Well, hello there.
What do you mean, That’s a fine way to start?
Oh. Right. Because it’s been well over a month since I posted here. And almost two months since I posted my last video. That.
It does need a bit of an explanation, doesn’t it? Luckily, that’s precisely why I’m here today! Read on to find out where I’ve been and what I’ve learnt in the last month or so.
Why did I take a break?
The break was completely unintentional.
I fully intended to record my second podcast the week after my first, but I ran into a slight problem: I’d come down with something and I had absolutely no voice. And while it could have been a fun challenge to record a video using improvised sign language and interpretive dance, I thought I’d simply wait until I could talk again.
The next week, it rained so hard we could barely hear ourselves think.
I was beginning to think interpretive dance might be the way of the future…
And before I knew it, I was out of the habit. It was that simple and it was scarily easy, which made me wonder if it was actually something I needed to do but hadn’t realised until I accidentally stopped. So I listened and I went with what felt right and I’ve learnt a thing or two along the way.
What did I learn from taking a break?
There’s so much pressure to be busy these days. Every now and then, I wonder if I’m doing something wrong because I’m not rushing from event to event or breathlessly explaining to someone that I’m so busy as I rush to the next big thing.
Then I remember that I’m an introvert and I’m fine with that and you can keep your crowded events to yourself, thanks. I’ll be here with my knitting and my cuppa and probably both cats on my lap instead.
So it’s nice to take a break from the noise. I love that our YouTube sewing community is growing by the second. Every time you turn around, there’s a new face with new ideas and new excitement to share and I love it.
But it’s an awful lot to keep up with. And I couldn’t help wondering if my voice was still needed in that chorus when it seemed to be growing like crazy. The sewing and knitting revival is thriving and that makes me happy.
It just so happened I’ve been happier to watch from afar for the last few weeks. While sewing. Or knitting. Or taking photos of my sewing and knitting.
Unfortunately, there’s one type of photography I absolutely can’t do: outfit photos. My lovely subscribers are always asking (quite rightly) for a chance to see my finished projects on me rather than my mannequin, Madam.
I’d love to oblige you all, but I’m just rubbish at it.
No, it’s true and I’m OK with it. I’m pretty good at photography but when it comes to turning the camera on myself, it all goes to poo. Have I given up, though? Nope! In fact, I’m toying with setting myself a self-portrait challenge next month (which also happens to be Me Made May, so that could be a fortuitous union).
But why would outfit photos prompt me to take a break? Quite simply, I realised I was putting too much pressure on myself to take outfit photos that never work out.
Which led me to subsequently realise that they probably don’t work out because I’m putting too much pressure on myself.
So the plan is to remove myself from that pressure and work out how to take good photos of myself by starting with a whole bunch of bad ones. There’s nothing wrong with failure, provided you take lessons from it!
Finally, I’ve learnt that it’s good to be selfish every now and then. This is coming from someone who is almost exclusively a selfish sewer and knitter, too! It seems all of my selflessness goes in to creating vlogs and it is something I love to do. If you are part of this community, you know that it takes time to create a vlog or put together a blog post – and we’re happy to do it, because we’re rewarded with lovely comments and connections and a feeling of being part of the community.
But it is a lot of work and it can be awfully good for you to step away and be self-indulgent for a while.
A creative break can be good for you
I’ve done a lot more sewing during my break! Instead of talking about what I’m planning to sew, I’ve actually been sewing it instead. Full confession: this means I’ve started the wrap skirt I was going to sew on my Singer Blue Magic sewing machine. It was meant to be a sew-with-me video, but I never really got set up properly for it. So every time I thought I’d make a start on the skirt, I’d hold myself back because I’d have to set up the video and put on some nice clothes and in the end, it just seemed like too much work.
So even though I really want to do some ‘sew vintage with me’ videos, I don’t think they’re going to happen. You’re most welcome to come to my place and watch me, though! Bonus points if you bring your own vintage sewing machine with you.
Almost as soon as I started my accidental break, I felt the pressure vanish. This was not external pressure – not at all. No-one has been banging on my door, demanding podcasts and blog posts. No-one’s been giving me the side-eye and looking impatiently at their watch. Or calendar. Or sundial… whatever’s closest.
No – I’ve been the one causing this pressure, so I’m the only one who can put a stop to it. I’ve always been a crazy perfectionist and I’m trying to take a step back from that by embracing Instagram stories. Yes, an odd place to start, but it works because the whole point of insta stories is that they are raw and unedited and those are two things I do not like my images to be.
But it’s been an awful lot of fun to share raw and unedited images so far. I also like the way you can only comment on insta stories by sending messages – it’s a lovely way to start a conversation with people. This is helpful if you happen to be completely rubbish at starting conversations, ie. me.
The break has also allowed me to focus on something I’ve been bad at since I left my job: self-discipline. It was much more fun to plan videos or update my graphics for my channel than to look at my much-neglected personal website. With vlogs off the agenda for a while, I was able to focus on work that needed to be done and to get to grips with building a more professional personal website.
Although, I have to be honest: I’ve mostly built that professional-looking website in my imagination, but I’ll be making a start on the real thing today.
But there’s always a down side…
I miss the community. It does feel as though everyone is powering ahead without me, but I’m sure that’s just FOMO speaking. And there’s an up side to the down side because I’ve been making an effort to contact people directly. For example, I sent a couple of emails to my old colleagues yesterday and now I have two invitations to go out for coffee and a chat.
That’s a win, in my book!
Will I come back to Vlogging?
The short answer?
The long answer?
But I don’t know when that will be!
One of the biggest lessons I learnt during my break was that it’s important to try new things. So be prepared: I may be trying new things, whether it’s experimenting with going live or approaching my videos in a whole new way. I don’t know and it’s exciting that I don’t know. We’ll be going into the great unknown together!
Have you ever taken an accidental break from your blog or your vlog? What did you learn from it? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you.