Blogging is easy!

Problogger recently posted an entry describing what a blogger does all day. I’ve amended his list (since he’s into monetization and seo and actually knows what he’s doing) but I thought you might be interested in knowing what goes into keeping this site –Fashion-Incubator– afloat. This is the Pareto Principle at work. 80% of effort goes into making the 20% of what you find here. Writing entries is the least of what I do. And I thought blogging was about writing.

All day long, every day, Monday through Sunday (no days off):

  1. Deleting spam comments

  2. Responding to comments
  3. Writing to people who comment
  4. Responding to reader emails
  5. Deleting bogus forum registrations (30+ a day)
  6. Processing valid forum registrations
  7. Responding to forum topics
  8. Approving posts held for moderation (if you include a url, it’s held -even mine are).


  1. Writing entries and sometimes even posting them. I have written at least 300 entries that I’ve never posted (in case you wonder if I’m running out of material).

  2. Reading and research. I easily spend half the day reading (including at home).
  3. Fact checking by web or phone. This goes beyond fact checking my entries, other blog authors entries or guest posts. I also verify services, suppliers and sometimes points made in visitor comments.
  4. Taking calls from genuinely nice people with a “quick” question -at no pay :)
  5. Searching DNS records from offending sites.
  6. Modifying the htaccess file to prevent spam comments sites from being able to load F-I (meaning, they can’t spam and overload the server anymore).
  7. Banning people who send hateful, threatening or deliberately insulting comments.

Weekly, off and on:

  1. Checking for updates, plugins and utilities for the blog

  2. Reading what other bloggers write on my topics of interest
  3. Keeping up with the field via traditional media (WWD, WSJ, NYT etc)
  4. Monitoring and posting to other forums
  5. Posting on related blogs
  6. Tweaking the site templates, updating links, fixing configuration errors.
  7. Monitoring site stats to see who’s sending me traffic. I often post on referring blogs.
  8. Uploading and editing photos, one of my least favorite activities. It also takes time (you wouldn’t think file organization is an issue but it is). This is one reason I’m doing fewer tutorials lately. The rest of the site work eats into my time.
  9. Following up on visitor complaints directed towards sites, services or people I link to or write about. This means phone calls, talking to both parties, a sort of informal BBB B2B service. If I think a complaint is justified and the complainant doesn’t provide a satisfactory explanation, I delete their link. If in doubt, I delete. My pattern services list has been recently shortened by two.
  10. Editing guest posts is also time consuming because I have to do fact checking, retrieve URLS, get supporting documents, read, research etc. Also I have to wait for emails (they forget a bio) on edit approvals. I’ll often call someone else for a contrary or oppositional viewpoint.


  1. Searching for sites reposting my content. This has been keeping me busy all week. You have to file legal complaints against the infringing party, their hosting company, whoever is serving ads on the site (that’s why they copy your content) and if the host doesn’t do anything (my problem with GoDaddy this week), filing complaints against the host with ICANN and the BBB if in the US.

  2. Modifying widgets, spam blockers, keeping up with reading on the latest MT updates.
  3. Reading. Good thing I read fast but I’m still way behind. I counted the pile by my bed. There’s 25 books different books I’m in various stages of reading.

Least favorite things I have to do (ongoing, sometimes daily):

  1. Checking and following up on comments from shills and sycophants. Sycophants are notoriously passive-aggressive so they must be monitored carefully.

  2. Having to deal with dumb dumb dumb PR people who send me pitches for things I could not care less about. Minimally, a smart PR person wouldn’t treat me as though I’m stupid, merely needing to be manipulated so I flog their pink pony products for them.
  3. Writing “homework” posts. This means having to write about things that don’t interest me because you need to know about it. Anything related to thread, needles and fusing machines falls in this category.
  4. The least favorite of all is email that would require me to rewrite material from my book to answer it or comments posted to the blog asking you instead (I do notice everyone ignores those). If I suggest they buy the book, they nearly never fail to heap abuse, insinuating I’m a money-grubber and only interested in a sale. These emails don’t include a salutation or their name. If I’m the one doing a favor, why don’t I deserve the courtesy of a salutation or a name? Joy killers, I’m sure they spread misery wherever they go.

Then of course, is work that actually pays the bills. Some pattern work (not often, no one writes the colonel) some consulting (ditto) and filling book orders (ibid)*. No surprise that I rarely get to admin work or clean up.

As you can see, running a blog is effortless, fast and easy. Obviously I must enjoy it or I wouldn’t do it. I do enjoy my visitors and consider myself extremely fortunate. Still, quality comments, supportive emails and donations are always welcome :).

*Alison Cummins will get the joke; she misses nothing. Is it too subtle?

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  1. Eric H says:

    This post is apparently for me, to explain why dinner is not ready. The rest of you can ignore it.

    (Actually, whenever she is hunting scrapers and spammers, I get to learn some very interesting phrases that they didn’t teach me in Spanish class)

  2. Ann Katzen Hand Dyed Studio says:

    Hi Kathleen, Wow! It never occured to me that keeping up a blog could be so much work. But now I know that, apart from offering excellent writing, you go a great deal further to make it all appear concise and easy for us readers. Thank you!
    And by the way, I haven’t had a moment to tell you how much I’m enjoying, and learning from, your book (even though right now I only have time to read about 2 pages a day).
    But can you ever forgive me for having the word Studio on my label?

    Ann K

  3. Alison Cummins says:

    Thanks for the confidence, Kathleen! At times I may appear to miss nothing but that is simply my tendency to seize on details while the big picture escapes me.

    Joke? Um. Humour is not, well, my forte. I can tell you’re having fun with dittos, ibids and book references… but now (in my extremely literal mind) I am trying to squeeze your second-to-last paragraph (failing that, your entire post) into the following format:

    A man walks into a bar with a dog.
    The bartender says, “Hey buddy, can’t you read that sign? It says no dogs allowed! Get that mutt out of here!”
    The man replies, “No, I can’t read the sign – I’m blind, and this is my seeing eye dog.”
    The bartender is embarrassed and gives the man a beer on the house.
    Later that day, the guy is telling his friend about it: “I told him I was blind and I got a free beer!”
    The friend then takes his dog into the bar and sits down, and the bartender says, “The sign says no dogs allowed! You’ll have to leave!”
    The friend says, “Sorry, I can’t see the sign because I’m blind, and this is my seeing eye dog.”
    The bartender replies, “Since when do they give out Chihuahuas as seeing eye dogs?”
    The man says, “They gave me a Chihuahua?”

    … anyway, keep having fun! (Hugs!)

  4. Danielle says:

    I’ve been getting a lot of spam blogs linking to me too, just suddenly over the past week. I’m not sure I want to spend the time to deal with it though, it’s pretty obvious that the sites are not real blogs, but it’s also just kind of annoying. I’m not clear on whether they’re destructive to my blog or not… seems harmless.

    This list makes me feel like a lazy blogger, but then I’m no pro. I find it’s one of those things that take up exactly as much time as I let it. Sure it’s effort but it’s genuinely fun so it’s easy to let it take up a significant chunk of my day if I allow myself.

    I wish I could justify spending half the day reading as professional development… sigh… the glamorous life of a pro-blogger =)

    I find it interesting you’re not getting more patternmaking jobs from your site… my site functions pretty well (if indirectly) as a portfolio/promotion for services. Your site is much more powerful and focused, you could advertise yourself more obviously on the sidebar if you wanted to develop some more clients… or put a blurb on the about page…

  5. J C Sprowls says:

    In the vein that Danielle raised, you might also consider publishing whitepapers, too. For example, expand upon “Energy and the Garment Industry” or “The Historical Significance of TWI”, etc.

    Case studies of the companies you’ve helped are also a good idea, since you provide more services than patternmaking. Frankly, some of the anecdotes in your book can be fleshed out and polished into excellent case studies.

    The key is to not give away the details. Just summarize your process and provide some statistics or graphs to illustrate the improvements you implemented. I can share some examples with you if you would like.

    In most pro sites, whitepapers are free, unless they contain consulting advice, and are available for download when a subscriber provides contact information (e.g. an email address, etc). It’s like asking for a business card when someone takes marketing collaterals off your table at a trade show.

  6. Kathleen says:

    JC, I don’t understand, do yet more work in return for zero compensation? Whatever for? You think it will make visitors more likely to hire me? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…. If the blog doesn’t convince people to buy the book why would whitepapers convince them to hire me? No, it’d just be more free material for people to read for which I wouldn’t be compensated.

    No thanks. Any specialized material I develop (like tutorials) will now be for-pay only.

    Besides, I couldn’t use past employers or customers as fodder. It doesn’t seem fair. They didn’t hire me to make an example of them. They hired me so I’d help them solve a problem, not blab it to the world. You have to realize that many people are identifiable by their niche and specific problems. Many people on the outside looking in wouldn’t know who the company was but on the inside, one could easily narrow it down to one or two companies. And, failing to describe the specificity of their market would mean diluting the description of their problem (and what I did for them) to a point where it means nothing. It sounds like blah blah blah.

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