Dinosaur Blogger Confessions

As you can tell by the blog post title above, Dinosaur Blogger Confessions, I’m elaborating on a few things and explaining my six-month absence from the blog earlier this year, in today’s post…

But first, I want to Welcome All the New Subscribers and also thank those of you that have been with me for years. I’m so appreciative and grateful to you for sticking with me during this long journey.

Purple lupine flowers in road ditch
Wild lupin flowers growing in the field

My goal on this blog and throughout the website is to provide helpful information, resources, tips, and hints for the chair caning, basketry, wicker, woodworking, and fiber arts communities, all to make your life easier.

I hope I’ve achieved that goal and it’s the reason you are and continue to be a subscriber.

If so, stay tuned, cuz there are lots more great things coming!

It’s my hope you’ll understand where I’m coming from with this long post and won’t hit the unsubscribe or delete button when you’re done reading.

Instead, I hope you will share some of your struggles too, and how you overcame them.

Grab a cup of java or your beverage of choice and get comfy, because this is going to be one of my longest blog posts ever…I have a lot to get off my chest.

In the Beginning…

After starting this website in 1999 and actually blog posting on it for 12 of those years, I’ve been going through some personal stuff recently that’s caused me to step away from the blog for six months.

I needed to assess and re-evaluate my life as it relates to this blogging situation.

One of the things that was really bothering me was the responsibility and commitment to blogging that have weighed so heavily on my shoulders during the last several years.

I felt that it was my duty to provide help and assistance by sharing my experiences on the blog, to viewers that needed the help, but couldn’t find it any other place on the Internet.

When I first started blogging in 2004 on Blogger.com, it was fun and I was having a great time.

I quickly settled into the routine of daily blogging, connecting with other chair caners and basketmakers and building a community.

Changes in the Works…

I changed my website platform from HTML format to a self-hosted WordPress platform in 2007.

And then in 2010 I migrated the blog from the free Blogger platform over to my own website.

By combining the two, I’d have complete ownership and then my site would be a one-stop shop for wicker weaving information, resources, posts, pages, tutorials, and articles. We’d truly be building a community!

After a couple years, though, the daily blog posting got to be too much pressure. So I dropped blogging down to making at least three posts a week, which I kept up for many years.

Weavin Wicker Woman Blog 2014-10th Anniversary

By the time I had been blogging for over 10 years, I had gradually cut down to only once-a-week posts.

During that time, sometimes nothing came to me as I stared at that blank screen in the morning trying to make that next post.

Rocked to the Core…

After hubby passed away in December of 2012, I had the wind knocked out of my sails by his absence.

I floundered around for the next few years, and blogging had now become a chore that I didn’t really feel like doing much anymore. My heart just wasn’t in it, I lost my spark.

Cathy-John Peters 2011
Cathryn and John Peters June 2011

In the years after his passing, I traveled across the country keeping up with my teaching commitments that had been set and arranged the previous year.

I also kept on creating new antler baskets and entering in juried shows and exhibitions.

Cathryn Peters caning instructor Marc Adams School of Woodworking 2013
Teaching a chair caning class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Indiana

I took some willow basketweaving classes, and did some sight-seeing and continued to maintain and develop websites for two non-profits that I had done for years.

But by keeping up this whirlwind pace and not slowing down to take the much needed time for myself, I really wasn’t handling things well at all.

Cathryn with willow basketmaking teacher Anne Metta Hjornholm
Me with Danish willow basket instructor Anne Metta Hjornholm 2013 Lakeshore Willows, Canada

I’m sure it looked as if everything was going along smoothly and I was coping rather well at my newfound widowhood and adjusting to the “new normal.”

But inside I was really a wreck and was totally thrown off kilter. After being with this man for over 40 years, to go on without him was a hard reality to come to terms with.

Antler Basket Class Students and Peters
Antler basket class at North House Folk School 2015

Eventually, all this finally took its toll and hit me like a ton of bricks. To be honest and frank, I guess I had a real meltdown in November of 2015 and needed to reorganize my life and priorities!

Evolving Blogging Technology…

I had begun to doubt myself and my position in the blogosphere.

I was totally overwhelmed by all that needed to be done to keep up, stay current, and even become a leader in my small niche again.

Also, with all the new technology, devices, plugins, themes, designs and “rules” for successful blogging which have come up over the last couple of years, like the ones illustrated below, I was suffering from “analysis paralysis,” and over thinking everything taboot.

And for the first time in my life, I felt intimidated by the new technology and comparing myself with all the other bloggers that were doing great things and making tons of money from their blogs!

Things to consider before hitting the blog “Publish” button, most of which I’m failing miserably at:

  • Are your photos “Pinterest pin-worthy”?
  • Is each photo optimized for quick load?
  • Is your watermark and branding on each and every picture?
  • Have you posted and shared with your social networks?
  • Are you incorporating affiliate links in each post?
  • Are you encouraging your subscribers to share and repin?
  • Do you have an opt-in offer for your subscribers?
  • Does your blog load within three seconds?
  • Are you using a good balance of long and short paragraphs?
  • Are your spelling and grammar perfect?
  • Are you encouraging comments and interaction with your viewers?
  • Is your post optimized for its best SEO?
  • Is there a Call to Action (CTA) at the end of your post?
  • Are you interlinking with previous posts within your blog?
  • Do you have related posts at the bottom of your post?
  • If linking to another site, have you made sure the link is not broken?
  • Did you set the category that the post will appear?
  • Is your site mobile-friendly?

It just wasn’t fun to blog anymore and I was totally stymied. Maybe you can relate if you’re a blogger too?

So, I pulled back from the blogging aspect of the website and didn’t make any posts for the first six months of 2016!

However, I kept the rest of the site updated. I even added new pages and a few new features, did a minor re-branding, and launched a new theme, all behind the scenes and without any fanfare or notice to anyone.

WickerWoman.com 2016 header graphic

Family Fun-time…

Early in January of 2016, my daughter had a baby but her due date was supposed to be on Christmas Day.

I went down to their house in Hudson, WI early in December to help out with the baby and the rest of the family.

What was supposed to be only a couple weeks stay, ended up being four months instead!

Nana Cathy with newest grandbaby, Tessa
Nana Cathy and new baby Tessa 2016

During that joyous and fun family time, I just fell out of the blogging habit and was more focused on family relationships and activities.

When I finally returned home, it was just so easy to drop that responsibility of blogging consistently and free up my mornings for other things!

Also, during that six-month blogging sabbatical, I was very busy entering juried art exhibitions with my antler baskets, winning several awards (that I haven’t even posted about yet).

I also was teaching antler basketry classes, proposing weaving classes for the summer and fall 2016.

Other tasks were finishing up on some customer’s cane chairs and wicker pieces, and trying to declutter my home. Whew!

Weavin' Up North Bemidji 2016
Antler Basket Workshop within a Workshop 2-day class and Sunday class, too.

Then I kinda went nuts and started reading a ton of tutorials and taking online classes about blogging, podcasting, making better videos, Pinterest, branding, and photography.

My team and I were also working on fixing broken links, optimizing all the photos, repurposing content and making more how-to weaving videos.

Now I’m trying to keep on top of everything and slowly implementing the suggestions for making this blog the most helpful and informative blog in this small chair caning, wicker, and basketry niche!

So in the real near future, be on the lookout for some different affiliate links, since I joined a few new programs that I believe in.

I’ll be promoting them heavily until I get my own ebooks and courses available for purchase.

It’s been a long, hard road, but this old dog is more than ready and willing to learn some new tricks!

So now here I am, back in action with a newfound sense of enthusiasm, knowledge, and creative zest!

Quote--Begin new trails

What’s in the Cards for Weavin’ Wicker Woman…

In the future, there will be a broader scope covered here on the blog.

Possibly to include posts about more country living and homelife, recipes, perhaps some DIY and repurposing posts, and maybe even some on blogging and business-focused posts.

Let me know in the comment section below if those topics sound interesting to you.

Sunrise gratitude quote

Hopefully, this blog MIA situation will never come up again, but if it does, I’ll try to give you some advanced notice with a “heads up” blog post first.

I might throw in a few polls or questions to learn what you are looking for and expecting from this blog, so keep a look out for those, too.

As you’ve probably seen by the last few blog posts, I’m still struggling with sending the RSS feed. So, I’m switching to a newsletter format only, which will have a link to the latest blog post.

Thank you all for being so patient with me. I hope you understand and will share some of the issues that you are facing and working through, too, in the comments below.

Let me know what it is you are struggling with so maybe we can help each other out, OK?

If you can relate to the Dinosaur Blogger Confessions and have enjoyed this post, please share it with your social networks and subscribe to the blog.

wicker braid separator graphic

~~ Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much ~~

Until next time, Happy Weaving!


About The Author

6 thoughts on “Dinosaur Blogger Confessions”

  1. Hi Cathryn,
    I just read your note on Elena’s blog, and I must tell you how impressed I am that you’ve been blogging for 18 years. That’s amazing!
    As a newbie, I see you as a role model to keep in mind when I get discouraged about the ups & downs of this adventure called blogging.
    I hope you’ll continue to share your wisdom and experiences for many more years to come.

    1. Thank you so much, Diane, for the lovely compliments! Happy to hear from you and read your post. I think I’m getting back into the swing of things again now, so make sure to subscribe to my newsletter to keep up with all the news!

  2. Janice Meltzer (Jan)

    Cathryn, you have been such an inspiration to me! So patient, and so good at explaining things. I wish I had half your energy and talent!!!

    1. So happy to have helped you Jan, that’s what it’s all about in my book! So nice to have gotten to “know” you over the last several years and thanks for being a loyal subscriber, too! Happy Weaving!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top