I have a new respect for makers/artists/crafters/designers who find the time and energy to make things and then write about making things. I can’t believe that I actually used to grumble a bit when I visited a favorite blog in anticipation of new content only to find that it hadn’t been updated in a few days. “Uugh! It’s been almost a week! Write something new already!” What a brat I was. Veruca Salt had nothing on me.
So, allow me to take this time to offer a heartfelt apology to every person who (albeit unknowingly) bore the brunt of my bratty frustration. I am sorry. Truly. And, from now on, I will be grateful for every inspiring update/tutorial/recipe/photograph you all post. I promise. There will be no need to cast me off as a “bad nut.”
I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to what I’d like to do with this space and done my best to figure out why I’ve been neglecting it as badly as I have. Here’s what I’ve come up with (A partial list of sad little excuses and hopes for the future to follow):
Writing about working takes very real time away from doing the actual “work.”
My thought process went a little like this: Wait. I’m supposed to stop what I’m doing, light my workspace, take photos, transfer those photos to my laptop and then edit them, and then get back to work?! Who has time for all of that?!
Well… it turns out that a lot of dedicated artists make the time for all of this. Maybe I need to step it up a bit. If I were someone who worked quickly, this might bother me less. But alas, this is not the case. I work really, really slowly. This is due in almost equal parts to a lack of confidence in my own skills and my insistence that things be as close to “perfect” as I can get them before I let them out into the world. (This sort of thinking presents very real problems in my academic life, as well.)
I find myself thinking things like: “Why would anyone want to read about what I’m sewing this week? (Or drawing, or what music I’m listening to, or…” Well, you get the picture.
I’ve decided that I’m just going to let this one go. After all, if readers aren’t interested in what I’m writing, they’ll choose not to read. It’s as simple as that. Moreover, that type of minutia makes up so much of what I love about other people’s blogs.
You made a cake today? Cool! I want to see! Was it good? Do you have a recipe that I can save (and probably never, ever make myself)? Even better! You cut flowers from your garden? Awesome– post a photo. I want to see! You’ve got a tutorial for something I may not even be remotely interested in making myself? I’ll read it anyways. Why? Because I love knowing how things work– how makers and designers problem-solve and put things together. Besides, I usually read other blogs acknowledging that even if I don’t find the information being shared particularly useful or compelling, there are probably a thousand other people reading the same post who do. So… who’s to say that someone out there won’t find my ramblings interesting?
Oddly enough, these self-defeating patterns of thinking also extend to my academic life. Who would want to read anything I’ve written? I don’t have anything worthwhile to contribute… etc. I think I should just “get over it” in that realm, too.
In case you hadn’t already caught on, I am an academic. Specifically, I am a doctoral candidate in the final stages of dissertation writing. So, at this point in my life, writing = work. In other words, I’m not exactly racing to my laptop to write if I don’t absolutely have to.
And there’s the biggest roadblock, really. Writing produces anxiety. What’s more, writing something non-dissertation related when I really should be working on the dissertation makes me feel guilty. I’m doing my best to get over this, too. We all need a break from work. And to be honest, I could really stand to sever the association between writing and stress. I need to (re)learn to enjoy writing. Maybe this space will give me that.
So… here goes nothing. In honor of the the celebration of minutia, I bring you a little corner of my office. The photo below is just a slice of the bulletin board that hangs above my desk and a partial shot of the collection of oddities and sentimental ephemera that sit above my (hacked) ikea chests.
If you look closely, you will see:
– A framed photo booth picture of my abuelitos from back when they were dating
– A small stack of $2 bills
– Tim Burton’s “The Girl With Many Eyes”
– Alma Lopez’s “Lupe and Sirena in Love” peeking out from behind El Chapulín Colorado
– A dry cleaning ticket marked “cat vomit”
If you have any questions about any of these items (or anything else, really), please feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.
When I read blogs, it’s generally not only because I’m interested in what art’s being made and how, but also because I’m interested in the person behind the art. I really enjoy reading about his or her day, observations, insights, joys and disappointments, how the day was made worthwhile. And more often than not, this helps me develop an admiration and fondness for an artist with whom I might not otherwise have much of a personal connection (for whatever reason– distance, social circles, etc), which translates to a deeper appreciation for the art itself. So anytime you find a moment and the inclination…do post! It can only help foster relationships.
Thanks for the insights… and for the feedback on my pattern question! I’ll do my very best to update more often. Because you’re right– so much of this is about community building and human connection.