52 Weeks To Create Week 16 – 5 Steps To Developing Peace With Your Craft


IMG_3553 While much of this post centers around blogging, I hope that it can also be relate able to other parts of life, small business owners, particular handmade, and even parenthood, and the general workplace.  This is my preemptive strike to get you to hopefully stay on and bear with me through the title, and not click away if you have no interest in blogging.  I’ve made it no secret that at times I grow weary of the online world.  I go back and forth with my place in it and whether I’m fully 100% happy being part of it on a daily basis.  Knowing this, on Thursday morning as I was set to head to Mom 2.0, a 3 day blogging conference, I found myself feeling grumpy and anything other than excited.  We’ve all been terribly sick and I was still functioning at less than full capacity.  But I decided to make the most of it and move on.  This is the part where you roll your eyes at me and think to yourself how annoying of me to complain about having to spend 3 days at the Ritz Carlton Laguna.

Before I proceed, let me just get the ugly truth out there that I feel like our community often tries to brush under the rug.  Not all bloggers are nice.  Just like not all other moms in your kid’s school are sweet and supportive, or not every coworker will bend over backwards to lend a helping hand, not all bloggers are supportive and encouraging; they all have their flaws no matter how perfect their life appears online or how smart and nice they seem.  Great crafts and witty writing does not take away the asshole in some of us.  I know I am not perfect and have been snarky and rude at times too.  I’m human after all, but for too long I have at times sat up on a high horse wagging my fingers at some instead of quite frankly, just minding my own business.  I have had my work stolen, I have met people dozens of times and yet they still don’t find me important enough to remember my name, and I’ve had bloggers act like they are a celebrity.  News flash, you are a blogger, not a celebrity.  I know this sounds terribly negative, and I promise to get to the part about “peace” soon enough, but I wanted to get that out of the way because it was a big obstacle I had to overcome in order to find some sort of peace with blogging.  I found that peace this weekend finally, when it occurred to me that I am responsible for me, and only me.  In order for me to continue in this business, I had to realize that I am the only one responsible for my success or failures, and begrudging people for one reason or another only contaminates me.  Deep thoughts right there I know, but truly it is so true.

Point 1: First realize that not everyone is going to be as nice as you want them to be, and then let it go.  Negativity towards other bloggers (or moms, or coworkers) only hurts yourself, your inner peace and your work.    Only follow those you respect, admire, and have positive relationships with and eliminate the rest.  The only thing to be gained by following someone who annoys you is more annoyance.

The other side to the coin though is that for every 1 asshole blogger, there are 100 amazingly supportive and genuinely nice bloggers out there, and I think this can be said for most of humanity.   We tend to focus on the negativity and only remember the one person who was a jerk instead of the other 50 people who were nice.  I met and discovered a great amount of amazing people this weekend who were genuinely supportive, nice and gracious.  People who inspired me and gave me so much to think about.  They are the ones who are the core of this community and have helped and led in doing so many wonderful things in this online world.

Point 2: Try to surround yourself with people who will be as supportive and positive as possible and use their work and successes to inspire you to push forward with your own work.  If you aspire to their success or think you have something to learn from them, ask them to be a mentor.  I developed a deeper respect for someone this weekend after meeting her in person, and in exchange for me writing for her on occasion, I asked her to mentor me.  We have yet to iron out the details, but if it works out, I think I have a lot I can learn from her.  And of course always return the favor and be as nice as you hope others to be.

So once you’ve found some people online who are genuinely nice (or at least seem that way), and you have sort of a tribe of blogging peeps, people you can trust and bounce ideas off of, make a list of what you really want out of blogging.  This would be similar to making a career path or outlining some parenting goals for how you aspire to raise your kids.  Include goals, big dreams and little, and plans or ideas of how to get there.  Ask yourself what you truly want out of it.  Is it just to make some extra money, to get some perks like free stuff, grow your handmade shop, or do you wish to someday write a book or appear on TV or in a magazine?  Once you’ve outlined what you want, it will better define the path you will take to get there.  It will also allow you be free to celebrate the successes of your peers without negative feelings of jealousy.  I used to get that yucky feeling in my stomach when I heard another blogger got a book deal, but then I stopped doing that when I realized I had no desire at all to write a book.  So how could I begrudge someone’s success when my idea of success looked so different?

Point 3: Make a list of what you want to better define your goals and how to get there, but to also release any possible negative feelings towards others and their successes.

IMG_3549 Once you’ve made that list, and you hopefully start accomplishing some goals, celebrate your successes.  I talked about this after I attended Alt, and how bad I am at doing that.  I’m horrible at it in fact.  I never stop to be happy with any amount of success I achieve because I never celebrate it.  I either find a way to downplay it like it’s no big deal, or am afraid of coming across as if I’m bragging.  So today, I’d like to share with you all something that when I stop to think about, is actually pretty darn exciting.  Our very first Craft Cabinet event was featured in Mingle magazine!  My business partner Jules had an online relationship with the editor of the magazine, and when we pulled off the first event, she shared the photos with her and they liked the event and concept enough to feature us in an 8 page spread!  I think this is a perfect example of surrounding yourself with the right people, who are kind, supportive and respectful of good work.  We are quite proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and are now forever grateful to Mingle Magazine for appreciating our work, and the work of our talented photographer friend Mary of Yung Bean Photography  who with her pretty pictures from that night, helped us even get featured.  I never dreamed that anything I ever did would be in a magazine, nevertheless get featured, so this was a huge honor.

IMG_3557 Point 4: Celebrate Successes, both big and small.

IMG_3555 IMG_3560 The last thing I want to talk about is complaining.  Or rather, NO complaining!  I have too many times allowed myself to get caught up in a spiral of worrying about what everyone else is doing, or getting down on myself because I can’t do enough, or getting frustrated that now I have 3 kids, I can’t create as many projects.  I am in charge of me, and you are in charge of you, and no one else.  It’s like the serenity prayer; God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  I cannot change how others act, but I can change myself.  I decided to have another baby, so I need to accept I can only get done what I can get done.  If I want to write more or create more, I need to figure out what my priorities are and realize I cannot have it all or do it all, something always has to give.

Point 5: Bottom line, no complaining if you’re unwilling to make some changes.  From here on out I make a vow to not complain about blogging.  I will no longer concern myself with what others are or aren’t doing, and focus on my own work and my space here, and instead will try my best to be as positive and supportive of a light as I can be.

I think everyone’s 5 step process to finding peace with whatever it is you’re working on is different, but this here is mine.  I wouldn’t be surprised if many of these things resonate with a lot of you though, because I believe many of these feelings are common results of our human nature.  Some of us have to fight hard against feelings of resentment, jealousy, and annoyance.  But those negative feelings can be toxic and start to filter though to other parts of our lives.  This 5 point list is very big picture and is void of any real “practical” advice, but I think big picture is where we often have to start.

This past weekend was a big eye opener for me.  I always learn something at each conference I attend, but was especially thankful for the things I came to realize this past weekend because it truly is going to bring a lot more peace to my writing.  Now it’s about putting these things into practice, which as we know, is always the hardest part.  So if you catch me being annoyed, do me a favor and remind me of this post?

What have you had to commit to doing in order to find peace?  Did you find once you made the list and made yourself conscious of it, it was easier to put them into practice, or did you still struggle?

Andrea is the founder of For The Love Of, a lifestyle blog dedicated to approachable, modern living. She writes about style, her love of DIY, and living a healthier life through wholesome, nutritious cooking. She is also a regular contributor at Babble. Get in touch: Facebook, Twitter You can find Andrea on Instagram @andreavhowe and @gwynethmademedoit

  • Excellent post, and huge congratulations on your impressive feature! Here’s to blogging peace!

  • Karri says:

    AMEN! I went to a SITS conference yesterday and learned points 1-4! And I totally totally relate to #1. Especially after going to my first conference a few weeks ago. I reflected on the plane ride home and at first, was thinking that gee, some of these people were mighty high on themselves. And well, likely some of them may have been. But after more thought, I realized that some, like me, may just have been shy. And that can easily be interpreted the wrong way.
    After being an executive in the corporate world, I never thought the blogging world would be so hard to navigate!

  • This was a great article. I am a soon to be mother of three (I have a 4, 2, and bun in the oven now). I’m also very new to blogging and still exploring this as something I’ve wanted to do but with the pressure of sponsors and weekly blogging, it detours me sometimes because of what’s going on in my life now. I really love your 5 steps and think I’m going to try this out myself. Thank you!

  • Seriously loved this post and totally agree. Congratulations on your feature!

  • Amy Renea says:

    Brilliant in every way Andrea! Such truth!

  • I just read this two times straight through and I think I need to read it again. I wholeheartedly agree and have found myself in some of the mindsets that you mention. I applaud you for putting it out there! p.s. HUGE congrats on the spread! That is amazing!

  • Carrie says:

    Amen, sister!

    I went to a conference and Laurie Turk spoke– she talked about goals and ‘backcasting’. What’s that one big thing you want? Define it and work backwards from there. That’s such a game changer for me, because as you said I can put so much jealousy and extraneous activity aside.

    Congrats and big hugs on the magazine feature. SO deserved!

  • […] Some sound advice from Andrea of For the Love of on blog envy & dealing with it […]

  • Sara says:

    Hi there – new reader to your blog here. 🙂 I just wanted to say that this post really hits home for me. I’ve only just recently started blogging (in the last year), but I’m already feeling a bit discouraged…this is a great reminder to keep going and just concentrate on what I’m doing with my own blog. Thanks for your words of encouragement!

  • Andrea…I loved this post! I have also struggled with my “place” in this crazy world. And it also drives me nuts when other bloggers think they are celebrities. I just adore you and you are so inspiring! I am off to catch up on your other posts 🙂

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