A few candid thoughts on social media.
Thank you so much for the love on the spectrum quilt earlier this week. I want to share an important comment I received when I shared the pictures on Instagram that day. The week prior I had shared the picture of the pile of fabrics that I used for the project and that gave rise to this very good question:
“Did you really make this in about 6 days?!??”
Such a good question.
The answer is most definitely no. But I can totally see how that would have been easy to assume based on when the two pictures were shared on Instagram.
So it made me think, I should give a little bit of a behind the scenes viewpoint of how things happen around here because the last thing I want is for anyone to think that I’m super-human.
First of all, I treat all this sewing stuff as my job – because that’s what it’s become for me. And I love it! But I am definitely not the most neat and organized creator that ever created. Most of the time I have multiple projects and deadlines going on at once. And usually my sewing space looks a lot like this (on a good day):
That said, I treat my blog and other social media channels like the business they’ve become. In order to help things run quasi-smoothly, I keep a calendar with my posts scheduled out months in advance – especially if the post partners with another business – for example that specific post was coordinated with the Fat Quarter Shop’s calendar. And a lot of times those deadlines are really good for me because they force me to finish a project.
Using this case as an example, I shot a dolled-up pretty picture (below) of the project’s fabric before I started cutting into it over month ago. I worked on the blocks in bits and pieces, but I didn’t really rev up on that project until I’d finished the Heart and Soul quilt a few weeks prior.
However, I didn’t share the pretty “glamour shot” of the fabric on Instagram until I was really in the thick of piecing the quilt the week before my deadline. I feel like I’m less organized when it comes to sharing on Instagram and didn’t think to share the picture until I was knee deep cutting and sewing the fabric. Since Instagram algorhithms reward pretty images, I shared the glamour shot, rather than the chaos of my cutting table. Not because I’m embarrassed by the chaos, but simply because I didn’t think to share it.
So, through the magic of social media, I can totally see how two pictures spaced one week apart on my Instagram feed could give the illusion that I went from a gorgeous pile of fabric to a finished quilt in a week. Whereas in reality it took much longer than that. (Not to mention a late night, sick kid, husband-out-of-town, feeding the kids scrambled-eggs for dinner, a long-arm quilter etc., etc., going on behind the scenes to get it done.)
[Also, while on the subject, if I do seem to finish quilts quickly, keep in mind I rarely quilt my own quilts – that’s a HUGE timesaver right there. I frequently get asked how I “get so much done”. I wrote a lot more on that topic in this post.]
I realize I don’t always do a very good job of regularly portraying the reality of life in my social media sphere. But I promise it’s not because of a massive conspiracy theory or trying to hide my chaos. It’s mainly because I’m tired and disorganized, and trying to spend less time on electronics and more time with my family (and fabric). 😉 As a result the pictures that do show up are usually just the pretty stuff.
So I share all of that, just so to acknowledge the fact that, like pretty much everything online, what you see here is just ‘smoke and mirrors’ – or the highlight reel. My behind the scenes messes are just as big as (maybe bigger than) everyone else’s. I’m not trying to be deceiving – I’m not even embarrassed by my messes and real life! – just trying to put out something that’s hopefully, informative, helpful content.
And in case you want to know what Google Arts and Culture compares my life to, here you go:
It’s probably a lot more accurate comparison. 😉
(I’m hoping it’s commentary on my [lack of] selfie skills and not that I really look like a pasty, sick old man…)
With that, one last plea to remember what you see on social media isn’t the full story. To a certain extent there is inspiration to be found, but I know when I’ve crossed a line after looking at too much SM and I start to feel worse than better.
It’s definitely being creative that feeds my soul. So if you start to feel dread instead of inspiration after looking at your favorite social media, blogs, Facebook, etc, put it away and go pet – or better yet – start cutting up some fabric.
It’s the best medicine and perspective renewal! xo