Interactions and Community - #LoveYourBlog week 1

A Playful Day
As I mentioned last week, I'll be joining in with the Love Your Blog challenge each week in April. The challenge is part of a bigger project called An Inspired 2015 and you can read all about both at A Playful Day, where Kate is posting weekly themes/prompts and link-ups for the blog-along. If you're a new blogger looking for some help getting started, a lapsed-blogger who has fallen out of love (or routine) with your blog, or anything in between, this challenge is suitable for you!  

This week's prompt is Interactions and Community. When I first saw it, the timing felt perfect as I'd just got back from my day with the "Instagrannies" - a group of crafters from Instagram.  

It had started quietly with introductions and chatter which was mostly limited to our projects, crafts, blogs, mutual acquaintances and such. At first we sat around the table working on our own projects and most of our talk was polite and 'on topic'. By lunchtime we had started sharing stories about our selves and our families. The common experience of being women, mothers, and humans of a broadly similar age became more evident and we opened up, laughing and discussing our lives with one another. Barriers began to drop. By the afternoon we were having riotous conversations which are not for discussion here (what goes on at Instagrannies stays at Instagrannies!) - the only thing suitable for sharing with you is this a picture of a very handsome actor and an equally lovely alpaca... 
I didn't manage much knitting after lunch -  we were all too busy chatting and laughing and I left with an aching face. On the drive home, I started thinking about the very real community of crafters in my life as a result of my presence here on the blog and via social media (Instagram is the "place" I enjoy the most). It was the first time I'd met almost all of these women but I left feeling I'd spent the day with new friends and am sure I'll be meeting up with many - if not all - again. This experience isn't limited to the women I met last Saturday - it's been happening for the last four years, and much of it began right here with comments from regular readers, and by joining in with blog link-ups. 

Two years ago I wrote about a personal evolution - my annual trip to Unravel knitting festival had been less about yarn than people - this is an evolution which has continued (to the point of inviting people-I-wanted-to-get-to-know to come to dinner at this year's Unravel). Several people I count as true friends would not have come into my life without knitting, blogging and all that has come from it. Four years ago I existed in two very distinct worlds with very little overlap. Over time the balance has shifted considerably. The graphic isn't a scientific representation, but I think you'll get the gist...
I believe that something happens when you connect with people over a common interest (and that could really be anything - my "Tribe" just happen to be yarn crafters). It is the first step towards dropping your guard, sharing yourself and connecting with others. 

So how does this relate to loving your blog? Well, I believe that if you write honestly and can find your voice - regardless of what it is you write about - you'll attract readers who relate to what you're saying. How will you know? They will start to interact. It's important to note that it may not necessarily be on the blog post itself - it may spill into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, or wherever your people feel most comfortable. (It may also depend on your spam settings - you can read my thoughts on that, and on commenting, here.) 

If you take the time to write a blog you're probably doing it because you have something you want to say (even if you're not exactly sure what it is you want to say). It is a time-consuming activity, and posting regularly takes commitment so if your words are unread (or appear to be) it can feel like a wasted effort. This is why interaction and community - having a two-way conversation - are essential to truly finding your blog 'love'.

Throughout April I'm looking forward to reading as many of the other 'Love Your Blog' posts as I can, to finding new voices that resonate with me, and to interacting with the community Kate has drawn together through A Playful Day. For anyone visiting for the first time, don't be shy - if you've enjoyed this post, please leave a comment... and come back again. 

If you'd like to join the Crafts from the Cwtch "community" you may like to say hello on Instagram or Facebook (or Twitter although I'm not there very often). EDITED: after reading other posts, the Spring Knitalong has been ditched in favour of a 'make-along' for knitters and crocheters and it would be lovely to have some new friends on board. Details are here - http://www.craftsfromthecwtch.co.uk/2015/04/all-change-knitters-and-crocheters-unite.html

26 comments

  1. I'm happy to have found your blog through Kate's challenge. But I got distracted by your link to a previous post, so I'll catch you there:)

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    1. It's lovely to have you here - thanks for your comments :) x

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  2. This is really insightful, and I liked reading about how your blogging has affected your community. Sounds like the instagrannies are a lot of fun!

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  3. A really interesting post and very true about blogging. I find I love my blog but the time factor is often the issue. I also like to have something to say rather than just post for posting's sake.

    This weekend I've also joined instagram just to see what all the hype is about. I'm liking it so far although blogging is really my preference to write/read as it contains so much more of the character of people rather than the decontextualized pictures. However, I can see room for both. Now, off to follow you on instagram!

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    1. I agree with you about not posting for postings sake - later this month there will be a post about that - I have lots of ideas and save them to publish when I have nothing 'new' to post - it means that I can publish regular content even when busy with other things, as I find that the routine is essential if I'm to maintain my blogging momentum.

      During my time on IG, I've certainly found that I have relationships with people in the same way I do on here - only it's quicker and more frequent. You can really get to know people when you are commenting on one another's photos regularly.i hope you enjoy it too.

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  4. I love the big about not being exactly sure what you want to say! I find myself starting something and then finishing up on a totally different note! And your diagram sums it up perfectly!!!!

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    1. Ha - thanks Louise, I'm glad I'm not the only one doing that!!! :)

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  5. I love your infographic! It's so true!

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    1. Thanks. It's not very scientific, but it certainly sums up how I feel about it.

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  6. The venn ( I think that's right) diagram says it all, communities grow and true friendship is found in the most unlikely places, especially when you aren't looking for it

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  7. I found out about the Love Your Blog Challenge from you, and decided to join in and Love my blog again. I love reading yours and follow you in IG. IG is my favorite too :)

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    1. This is wonderful! Thanks for leaving a comment, it's great to know you're 'out there' xxx

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  8. Actually I found Kate's challenge via your website. I've been quietly following your posts for a while, but I think there's always a bit of fear about interaction. I wonder if despite my love of knitting I won't fit in or have the right things to say! Same as real life I suppose. But inspired by both you & Kate I've started my own blog. So thank you!

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    1. Well it's extra special to have your comment then, Gill. There's nothing more exciting than a comment from a normally "quiet" follower. If you're still here, then you fit in!!! So happy to have helped inspire your blogging journey xxx

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  9. A great, reflective post.

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    1. You are one of the first people to come to mind when I think of this community, Kepanie. You are so thoughtful and kind and always take the time to comment - thank you xx

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  10. Okay, I love the alpaca and Jacob picture! and I also appreciate the rest of the post. I especially liked your comments about finding your own post and having something to say, because I think that's so important in making people want to read your posts. It suggests that there's a kind of honesty that's important to creating community.

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    1. You have hit the nail right on the head there and I'm glad you like the picture! xxx

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  11. Too bad we weren't penpals...I also wanted one in England, but for some reason, it never happened.....I'm actually going to visit one of mine this summer in Norway...we've been writing since about 1984...and have not met yet...I'm very excited...I'm going to try and get a layover flight to London, so I can maybe pop into the city for a bit....I've been reading your blog and Facebook page for awhile, but just found you on Instagram...

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    1. Wow - writing for all those years - that will be AMAZING! I have never been to Norway but it's on my wishlist for sure I'm sure you'll have the best time. xxx

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  12. I'm a long-time lurker, but like you, I'm trying to get around the 'Love your blog' posts as much as I can and actually comment. As I said in my post, it's not something I find easy - after reading a great blog post, it doesn't feel enough to just write "THIS!" or to talk about myself when I want the focus to be on the blog I've just read.

    But like you, many of my closest friends were found online (albeit in a different world to crafting). Those communities are long gone, but I'm thinking that if I started to reach out a little more, be brave and be myself, maybe I might find a new Tribe :)

    Thanks for this. Much food for thought, and I'm so looking forward to seeing more posts in this challenge :)

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    1. Hi Laura, lovely to have you "out" yourself. For me, a comment saying "this!" would totally be enough to let me know that I've engaged someone with a post, and I think any more than that, where the reader shares about themselves, is even better - the cherry on the cake. Maybe you could also challenge yourself to put more of your comments out there for a time and see what happens!

      xx

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  13. I love the description of finding your tribe, and that's a really snuggly-looking alpaca.

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  14. I love the "Tribe" graphic....almost as much as the alpaca/Taylor Lautner comparison :) Wonderful! I agree that blogging is time-consuming and a bit of a commitment, but the people you meet and interact with make it all worth it. It's so cool to see how this has happened for you...I think I could definitely benefit from making an effort to meet fellow bloggers in real life.

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