I interrupt my usual craft project and home decor posts for some really fun news! We won a home decor contest! EEEkkkkk!!! Wowza – how did that happen???
The housing community that we live in (military base housing) asked families to submit 5 photos of their interior decorating skills. They would then select 4 winners to receive a 5-day/4-night cruise for two, and the photos would be used for promotional materials! Let me just say, I don’t ever win anything…ANYTHING! But of all the contests they could run, this is one I thought I might have a real shot at!
I took our entry very, very seriously. For about a week, I shot (what seemed like) a million photos of our house. For the blog, I take a lot of close up, detailed shots or focus on specific angles or corners of a room. I hadn’t (yet!) captured full-room shots for many of our best spaces! (And let me just say, there’s partly a reason for that! Unless you have a ton of experience photographing rooms AND have a really great lens, shooting rooms so that they look right is super tricky. I’ve shied away from full-room shots because they are so hard to get! I think I took about 600 photos of our master bedroom alone!) After agonizing over which shots to submit, I finally landed on 5 photos that I felt represented the best of our house. I emailed them off and waited impatiently for a week for the results to be announced.
Last Friday I got a call saying that our home was selected as one of the winners. Although so many friends and family thought we were a “shoe in” to win, I know there are a lot of talented homemakers in our community, and I suspected there would be some really tough competition. I was honestly shocked when I found out we won, and genuine tears streamed down my face. For those of you who know us well or have been reading along for a while, you know this has been a very long, very trying, difficult year. I certainly didn’t decorate our house to win a cruise…but gosh what a lovely, lovely reward for something I have worked so hard at at the end of one of the toughest years of my life.
So why exactly am I sharing this news? Well…for one, it’s a pretty exciting reward for our little family, and I really just couldn’t help it! But also, this little contest was strangely so much more to me than just winning a cruise–and while I was on the phone getting the news, I realized just how much it meant to me.
Although it may not seem like it here on the blog, I still wonder (all the time!) about my “talents.” I wonder if I am really “any good” at this decorating thing…if I really “have what it takes” to do this “for real.” I love decorating and creating with my hands and transforming furniture and spaces and making organized bliss from disorderly messes. It brings me life and joy and energy and such a sense of satisfaction. I could literally do it all.day.long. But then I read magazines, and surf Pinterest, and read other blogs and all-too-often think: “Do I and my work stand out among a crowd?” “Am I anything special or noteworthy?” Up until recently, I always settled on no. But this little local contest showed me that yes, yes I am…yes I am special and noteworthy!
All this self-doubt about my talents (and whether I have “it” or not) has really influenced my approach to this blog. Let’s be honest, the blog biz is tough…it’s tough to stand out, it’s tough to get recognized…and it’s tough to stay relevant, current and unique in a world that is soooo saturated with awesome ideas, beautiful blog designs, and super savvy social media phenoms. For the three years I have been blogging (yikes, has it really been that long?), I have always said this was just my hobby blog…just something to keep myself busy…just something to pay for my crafting habit…just something to keep myself fulfilled and sane as a stay-at-home-Mom. But those were all just things I was telling myself because I’ve just been too scared and hesitant to put myself out there more. I see other bloggers enjoying successes that I would love to experience…but fear and self doubt have kept me from “going for it.” Here’s the crummy thing about blogging: things don’t just happen to you. You have to really go out and work for the opportunities/brands/promotions/projects that you want to be a part of; and for a gal who seriously doubts her potential…that’s a hard task to take on!
For the past year or so, I feel like there have been little “whispers” here and there throughout my life, ever so lightly and ever so gently nudging me to “go for it,” telling me that I do “have what it takes” and that I am “good at this.” And in some weird way, winning this cruise felt like those same whispers now yelling loud and clear to “Just Jump In Already!!” In recent weeks, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I’d like to not only grow my blog and do this thing “for real,” but also take all those things I love (organizing, decorating, re-finishing furniture) and turn them into a business. I don’t have any specifics to share or a big business package to unveil (yet!), as all my thoughts and plans are in pretty infant stages…but even typing and acknowledging that desire, for me, is a pretty big step. It’s the first time I’m even considering that what I do and what I can offer has real value…both here in the digital-land, as well as in the real homes of real people outside my front door.
To all of you who stop by this little corner of the world wide web regularly or even somewhat regularly: thank you!!! Thank you for supporting me by visiting, reading my words, pinning my projects, liking me on Facebook, leaving comments. Every pin, every comment, every like makes my heart flutter with excitement that people out there really do like what I’m making. Through your clicks and likes and pins, you have encouraged me to keep with it, even when my self-doubt has caused me to think, “Maybe this just wasn’t meant to be.” I have so many hopes and dreams for this little blog of mine…here’s hoping I can get out of my own way and really make them happen!Posted In 2 - DIY & Home Decor, North Carolina, Personal Post