A Month Without Ablogogising

heinous poached egg

It’s 1 February, time to analyse my self-set challenge of a January free of ablogogising.

The month is best summarised by the above photo of a heinous attempt at my first ever poached egg. How best to Instagram caption this without doing myself down? I tried hard to be positive without preening. Did I succeed? Preening… Interesting word choice.

During January I shared a gazillion Instagram photos and nine blog posts. All I had to do was avoid self-derogatory language in the pursuit of creativity.

Did Confidence Come Naturally?

It probably helps that I’ve been blogging and sewing for over five years. It also helps that I didn’t make any howlers over January. And it helps that my day job teaches me to have faith in myself, even when I don’t have faith in myself. I’m not sure a lot of girls or women receive that lesson on a daily basis. (And yes, I think this is a gender issue.)

Did I twitch, knowing that my flannel pyjamas held some less than perfect details? Not really. I’d made awesome pyjamas that I’m wearing as I type – high five!

I’d give myself 8/10 on the confidence front. 

Did Confident Language Come Naturally?

This was much more nuanced. At least two blog posts went live before I even thought about checking my vocabulary for a ‘sorry’ or ‘silly me’. Fortunately, no hindsight editing was called for. But I did panic and go back and check, which led me to ponder how much ablogogising slips out without us even realising.

I’d give myself 6/10 on the language front.

Did I Help Others Find Their Confidence?

You tell me. Once my eyes were opened to ablogogising, I found it fascinating to watch how others presented themselves. I even indulged in the odd comment on blog or Instagram accounts, highlighting ablogogising. I either made myself incredibly unpopular or provided food for thought. Maybe both!

I’d give myself 7/10 on the helping front.

Conscious thought around language has been really interesting for me in January. Mrs C brilliantly described this exercise as ‘same info, different framing’. Did the frame adjustment work for you?

That photo of my badly poached egg prompted several suggestions for improvement and one week later, I’d learnt how to make a great poached egg. I’d also learnt that positive language isn’t just about the words you have the guts to use; it’s about the words you dare to leave out. Eggsellent.

And, yes. I really should have left that word out…

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21 Responses to A Month Without Ablogogising

  1. megan says:

    No I haven’t missed the point, but I am soooo glad you’ve mastered the poached egg. It is a simple thing but fraught with many dangers. There are all those stupid tips, salt the water add vinegar stir the water to form a vortex, the only really important thing is a very fresh egg. Some supermarkets do not store their eggs properly and it is hard to make a good poached egg with an ‘unfresh’ egg. As for sewing, so nice to get everything perfect, but nothing is perfect, and your sewing looks great. I’ve bought expensive stuff and it’s not perfect! Love your blog and looking forward to seeing Ella in her new coat. Keep up the eggsellent work.

  2. Jacqueline says:

    I think this concern with positive language in the blog-sphere is going too far …. In my opinion it is becoming rather tedious and forced: a preoccupation which, it seems to me, threatens the wonderful, natural immediacy and expressiveness of each person’s language in responding to, and reflecting on, their outcomes. In fact, it is coming close to a kind of policing (too strong a word, perhaps, but should I apologise??!).

    I understand the problems with a piece of writing that is sodden with self critical prose — but I’d much prefer that to ‘adjusted framing’ which ignores obvious deficits and instead, finds only triumph in the act of merely completing and posting a project. How else does one learn, except through honest self appraisal and willingness to reflect on comments of valued others? As a teacher, I am deeply concerned when the effort of any person is demeaned; worse still when a female discounts her own achievements in the interests of ‘politeness’ or avoiding a sense of self promotion. However, I would hate to see blog writing move into wearisome, unreflective, hyper-positive reporting.

    While highlighting the issues with repeated ‘apologies’, please don’t apply pressure for bloggers to conform to an ideal which requires that they report only in a particular manner or style. Let’s value and embrace the natural writing style and personality of each contributor to this wonderful world of blogging.

    • S says:

      Amen. I have to admit that I was tempted to be the “lone” dissenting voice, with all due respect to you, Karen (your intentions are good, I’m sure, and you create an active and interesting dialogue here). I am quick to point out mistakes that I make, because it’s humanizing to share the things that disappoint me and crafting is a leisure activity for me. I also want to grow and learn. It’s also a default for me given the type of work that I do.

      I work in a generally male-dominated field (a quantitative one) and am constantly scrutinized and scrutinizing in my work, as it often involves hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. The skilled men also point out all of the flaws or potential flaws in their work as they want to produce the best outcomes (and know that putting many heads together and tearing the thing apart and reassembling it generates the best product). It’s the mediocre workers, regardless of gender, honestly, who don’t confidently subject their work to that deep scrutiny. The gender-specific comment kind of irked me, I guess, as I would have a tough time pointing to a woman in my wide circle of friends, colleagues and family who don’t have “faith” in themselves.

      I suppose you could argue that your point is that bloggers point out flaws because they are afraid of what they perceive as inevitable criticism and want to head it off. That seems like quite an assertion to apply across the field (which I think is my point)! If the problem is that these individuals view criticism or self-criticism as evidence of a lack of value as people then this is indeed unfortunate. I would hate to assert that it’s a universal characteristic of women, however, that they fear having mistakes in their leisure activities pointed out to them. If that is the case, we haven’t come very far.

      I look forward to reading the rest of the debate.

      And PS “Sorry” is our favourite word in my country. I don’t think I’ll quit using it!

      • S says:

        Oops should have proofread before I clicked to post. The gender-specific comment kind of irked me, I guess, as I would have a tough time pointing to a woman in my wide circle of friends, colleagues and family who lacks faith in herself.

      • S – I really like your point that skilled individuals never shy away from sharing and scrutinising their mistakes and wanting to learn from them. I’m glad this isn’t a gender-specific issue for you. I shall respectfully maintain that it is an issue in my life and work! But that’s the brilliance of debate – different perspectives.

      • S says:

        I totally respect your viewpoint, Karen, and hope my comment wasn’t taken as a slight against you or your lovely blog.

      • Oh, no – I didn’t take it as a slight at all! I love varied debate and encourage it.

    • Jacqueline – If you recall, my original blog post on ablogogising was careful to point out that constructive feedback is still important. Fret not, I’d never apply pressure to anyone to do anything! Is this topic a trend in the blogosphere? I didn’t know that; thanks for flagging and I apologise for any tedium!

  3. Imperfections aside, your photo has got me drooling. Seriously, it’s all I can do not to drop everything immediately and race to my favourite brunch spot for eggs benny. Your ablogogising post was constructive, and I thank you for it. I confess, when I had read the post title, I was anticipating a post about bloggers that apologize for not blogging. Perhaps because I’m in that little boat at the moment, LOL? That aside, I applaud you for encouraging us all to blog on the sunny side of life!

  4. Emsewcrazy says:

    I think there is a fine line here that maybe got missed. There is a bunch of hyped up “I love this! It’s wonderful” jazz that is just a bit deceitful (because it leaves out constructive pattern critiques) and so fan girly.
    But I don’t think that was Karen’s point. What she was touching on, if I remember correctly, is things like, “Sorry I didn’t blog for a week, month… etc” “I could have sewn this hem a bit straighter, I think I bobbled a 1/4 inch” “Oh look I wore this all day and now it’s super wrinkly, sorry, it really does fit.” “I don’t like the way I pattern matched”
    All these things are unnecessary and add extra stress to the blogger. It is good to list pattern alterations or how the pattern actually fits on an actual body and I do hope people continue to honestly list those kind of things. Admitting things like, “I need to prewash my fabric so it doesn’t shrink” is a GOOD thing to share.
    I agree people should write in their own voice but often they aren’t writing because they feel pressured to present this perfectly sewn, photographed, presented blog post. We don’t need to apologize for not living up to that standard.

  5. Naomi says:

    I guess in some ways it depends what your desired outcomes are. When I blog it’s just show and tell. This is my hobby – not my job – and I don’t expect or seek critique. Lives and million dollar budgets are not at stake – praise Jesus!

    In my job, as in sewing, I am a perfectionist. I can always see how things could have been done better, or what could be improved for next time. However, when I post about a completed make on my blog, I’m not going to point out the crooked seams or an area where there is a fit issue, unless it’s of relevance to what I’m sharing (which is some cases it may well be). I will however point out a masterful ‘fussy cut’ or a fit of which I’m really proud. This is not a way of self-curating my experiences to only show the best, but rather a recognition of how far I have come, rather than an assessment of how far I have yet to go. I will never be a professional designer, dress maker, or tailor. I’m OK with that.

    I also don’t think that learning only takes place when you make it public. I’m not going to make a comment on someone’s blog telling them their side seams aren’t tracking straight or their photos could have better lighting. It’s not my place to do so. Just because someone is not acknowledging this themselves does not mean they are not honestly self-appraising their work. They may be desperately hoping everyone else doesn’t see the black spot on the white sheet.

    Each to their own of course, but I for one celebrate a reframing / or a shift to positivity or whatever it could be called. I think this world needs more positivity. The day someone starts attaching KPIs to my sewing or blog posts I’m outta here!

  6. jay says:

    Poached egg is actually quite pretty, call it a designer version.

  7. My dear Drag Queen Mama Amanduh and I were having coffee this afternoon, and we were discussing this very thing in our performance lives (we do a show together called J’Adore La Whore, which is actually very clean in spite of the name!). As a performer, it is lovely to hear all the oohs and aahs about how wonderful, talented, funny, sexy you are, natch. But as performers who people pay a lot of money to watch, we see ourselves as on a road to Mastery – where we need to identify the Improvement Gap as well as get the praise.
    If we just enjoyed dressing up in crazy gear and strutting around each others’ apartments miming to Gloria Gaynor then it wouldn’t matter, but for us it does. We trust each other to be honest and listen to the suggestions. Funnily enough, it works both ways too. He has given me a MINIDRESS to wear and I was trying to find a way to give it back without offending him, but it turns out it looks amazing on me, and I am going on stage with my legs out! (admittedly in 60 denier tights!)
    Anyway, the point being that I feel this apology thing is a universal experience. And self deprecation, as a way of expressing anxiety and seeking reassurance, is a common way for women in particular, to frame what they communicate. And some drag queens. I am trying to break the habit as I don’t find it works for me. In my darkest moments maybe, but not as a default style. Being in my job, like yours Karen, has me be in a position of having to believe in myself all the time, and to let other people’s moods and concerns and dramas go so I can be there for the next person I am dealing with. And on stage, it’s all down to me. I am finding that part of me hates the responsibility of all this responsibility, but most of me thrives on it. That balancing act I am learning to live with. 🙂
    Now I’m not even sure any of this relates to your post, but it was where my brain was going! xo

  8. sewnbyashley says:

    I’ve thought of this so many times since you originally posted it. I’m constantly ablogogising for my sewing, for the way stand, for my shape, etc. But after your post I thought, why? No one is perfect, and we don’t need to apologize for flaws! Kudos to you.

  9. Miss Jenny says:

    Thanks – enjoyed your post. It’s an important topic – particularly for women, as we seem to be socialised to drag ourselves down to win approval. I am not sufficiently versed in the sociology/psychology of it all, so won’t take that any further. Except to say that I’m NOT saying that men never do it – I heard a humble, kind man of my acquaintance do it yesterday and corrected him (nicely).
    I agree that it’s not about whitewashing and saying that everything is perfect when it’s not. Rather, it’s that language is important, self-talk is very important – what we say flows from that. And unfortunately, we live in an often superficial world where how we present is important, and we are often surrounded by people who are so competitive, they are looking for any chink in our armour.
    I’m mixing up lots of concepts here that probably should be separated, but in the spirit of your original post, I’m not going to apologise for that!
    I’m with you on this, sister!
    I’d love to hear more, if you feel able/willing to share, about how your job teaches you to have faith in yourself.
    Keep it coming!

  10. hahaha, love the egg. Good on you for showing us. It never ceases to amaze me how similar we are. Except I quite some years ago I deliberately and consciously retrained my mind to be realistic about me and to becoming a much more positive person. I don’t have to think too hard these days, it just bubbles out of me, and I spread it around everywhere I go. I am reading blog posts back to front atm. Just prior to reading this post – in the last 5 mins I read your post about helping a friend cut her wedding fabric. I noticed fairly soon into that post that you knock yourself a lot. It’s good to laugh at oneself but like everything in life a safe balance needs to be maintained as does celebrating our own good. This post read was a nice way to finish my night’s reading.
    btw. I am too scared to attempt a poached egg but if I did I would post a photo just like yours. Laughter is vital component of life.

  11. sophie o. says:

    eggsellent! I love it 🙂 poached eggs are not easy to make but so good it’s worth anoter try!
    thanks for these thoughts, I think as many others I hadn’t even thought about it

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