Thursday, March 11, 2010

Let the ideas spring forth

Pillowcase skirt
Originally uploaded by sassycrafter
Spring has finally arrived. I could feel a hint of it in the air yesterday, and when I let the dogs out this morning I knew that it was here. The light had that soft springtime glow, the birds were singing, and it was ever so slightly warmer.

I don't know about you, but I've always loved spring. When I was up north for college, spring was my favorite season because it marked an end to the long and gray winter. As soon as the mercury crept above 50°, my friends and I would put on our shorts and head outside to "study" on the lawn. More often than not, our books got set aside and we'd just lay there daydreaming about what life might have in store for us after we graduated.

Spring here in Florida isn't as dramatic, but it's still really beautiful. I celebrated today by pulling out my new springtime skirt that I made for the under $5 challenge in "So You Think You're Crafty." And I also spent a little time reflecting on what might grow and bloom in my world this spring.

Along these lines, I've been making a committed effort to be a better blogger. What does that mean? I've definitely been posting more regularly, which I think is a good start. But I know that quantity isn't everything. Quality matters. Connecting with readers matters. But what else should I be thinking about?

It just so happened that Sister Diane was offering a related (and free!) online class today called "The Crucial Element of a Strong Online Personality." I stopped by, read as much as I could, and realized a few things.

Blog mistake #1: Head over heart
I've probably been putting too much emphasis on trying to be informative and haven't been allowing enough of "me" to come through in my posts. Yes, providing useful information can help your blog be "high value," as Diane puts it. But I definitely think my posts need more passion. It's funny because I'm actually very passionate about the crafty stuff that I do. I mean, why else would I do things like spend 7+ hours hand sewing a necklace? There's gotta be passion in there somewhere! I just need it to come out in my posts like it does when I'm crafting at home or out teaching workshops.

Blog mistake #2: Thinking too hard
Several people in the class commented that one of the hard parts of blogging is that you constantly have to come up with blog topics. I have to say, this isn't something I've ever experienced. In fact, I have the opposite problem. I feel like I have a ton of great ideas but they all just seem to tumble around in my head instead of finding their way into posts. I think that rather than figure out what might be the "best" topic to blog about at any given point, I need to just go with what I'm feeling for that day. And along those lines, I need to realize that it's okay to post something that might still be a little rough around the edges, or to post something short and sweet. They certainly don't all have to be as long as this post is shaping up to be! The bottom line is that I just need to keep posting.

Blog mistake #3: Skip topics that other bloggers already covered
Let's say you really like to make things out of recycled wool sweaters. But over the past few years, a number of bloggers have been posting tutorials on how to work with felted sweaters. Does this mean that you shouldn't put up your own felted sweater tutorial? Absolutely not. Sister Diane reminded us that each of us has a unique voice, and our voices will connect with unique individuals out there in the blogosphere who want to hear what we have to say. It made me realize that I need to finish that coptic binding tutorial that I put on the back burner a few weeks ago. I really believe that it has a good shot at being the kind of high-value tutorial that Diane encourages, because there's nothing out there right now that's like what I want to do.

So what about you? If you write your own blog, what sort of roadblocks and opportunities for growth have you encountered? How have you gotten past them? And if you're reading other people's blogs, what sorts of things do you savor?

And getting back to the topic of spring, don't miss Scoutie Girl's blog post that includes a roundup of how different craft bloggers see spring. It's especially fun for the Northern gals to get a glimpse of what's already blooming here in the South!


Heidi said...

My blog is kind of random - sometimes I wish I had started with a specific focus and stuck to it. I might have been offered a book deal by now, anyway. But I love my small group of steady followers - the ones who are just as likely to read about my ovaries as they are to worry about cleaning out their bobbin case. As for Sassycrafter, can you be "too informative?" I like that!

tara - scoutie girl said...

hi kim! thanks for sharing your link on scoutie girl!

if you're wanting to read more on building a strong online personality, i would love for you to check out the post i wrote on the topic:

have a great day!

Jen said...

Thanks for this post! I'm also trying to blog more; I'll have to go check out the Sister's full class on improving my online presence.

Meghan said...

wasn't value 101 awesome? i completely agree about the head over heart problem (not in your blog, in mine!) -- it's so easy to fall into that trap, and yet it's the personal touch that keeps me coming back to others' blogs. it's so great to see crafters i admire "show off" their mistakes and craft fails, and then talk about how they fixed them or how they knew it was time to throw in the towel.
i've started adding more structure to my blog -- certain types of posts on certain days, and following a project throughout the month. it's made it easier for me to write, and i hope it's better for my handful of lovely readers!

kim taylor - - - the sassy crafter said...

Wow -- thanks ladies for all the comments! I guess blogging from the heart really can elicit a response from your readers.

Heidi: You may say your blog is random, but I think your blog is REAL. All of us artists have real lives outside the studio, and it's nice to share those stories in addition to techniques and tutorials.

Tara: Yes! I already found that post of yours and devoured it. Thanks so much for posting the link here where it might be helpful for my readers.

Jen: I think Sister Diane has some great tips for bloggers, and not just craft bloggers. Did you check out her e-books? I've been thinking of ordering "Creating a Blog Audience: An Unconventional Marketing Guide."

Meghan: Yes! Did you see Jennifer Perkins honest post about the chaotic state of her craft room? It made me realize that maybe mine wasn't so bad after all. And BTW, I love your idea to have "Work-in-Progress Wednesdays" on your blog. I know that I have TONS of unfinished projects and could probably benefit from some sort of accountability.


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