Should I Bother?

Indulge me, please, while I indulge in some whining. There are a few layers to my discouragement, but they are all related. And they all relate to motivation.

Like most people, I have both internal motivators and external ones. Too much external “motivation” just feels like stress, doesn’t it? But not enough makes it a little harder to rev the internal engines, too. And like most quilters, I quilt for fun, but not always. Two things I enjoy most are solving design challenges and teaching. And, no surprise! I like teaching about how to solve design challenges.

Up until now, that is how I’ve used this blog. If you look through the Medallion Quilts tab or the Tutorials tab, you can see a few of the posts I’ve put up, trying to share what I learn as I push through this creative endeavor.

Based on some of that work, I was asked by a local guild to present at a meeting this spring. And recently I was uninvited because of a scheduling conflict. Also I was asked to serve as a resource for an on-line guild. The contact person for that group has since disappeared, at least from my view.

And frankly even with posts I put here, I get very little feedback. Really I have no idea if my efforts are useful to you or not. Or what questions you have about why or how I did something the way I chose.

My external motivators have largely disappeared.

So I’d like to know, what do you want? Most quilt blogs I see are beautifully done and enjoyable, but they are completely different than this. I’ll never report what I did today, or even what I did this week. I’ll never rely on eye candy as the main focus of the blog. It is dense, information-packed, and sometimes perhaps hard to get through all in one sitting. I focus on process and analysis. THIS is what I do.

Should I? Should I bother?

I can quilt for fun, regardless of who may someday receive my quilt. And I can write for fun, as well. But frankly, both are more fun when there is some external motivation, as well as the internal motivation.

Are there changes you’d like to see, that would make this site more enjoyable or more useful to you? Are there topics you’d love to see covered? Should I add a lot more personal information, daily or weekly reports of works in process, opportunities to clean my studio, or trips to the quilt shop? What attracts you to other quilt blogs?

Help me out here…

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42 thoughts on “Should I Bother?

  1. pamelajeannestudio

    I must admit I am lazy and tend to look at the pictures more than the writing. I have very much enjoyed seeing what you are working on, especially the medallion quilts. So I think you are doing a great job. I’m sorry if I don’t comment all the time, but I am looking!

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  2. Jeri Niksich

    I happen to like your blog just the way it is. It’s not overloaded with so much stuff it tires my eyes. I like you getting to the point & not telling me what you ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner snacks ect ect ect. Just tell me whats important & show me how. Thanks you asking for my humble opinion.

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  3. Julie Paschkis

    I am new to your blog (I just found it because you commented on mine!) but it looks like a goldmine of information. It seems worthwhile to me, but I also know from the other side that it takes a while to put a post together. I think that people will refer to the specific tutorials when they are embarking on a similar project, and they will find you through your tags. I tend to mainly look at blogs for eye candy, but when I’m trying to learn a specific skill I will hunt down the information anywhere. Thanks for the effort you put into this – I look forward to exploring your blog.

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks, Julie, and welcome. I do know people reference my tutorials and am glad they get some use out of them. Stop by any time. I’m always glad to hear from my readers, so if you have any questions or comments, please feel free.

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    2. The Novice Gardener

      I’m with Julie. I tend to go for the eye candy and many of your quilt pictures definitely fall in that category. And then when I’m ready to tackle the project, I’ll peruse the tutorials closely. I also like a little bit of personal stories mixed in. It makes for ‘easier’ and more enjoyable reading for a textbook-challenged person like I am.

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      1. Melanie in IA Post author

        You and I could talk a lot about the personal stuff. I’m a little self-protective now, after having had problems … before. I still reveal some, I think. But I’m not as trusting as I used to be.

        Thanks, Angie.

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  4. Diana

    Hi Melanie, I love your blog & especially liked the Medallion series. I have not commented but please add me to the approval column.

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  5. denmck55

    Melanie, if you think it’s worth it, it’s worth it! I’m new to both quilting and blogging and I’m still trying to figure out what exactly what I want to do with my blog. I’m not personally a very “social” person, so don’t readily comment on other’s blogs, but you’re right, getting no feedback is not very motivating. I enjoy your postings and the fact the you are sharing your knowledge. I’m glad you spoke up about wanting feedback, so here’s mine :).

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks for that.

      I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do with the blog before I started, but it evolves even so. Yours will come along as you become more comfortable with the medium. Some people find they like to post a lot, and others only do now and then. Both are just fine. And even though I’m whining this evening (!!), I know the most important thing is how I feel about my own work, and how you will feel about your own work. It’s great to get some validation from others. But how we feel about ourselves is even more important.

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  6. farmquilter

    Personally, I like just the nitty gritty of quilting! I like to see new blocks or settings and cool quilting. Tell me how to achieve the same results if I want to make what you made. Sometimes bloggers go too deeply into their personal lives…occasionally is fine but as a steady diet, it feels like they have nothing else to talk about but themselves and their lives. I’m a lousy blog reader…I should comment every time I read a blog, but sometimes I just don’t have the time or energy to do that. I will try to be better with every blog and at least say hi when I pop in!

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Hi and thanks for stopping. As I said to Lorene below, I sure don’t expect people to comment all the time. Mostly I just want to know if I’m on the right track. If other people don’t value what I’m doing, maybe I need to re-think it all. So I’m glad to hear from a few people that they like what I’m doing. Comments about what they DON’T like would be welcome, too (as long as constructive and not mean!)

      Thanks again.

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  7. lorene holbrook

    hi Melanie, I really appreciate you tuts. and all you share. I have a very bad habit of reading and not replying. I know I appreciate when people leave a comment on my blog. and I understand how you feel when you have no comments. I am sorry for not really picking up on that. you gave me a lot to think about. what do I look for when I read a blog. why do I follow someone. if I follow someone, don’t they deserve a comment for the time they spent to entertain me or share something important. know that you are appreciated. I have a gazillion UFOs. I have started looking at them, thinking could this be a medallion quilt? I have a little sunbonnet sue that is probably about 16″ square. took it out of the box and put it on my design wall. you have opened possibilities for me. I have saved all your medallion ideas. I didn’t mean for this to be so long. sorry about that. lots of hugs! you are doing a great job!

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Oh, Lorene, thanks for the hugs and the comments. I certainly don’t comment on everything I read, either, and I don’t expect people to here. But I LOVE IT when they do!

      Sunbonnet Sue sounds like the perfect medallion. Not sure I’ve seen her done that way before. You could be a trend-setter! 🙂

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    1. Nann

      Melanie, I know what it’s like to check one’s blog posts and see “no comment” (or worse, going back through the comments archive and seeing stupid robo-spam comments). There is an adrenaline rush and a feeling, “They like me! They really like me!” Just as it takes intellectual horsepower to compose a post, particularly if you want it to be coherent and cohesive, it also takes horsepower to compose a reply beyond “oh, that’s nice.” With Bloglovin’ and similar content aggregators it’s so easy to subscribe to dozens of blogs that there’s not time to read them all. Not all of us want to (or are able to) blog as extensively as Bonnie or Judy. I’d like to participate in the many “days” features (“wordless Wednesay,” “Finish It Friday”) and be in a few quilt-alongs and readalongs. I’d like to expand my blog to include more book reviews, reflections on issues and concerns, a quilting tutorial or two. My brain and my calendar just can’t accommodate all that. So I’m sticking with Design Wall Monday and daily skim of the top posts on Bloglovin’ — and a small resolution to respond to six posts by other bloggers each week. This is a very long way of saying, please keep on posting. I’m reading!

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  8. Joanna

    Why do I read quilting blogs? To be inspired, to be enlightened, and to have fun. Even if I’m in a very different place, quilting-wise, from a blogger, I can still benefit from his/her thoughts and approaches. There’s also a difference between blogs run as adjuncts to a quilting business (fabric, patterns, teaching, etc.) and those written for more personal reasons. This is a round about way to say if you enjoy writing your blog and it helps you with your own quilting, then don’t worry too much about getting comments. My guess is many more read your blog than comment on it.

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      This is the best approach, and the one I take when feeling more level. Write for me, and if others get something out of it, all the better. But I got a little off-level, I guess, with the disappointments mentioned and my questioning of another realm.

      Thanks for your comments.

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  9. Shirley Sherrod

    Melanie,
    Judging by the above comments, I am in the majority, not the minority as to liking your blog just the way it is. Sometimes I want a tutorial, then I go to a tutorial; sometimes I want light reading, then I go there too; other times I want insight into the process, and I read yours; mostly I read my email posts (like yours) off-line in an area without internet (I travel a lot) and there is no way to comment. I have especially enjoyed your writings on the Medallion quilts. I am just now getting back to my quilting and I pulled mine out, remembering that I needed to change the yellow for a gold. So now, a visit to the LQS to find some gold (I hope there is a LQS in this area). LOL

    Keep up the good work. Kudoos to you and all that you give of yourself. As I am basically a newbie in this sphere, my blog is more about simply writing, no tutorials, no how-to’s, just where I am at personally. I write it for me, it is that simple.

    Shirley
    currently in E Texas, heading to frigid Canada tomorrow.

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Hi Shirley! You have to admit, your wandering life is different than most people’s! 🙂

      Thanks for taking a look when you have a chance, and for the comments. I guess I just needed some reassurance that I’m on the right track — for me, anyway!

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  10. katyquilts

    I enjoy your blog as is. I love to leave comments but honestly, it depends on the device I am using to read the blogs whether I comment or not. It is a pain on my kindle and phone. Sometimes at work I get a moment to read blogs but never leave comments when I am there.

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks for the information, Katy. I hadn’t thought of that as an impediment, but surely it is. I see things in Facebook now and then where people want you to COPY something to be your new status. But some devices make that very difficult. So I get it, now that you’ve mentioned it.

      Thanks for the feedback. It helps. 🙂

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    2. Nann

      Katy, you are so right about the difficulty of composing a message on a smartphone. Even the iPad has limitations. A regular keyboard is so much easier — and there’s no auto-correct (which corrects to what it thinks you meant to type).

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  11. shoreacres

    You know I can’t add anything regarding the quilting – I do enjoy seeing your work, but there’s not a chance in the world I’ll ever try one myself.

    However, I do know something about blogging. When I began my blog, nearly six years ago now, I went a very, very long time before my traffic began to build and comments began to appear. Some of my earliest posts might have two or three comments, and those were from friends who already knew me. It was a full three years before things really began to turn in that respect.

    I remember very clearly when I hit 5,000 page views. I don’t remember the date, but I remember the experience, and how thrilled I was. I sat and watched the counter – isn’t that silly?

    But the numbers never have mattered to me. Or, more truthfully, I decided to grit my teeth and pay as little attention to them as I could. I wanted to learn to write, so I wrote, week after week after week. If someone stopped by, I was thrilled – and of course I visited other blogs, too.

    Anyway – all this is to say, do what pleases you. You’ll find your audience, people who want what you provide. It may take a little time, but it will happen. I’m sure of it.

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement. I know it can take a lot of time. I think I am envious. 🙂 I see blogs that … are not like mine, and are new, and have huge numbers of followers and many comments. BUT, they are not like mine. There is a particular audience for what they do, and it is not the same as mine and never will be. And I don’t want to do those blogs. I just want the adoration. 😀 [laughing at myself here, wishing there were no truth to that statement…]

      And yet, my choice is deliberate. And I will keep going.

      Thanks again.

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      1. shoreacres

        And don’t forget – people who have linked their blogs to Facebook accounts get to count their Facebook friends as blog followers, even if they never come to the blog. By not linking my blog to any social media outlets (which I don’t belong to, anyway) my number of followers is somewhat more true.

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        1. Melanie in IA Post author

          agh… try again to answer this… I didn’t realize that the FB friends are counted that way! Even if I linked the two, I have a very small friends list, on purpose!

          Thanks again.

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  12. acreativeengineerinnevada

    I approve of your blog. I have similar problems (hardly post since I don’t want too much personal information out there, etc) so i post when I think I have something I want to / think should be said. I am not sure how I found you, but keep it up since I am new to quilting and blogging.

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks for the comments. It isn’t easy to find the comfort-spot, I think. I’m still working on it in some ways.

      Good luck on the blogging. If you have quilting questions, you’re always welcome to ask. I’m no expert but have run into lots of problems and solved a lot of them!

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  13. Dot

    Don’t stop blogging like this. I’m guilty of not commenting too, but I read all your posts. The thing I really like is the way you make the link between the idea and the technical requirements of bringing it to life. Not many blogs do this…. they are about patterns/techniques or eye candy without insights how you get from the idea to the finished quilt. I’ve never made a medallion quilt but have read your posts with interest and have put this on my ‘to do’ list for 2014 and will certainly be referring back to your blog to guide me in this process. Thanks for all the thought you put into this blog 🙂

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks, Dot, for taking a moment to comment. Sounds like you are “onto” me — linking the idea and how to do it. It’s the analytical side of me that pushes that.

      When you’re ready to do that medallion I’ll still be here willing to help. Thanks again!

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  14. Neame

    Dear Melanie!

    I’m very new to quilting. Well more accurately, I’m new to trying to be a quilter. I retired a few years ago and so I’m tentatively experimenting. But I’ve loved quilting and all that it conveys since the 70’s and have subscribed to a couple magazines since that time.

    Since retirement I’ve discovered the world of quilt bloggers and as I’m housebound it has been a boon. Such generousity! Quilters are sharing their knowledge, skills, ideas, worries, and even their life history – as a private and very tentative person it is stunning to me and has even changed how I think about things.

    Recently, medallion quilts caught my eye and so I did a search on the subject. That may be when your blog was opened to me, and I’ve read thru all the entries on medallion quilting. There are so many reasons I really like what you are doing. You share skill building information unreservedly. It has fired my enthusiasm and willingness to try a medallion quilt. You share information and discoveries. It is like having an enthusiastic friend with the same interest as mine. You do not try to sell me anything. Nothing wrong with selling but it does make your blog easier to read and more interesting to me. I do appreciate that this is your own experience and not some aggregrate commercial experience. Finally I’m humbled by the generosity of your heart. It builds my faith in my fellow humans.

    Thank you for being there and for all you do.

    Regards, Neame

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks, Neame, for your lovely note. Quilters are very generous. I learned to quilt from books, magazines, and a few terrific quilters on-line. (And my own hard-fought experience!) If it weren’t for those who shared their knowledge, I wouldn’t be quilting today.

      Feel free to ask questions when they come up. I’ve found not all bloggers are very responsive to comments, but many are. So you might as well ask!

      Thanks again.

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  15. ann

    I love reading your blog! It is one of no more than 1/2 dozen I follow.
    I don’t reply to any of them very often. Wanted to let you know we are out here enjoying your blog even when you do not hear from us.
    Ann

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thank you, Ann. I’m not quitting the blog and I don’t have any concerns or problems with it. My brain just needs to work on a few other things for a while. The blog will take back burner for a bit.

      Thanks so much for reading, and for commenting today. If there is anything in particular you’d like to read about, let me know. I’m always looking for new ideas.

      hugs…

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