Monday, 2 September 2013

Sorry But No More Apologies


So here's a thing that has been bothering me for a while: apologies. Specifically the apologies you often see on blogs when the author has been unable to post for a while. They just make me really sad.

Please don't misunderstand me: I totally do understand that if you are unable to post on your blog as often as you'd like or usually do, you may get the feeling that you are disappointing your readers. But let's look at it like this: you will no doubt be missed, but there really is enough other stuff on the internet to keep your readers busy until you have enough time to provide them with another post. So unless your blog forms all or most of your income and you have a commitment to your sponsors to uphold, your only real blogging obligation is to yourself. So if you find that other things are getting in the way, cut yourself some slack. It genuinely upsets me when bloggers apologise for having, you know, a life and stuff that is required of them that takes time out of their day. It's basically apologising for being a person.

So, unless it generates your income as previously mentioned, isn't this whole blogging lark meant to be fun? As sewing bloggers, aren't we using this medium to document and engage with something that brings us enjoyment? Then why are we making ourselves feel bad for not committing more time than we are able to spend on something that is essentially about pleasure? Seems kind of counter-productive to me.

I think what I fear most about this apologising phenomena though is this: that it may be another manifestation of that very female-trait of finding stuff to make ourselves feel inadequate and lacking. Women's magazines and the media in general have used our insecurities against us for their own ends (usually to get us to buy stuff, which is eloquently expressed by comedian David O'Doherty in the below clip where he expresses his beef with Boots the chemist for making women feel shit about themselves) for so long that is has often become second nature to find fault with ourselves and our actions, and to whip ourselves for being 'bad'.



So what are we specifically judging ourselves against here anyway? Sure, there have been heaps of articles written with titles like 'Seven Rules for Successful Blogging' or whatever that may state guidelines or 'ideals' for frequency or length of blog content, but hopefully most grown adults can see that they are entirely arbitrary and in fact irrelevant. Those kinds of articles may contain the odd point here or there that you might find interesting or useful, but generally those articles are more or less just filler. Like my previous rant about articles attempting to prescribe the contents of The Capsule Wardrobe, no one has access to the (non-existent) blueprint on what anyone with a blog should or shouldn't be doing with it.

Of course I'm not saying that your self-generated or chosen rules for blogging are invalid, indeed I have plenty of my own. For example, all being well, I like to publish a post two to three times a week all of which should contain at least one image. But we all need to recognise that these are our chosen blogging ideals, and to remember that nothing bad is going to happen if we have to go on a work trip/get sick/have a childcare drama/etc. that means our self-set 'blogging rules' get 'broken'. You wouldn't be annoyed with a blogger who you like to follow for not posting for a month because they got swamped with other things would you? So why apply that approach to yourself and make yourself feel bad?

All of which is not to say that by not apologising you have to pretend all is/has been great when you do get round to posting again if that's not your style. Another personal example: a few weeks ago our previous landlord, upon discovering that we were expecting a baby, decided to start proceedings to chuck us out of the flat because he claimed that children weren't allowed to live on the premises (despite there being nothing mentioning this in our tenancy agreement). Although we could have fought our case to stay put, because I was only 7 weeks away from my due date at the time and didn't want to bring our baby back to a flat where we had a horrible relationship with an unpleasant landlord, we decided to ship out quick-smart and find somewhere new to live, the moving equivalent of a shotgun wedding! For that period I didn't get to blog as much as I usually like to and, horror or horrors, one of the posts I did manage to squeeze out didn't have any images in it! I'm mentioning this because A) it illustrates the point I'm trying to make, and B) it is my blogging style to talk about my personal life on here if it's relevant and/or I wish to. I'm not apologising for my 'poor blogging performance' over the last few weeks, just as I certainly will not apologise when I go off the blogging-radar for a while after our daughter is born. But whatever the reason for your blogging sabbatical, be it as dramatic as eviction or as simple as you didn't feel you had much of relevance to write about, PLEASE don't make yourself feel bad for what I hope I've proven is no good reason. Let's put a stop to blogging apologies!!!

60 comments:

Patty said...

this post is so close to home - blogging is my "outlet" of creativity and my personal space of expression. It is my digital diary. Would I actually write "dear diary, sorry to have abandoned you"???

acharmofmagpies said...

Fabulous, thanks! I see apologies for breaking self imposed rules frequently in my online and offline sewing communities, sorry for not tracing, sorry for posting another version of the same pattern, sorry for not joining in on another challenge, etc. I always sum my response up simply: "we do this for fun". Where do all these rules come from? If you're doing it for fun, then whatever works for you works for you. I really love what you've shared here, thanks!

Also, your old landlord sounds like a (insert insult of your choice here). I'm glad you're out of there!

Helen Le Caplain said...

Refreshing to see this - I find myself apologising for so many things in life - my blog doesn't need to be somewhere else!

Your experience of a pre-baby landlord sounds horrendous - hope it all worked out in the end.

www.mancunianvintage.com

Carolyn said...

This!
Thank you for writing this, and very well said!
I hope your new place works out better than the old one, the landlord sounds hideous.

Philippa said...

I cannot believe your landlord. I thought children were small people but clearly I was wrong. I moved to my current house when I was seven weeks from delivering my third baby. I cried because I was tired that day but it all worked out great and I haven't moved since! I hope you are settled and happy.
I agree re: the apologising and posted a comment yesterday on someone's sewing blog saying that it was fine to have a lovely summer holiday with your kids and that while I sometimes hear that little 'should' voice, I remind myself I blog for fun. So great minds think alike!!

SewJillian said...

Oh so well said. I coincidentally recently changed the name of my blog because it originally felt like it "apologised" for my being a "slack" blogger. You're right, we can get caught up following some set of arbitrary rules. I joyously embrace my life outside crafting and blogging and will try to be kinder on myself when I find I've not blogged in a while or in fact even created something new. And I also hope your new living arrangements are awesome. I can't believe that landlords can do that - it seems so prehistoric and dare I say illegal?

www.sewunravelled.com

Claire said...

Perfectly timed! I'm going through my first experience of not having anything to write. I recently posted about this for tips on handling it but didn't apologise (although the style may have come across that way!) and got some interesting comments. Keeping this fun is what it is all about.

Hope your new place is working well.

Jacq C said...

Beautifully put and you are absolutely right, I berated myself for not being organised to do a giveaway or something on my blogiversary and then realised I was being ridiculous and stopped giving myself a hard time - an epiphany for me! Glad you're settled, your old landlord sounds like a complete muppet.

flossieft said...

I agreed the apologies need to go. This is supposed to be fun and sharing not guilt inducing.

Veronica Darling said...

I'd love to copy and paste everything you said (including darling David O'Doherty) into my blog... YAY and yep it's a fun experience blogging, so no need to apologise ... and I don't tend to apologise for much (only when I get tired, I start saying sorry way too much) in my life!

xoxo

vickikatemakes said...

Very good point, and one I'm guilty of! And your ex landlord sucks. I'm glad you were able to make a quick exit on your terms so that you're happy when you come home with little Miss!

Ginny said...

Hear hear! It's something I seem to read on all too many blogs (especially this past year). I have found myself doing this in the past but I try not to. I did about 3 months trying to follow a blogging schedule but it just didn't work! Laziness, life and lack of inspiration to write hampered that one. When it feels like a chore, it's time to step away from the keyboard. Behind every blog there is a person with other things going on in life. Kudos to those who find something to write about every day, but some of my favourite bloggers only post every couple of weeks, if not less. I'd rather have once a month updates with brilliant, interesting content, than 4 posts a week with only a paragraph about something.

eline said...

I couldn't agree more :-)
Good luck with the unpacking of the boxes and shame on your previous landlord!
Say no to apologies! (That's my new battle cry hehe.)

Uta said...

You're so right! I post about 1/10th of what I used to write, but I'm telling myself there's at least 10 times as many sewing bloggers than when I started out so it evens out :-) ! Horrible story on the flat, I admire you taking it all in stride. I hope you enjoy your new surroundings!

Suzy said...

So sorry to hear about your crap landlord. And I totally agree on the "apologies" thing. I would always rather people took a break from blogging when they need to - it's meant to be fun - and I don't like it when "professional" bloggers do half-hearted posts to keep up their self- or sponsor- imposed quota of posts per week.
I hope the last few weeks of your pregnancy are more settled and relaxing now the move is over.

Cucicucicoo said...

Very well put. I confess that I've apologized in the past, but really that is just silly. And if a blogger posts just because he/she feels obligated to, the post will not have the same feel to it that draws people there in the first place. It's no fun for anyone in the end!

That stinks about your landlord, but I suppose it was better to have this happen now than later and this way you'll avoid any bad landlord vibes whatsoever! :) Lisa

ZoSews said...

Great post. I struggle to find time to post, and due to life circumstances at the moment actually can't even find time to sew - but that's fine - I'm just going with it, because it is meant to be fun after all - not creating even more pressure! PS - what kind of %$##@ kicks out someone who is 6+ months pregnant... Bad karma going that way.

Kathryn said...

Well said Zoe! That clip is spot-on too! I'd rather stick to feeling guilty if I'm sharp or nasty to someone I love than because I haven't blogged in a while, or have eaten two ice creams in the one day!
Your landlord sounds like a right piece of work but it sounds like you made the right decision to move out before the baby was born - I hope your new place will be a more secure home for you all.

Adrienne said...

Interesting post, Zoe. I generally try to avoid apologizing for not posting, but there is another dimension to the issue, I feel: courtesy to readers.

The fundamental difference between your diary and your blog is that you actually have people reading you.

Our readers come to our blog every so often and expect to find a post there, in the same way that we expect a TV show or a magazine. You might say that a blog is really different, but we are still accountable to the people who take time out from their busy schedule to read us. It's a matter of respecting our readers.

There's nothing wrong with interrupting a regular schedule as long as you let your readers know what's going on ahead of time.

Gabrielle said...

Oh you're so right - I follow so many blogs that it really doesn't matter to me if someone takes a break for as while, and if course life has to take priority - and yet I just apologized for my own mini blogging break!

Your recent landlord sounds pretty awful; but it's a good idea to find as new place before baby arrives - you definitely don't want that stress later on. Good luck with your new place :)

Alexandra said...

I can't believe that your landlord decided to chuck you out for having a baby! That's awful!! I don't blame you for just wanting to move at that point though - there's nothing worse than having issues with your living situation! I hope it's all sorted out now?

You're spot on about the apologies! I'm definitely guilty of this, but I don't know why I feel the need to apologise, it's my blog after all!

Stevie said...

I completely get where you're coming from Zo! I beat myself up over not blogging. But as I've said. If you're not blogging you're likely to be sewing. The main reason you have a blog in the first place right?
By the way that landlord sounds like an asshole!
Hope you guys are happy in your new place and the baba is growing. Can't wait to meet her!

Donna Hensley said...

I hope your new place is much better! I'm shocked to hear that your landlord did that.

Zoe said...

Thank you everyone for adding your thoughts on this post. I'm so pleased to read that so many other bloggers have made the decision to be kinder on themselves and refocus on why we do this sewing-blogging lark in the first place!

@Adrienne, thanks heaps for adding your perspective. However I really can't agree that blogging frequency is an issue of respect/disrespect towards a blog's readers. Plus TV shows and magazines are commercial ventures, not a place for an individual to document their hobby so I don't think a parallel can really be drawn. And even if it were an issue of courtesy and respect towards readers, surely it would be LESS respectful to churn out a blog post just to have 'something up there' rather than because you genuinely had something you wanted to share with those readers and the time to share it?

Zoe xx

Sarah said...

Ooo this is a really good post and couldn't be more timely too!

I put my hand up I'm guilty of this, I've done it countless times, but this last few months I've seen sense and stopped apologising, simply for the reasons you've pointed out in this post.
now I simply blog when I blog and if I don't well it's not a problem anymore! i think sometimes it's so easy to follow what others are doing and not really thinking about it. just because they do it,I sometimes feel that I should do it to, and thats really not how it is! but I'm glad I came to realise that.

hope you are settled into your new place your old landlord sounds like a right arse, you much better out from there!!

Rehanon Mackenzie said...

I'm so blinking guilty of this not just in the blogosphere but in life I'm a perpetual apologiser but what I have worked out is that when I say sorry for not blogging for a while and then going onto explain why that is that's the meat and potatoes of my writing. It seems to be why people read me aside from the sewing they want to know what's been going down in my wacky little world :)

That said I'm all for less guilt and will try my upmost to not feel bad for the fact that some weeks running half marathons, training to be She Hulk and making superhero costumes means the blog goes left of the middle.

Also you know my thoughts on that foul landlord of yours and my belief karma will come take a big chunk out of his ass.

xxx

Janine said...

I wholeheartedly agree Zoe - I can never understand why people apologize for this - they are not being rude or offensive or racist or whatever that would demand a true apology. I would never expect a blogger to post just to meet readers expectations - If this was the case then you would have to be paid !
It is totally outrageous what that landlord has done - it does not even seem legal ( not that I am a lawyer ) but you always want your baby to start life in the best possible way and moving has removed you from those bad vibes and one less huge worry in the very busy times you have ahead.

Jendroyd said...

To add another slightly different perspective- as a reader of a ton of blogs I always get slightly annoyed with the "I'm so sorry I've been absent" thing because it seems so inappropriate. In a novel the author doesn't put "and this is where I got up and made a sandwich" etc- if you've had big life events or a crafting drought or aliens landed on your rooftop, well brilliant, tell me all about it- but I don't want the apology (also often times it feel so self important... I love the blogs I read but there is no genuine impact on my life if I can't read them. There isn't a real personal connection, just an imaginary online one... And if we have a connection than surely I can call/email/ txt you to check in!)
I do read many blogs because I like their tone, voice or side stories as well as the expected content... So I want to hear about your trials and tribulations... But I don't want to waste time on the apology stuff first.

Gail said...

I agree absolutely with everything you've said - you've just said it more eloquently than I would have done.

When I started my blog, I really did it because I like to write. I made a promise to myself (and I've mentioned this to my small readership) that if I didn't feel like writing, I wouldn't. It's a hobby! No apologies! For me, attaching obligation to any of my hobbies takes the fun away.

Miss Emmi said...

To the person who talked about apologising to their diary - I would do that! I think when you compare yourself to bloggers with large followings who post on fairly regular schedules it's hard not to feel like you're not doing something you ought to. I'm about to give birth to my own 9 months of hard work (thesis haha) so I shouldn't feel this guilty!

Jen said...

Too right Zoe, well said! I hate feeling any pressure to post on a regular rigid timetable, as sometimes life just gets in the way, or like you say, you're out having lots of fun! Blogging should be fun!

Sorry to hear of your landlord issues! What a k**b he must be. You're well rid! Such exciting times ahead!

xxx

Meigan said...

Whenever I read apologies, I think to myself "Really? I hadn't noticed."

So yes, it's completely unnecessary for all of your good reasons and for the reason that people don't always notice your absence.

I hope your new flat is WAY better than the old one :)

Margaret said...

Sometimes I feel bad about not having blogged for months, but then I realize: My business is SEWING FOR PEOPLE not Blogging about it. I have to put my time where it matters.

Your previous landlord sounds like a total jerk (insert inappropriate adjectives here). I hope you and Paddy have a better situation now. Best wishes for you and your family!

gjeometry.com said...

It's true, a lot of folks seem to beat themselves up if they feel that too much time has gone by before posting. I don't really get that since this is supposed to be fun and unless you expressly said on your blog, "post coming on Tuesday" and etc. than I think it is your choice when to write a blogpost.

Sarah said...

Here Here!

lisa g. said...

thank you! and well said. blogging is voluntary and, frankly, takes a lot of time! i try to post at least once a week, but if more time passes--so be it.

what a crappy landlord, glad you got moved before you were really down to the wire. my husband and i moved apartments on the very day i went into labor with my first child, so a few weeks before hand is definitely better! best wishes!

thequirkypeach said...

Can I get an AMEN! Great blog post - blogging is supposed to be fun! :) I think some of us smaller-time bloggers feel pressure to post all the time in order to get more views and more followers and such and it creates insta-stress! No thank you - priorities people: 1) Life, 2) Sewing, ... 46) Blogging ;)

Gretchen said...

Bravo! Well said. Blogging should be a fun part of one's life, but sometimes one's life is too full for it.

And I'm terribly sorry to hear of your landlord's treatment. I'm glad you have moved to a better place. Best wishes on your final weeks of expectant motherhood!

Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

I agree! It's not interesting to read apologies, though ofcourse it is interesting to read about someone's life. I think that it can also feel like your blog readers are bystanders, staring at your blog until something appears. But they're not: they're passers-by. Some of them only pass by when you actually post something, others pass by and go on if there's nothing to see.

In any case I think it's better to post not so often but make it interesting, than post not interesting fillers. I'm more likely to unfollow someone after 5 'I'm sorry here's a picture of my cat' posts than after 2 months of not blogging.

Good call on moving! Can't have that nonsense eating your energy at a time like that.

Another Sewing Scientist said...

Ugh. Landlords. As you say, it is totally illegal, and you could have fought it, but in the end it was your choice to handle it as you saw fit in order to preserve your precious calm before baby arrives!

And I've stopped appologizing too. I had a hard time with Me Made May this year because I was travelling and needed tropical/work appropriate clothes. So I skipped a few days. And you know what? No one was bothered but me! :) I agree that we should stop kicking ourselves about YET ANOTHER thing that isn't living up to some imaginary perfection. Love what you do and what you're doing.

M-C said...

So right.. Even if people make a living from blogging they should be able to take time off, without apology. It's just annoying to the public really :-(. I guess because it implies that they think their fans just can't live without them?

Sorry, you had to move, hope you're not feeling utterly exhausted, but I have to say I'd probably have done the same. Hang in there and enjoy all the rest you can get!

vintagerockchick said...

Thank you so much for that post! I haven't posted for a month now, and I was wondering how I could make yet another apology, or make excuses as to why I haven't. I've been on holiday, busy in the garden, sewing..... Etc etc.
Now, thanks to you I'm not going to apologise at all when I finally get around to posting. I think I'll just put a link to your post, if that's ok?
And sorry about your lousy landlord, but maybe it'll turn out to be a good thing for you in the end. And not all landlords are tyrants, I'm a 'landlady' and I think my tenants like me - I'm their neighbour, as well as their landlady.
Thanks again for yet another thoughtful and inspiring post , Gill xx

Sewionista said...

Another thought provoking post! I admit that I have a bad conscience if I don't blog as much as planned or don't blog for a couple of weeks. I even catch myself to almost formulate an apology for my absence. But you are right we are all having a life beside the blog and blogging should be fun. Readers might not even notice when we go off the radar for a little bit. But by posting an apology we make it really obvious.

I'm impressed that you managed the difficult situation with your landlord, the move and were still blogging! Good luck in you new home!

MrsC (Maryanne) said...

The David O'Doherty clip made me laugh! Especially since I was thinking, is he that guy from Bridesmaids? No, he's LIKE him but it isn't him, and then Huzzah!
I also love the wrist emulsion cream. Brilliant. From now on, instead of apologising for not posting for ages, I shall post a funny clip instead!

didyoumakethat said...

Hi Zoe - great post, terrible landlord. I'm so glad to hear that you've found a new home. Can't agree more re blog apologies. It's already been said eloquently in other comments, but to reiterate: opening a blog post with an apology is dramatically boring. We want a story, not an apology. Also, no one watches a person as much as they watch themselves. Whenever I see an apology, I often think, 'Ooh, I hadn't even noticed the absence!' I read so many blogs that it's rare for me to keep tabs on output. As an inveterate blogger, one of the things I love about blogging is total and utter independence. I make up the rules, I change the rules, I answer to no one other than myself - huzzah. So I never apologise. I might give reasons why I haven't blogged recently ie new job, but I don't even particularly acknowledge the lack of blog posts. The world isn't going to end because I didn't indulge in my own particular achilles' heel - an addiction to the written word! Well done, Zoe.

Kate said...

Hell yes! This is amazing and thank you fo saying it!

Carmen Bouchard aka CarmencitaB said...

Hear! Hear!
There is no contractual obligation to blog.

Jenny said...

Great post! I've thought it so many times when I've read a post that started with - I'm sorry I haven't blogged - I always think - no apologies needed! I, as a reader, will read your blog when you write and when you don't - there are other blogs to read or sewing to get done. It's quite all right! I myself haven't blogged in a while, but I just don't feel the need to right now. I will get back to it at some point but not right now. Let's just have fun!
Good luck with everything and congrats on the baby!

Marie said...

Well said missus, as always!

Rose said...

well said! I'm glad that you have moved to a calmer place!

EmSewCrazy said...

Haha! One of the first "blogging rules" I read was from a lady that said never say sorry for not blogging. Don't apologize for life and just continue on with the story you are telling on your blog. I've tried to keep that in mind and your post is another good reminder.

Glad you found a new place to settle into so quickly. Sounds like it will be a much better environment for baby and family.

Heather said...

Thanks for this post. I found that I couldn't update nearly as regularly as I wanted, and apologized way too often for that. Recently, I stated in a post that I wasn't going to apologize anymore, because everyone understands having life get in the way, and that it's nothing to feel sorry for, and I've felt better since. Now I can post without guilt getting in the way. Nice to see that others feel the same way. :)

I hope your new place is full of good energy and happy times! As crappy as the situation was, I'm glad you don't need to deal with that sort of negative energy. Enjoy your new home!

Anonymous said...

It's not quite the same issue, but It also makes me sad when people apologize for their messy hair or lack of make up in their photos. We've all seen people without make up and perfect hair. Most of us see MANY such people on a daily basis.

gingermakes said...

Awww, crappers, so sorry to hear about your lousy ex-landlord. Sounds like a boatload of stress and chaos that you sure don't need heaped on you at a time like this. Yuck!

I hadn't really thought about it, but I totally agree with you! It's not as though I believe that people are breathlessly awaiting my precious blog posts-- on the contrary! But I always feel like I'm failing when I don't post regularly (or clean often enough, or eat enough vegetables, or call my folks often enough). I'm my own worst critic! I'm trying to relax and enjoy sewing without pressure, and I should feel the same way about blogging! But I really struggle with finding a balance between pushing myself too hard and feeling unproductive-- I'd like to be productive, but stay sane and try to get some sleep!

jesse.anne.o said...

I am so sorry to hear about your former landlord. My friends also had to move one month from her due date (bldg sold and while they had more time they wanted to get into a new place before the baby came). Not fun!

Totally agree re the apologizing. It's a blog. People are not living and dying by my blog posts and I don't have a regular schedule anyway.

bloodsweatshoptears said...

I hope that you consider reporting the former landlord - I don't know the law where you are, but I would be surprised if that was legal.

French Toast Tasha said...

I've been thinking about this, and decided that I want NOT to apologize for having a life, and that extends beyond being away from my blog for a little bit. For example, I'm NOT sorry that I didn't take time away from snorkeling and hanging out with dear friends to do a photo shoot of my me-made bathing suit while we were on vacation. I'll do it at a more convenient time, and it will be fine. Sure, beach pictures would be great but I agree; life first, blog later.
Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

frk.bustad said...

Lovely post and a "wake-up call"! As many have mentioned before, it is sad if we should apology for having a life. That being said, I have had bad feelings for being silent in longer periods, and have tried to aim towards how more active bloggers work (would you believe it?), but realised that my homesewn production is slow, blogging takes too much time (thinking, writing, photos) to do and a regular basis, and I do have a job, home, husband, not to mention a lot of "real-life" friends - all who needs care! And when I think of it, if a blogger I follow is silent, and suddenly blogs again, I'm just happy! I rarely notice the silence...

Oh, and good luck with new flat and due-dates and baby life! I look forward to read about it all, in its own time...

Liz said...

A few minutes ago, I updated my blog for the first time in over 2 months. After a bit of thought, I decided not to apologise or explain my absence - it probably helps that most if not all of my readers are people I know, so they have an idea of what's been going on in my life anyway - although I did acknowledge it had been a while. As I am also catching up on my blog reading (something I sometimes think I should apologise for - do people care or get upset if I read something 3 months after they wrote it?), this was almost the next thing I read! Thank you!

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