Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why I blog (long)

I was recently asked to write an article for our state guild newsletter, with the theme “Quilters and Connections.” As bloggers, I believe my story is probably similar to yours. I post it here and wonder how the rest of you feel. Yes it’s kinda long. I was honored that it appeared on the front page. For those quilters who still wonder why we spend precious time "blogging," maybe this will explain. The last paragraph is the most important to me.
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As an enthusiastic quilter, I believe Quilt Guild meetings are absolutely the best day of each month. During Show and Tell, we proudly show our projects, speak for a few moments about the particulars of the quilted item, and then we sit down, and, and ... and that is the end! Hey, that isn’t long enough! Does anyone know the struggle we each experienced in the creation of our amazing project?

For years, I was a dedicated ‘fan’ of a certain web page/blog, featuring quilts, photos, blocks, machine quilting, tutorials, more quilts, more inspiration, more of everything quilty! How I loved each new creative post. The quilt photos inspired me, and her energy fed my own creativity. Could I create a similar page where my projects would remain visible for months?

My quilting friends complimented me on my projects, and I loved to give guidance, directions, or explain when they asked. Some days I would repeat the same information for several people. Would it be possible to explain it all in one place and have THEM come to ME? Would those friends experience similar enthusiasm as when I visited my favorite quilt blog? YES, I decided I would develop my own quilt blog. What’s the worst that could happen?

Off I drove to town, checkbook in hand, and returned with a new-to-me digital camera. My husband and I spent several evenings learning it’s intricacies. Next, I clicked into Blogger.com and began filling in the blanks, choosing options, and after several weeks of floundering about, choosing a template, asking seemingly stupid questions, studying the FAQs, I accidently clicked the correct button, and OMGosh, I had a BLOG! I felt so powerful! "I Am Woman!" But, would anyone visit?

I focus my posts primarily on quilt subjects, processes, tutorials, ideas, the latest concepts, designs, projects, and Nebraska life. Other subjects might include a vacation, historical visit, joyful experiences, or a quilt retreat. And yes, occasionally, I might gripe about an annoying or irritating subject. Almost always, photos are included.

Blogger.com offers every sort of option, bells and whistles, opportunities for page design, but the most amazing and totally unexpected aspect of blogging is that this method of communicating connected me to quilters all over our planet – from the U.S., Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Australia, England, Kuala Lumpur, Russia, France, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Maori, and Japan. Who would have known? Never in all my dreams had I guessed that so many quilters would visit, comment, and read my humble posts, or write to me about their quilt projects as well as their personal lives. It has become my own journal, as open to the world as I choose. We have become "blogging friends" who support, commiserate, congratulate, and sympathize with each other. I have been uplifted following a message from a blogger who thanked me for something I said, or did, or explained, and I have wept, reading about another quilter struggling with health issues, or family disasters, yet continuing with her quilting, needing to feed her own creativity in order to stay strong. We ALL feed, connect, and inspire each other. Who knew?

It took courage to reach out to blogging quilters and perseverance to continue. These new connections give me satisfaction and pleasure and I, in return, give pleasure and assistance to others. I was cautioned that I might become physically drained by the time needed to connect with these quilters. On the contrary -- I am not drained, I am inspired, strengthened and nourished by my quilting and blogging friends.

29 comments:

paula, the quilter said...

Hear! Hear! What a great post, Elaine. Well done.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Elaine I agree with you. I am constantly inspired, strengthened and nourished by the blogging world. There are so many talented and creative quilters out there that are so generous with their time and assistance. It has been a wonderful adventure to meet so many new friends from around the world!

JuJu said...

Elaine, as a fellow Nebraskan and quilter, I enjoy your blog, check every day to see what adventure you are on! I love your sense of humor, your talent and your simple way of life. I've learned many tricks and tips from the blogging world, I consider myself a begginer in this hobby called "quilting"!
Julia, NE

Vicki W said...

Great post! A good blog does require a lot of care and feeding. Instead of it feeling like a chore I find everything about blogging inspiring and energizing. I can always find quick and insightful help when I need it and I am flattered when I am able to return the favor for someone else. It's a great community.

Nancy said...

Did I ever tell you I love you, Elaine? Well I do! I always enjoy reading your blog, and talking about your blog in person. And talking about quilts, or just life in general. I think I've done 170 thousand of those visits all by myself.

You are my hero!

Exuberant Color said...

It was a great article Elaine. And the front page!!!

quiltmom said...

Nicely said Elaine,
I resisted having a blog because - well because (hmmmmm.)..
Mostly because I thought it would take too much time, that I would quilt less, that I would not have anything to say, that no one would be interested in what little old me would have to say,or that I would not be able to manage the technological part of it-However, while they were all legitimate fears, and some are partially true( not sure I quilt as much) there is some real upsides to having a blog. Still, after a year I do have things to say and I hear from others, many positive things in my comments. The technological parts do challenge me sometimes but I can usually manage to work through the difficult parts. If I can't, there is blogger support through other bloggers and from blogger itself.
What I didn't know, was the new friends that I would make or what a great opportunity it has been to learn about what quilters are doing around the world. I have enjoyed the ride and look forward to blogging for the forseeable future.

Thanks for celebrating blogging and sharing your enjoyment of it in a lovely piece in your guild's newsletter.

Warmest regards,
Anna

GARI said...

Me, too. I enjoy blogging and knowing that I am going to do a post (2-3 a week) means that I have to be productive or I will need to be involved in something so I have something to say. This keeps me being creative and thinking. I don't have many visitors, very few comments, but I write as though hundreds of people are reading and quilting along with me. And, every evening I have a blog quilt guild meeting while I watch/listen to tv. Great way to end the day.

AnnieO said...

Blogging is about connecting with other people passionate about something--that's always interesting--whether it is their family, craft, or quilt, communicating and sharing bits of our lives with other people is really what it's all about. I loved your article and do believe it deserved the front page! Thanks for sharing :)

Tanya said...

What lovely words to express the feeling that most of us bloggers feel. It has been a delight getting to know you and being inspired by your teaching skills and your creativity!

Joyce said...

You said it perfectly. I only started my blog for myself and to keep my family informed. I had no idea that it would become so important to me or that I would connect with quilters around the world.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

You say it so well. Your story is so similar to so many of us. When I hold up a finished quilt at home for all to admire. They spend a few seconds looking at it and a rare comment. My blog friends get it though. And that makes all the difference.

Nettie said...

You put it all so well. Reading yr blog, i wd never have guessed that you went into it with any trepidation, but i'm sure glad you got over it :-) As I said yesterday, yours is one of the most inspiring blogs i know. When i'm going through a fallow phase, for whatever reasons, reading blogs often gets me back into sewing.

LC said...

Super article. I'm so glad to know you too, and give a hearty amen to all your efforts and the thoughts that you have so eloquently expressed!

Quilter Kathy said...

Well said Elaine! What a good writer you are...you expressed how I feel exactly!

Purple Pam said...

Yes, you wrapped it up quite nicely. I, also, am amazed at how far reaching blogging can be, and how rewarding. Thank you for expressing it with such eloquence.

Morah said...

Loved your article. I blog to leave behind a piece of myself for my children. I treasure the few written things I have from my mom. BTW HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Sept. is a great month. DH turned 50! Ms. A turned 24 and I picked up a few more gray hairs. Many More Happy Birthdays!!!!!

FLO_rancher said...

Quilters are connected by a thread that is strong and lasts for generations. A quilt passed down as a heirloom becomes history for others to learn from.
Sew Peacefully
Deb};o

belinda said...

Well this was well said....and you know I agree...(wink wink)

KathieB said...

Very well said! I think there are people who might think a blogger is in it for purely narcissistic reasons. But I think most of us are really reaching out and wanting to share, to show what we're up to, hoping others will show what they're up to also.

Christine Thresh said...

I'm glad you blog.

Susan said...

I love your blog, Elaine, it's one of the ones I always read. Thank you for giving so many of us that gift. And the friendships that develop from it!

BTW, Happy Birthday!

Lynn Dykstra said...

Beautiful, Elaine.

Deb H said...

What a great article Elaine. Very nicely written & well said.

It's like having the world's largest Quilt Guild at your finger tips!

I love dropping by & I love it when you come to my place too! Thanks!!

Meggie said...

A great page, so relevant to so many of us. We have all felt the connection, & the reaching out, which makes blogging such a wonderful thing for so many of us!
Thankyou for being my friend, & my 'ear' when I needed you. Likewise thankyou so much for sharing your story. Hugs XX

Shari said...

Well said!

aubirdwoman said...

what a great read. And I am pleased to be able to call you my blogging friend. You really helped me through some tough times last year.
But I still wish I lived just down the road from you :) umm maybe you dont. roflo.

Rose Marie said...

.... and that is why I love to visit your blog every week .... to be inspired .... to be encouraged and to admire your wonderful creations ..... thank you!

bingo~bonnie said...

What an awesome post about why you blog... I suppose there are several of us who feel the same as you.

Often you read in quilting magazines about "big time quilters" who have blogs.. never the common quilter. Maybe one of them should feature your write up? ;) Maybe contact editor@quiltmaker.com and see what reply you get? What could it hurt? ;)

Agian, great post - thanks for sharing! Love from Texas! ~bonnie