Lots of people set up a blog out of a hunger to engage. I know I did. I’d been reading sewing and knitting blogs for a while and I couldn’t ignore my desire to contribute in a more meaningful way. I didn’t want to listen to the conversation; I wanted to be part of it. So, I set up a blog.
I’m sure this is a familiar story to lots of you and that you went through a similair journey. You set up your blog page, chose a name, wrote an excited first post … and then what? Fear.
- I’m not very good at spelling and grammar – will people judge me?
- I don’t know what to write about, or how, or when…
- I can’t remember the last time I wrote anything that wasn’t a shopping list.
This last one is a biggie. When was the last time you sat down and engaged in a creative writing task? (Because that’s what you’re doing when you compose a blog post.) For some people, creative writing has been long left behind in the toy box of childhood. Grown ups don’t write stories. They pay the bills, hold down jobs, do the laundry, talk about how exhausting life is as they watch their children play make believe. Don’t they?
Not in my world and not in yours, either.
Grown ups do tell stories. We tell stories all the time. We can’t help it; it’s in our DNA. From the moment we were born, people were singing lullabies to us, reading us picture books, parents exchanged gossip over the top of our heads and as soon as we understood words, we started to learn the mythology of our own existence: You came out of the womb with a full head of curly hair and screaming your lungs off! We knew you were going to be a character from the start.
See? They’re all around us. And it’s my opinion that stories make the best blog posts. They’re life affirming, they’re satisfying, they can make us laugh or cry over our breakfast cup of tea. Here are some examples:
Classic storytelling. Jane’s son, Charlie, was very attached to his comfort toy, but it needed repairing. Jane shares a touching story about what happened next. As one reader comments, Charlie is very lucky to have such a lovely mum…
Sunny Gal Studio wrote a series of posts about the commission to make a wedding dress from some vintage kimono fabric. It’s a beautiful story and the ultimate example of how sewing stories have a very satisfying beginning, middle and end. I dreamt of a dress, I made the dress, I wore the dress. See? Our passion for sewing supplies us with stories on a plate. All we have to do is tell them.
This is a very old blog post from me, back when I engaged in the challenge of Me Made June – and getting photographed with a different stranger for every day of the month. (What a hoot that was! What a dork I look!) One day I wandered past Buckingham Palace and the most incredible story emerged. I had to share it.
Being photographed with random strangers is fun! Anyone remember this?
On a bigger scale, I think entire blogs or elements of those blogs become stories in their own right. I have a running joke about The Man Outside Sainsburys – the man who takes a lot of my hard earned cash in exchange for lovely fabric. (Who, by the way, has still not set a date for our wedding. Or even mentioned our wedding. I’m wondering if I should put the wedding dress patterns back in their drawer.)
Or take a look at Tilly and the Buttons, for example. Sets up a sewing blog, gets the pattern drafting bug, appears in the first series of The Great British Sewing Bee, has a book published in over eight countries, moves into her first studio… Guys, aren’t you breathlessly turning the page to read the next chapter? I know I am!
So, what I’m trying to say is this: don’t over think your blog writing. Have faith in yourself. You DO know how to do this. Find a story and tell it. It can be the story of what happened when you set the sleeve in wrong three times or the story of the dress you made for your wedding or the story of the dress that ended up in the bin. Yeah, there are going to be those stories too.
Why does the power of story work for building a blog readership? Because you’re engaging people’s emotions. They start to care about you, they want to read more of your stories which means they’re going to come back to your blog.
Here’s my PRACTICAL EXERCISE if anyone wants to play along. Go away and have a think about a story for a blog post. Give it the loosest possible framework: a beginning, a middle and an end. Write it up and then link back in the comments below so that we can all go and read! I can’t wait to see what emerges. We’re all telling stories all the time, and some stories can become truly wonderful blog posts.