I had an interesting experience just over a week ago.
But first, a little backstory. I started this blog in February. There were many reasons for doing this. I love knitting. I. Really. Love. Knitting. And anyone who has known me for 5 minutes knows that if there is something I love or feel strongly about you will hear me talk about it.
My love of books. An issue of injustice. Raising backyard chickens. Knitting. China. Dyeing yarn. Gardening. Ad infinitum. To most people it would seem like I get carried away by a lot of things (true) and that I feel compelled to go on and on about them (also true).
Starting a blog was a good way of getting to verbalize my passion abut fiber and knitting without exhausting the patience of family, friends, or even random strangers.(True story) Not infrequently I looked up mid conversation and realized that the eyes of today’s victim had already glazed over. I was becoming the proud grandparent that whipped out the family photo album before you had a chance to escape.
Something had to change.
The nice thing about writing a blog is that it gives me a chance to express my delights without inflicting them on the unwilling. The people who land on this site and read my exuberant ramblings at least do so by choice, not by coercion. The one exception being my faithful editor (Hi, Jen. Thank you once again for your sacrifice 🙂 ).
So, although I would love to attract a nice, faithful audience. You know, people who just hang on my every word and wait impatiently for my next post to come out. Writing a blog is more about getting it out of my system than about the numbers. Also, I knew as a new blogger it would be a while before I attracted an audience of any size.
So the other night, just over a week ago, I was winding down for the night. Part of my routine before turning off my laptop for the night is check all the things one last time. Facebook. Email. Instagram. I clicked over to my stats page just to see how many people had come by for a visit.
I looked. I paused. I looked again. Those numbers can’t be right. Refresh the page. I’m looking at high double digits here. What happened?!
I was thrilled, delighted…confused.
Finally, after looking over things carefully, I understood what had happened. I recently posted an interview with Maggie Menzel (Maggie Menzel: Knitwear Designer) who had her sock pattern Vinculum featured in the most recent issue of Knitty. Almost as an afterthought I wrote a short email to Knitty giving them a link to the interview. They in turn put a link to that post in their blog and BOOM! Traffic!
Each day I would check in more eagerly. I would watch the numbers climb. I would look at the wide array of countries represented in the visitors to my page. Dance break!
To be sure, in the back of my mind, I knew that this was short-lived. I do hope to have this on a more regular basis and that at least some of these visitors will return, but I also knew that not everyone who stopped by to read this post was going to instantly fall in love with my style or turn of phrase. But I decided to shush the voices of reason and logic for a little while and just bask in the joy and the glow. It has been a lovely and gratifying feeling. I can almost swear I could hear “Ode to Joy” playing in the background.
I experienced a similar, albeit smaller bump when I wrote about the newly formed Tri-State Fiber Arts Guild in last week’s post In Real Life, when the link was posted on their Facebook page.
The happiness is less about cold numbers and more about the warm feeling of connectedness with the larger Fiber Community whether online or in real life. It was less than a year ago that I discovered the knitting podcasts on YouTube (a bit late to the party) and dove in. I subscribed, watched and listened, and enjoyed the personalities, the projects and just how very much I felt I had in common with so many of them. Once I discovered it I had to join in somehow. This blog is one of the ways I decided to do just that. I never even bothered with Instagram until I discovered all the Yarn Porn available there.
My yarn stash has grown, my bank account has diminished. I regret nothing.
For many years the things I wanted to do were pushed further and further back to make space for all the many “ought-to’s” in my life. Some of them legitimate, but a good many external pressures that really weren’t necessary.
This is what blogging, knitting, dyeing, and raising chickens has done for me. These things have taught me to go ahead and make room for what I love and to let some of the pressures and expectations go. If I only do the “have-to’s” I find myself reduced to a bread and water kind of existence. A good question to ask is: Do I really have to? Or have I just been conditioned to think so? Maybe the answer to that question is yes. But it never hurts to ask, and I’m quite sure there are a few, even more than a few, to which you could say no. Let that go, put down the water, and try a sip of wine instead.
Pardon me while the dishes wait and I go dance in the rain,
P.S. I’m currently negotiating for an angora rabbit to start raising my own fiber.
There’s that song again 🙂