Thursday, 5 April 2007

The Blog That Almost Wasn't

A year ago today, Bellsknits was born.

My first post was about the ipod cosy I’d just finished.

I think the first knitting blog I ever read was Happy Spider’s. I found it when I signed up for the Canberra SnB and was reading it long before I actually ever attended any gatherings.

I loved Happy Spider’s blog and most importantly I loved the work she produced. I hadn’t looked at knitting on the net much at all, except for Knitty, and felt like I’d been knitting in the dark!

Back then, I was still a fairly plain, traditional knitter. I'd made nice stuff but I do recall starting out 2006 declaring I would venture into more interesting territory. Seeing Spidey’s work got me all excited that there were great possibilities out there and so maybe I should go along to SnB and see what I could learn. I was lucky enough to meet her at the first one I attended and I remember gushing about how much I loved her blog.

I think I started this blog not long after that. I'd given up fiction writing a year or so earlier and was missing having some kind of writing outlet. This seemed like a good way to go.

I called this post The Blog That Almost Wasn’t because I really didn’t know what to write about back then. I used to post about once a fortnight and it was a strain to come up with something to say each time. And I suffered some anxiety about why the hell I was doing it. What was the point? It seemed so self indulgent. What was I saying that could possibly mean anything to anyone, because it wasn’t meaning a hell of a lot to me at that point. I think I was looking for meaning in the wrong ways. I didn't yet know about the community that awaited.

Part of the problem with figuring out why i was blogging in the beginning was that I wasn’t getting comments. I was a new blogger. No one knew me.

There’s been controversy around the blogosphere lately about what it means if you don’t get comments. My view is that if you don’t comment on other blogs, no one knows you exist. And not commenting on other blogs, but hoping for comments on your own, also, to me, kind of means you can look a bit self interested. I think you have to participate. And you have to want to participate.

I love that about blogs. I love catching up with what everyone’s doing. I’m time poor sometimes, like everyone, so I can’t always comment, but I try to as much as possible because it says ‘hello! I read you and I like what I read!’

Early on I started hanging out on the Samurai Knitter’s blog. Julie was in the middle of a frenzied bout of (medicinal) drug induced craziness and trying desperately to finish some really complex pieces for a county fair, while raising a very young baby. She swore and ranted and let fly with some hilarious posts that had me hooked from the start. I left comments. She left comments on my blog. I read and left comments on the blogs of people who hung out on her blog. I’ve made some fabulous friends there and a world has opened up for me.

I learned from Julie’s blog about the importance of narrative. Give the readers something to come back for. Give them a story to follow. I hope I do that.

Best of all, by blogging, I’ve become more and more driven to try new things, not just to have something to blog about (my husband teases me about that – do I knit so I can blog or do I blog so I can knit?) but because I’m inspired everyday by what I see you all doing.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all that I’m inspired to do.

I love the links I’ve made through blogging, whether it’s here in Canberra with the fabulous knitting friends I’ve made since I joined a year ago, slightly further afield in Australia or internationally. I’m clearly not someone who creates well in a vacuum because since I found the blogging and the SnB world, I’ve not looked back. For me the two are almost one and the same. Blogging is just an online SnB to me!

You’ve all given me so much, so I want to give something back. I’ve been wanting to hold a contest for some time and now seems as good a time as any!

So, if you'd like to be in the running, leave a comment between now and Saturday 14th April and someone will be randomly selected to win something. I don’t know what. But it’ll be good. I’ll need between now and then to decide what it is.

Thanks for a year’s worth of fun and happiness everyone. It means a lot.