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Blogger Confessions, Volume One

Photo courtesy of mika-rin

Bloggers aren’t perfect people. Many of you reading this are here because you are involved in crafts or DIY, and part of the goal of a blogger in this genre is to make things (homes, crafts, recipes) look perfect. After all, that is what inspires people, and we are in the business of inspiration.

I recently collect some confessions from craft and DIY bloggers, mostly because I think it’s funny, but also to show everyone that these bloggers are just regular people with regular thoughts. Their families aren’t perfect. Their lives aren’t perfect. And that spic-and-span living room with the amazing natural light and refurbished couch with handmade pillows? That scene probably fell apart right after picture.

I like being real, and so I present to you some blogger confessions. These confessions are anything the blogger doesn’t feel comfortable expressing in public. I have one entry on here too, but I’m not revealing any names, including my own. In fact, I don’t even know who these come from. Without further adieu:

-“I think the people who don’t leave comments . . . should leave comments. There, I said it. It’s all very shocking, I know.”

-“Automated twittering (or stumbling) turns me off. I prefer you refer something if you LIKE what you saw. It’s honest.”

-“Giveaways just in the US?!? I don’t get it. Blogging is worldwide. Why don’t sponsors offer a gift to anyone they’d sell to?”

-“I probably have more unfinished projects than finished projects on my blog! I get so excited to post things that I take pics at angles to make it look finished, and then I blog it. But by that time, I’m over the project and want to do something else, so they sit in my house half-finished. My poor family! :)”

-“I am guilty of plopping my kids in front of the TV to get a post done. And, in the same vein I’ve burned dinner because I was too intent on getting a blog post written.”

-“When I was running more than one giveaway, I didn’t want one person to win all the prizes, so I “accidentally” clicked the random.org button again to give another entrant a chance to win a prize.”

-“A couple of times, I started adding up my expenses for a project when finally blogging about it and suddenly realize it was quite expensive. So I may have “forgotten how much I paid” for a few items or said I had them “on hand.”

-“I’ve used Photoshop to finish “painting” a project when I ran out of spray paint and was on a deadline.”

-“I’ve lied when doing a review for a paid post. I’ve said I liked the product when I really hated it, and I didn’t know how to back out or tell the sponsor I didn’t like it.”

-“I made something to giveaway on my blog which had numbers on it. I was going to pack it up and mail it to the winner when my mom came over. She realized I had two numbers out of order! So it was …7, 8, 9, 11, 10, 12! I already told the winner I’d ship it the next day, so I had to stay up all night to make a new one, from the beginning. If you look at my blog, the picture of the original craft with the out-of-order numbers is still there and I still wonder if anyone ever noticed but just didn’t say anything. Thanks to my mom for saving my butt!”

-“I am not technically proficient in all my crafts, so I do a lot of Photoshopping to make them look nice. I’m pretty skilled, so I can do a good fake job without anyone noticing.I also fake a lot of my crafts; I don’t glue stuff down . . . I’ll just place it on top for a photo. No one has to know that I don’t actually finish the project!”

-“People say my projects are so creative but I feel like a fraud. I look at other people’s projects and think they have much more talent than I do.”

-“I was involved in organizing a craft swap with a blogger who also wrote at my favorite magazine. I wanted to impress her, so I agreed to do a project I hadn’t done in years. When it came down to it, I couldn’t do the project (I had forgotten the technique), and I had to buy one from eBay last minute and pass it off as my own.”

I hope you enjoyed, could relate and are looking forward to more. Let me know if you would like to contribute for a future round (anonymously, of course).

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42 Responses to “Blogger Confessions, Volume One”

  1. Michelle L. says:

    Oh, Amy! I am so shocked I can’t even…stop ROTFLMAO! Heeeeeeheeheehee! I will never read a blog again. or write one. Or tell the truth in a comment.

    Thanks for a hilarious post, Amy!

  2. This is too funny! Love the photoshop fixes, ha! Great read 😀

  3. Whew! This really makes me feel better about the little ‘fixes’ I’ve done in the interest of posting a good project 🙂 Thanks for making it real!!

  4. cBer says:

    Am I the only one who is bothered by the last few confessions? Call me naive, silly, or too serious, but I’m disappointed.
    Photoshopping for better results? Lying about a sponsor’s product? Misrepresenting your actual cost? “Accidentally” hitting the random button again defeats the purpose of a random button.
    The word “plagiarism” comes to mind.
    An honest “fail” is much better than a dishonest “success.”
    Your personal integrity is worth much more than this.

    • Hi cBer,

      Thanks for the feedback. I don’t think any blogger wakes up in the morning intending to deceive people, and I believe any of these bloggers would admit that these confessions were probably not the highlight of their careers (hence the anonymity). The point of the article was to make other bloggers who have made big mistakes feel less alone. People mess up all the time in their personal and blogging lives – all you can do is forgive yourself and move on, and try not to make the same mistakes twice.

      • Nicole says:

        I have to agree with cBer on this one. While I understand that this is a blog about confessions, I don’t think some of these should even need to be confessed. Reading through some of these confessions I, too, was screaming “plagiarism” in my mind. I would much rather see a half-finished project and get the honest truth than to get something photo-shopped or clearly stolen from someone else. Yes, “people mess up all the time”, but I would much rather that “mess up” be an unfinished project or an admittance that something was just out of the scope of one’s expertise or talent to pull off. THOSE “mess ups” would make me relate to that person all the more!!! Come on bloggers. Where is your integrity??? To me, plagiarism is not a “mess up”, it’s dishonest and shows a lack of character. Maybe now, I will find it hard to support and believe the “perfect” craft bloggers…. After all that’s the biggest reason I stopped purchasing magazines with all of the photo-shopped models and actresses in them. I want reality in my life and it sounds like this post may be the only bit of reality and truth that I am getting from craft bloggers.

        • heather says:

          Thanks for your comment. Please don’t feel that these confessions represent all craft bloggers. They certainly don’t. While some bloggers feel pressure to appear perfect, most of them are very candid about successes and failures.

          We don’t think all craft bloggers are liars, and neither should you. Craft bloggers are among the kindest, finest, and most friendly & honest people we know.

          These confessions were told not because these bloggers are proud of the things they’ve done, but because they were admitting mistakes they’d made and weren’t particularly proud of. I can’t speak for all of them because I have no idea who any of them are (these were all anonymous confessions), but I have met a lot of bloggers and almost all of them do the best job they can and respect and love their work and their readers.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Shoot, I am so glad the confessions are out there! I love to blog but sometimes there is a lot of pressure to be amazing at it, and I am definitely not amazing. Thanks for the honest confessions!

  6. Kat says:

    Thanks, Amy, for this post. I wouldn’t know how to fix my photo fubars if I had to, so I let them be what they are. The anonymity is understandable. I know my shortfalls and try to do better with each post, but sometimes the fingers go faster than the brain, and then the brain bogs down and I forget important points that I intended to make. Now, I make notes before a post with details about each picture and their corresponding special info. Mistakes? Yup. I make them all the time. Bravo to those who admitted to it in your post!

  7. Andrea says:

    Well, this makes me feel much less bad about my blog posts. Now, if I could only get something going with a little regularity that I knew people actually read (i.e. left comments)…

  8. Christina says:

    You know, there are several on there that I can definitely overlook. But the photoshopping to such an extreme as to call it “faking it” and to use someone else’s project and pass it off as your own? That’s not just a minor “poor decision”. That’s outright dishonesty and a conscious decision at that. It’s fraud and I would think, plagiarism. I can understand photoshopping to remove the light switch or to fix shadows and such. But to the actual extent that even the creator calls it “faking” is deplorable. As for the anonymous blogger that passed someone else’s idea off as her own, shame on her. If I was on the receiving end of whatever swap that was, if I found out that what I got wasn’t really hers, into the trash it would go. And I agree with the commenter that said, “An honest failure is better than a dishonest success.”

    • amy says:

      Hi Christina,

      You have the right to your opinion, but I think you are judging the bloggers very harshly. No one wants to (or deserves to) be kicked in the butt when they’ve already admitted they’ve done something they aren’t proud of. I know the women who contributed (though I can’t attribute a confession to a specific blogger), and they are honest, kind and good people. We are ALL guilty of making mistakes, being dishonest and making conscious bad decisions at times. It doesn’t make us bad. It just makes us people.

  9. breanna says:

    more than anything, this post is a sigh of relief, and a realization that I can let myself off the hook once in awhile…I’m still a very new blogger, and am such a perfectionist, which most often leads to me not doing nearly as many original projects as i’d like because I won’t cut corners…but reading all these really has me thinking “It’s perfectly fine to cut some corners…” and if the end result of that is more projects that inspire other people, then i should absolutely cut those corners every now and again!!

    I have been a loyal craft/diy blog reader for years now, and so often seeing all the stunning things on their blogs inspires me AND intimidates me…I see these gorgeous photos and i look at my house and think…how on earth can I make that happen here?! it’s profoundly comforting to know that not a single one of us has it ALL together ALL the time…what a relief!

  10. The reason(s) for any confession matter more than the confession itself. People who know you personally have a better understanding of what your intentions were. But for those who don’t know you that well, it’s easy to misunderstand and think these confessions are suggesting “it’s okay to deceive your readers.” And no one (not even you) wants to feel they’ve been deceived in any way. It makes a reader feel foolish, taken advantage of, and much more disillusioned than inspired.

    Your confessions were meant to be funny, helpful, and even encouraging but it’s hard for those who don’t know you personally to fully understand these situations. I appreciate the hard work and knowledge each of you talented bloggers continually share with us. But, I would personally vote for the most realistic and honest presentation of your projects. That’ll help us to know what problems we might also be facing instead of feeling inadequate that we couldn’t do it as well as you did. It’s certainly true that none of us are perfect and some days will be better than others. Confessions are good but as much as possible–let’s keep the project results real. Go ahead and include the good, the bad, and the ugly. 🙂 Might even increase the readership of your blogs.

    • heather says:

      You’re right, Janet. Part of the reason this post has been so controversial is because people don’t want to feel taken advantage of, and some readers of these confessions (and craft blogs), feel like they’ve been duped.

  11. I appreciate the willingness of some people to offer up these confessions. Honestly, I’m pretty horrified. I really don’t understand the point of being a craft blogger — or any blogger — if you have to lie about your work. I’ve had people so desperate for blog content that they’ve just ripped it off of my site. Not only is plagiarism illegal, it’s just flat out ridiculous. Why lie about liking a product? Why pass off somebody else’s work as your own? Where’s the integrity? Where’s the pride in your work? And with so many commentors saying, “Yes! Now I don’t have to feel bad about the fact that I do all these things too!” — that just ruined my faith in the craft blogs I do enjoy. Now I only wonder, what else are they lying about? Why should I try these projects if the so called “experts” can’t even do them? Very sad.

    • heather says:

      Thanks for the comment. Don’t lose faith in craft bloggers. The point was not to say that everyone always does these things. These were confessions people weren’t proud of. I think there’s a steep learning curve to being a for-profit blogger, and sometimes you make missteps.

  12. Thanks for collecting confessions; it’s definitely a fun idea. I use filters to improve lighting and color, so I realize that everything posted online is not exactly as real life appears. However I hate the idea that people want to appear perfect so badly that they would deceive their readers. Wouldn’t people relate more to someone saying “I loved starting this, but finishing it up became monotonous…” or “My sewing was a little messy and I’m too tired to rip it out, so here’s how it looks in my fantasy…” That would be much braver than wishing for perfection and taking a chance on “faking it”. Perhaps some disclosure standards are in order!

  13. Amanda says:

    Personally, I enter giveaways and several. It makes me sad to think, I might have won more stuff but because a blogger didn’t want to give me a 2nd prize they picked again. Why, not have that as a policy. I take time to read all policies on giveaways. If it’s not a policy, picking a 2nd person…shouldn’t be an option or at least give the person a chance to pick the prize they want…

    • heather says:

      Amanda, good point. All giveaways/sweepstakes should have a list of rules, and if a blogger wants to avoid awarding 2 prizes to the same reader, she should say so in her sweepstakes rules.

  14. Jes says:

    The worst of this is that reaching for deception of this sort – deceiving readers, recipients, and yourself! – is just another symptom of the inordinate guilt and pressure for perfectionism that women place on themselves and one another. The bloggers who feel so insecure and so needy of presenting the perfect life and project that they would as soon deceive their readers as admit to the real effort involved in a process – well, I feel pity for them! Look how society has so conditioned us to expect, exemplify, and endeavor for perfection that we would happily fake it to make it rather than proudly accept and nurture our imperfect selves and readers. It’s a shame, really.

  15. pamela says:

    Adults should take responsibility for their actions. At the end of the day, nobody cares why you lied/plagiarized/photoshopped/purchased ready made crafts/messed with the random number generator/whatever it is you did to violate your readers’ trust. They just care that you did it.

  16. Wanting comments, unfinished projects, creative photography, burning dinner- all that is funny and makes people feel better. However many of the other statements are not only unethical, but ILLEGAL.

    A random drawing that is not random breaks the law. Claiming someone else’s work is illegal. Taking money from a company and then lying about it? I’m pretty sure that would get the FTC’s ears perked up, ad it should. And actually a “review” for a paid post is not ethical in most circles. A review should be non-compensated (except for the product), impartial. A product “feature” can be sponsored.

    I have been in the blogging world since 2007, and if any of my friends did those things I would be horrified. The fact is NOT all bloggers do these unethical and illegal things. Not even *most* of them do. I would hate for a reader to see this and think this is common practice. Because in MY circle of colleagues, if anyone did these things, they would be called out and run out of town.

    Most of us bloggers take ethics VERY seriously, and are disturbed when we see ourselves being “represented” by unethical bloggers, even in anonymous confessions.

    • I totally agree with you Sarah. Sharpening the focus or cropping an image is one thing — to me, adding or erasing items through Photoshop WITHOUT disclosing the changes, downright crosses over to dishonesty. I’m not looking for a magazine version; I want honesty — how REAL people decorate — with all the ‘I didn’t have time to finish’ to the ‘Yeah, this side of the room looks great but over here on the other side is all the stuff I stashed for the photo’ reality of DIY.

      And I would be quite upset to find someone I’ve been following has changed the rules of random drawing [easy fix people — note limit of one prize per person] or written an erroneous review. How can anything this person writes or portrays be trusted again?

      I read an extreme number of sites — please don’t waste my time with dishonesty. The best sites are the ones that tell all their pitfalls & mistakes made along the way, and portray the ‘company’s coming’ version of their home — not the ‘one-time magazine cover’ version.

      Amy, thanks for a wonderful article & bringing this subject up for discussion.

  17. ans says:

    The only thing that truly bothers me is the one where someone lied about the review. Really? Can I ever believe any blogger? I know she isn’t the only one who lied because the source of merchandise … kinda ticks me off… I look to blobs for honest reviews… I can’t even get that… I guess money talks more that a honesty…

  18. Sara says:

    Well several “confessors” make it sound as though photoshopping is a regular thing. So those of us that aren’t crafty to start with read this and question whether these projects are really do-able.

  19. Jennifer says:

    I’m not sure I have anything new to add to the discussion but I feel a need to add my two cents anyway.

    Yes, we all make mistakes.
    Yes, the funny things, burning dinner, plopping kids in front of tv, we’ve all done and can relate.

    No, I would never pass another person’s project off as my own.
    No, I would never take money and not deliver a project, sponsored post, whatever I had promised to deliver.

    I think the spirit of the post was appropriate and light-hearted. However I think that there were some confessions that went beyond what was intended. They ventured into the land of “we need to respond and educate.”

    Maybe a link to past posts or a follow up post talking about ethical dilemmas would be appropriate. Or talking about how to work professionally and ethically with brands and sponsors.

    From what I have observed Crafterminds is a community offering “resources for creative bloggers.” Clearly there are some people who need to understand the difference between blogging because it’s fun and Blogging because it’s my job. There are also rules that need to be followed in either case. This is a great opportunity for education.

  20. Hannah Pratt says:

    This post made me laugh. Not even Martha Stewart is perfect all of the time. Some people need to lighten up.

  21. Fran says:

    Great post, sometimes its so easy to forget that we are chosing what image we are projecting on the web. No-one is perfect, and the honest comments in your post are refreshing.

  22. Maegan says:

    FWIW – for giveaways, sometimes there are things in place preventing giving something away…or the wording is such that it wouldn’t allow something to be given away internationally. Contests open to Canada have to have rules in English & French. If you’re a small blogger (who doesn’t know French) then you might not have the capability to do that. I send things internationally a lot…there are customs issues that can come in to play…shipping costs can be astronomical as well! I think to send a 4 ounce item cost me $14 once. For products…most companies want you to give it away within the US…b/c that is where their product is available. Why send it to Australia if the product can’t be purchased in Australia?? Then the winner can’t share their prize & tell friends how great it is (free marketing for the company) and then have the friends go buy it. If you give it away in the US…then American friends can easily find it & purchase it themselves. 🙂

  23. Sara Rays says:

    What bothers me about this entire blog post is the comments. Get real, people! You’ve never told a lie? There are a lot of high and mighty attitudes going on here, and it grosses me out. To those of you who are disappointed in the confessions, I am disappointed in you. It takes a lot of bravery to admit what you did wrong. Give people a break. BTW, I don’t think anyone is asking for YOUR forgiveness or acceptance. I doubt anyone who confessed cares whether you like it or not. And to the commenter who mentioned the FTC, why don’t you go ahead and give them a call rather than threatening. As I said, GROSS.

    I enjoyed all three articles and thanks to the writers for opening up a topic that is rarely talked about. I’m not a crafter/DIYer but I know nothing is as easy and clear cut as it seems. It’s just plain dumb to judge the world based on a few instances. That is how racism and wars start. Thanks again.

    • Amanda says:

      I don’t think this needs to be compared to racism or starting wars, some perspective please. Whilst the bloggers in question may not be asking for nor bothered as to whether we accept or forgive these confessions, they are asking us to ‘follow’ their blogs, enter their giveaways, perhaps vote for them in competitions or purchase items from their sponsors.

      If they want these things from their ‘followers’ I think its only fair that the ‘followers’ can expect some honesty and integrity from those asking.

      Oh, and bravery in confessions is when a confession isn’t hidden behind ‘anon’.

    • Real life Sarah says:

      Actually, no. I’ve never told a lie on my blog. I’ve never done anything illegal on my blog, such as faking a giveaway winner. In real life, things happen sometimes, little white lies are told, things are done in the moment that may be unethical. But there is a difference between making a “mistake” and willingly premeditating a deception. The FTC statement was not a threat. I don’t report people. But when the FTC came down hard on bloggers last year, many of us worked hard to establish that bloggers are ethical, and one bad apple tarnishes the whole community. I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m saying that purposefully developing a deception and stealing other peoPle’s work is just wrong. And no, I’ve never done that. These confessions weren’t a real “I was wrong” post. If it were, the author would have also instructed why these practices were breaking laws.

  24. Daphne says:

    Plenty of comedians make fun of questionable situations without telling their audiences the “right” way to handle things. Those of you who are being so judgmental just make me not want to read your blogs. And I love DIY blogs. You may not have done any of these things, but you are quick to criticize. What a big turnoff.

  25. Andrea B says:

    ”Giveaways just in the US?!? I don’t get it. Blogging is worldwide. Why don’t sponsors offer a gift to anyone they’d sell to?”

    Because of legalities. In Canada, for instance, it is actually illegal to have a winner to be purely from luck. There must be some kind of competition(http://www.savingforsomeday.com/blog-law-is-your-giveaway-legal/ is the article I referenced when setting up a giveaway.)

  26. I know this is an oldish blog post (which is why I usually do not comment). Commenting on a post that was written a year ago kind of feels like laughing at a joke told 5 minutes ago.

    I enjoyed reading this post immensely. Very educating both in the post as well as the responses. I like the others that have commented am an avid craft blog reader and even have my own very small and new blog.

    The fact is when you are dealing with grey, there will always be a disagreement on how far is too far since we all have our own shade of grey we feel is just over the line. Personally I think there is not one of us that has crossed that line before and those that think they have are lying to themselves and others. Not purposefully, but simply because of the grey issue I just said. While YOU may believe what you do or say is not crossing the line, this does not mean someone else won’t see it as absolutely crossing the line!

    I am not fool enough to believe each and everything I read and see. I have always believed the posts I read to be a manufactured snapshot. Simply by my own experience in trying to post my own blog. After making my projects the decision of where I would display it for the photo becomes a huge issue. Where I can take the photo with the best lighting. But wait! If I take it there the light switch is in the way! Oh and there is a scratch when I get really close up!

    Come on! We need to lighten up a bit here. I do not believe for one second that these “confessions” were to be translated at “standard practice”. They were exactly that, confessions. Told in the manner they were to be taken, “I-cannot-believe-I-did-this-but-I-did!”

    Some of them are make you think, hmmm sure.. but I have to hope the fact that they are telling them in the context they are “confessing to mistakes made in blogging” which is how I think this was written, says if they had it to do over again they wouldn’t and yes, they do also see it as a time they were not at their best!

    So as another comment said, lighted UP!! I would certainly hope you would never go to an AA meeting and waq your finger at the person talking and say “MY GOSH I would NEVER do such a thing!!!” or any other place were people sit, talk and tell things they are not proud of doing.

    I agree with one thing another comment said completely! The ones that are so judgmental and harsh, I am certainly taking note. I personally have no use reading a blog written by people that are so unbending and judgmental. IRL I avoid them like that plaque and certainly will online as well. Holier than thou attitudes are just not for me. I like reality in many ways..yes failure in a project if written well can be also helpful. Lets face it bloggers, we need to learn what NOT to do as well as what TO do. I would rather read one that showed the real experience of how-to and learn than a contrived one. But again, this is my OWN preferences. If I feel a blog I am reading is not giving me the experience I am looking for guess what? I just read it less and less. That is OUR power as readers.

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