Fear Not

I've written about fear before, most recently in my current editorial. Plainly put, I see no room for fear in crafting, yet I read about fear all the time. If you surf crafts sites, you'll undoubtedly encounter statements like, “Oh, I'd love to do that, but I'm afraid I'd mess it up.” Or even more veiled statements like, “I wish I could do stuff like that.” I think there might be two kinds of crafting fear: Fear of trying new things and/or trusting in our own ability, and fear of being ridiculed for our efforts.

On the one hand, the sky won't fall if you try something and it comes out badly. Or ugly. Or if it's hard. In fact, crafts might be the one area of our lives where we should feel free to take risks with little consequence. We won't get fired. People we love won't be hurt. Children won't suffer. This type of fear is senseless and baseless. I will fight it tooth and nail.

On the other hand, the internet adds another element to crafting: the subjection of our creations to public comment. Although I encourage everyone I meet to start a blog, I can understand their reluctance to open themselves up to public scrutiny. Though I think criticism is an important part of art, crafts, and creativity in general, I can't really blame crafters for wanting their hobbies to be free from the occasional meanness of others, even though an amazing abundance of support can be found online. I do think the risk is worth it. I do think developing a thick skin is worth it. But I won't fight against this type of fear.

I felt no fear about launching this site. All along, I've received both positive and negative comments about it, both of which have played a large part in its evolution and growth. I learned early on how to take an insult, and I learned early on that an irate reader is often just frustrated and the ease of email allows them to vent at me. I learned that replying politely usually results in a positive exchange and a resolution. I'm opinionated, but I try to be kind. I try to be kind because it's what I value, and it's what I desire from the people in my life. It's okay that people don't like aspects of or all of this site. I'm under no illusion that everyone should like everything; life would be boring if they did.

I'll bring up something I decided long ago to avoid writing about, simply because I don't want to answer any more questions about it: I am, and always have been, fully aware that there's a camp of crocheters out there who hate this site, or, possibly more accurately, who hate me (or my online persona). Why? I know the instigating reasons, but I can't fully grasp the rest. To be honest, I don't even try. It's not worth my time or energy. Recent comments left on this blog, however, have left me weary. I'm comfortable ignoring *** that's slung in other corners of the internet. But I ignore nothing that goes on on this site. Many, many people put time and energy into creating this site, and at the end of the day it's my playground to protect.

Since my work in this field is motivated by innovation and by connecting with people about creativity and empowerment, I'll fess up to an internal battle I've been fighting over what to do about the comments situation. Do I pull back from blogging so I can steer clear of the hate that makes me weary so I can focus on the legitimately good things in my work? Or do I fight back and tell it like it really is? Well, the battle has been won, and here's how the pieces fell:

Pulling back means I lose. Pulling back means I let the fear of repercussion choke my words. Pulling back means I go quietly into the night and let the voices that shout louder maintain the illusion that they're right. But, on the other side, fighting back is futile. No minds can be changed. No amount of reason exploited. So the middle ground wins my battle. I will not sling ***. I will not pull back. I'll just keep going as always.

I will not bring this up again. There's a fall issue to put together, and a winter issue to plan. There are exciting new projects in the wings.

From this point forward (beginning yesterday, really), comments will be moderated more heavily than in the past, and I might block individual commenters entirely. At my discretion. As I said, this blog is my playground, and my editorial commitment is to my readers, not anyone else's.

The end.

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