Blogging for Introverts

One of the things I noticed while I was home, catching up with old friends, exchanging news and sharing our hopes and dreams, was how I felt when the conversation inevitably turned to this little website of mine.  The sad truth is that I felt rather embarrassed about it.

When friends tell me that they've read my blog I have absolutely no idea what to say to them - I tend to just squirm uncomfortably in my seat.  What I want to say is that I'm immensely gratified that they've taken an interest and that they are being so kind and supportive; but I simply can't get past the terrifying realisation that they've effectively read my diary.  I feel so exposed.  

So why am I doing this? What keeps me writing despite these feelings?  Why on earth would an introvert choose to write a blog?!

Well, surprisingly for me, I find writing rather liberating.  I love having the chance to share my thoughts - something I'm usually quite shy about doing in person.  I also find that taking the time to sit down and figure out exactly what I do think about something is strangely relaxing.  Blogging gives me a chance to be alone with my thoughts, to reflect on the things around me and make sense of them and I find it energising and reassuring - it's almost like a form of meditation.

I like the connections that this blog can bring - connections with people who have the same interests as me, people who I never would have met in real life.  I love being able to skip over all the small talk and get straight to the things that matter.  I even like that moment of sheer terror that I always experience right after I hit 'publish' and I especially like reading comments and hearing other peoples opinions on the things I've been thinking about. 

The more I think about it the more I think that blogging is perfect for Introverts; It's a way of connecting with people while simultaneously spending time alone; It's a perfect chance to reflect and it gives us an opportunity to think before we speak (or write in this case).  

Of course, reflecting too much can definitely be a bad thing - there are certainly times when I look around and see all those talented people out there - wonderful designers, talented sewers and compelling writers- and wonder what on earth I am doing and why I believed, even for a minute that anyone would care what I have to say. But then I remember what a wonderful, kind and supportive sewing community we have in this online world and I stop worrying, because really it doesn't matter; I'm doing what I love and I'm doing it for me and if other people get some pleasure from it too then that's just an added bonus.  

Incidentally, I had a lot of fun one evening while I was away, taking personality tests with my family (for ourselves and for each other - with hilarious results!) on the 16 Personalities website.  If you haven't done it yet then take a look, we thought it was pretty accurate and I think I even learned a few things about myself.  I came out as INFJ incidentally - just like one of my heroes; JK Rowling - I always knew we would be friends! ;)

What about you? Would you consider yourself to be an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How do you think it helps / hinders you in what you do?

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Wrapping up an exciting project...

Literally.  I'm so excited to finally have this finished and ready to post.  This is the book that I wrote (quite a while ago now) while I was on maternity leave with little Jacob.  It's a book for new mums and it's full of little sewing projects and ideas on how to get the most out of your first year with your new baby.  I did approach some editors to see if they would be interested in publishing it but they mostly told me that they wouldn't publish craft books unless the author already had a big online following. Which I don't. So that was that. I was all too ready to believe that my book wasn't good enough (my interpretation of their kind rejections) so feeling slightly embarrassed about having tried at all, I put it on the shelf and mostly forgot about it for a while.

Then, last May during a trip back to the UK to visit my family, my little sister discovered that she was pregnant with her first baby. It was so wonderful to be there with her at that exciting time and to share her joy.  One of the first things that she said to me was 'You'll have to email me a copy of your book. I'd love to start sewing once I'm on maternity leave and have a little more time.'  I was simultaneously filled with pleasure that she wanted to read what I'd written and with dread in case she thought it was no good.  I've never been a 'good writer' (unlike my sister) and nearly always feel embarrassed and awkward about letting people read what i've written (I feel rather as if they were reading my diary) .  You may well be wondering what on earth I'm doing writing a blog if that's the case - it's a good question, one I ask myself a lot, but more on that later...

I can't say no to one of the people I love most in the world, particularly not when she was showing such faith in my ability, but all the same I can't pretend that i'm not afraid of failing to live up to her expectations.  I decided that the best thing to do was to turn my half finished word document and rough sketches into a proper book.  Something that I could (try to) feel proud of and something that my sister could treasure, so that she could see the time and effort and love that I'd put into something just for her.  

So here it is. This was the result. It certainly was a labour of love, but do you know what? Despite the many mistakes I really am proud of it.  I feel like I have really accomplished something.  I still feel anxious and self conscious about sharing it but those insecurities are tempered by a feeling of achievement, and the knowledge that it will give her a lot of pleasure.  And if it gives my sister pleasure then maybe it would give other people pleasure too. So, once I've had a chance to upload all the pattern pieces into .pdf files that you can download, I'll make it available as a free e-book.  It's not perfect but i'm coming to terms with that.