas, put your passion out there. I knew I had ideas, and I wanted to share them with others because I thought it would be fun and I needed the creative outlet. If you’re reading this blog and found it at all helpful, then it wasn’t in vain.
I’ve learned a lot about how to take photos better and have found different things that work for me. I don’t use a DSLR. I’m going to admit right now that I am pretty lazy, but also believe that with the advent of the new technological era that we live in, our cellphones are simply amazing little pieces of tech that can take photos far better than we ever would’ve imagined! If you’re old enough to remember mirror pictures in the days of Myspace, then you know what I’m talking about. (And if you don’t, I’ll quickly explain that you could only use flash indoors and if your mirror wasn’t clean for your selfie attempt, everyone knew.)
I personally love taking photos of my items in daylight, but it was a trial and error sort of thing. When I first started making items and attempted to take pictures of them, it was always in the evening or nighttime and the lighting inside the house was simply not right, never captured the color of the hat or scarf I was working on properly, and it was just very hard to try and sell the idea of the item that I had made. But I was always enthused to take a picture of something when I had the time, which was usually nighttime because, well, I had to go to my not-internet job. So I adjusted to taking pictures of things on my day off, making the most of my time and daylight.
I’d love to be the kind of person who just “wakes up earlier” before work and “gets things done”…but I’m lying to myself. I will sleep as much as I can possibly get away with before starting to get ready for work. It’s just who I am and I haven’t adjusted yet. Room for improvement, perhaps.
But UNTIL THAT TIME, I tend to take pictures on my days off. Natural light works wonderfully, and I think it makes my photos more genuine and true to the colors of my work, rather than trying to adjust the lighting on an Instagram filter later on. Less work for me! Play with what works. Sometimes I like morning light, sometimes late afternoon. They both lend a beautiful quality to the photos.
Where I need to improve: adding more textures to my photos. I tend to put my items on a neutral-color base and snap a picture. Sometimes with one of my hands on it, or not, depending on what I’m feeling. I’ve loved seeing how others do a textural palette of items to create a well-curated feeling of home. I like it, and I’d like to incorporate more of that into my work. But that also helps tie into my next topic:
3. Social Media
Man, social MEDIA. It’s such a cool and useful tool and yet can be so incredibly frustrating and time-consuming at times. Am I right? Social media helps to give me such good ideas or helpful tips and yet also breeds the feelings of jealousy and FOMO and everything else. However, in terms of getting bloggy information out there, there really is no other way to do it. I like sharing my ideas and my items on Instagram and I really love seeing the beautiful and interesting things that other people are creating. It was so incredibly helpful when I was just starting out on Etsy and the inspiration that you can find is amazing. But it can be overwhelming at times. I’m still working on regularly posting, both on my Facebook page as well as my Instagram (though with my loss of crafting desire those have been weaker lately), but haven’t really figured out how to harness the power of Pinterest. Lots of other successful bloggers swear by it, but I haven’t figured it out yet. It’s super helpful for wedding planning ideas, but for driving business to this blog of mine, not so much.
That being said, though, my most popular post on this blog, HANDS-DOWN by hundreds of views, is my Crochet Animal Headbands post. Literally. It got picked up by some other pinners on Pinterest and took off like a shot. Even now, a year later, still getting hits on it, and I sometimes feel like I will never surpass it! So you never know what will be popular or what others will like. It’s the internet, I don’t know. Like I mentioned before, you do you. Make what you like, post your pictures, and let them be free. Your social media presence is all your own. No one else can tell you what to do or how to do it, everyone has their own voice and sense of style no matter the media. Instagram, Facebook, their website, it doesn’t matter: there are many ways to do you. Like all neutrals? Go! Only like amigurumi? Go! Do you only like working with one color? Go! Find what works for your voice. Not everyone will like it, but who cares. You’ll find your tribe, trust me. I’ve seen people who do the things I’ve just mentioned, so there is a precedent!
Be flexible. Social media is a weird shape-shifter and lots of weird things will pop up and algorithms will change, but:
– determine how much time you actually want to dedicate to social media (how many platforms?)
– stick to the things that you feel comfortable with doing. (eg: don’t do a live video if you’re not into that)
– stay true to your desires and goals, and everyone’s is different
I hope that this has been helpful for anyone else, but it feels good to recap a little of my experience in the past year with trying to run this blog. I certainly have a lot more to learn, like using MailChimp to send things out if I get subscribers, and working more on what I’d like my aesthetic to be. I like to come at my social media with optimism, but I also enjoy poking fun at myself and hope my humor carries across in my internet-life. I shall see where I am in another year, but I’m sure I’ll let you know! Blogging and social media, and the whole shebang can be very tricky at times, but you can get so much out of it. It just depends on what you’re looking for, and that is an ever-changing thing. And that’s ok, too.
Until next time,
If you’d like to join in on my social media activities, I’d love to see you around! You can find me on my GillyGnits Facebook page and my Instagram! Let’s connect 🙂