Today makes a month since I’ve blogged. It was an inadvertent hiatus, but a necessary one. What follows are my reasons for my absence (both on and offline) and the realizations and decisions I came to during my time away.
I began this blog about the time I opened my Etsy account two and a half years ago. I wanted to start a little online business selling my crafty/artsy/design-y whatnots and having a blog was/is considered THE necessary tool for marketing success.
Before I began blogging, I had never read a blog or if I did, I didn’t realize that’s what it was. But I stumbled along, blogging random bits about my shop and life, meeting folks online and learning the ins and outs of blogging. I came to learn my blog wasn’t just a journal or a promotional platform, but also a source of valuable content for readers to take away with them. Or it was if you wanted more readers (a.k.a. more potential customers).
Well I wanted more readers (and more customers), so I read more about blogging. I bought e-books, considered what valuable content I could provide, experimented with different editiorial calendars, all in an effort to create value for this blog that readers would embrace. And by embrace, I mean tell others about me and buy lots of things.
Over time, I came to feel like the Wizard of Oz, peddling my Three By Sea “brand” that felt more than an illusion, promptly dispelled when you pulled back the curtain and realized I lacked a well-defined style or collection of goods to offer readers/potential customers. I blamed my blogging as the source of this.
For the record, I blog, but I’m not a blogger and certainly not a lifestyle blogger. It’s a distinction I need to make for both my readers and myself. For one, I’m not an authority on simplicity or creativity or relaxation- there are others out there far more qualified than me writing on these topics. And two, even in the context of blogging as a “marketing tool”, I was spending far too much time on “marketing” and not nearly enough on creating the products and designs that would ultimately define the Three By Sea brand.
What I am is a designer/artist. One who strives to simplify things, channels her sarcasm into her work, loves finding and manipulating patterns, thrives on creating order, adores coastal life and mid-century EVERYTHING! Designing/creating is how I make my money.
Yes, I brought up money, the taboo topic of creative folks. We all need it, so let’s not pretend otherwise or act like being a broke-ass designer or starving artist is something noble. I enjoy my work, but I still want and need to be paid for it, much like I enjoy living in my new home, but the bank still wants to be paid for it. And while I don’t expect to be paid for blogging, the return on investment for my time wasn’t translating into a significant increase in sales, opportunity, or exposure. Add to that the lack of new products/designs due to time spent blogging and the problem compounded. I finally came to the conclusion that I needed less blogging, more creating.
I hope you don’t feel misled or duped, for that was never my intent. The things I blogged about I believe in and influence on my work. Like Dorothy Gale, going through this journey of blogging over the last few years in search of creative growth and success has lead me to realize that I need to listen to my gut and to look no further than my own studio to find my heart’s desire.
During the last few weeks, I’ve come to realize that I’ve collected and am already sitting on a goldmine of information and inspiration to help drive and strenghten my work. I’ve been spending time exploring sources of inspiration, sorting out ideas that were collecting dust, working to develop new and existing skills, and purging those things that only serve to clutter my creative thoughts and workspace.
It feels good. Moving into, setting up, and organizing my new studio space has provided me a tangible foundation that I want to build upon. Today marks a return to making the creation of new work and development of my style the priorities that I need and want them to be. I’ll still be blogging, but without editorial calendars or my attempts at “lifestyle branding”. I’ll share new designs here, where I find my inspiration, and the stories behind my designs/cards. I’ll also pass on design/art/craft resources and links I find useful or fun.
And as counter-intuitive as it sounds after all this talk about too much blogging, not enough creating, I’ve also started another blog in the last few weeks. It’s a place for documenting the day-to-day, more personal side of my making and creating adventures, including the less successful ones. By making “creating” the focus of both blogs, I feel I’m reinforcing it as a priority for myself. My new blog will include my cooking and baking attempts, arts and crafts experiments with the Little Man, DIY projects, home design experiments, and whatever other creative exercises I find myself taking on. I’ll share the link for that blog in the coming weeks when it’s more “reader-ready”.
So let’s see where getting back to creating gets me.
Photo Credit- “Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain” by Kaptain Kobold on Flickr. (And can I just say how appropriate this photo is given my Kansas roots and love on Converse sneakers?!)