The House of Tatterdemalion

Unfashionable, unskilled, inexpensive--but still sewing.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Contemplating my Blogger-button. . .

One of the cool things about a blog is that it's not rigid. Or, at least, it doesn't have to be. I suppose no website needs to be rigid, it's just some forms are better at embracing change than others. I'm not talking about my up-grading to Blogger Beta, though I did just do that. I'm not geeky enough to get all sentimental about that. The gears that grind behind the scenes just don't make my palms get all sweaty. But I have been thinking about the content of my blog. Ironically, I'm contemplating making it a little more rigid. Maybe.

When I first started this blog, I mostly wanted a dumping ground for my sewing related thoughts. When they all hang around inside my head, it actually starts to get a bit annoying. How many times can you think the same thoughts without getting sick of them? Putting them in writing was a good way to get them out of my head, leaving my mind clear to think other things.

Then people started commenting, and, just as I knew I would, I got self-conscious.

Everyone who knew I had a blog kept telling me how I ought to market myself, leave links all over the web, not let a single email leave my finger-tips without have a tagline with my blog link in it. It's not that I didn't know how to do these things, how to attract people, it's just that I was unsure that I really wanted to do that.

That statement, of course, lead to the suggestion that I just write it all out and put in on the refrigerator, because less people would see it that way. I hate it when people go all black-and-white on me, because I'm often seeing things in grayscale, a kind of pastel black, if you will. It's not that I want to keep it a secret, it just that things get so complicated when you start involving other people.

Well, then, why don't you just shut off comments? Well, I didn't say that I didn't like comments, it's just that it makes me self-conscious--I can't write "to myself" anymore, and I start writing to my audience. Is that a bad thing? Maybe. It depends.

It's something like singing in the shower--presuming you are good at singing. You're having a good time, anyone who hears you is having a good time. And when you come out the shower, and they say "Wow, you're great at singing!", and everything's fine. It's when they catch you mid-shower, and start putting in requests for songs that things start to get a little uncomfortable; and then you just can't sing the way that. . .well, the way that you sing in the shower. You become conscious that someone is listening to your every keystroke. . .er, note.

Perhaps that thought doesn't bother confident singers. And perhaps I might not get quite so edgy if I didn't realize that I have the personality that is perhaps most appreciated by older brothers--people who don't take me all that seriously and find my excited emotional state hilarious. But I am conscious of the other type of people, the people who get upset by heavy-handed hyperbole, or scorching criticisms, and impossibly demanding standard that even I don't expect anyone (myself included) to be able to live up to. (Hey, just because I know it won't happen doesn't mean I can't want it!).

In theory, I say I write the way I want to write, and if you don't like it, don't read it. In real life, I struggle with trying to please people. Usually I don't realize I'm doing this, but when I do, I try to sit back and examine the situation a little better.

In this case, I realized I was no longer writing my blog for myself. I noticed that I had become conscious of the people on the other side of the bathroom door, and wasn't really singing what I wanted to be singing. Sometimes that showed up in posting when I really didn't feel like posting; sometimes by carefully guarding my words so they would be less likely to be misinterpreted. What it all came down to, though, was that I wasn't really enjoying all that much any more, and it felt more like a chore. No way! I have enough "ought to do"'s without adding a blog to the list!

I still don't want to lay down rigid rules about what I am and am not going to. But here are some things that I have been thinking about, which will be influencing the direction this blog will be going for the time being.

  • I don't really want to talk about my projects, at least not in a detailed how-to-do it sense. Or a look-what-I-did sense. There are a lot of other blogs out there like that, but to tell you the honest truth, usually by the time I actually finish something, I'm so darn sick of it I don't really want to waste another brain cell on it--even for showing it off. When I finished it, I'm done. I don't really want to talk about it, or look at it, or explain it. When I'm done with it, I'm done with it, and it's boring. At the very least, I don't want to do that here, and I don't want it to consume much of my time. However, the emotional angst of actually working on the project? Oh, yeah. I hope somebody out there has a degree in grief counseling. . .if not for me, then for my traumatized listeners behind the door.

  • I do still intend to post some pictures, but I refuse to feel obligated to. A picture paints a thousand words, yes, but a thousand words can be a whole lot more satisfying. At least for me. But maybe that's because I don't take good enough pictures. Or maybe because I can fit a thousand (spoken) words in about 75 seconds. (The trick is to leave out the spaces. Technically, all people need is the words, not the spaces, so it saves time. Sometimes. Most people's ears aren't calibrated to 1000 words/75 seconds, and I spend more time repeating myself than I have saved time. Which is sad. Some people just stand in the way of progress and efficiency.)

  • I'm thinking I am going to promote my blog, at least a bit more, and actually get the much-nagged-for hit counter. But I'm thinking I'm going to have to change my motto-line under the title for my blog. While it is still true, it doesn't really capture what my blog is about at the time. Something more like "Hysterics: proceed at your own risk." I would like to think that at some point I could dredge up some serious thoughts, but generally, I tend to present even serious points in rather. . .blunt? powerful? um. . .emphasized?. . .emotionally elevated?. . .ways, and if you aren't willing to put up with that (or find humor in that), you probably won't enjoy my blog. I still want to write the way I want to write, but I just feel like that people ought to have some sort of warning about what they're getting into. You know, like a surgeon general's warning "WARNING: Drinking alcohol can make you drunk and impair your reasoning". Or, "WARNING: if you spin around with your eyes closed for 5 minutes, you may become dizzy." Or "WARNING: The opinions expressed on this blog are opinions!"

  • Ironically, I'd like to post about more serious things. Not necessarily in a serious way, mind you, and not, in the grand scheme of things, all that serious. But your typical watch-me-sew blog doesn't usually try to study past couturier's (in this case, I use the word simply to mean people who designed clothes in an influential way), which I do. And then I intend to post about it. (And I don't expect to be in complete jaw-dropping awe of them. I just don't do very good with that whole groupie thing.) I am interested in pursuing the subject of sewing to a much deeper level than sewing-the-latest-fashion and making-cute-clothes. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but it's just not me. I want to look into pattern drafting, design, wide varieties of fabric, sewing from the past--both near and distant history, as well as around the world--, sewing for practical purposes, sewing that is so time consuming it's considered impractical--those sorts of things. For me, my interest in sewing is not about being current, but about turning the whole subject inside out and examining it all. Quick and easy just doesn't enter into the discussion here, because that's not my goal.

  • I would like to post more regularly. Oh, I know this one is a bit pie-in-the-sky, especially since I just got done complaining that one of my problems was posting when I didn't feel like it. But writing is good for my thought process, and I find it helpful to me to write. The trick is to plan for it, instead of leaving it for the last minute and then guiltily banging something out.

So when are these changes effective? Oh, some of them immediately, and some of them gradually. I'm not going to rush out and put my hit-counter on right this second, for instance. But hopefully I will have another post this weekend, baring unpleasant interruptions from the rest of my life.

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