Having recently written a couple of blog posts linking sewing and blogging with happiness, I thought I’d touch on the opposite end of the spectrum. What happens when you become an unhappy blogger?
Most of us set up a blog or Instagram feed in a spurt of creative energy and at a time when life feels good – right? The early months of your new social media profile can be exciting, satisfying and FUN. But for anyone who pursues a sustained blogging career, sooner or later life is going to trip you up and send some awfulness your way.
A detail you never even consider when you write that first giddy blog post.
An early blurry blog photo!
I’ve been blogging for nearly eight years. (Wowee!) During that time, I’ve had two separate challenges, each of which made me very unhappy. Not depressed – I don’t claim any expertise or insight in that field – but pretty down in the dumps.
There are blog photos that still cause me real pain to look at. I was shutting down on friends, yet would cry in front of my hairdresser. I couldn’t find the energy to exercise beyond dog walking. Healthy eating was managing to throw a ready meal in the microwave. (Please. Don’t ever tell an unhappy person to do some yoga or steam their broccoli. Sometimes, the best self love you can manage is a ready meal.)
A few perceptive blog readers picked up on the story behind the stories, and emailed me their concern. One evening, the man serving me in the Co-op handed me my change and said, ‘Darling, you look SO unhappy.’ I was.
But I kept blogging. And here’s how it helped.
You Can Control It
When the rest of life feels as though it is going to hell in a handcart, there is one detail of the world you can still control. You can still write a blog post. During each of my difficult times, my blog was a lifeline and I knew that if I actually stopped blogging about sewing that something irreparable had broken. Thankfully, I never stopped blogging.
A Variety Of Interests Is Good For Self Worth
You’ve had a bad day at work, but you still know how to operate a sewing machine. Your 10K run was awful, but you can make people laugh. You might be struggling with your dissertation, but you can write a 500-word blog post. Divert your attention away from what’s making you unhappy, and do something you know you’re good at. This one definitely works.
Wearing a make, taking succour from my new friend
There Are Friends Out There
You might be too physically and emotionally exhausted to go to that gig or party – sometimes even having fun can be a chore – but there’s a whole bunch of online friends happy, willing and able to have a conversation with you via your blog. The sewing community is known for its strength and camaraderie. You don’t need to be alone, even when you’re stuck to the sofa.
You’re Not The Only One
If you have a predilection for self-absorbed navel gazing (What, moi?!), social media can be brilliantly humbling. Any given week in your blog feed, you’ll see the full spectrum of other people’s lives – the good and the bad. Despite the roasting that social media receives for surface glamour, you don’t need to dig deep to find the real stories lurking behind the photo filters. It’s good to know you’re not alone and it’s encouraging to see other people come out the other side of their unhappiness. This too shall pass.
So, look. This is what worked for me. And happiness isn’t a tap to wrench on or off – there shall still be days when I feel miserable and have a blog post to write. And there are some life events I dread as a blogger – how shall I possibly manage those? But my blog is my badge of survival and I’m happy that this online diary has helped me process my emotions in some small way.
You blog. You’re happy. You blog. You’re unhappy. Life’s a mess and life’s a joy. But writing is my lifeblood. Over the past few months, I’ve had several people ask me what I think to the future of social media. Is the blog format dead? Might I ever stop writing? Nah. I don’t want to make any of you guys unhappy but … you ain’t rid of me yet.
Okay. Enough introspection. Back to sewing!
If you’re interested in reading more behind-the-scenes musings, feel free to sign up to my newsletter here.
Still one of my favourite photos!