Feb 3, 2016

Answering a Question About the Blog and Design Work

A kind reader, Julia L, posted the following comment last month:

Now, I would love your thoughts on how you're getting all this "press". :D The design challenge work, the design teams. Are you just stumbling into this? I know you're pretty well known in the crafty blogosphere so I know you are working hard for it. I know it is a lot of work to put together a blog and with your extra feature of your fun novella it is even more work. This work is maybe why I don't still have a blog even though I have dreams of starting one up again some day.
So maybe more what I'm looking for is your experiences of doing your blog (the several incarnations), the relationships you've formed through this, and how you're getting recognized by some of the companies out there... Hero Arts, Ellen, etc... Maybe food for thought on a new blog post perhaps!

My response:

Thanks for the questions.

I used to blog almost every day.  I wrote about my personal life, particularly about taking care of my mother and a bit about my childhood.  I posted every card I made and I made 4 or 5 a week.  Most of them were dreadful.  The blog was a great escape.  Three years ago (today), my mom died and I scaled back writing about my life, in part because there isn't much to say (trust me, that's a good thing).

Now that I am no longer taking care of my Mom (or my son) and have retired, I have a ton of time to craft.  I'm not in a hurry anymore.  I'm more careful with what I make and what I post.  I am a very slow crafter.  I post about a quarter of what I make, because most of it does not turn out well. Nevertheless, there are still times when I post something and regret it.  I look back and sort of shudder.

I'm better (still make mi$take$ though) about buying products that work for me.  I see what someone else made, love it, and buy that stamp set, only to have it leave me cold.  It took years for me to figure out that I can love a set and not be able to do a thing with it.  Now I try to buy what I love and what works with my style.

Recently, I've started to do a very small amount of design work, for which I am honored and very grateful, and frankly, a bit surprised.  I always wondered how folks got design work so I am happy to share my experience.  Both Ellen Hutson's shop and Hero Arts reached out to me and asked me to do some design work.  It was that simple.  I must admit, though, to a bit of screeching when those emails come in. My husband just doesn't understand!  The first time I designed something for Ellen Hutson, I was not happy with what I made and decided that doing that kind of work was not for me.  But I took some advice and just learned to keep on trying to make stuff that works for me.

It appears that most of the action in online paper crafting now appears to be on Instagram, and to a lesser extent, Facebook, rather than blogs.  I suspect that Instagram is the most efficient way for companies to quickly see a ton of work using their products.  Some companies, like Hero Arts, also have a Flickr group or look at Pinterest to see who is using their products.

I've made real life and online friends through the blog and love those friendships. It is one of the best things about stamping and having a blog.

With respect to Stamping Destroyed My Life, it is time consuming, but tremendously fun, to write. For me, writing is a thousand times easier than making a card, although there are similarities in the process.

I know where the plot is going (spoiler alert -- M is a mess!), but the first draft requires a ton of editing. Like stamping, a lot of what I write ends up in the trash.  The best part of writing that story is that I become "M" while I'm writing it. I start thinking like she does:  I am on top of the world, I am a genius, I rule the industry.  Or, I will get rich making cards, etc!  And then there is the side of M that is lonely, and just looking to fit in, to find her own thing.  We can all relate to at least some of this. Luckily, I can press "save" when I'm done writing, and go back to just being myself!

In many ways, despite the title, Stamping Destroyed My Life is my love letter to an industry that has given me so much -- a connection, friends, and a creative outlet.  What more can we ask of a hobby?

I hope I've answered your questions.  Would love to hear other bloggers' experiences!


~amy~ said...

Great post Joan! I love being a part of this awesome paper crafting community. I think the important thing is to enjoy what you do...which reinforces your comment: make stuff that works for me

LauraJane:) said...

I admire your work Joan, cards and writings:)) as well as the fact that you took care of your mother, giving her your best in her last days here. I see how you miss her. I'm sorry.
My folks have brought both of their mothers in to live with them. I know the JOY and stress it can be. My last Grandma past away two weeks ago today, at the age of 94, She was Happy and blessed to be in the home of her son and daughter-in-law. I have a wonderful example of self-sacrifice in my parents and hope to do the same for them when needed.

Laura Norris said...

Great post Joan! You do great work, both in card making and in writing. I can see why companies have been knocking on your door. I also admire how you took care of your mother and were able to write about it, giving you an outlet. I have been enjoying your work here on your blog and on Instagram!

Tracey McNeely said...

Joan thank you for writing this post! I enjoyed hearing your perspective on crafting and blogging. Today you reminded me how this journey began for me. The paper crafting industry and the people who play in it are all amazing. I am a slow crafter too and I need to stop rushing and think about what I am crafting and posting. I have not been loving my cards lately!

Joan B said...

yes, to me it is about the community and sharing fun in a way that works for me.

Joan B said...

I'm sorry to hear about your Grandmother. Taking care of our parents is a mixed issue. I think it adversely affected my family in ways that I wasn't aware of at the time, but also brought a lot of benefits. Life can be interesting!

Joan B said...

thanks, Laura. I'm not sure I would agree that companies are knocking at my door (!!), but a little bit of work is fun!

Joan B said...

Sometimes I see other crafters post 7, 10, 15 cards a week and I am amazed. It really helped me to realize that I cannot do that! thanks

Dorie said...

Your sense of humor and writing style is what drew me to your blog, Joan. I'm able to keep up with what you have to say in your blog. You send me an email to let me know I can easily sit back, laugh and enjoy what you've written. That's when I screech, (ask my hubby!). If you go to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, I'm going to lose you. I'm a slow card maker, and a slow social media old lady! Love IT!!

Julia L. said...

Thank you so much Joan! It was very interesting to read your perspective!!

Dawn@Petals.Paper.SimpleThymes said...

Such a wonderful post, Joan! It's such a gift to be retired, with time to learn from those who inspire us. I 'pin' your cards so often for inspiration, Joan! It's so encouraging to know that all of your cards don't turn out perfectly. I just love making cards and mailing them off to family and friends. This year, I'm going to be brave and share more of my cards on my blog. I'm also going to try some card making Challenges. I think it's time to share on Instagram, too. It looks like such a positive, happy place! I'm always so happy to see a blog post from you, Joan! ♡

Joan B said...

thank you, for asking!

Joan B said...

Good for you! And thanks for taking the time to comment.