How Blogging & Bloggers Sucked The Creativity & Happiness From My Soul
Okay Maybe I'm Being A "Tad" Dramatic!
This is a hard Hub for me to write. Not because I don't know a lot about the topic, I do, unfortunately. It's hard for me to write because I am finally having to admit that I have failed as a blogger. I never even got started as a You Tuber. I tried, I really, really did. I reinvented myself time and again, I bought the latest and the greatest crafting projects out there: red rubber stamps, photo-polymer stamps, high quality ink pads in every color, shape and size from the best crafting companies around. I joined Stampin' UP! and Close to My Heart and even Origami Owl. I spent thousands of dollars on card-stock, specialty paper, paints, paint brushes, tools and equipment. I bought the latest in die cutting machines, both manual AND electric. I paid nearly $200 for a microphone to do voice overs for video tutorials.
But still I failed. And worse, way worse - I made myself desperately unhappy in the process.
So how did I go from a girl who just likes to create things to a desperate, shallow, mindless spending crafty nut job? Well for me it started with YouTube. Now don't get me wrong, I LIKE YouTube. Virtually everything I have ever learned about crafting, sewing, etc, I have learned watching tutorials. For months I watched talented crafters such as Jennifer McGuire, Kristina Werner and Nichol Spohr create beautiful cards that were really works of art and I learned so much from them. I can't water color to save my life, but from Nichol I learned about Zig Clean Color Brush markers and how they can make you look like a water coloring genius! From Kristina I learned the difference between a pigment ink and a water based ink and all about the magic of Ranger Distress Ink. And from Jennifer I learned exactly what products to buy because she did special videos every year revealing her favorite crafty products!
In addition to these talented ladies I found even more You tubers who crafted. (I leaned heavily toward card making). I especially loved to watch the videos put out by the paper crafting companies, like Lawn Fawn and My Favorite Things and Simon Says Stamp. I devoured their videos, I followed all the blogs of all their design team members. I dreamed of joining their ranks and having my own blog that would be followed by hundreds with affiliate links that would earn me thousands! And not only that! Why, by God I would have my own YouTube channel too!
So I bought that expensive microphone and then I added an expensive video camera and tripod and video editing software! Woohoo! I was on my way! Then I recorded my first video and it.....sucked! Big time.
I was bad. Really bad. I couldn't stop saying, "ummm" and laughing when I dropped things (which was constantly) and blathering on about my life and all kinds of mindless drivel. And my cards, which always worked off camera ended up not working on camera. There was always something not cut just right or lining up right or I would smudge the ink or mess up my coloring. The pros never had this happen. They made it look easy. I decided I just needed MORE crafty stuff, so I bought more and more and more. And always the new stuff because no one would want to see an old stamp set you couldn't get anymore, right?
I tried to take professional pictures for my blog, but those sucked too. I'm not a photographer, I don't know jack about lighting and how to arrange things, etc. And I hated editing photographs and trying to come up with different witty ways to describe a greeting card. Like, "And here I stamped the greeting...in black!"
I did manage to get a few followers to my blog, usually other bloggers who wanted me to follow THEIR blogs, which I did. I applied for different affiliates but was turned down because compared to the pros I really had nothing to offer.
I decided I just needed a "focus", a product to sell, then people would surely flock to my site! That was when I journey'd into the wonderful world of MLM companies and all the joy that entails. I did get a few more followers but not anyone wanting to purchase this crap from me. (which was very inferior to the other products I'd been using). The only new followers I got were my fellow demonstrators. I started to feel like a fraud because I didn't even like the products I was using and demonstrating.
So I ditched the MLM's and went back to crafting with the other products. And back to watching Jennifer and Kristina, Nichol and others. I saw how much they loved the kits sold by stamp companies. Why they all got the monthly card making kit from Simon Says Stamp and created all kinds of cards and made videos with the contents each month. Surely if I got the kit people would love me and want to follow me too! So I eagerly signed up and when my first box came I ripped it open and .....was really underwhelmed. Gee. The stamps weren't that exciting and even though sometimes you got an ink pad or two, mostly you just got a few pieces of card-stock and a few odds and ends. But no matter! I made cards with the contents and blogged about them and even created a video or two, then waited for accolades to roll in. They never came.
Because I am NOT a professional crafter, or blogger, or You-tuber. I don't get sent free products from companies who want my free advertising on my hugely popular channel that earns me $$$$ from affiliate links. I'm not on any design teams or pals with any of the "stars", I don't rub shoulders with them on their little girly get togethers at Kristina's house and I don't own 3,000 of the latest stamps and ink pads.
I am just a regular girl who over the course of several years fan-girled any love of crafting right out of my crafty little heart. When I would create a card it wasn't because I was excited to see what I could create, but rather it was to see if I could come close to the latest card Nichol had put together. I would stop throughout the process of making my card to take pictures for my blog and agonize over how to describe why I had used this adhesive over another one. I would see a stamp set I really loved on sale on MFT's site, but alas, I knew I shouldn't buy that one because it was about to be retired and I could only use new and current items on my blog.
I bought stamp sets from companies I didn't even really like simply because they were popular. I subscribed to monthly kits for exorbitant amounts of cash simply because it would give me something to write about on a regular basis on my blog.
I neglected my housework and sometimes even my own family so I could update my blog or edit a video. And my writing, which was my favorite creative outlet was several neglected. My novel sat and collected dust while I slobbered praise on YouTube stars because I was desperate to join their little crafty clique. I worshiped on the altar of Simon Says Stamp and prayed to the crafty Goddess Jennifer McGuire. (Honestly in the crafting world she can do no wrong. Kinda scary!)
After battling depression for months and not wanting to even touch my beloved stamps and other products it finally hit me. I want to craft. I want to create. I want to get my Copic Markers out and color and probably f*** it all up and have it NOT matter. After all this time, I finally get it. I don't have to be a blogger. I don't have to be a You tuber, and I sure as hell don't have to be a crafting "star". In fact, I don't think I even want to be!
I know the "stars" make a ton of money doing what they do and they work hard to make it happen. Am I jealous? Uh, yeah! But I am finally able to admit I am not them, I can never be them and it's okay. I can still create, I can buy what I want even if it's been retired from the market for years, I can say no to products I don't like and that don't inspire me. I can reclaim the creative part of me that I allowed to be stifled and held hostage all these years.
Let the "stars" have their money and fame. I'll just be over here with my stamps and ink and cheap card-stock, enjoying my contended little life.
And maybe I'll even finish that damn novel!
© 2018 Elizabeth Fairweather