But I find a lot of inspiration, craft-wise and otherwise, from Diane Gilleland at Craftypod and so I'm taking up her challenge to not only support "free" in 2012, but to report on how I did it.
The idea is that we all enjoy and benefit from the many blogs we read and podcasts we listen to. But it takes time and energy to put together good blogs/podcasts/etc, and giving something back to those who provide free content helps them keep going forward. (Diane is much more eloquent than I am, so go read her post that I linked to in the previous paragraph.)
There are lots of ways to support Free, ranging from buying from someone's Etsy store, using their "donate" button, clicking on a flattr button, using a blogger's affiliate links and probably more varieties that aren't springing to mind.
In December, I used a variety of those methods:
- When I bought Amazon giftcards for my nieces and nephew as Chanukah gifts, I used a favorite patient blogger's affiliate links. I try to never buy anything on Amazon without using someone's affiliate link since it doesn't add anything to my cost and I know no one's making a ton of money from blogging (with the exception of a handful of outliers).
- I spent a lot of time in December reading various articles from the Craftypod archives about running a crafty business, so I decided to click on Diane's donate button and show her a little appreciation. I can't tell you how delighted I was when she sent me an email telling me I'd made her day. Supporting Free feels good! Certainly, her note back made my day.
- I first learned about kanzashi flowers from video tutorials made by the folks at Joggles, which also helped me discover Diane Gilleland's book Kanzashi in Bloom. I'd always felt a little bit badly that they had expanded my world and I hadn't supported their business at all, so I've been looking for an opportunity to give them some of my business even though they aren't the discounters I usually patronize for craft supplies. I signed up for an online class they're offering later in January and also bought some paper supplies. It wasn't a lot of business to send their way, but I feel better for it anyway.
Once upon a time, I had fantasies about earning money with my blog, but it has never panned out. I had Google ads on my blog for awhile, but never got paid because I don't think I ever "earned" more than a few bucks from them and therefore never hit the minimum for getting paid. Same with my Amazon affiliate links; I get monthly statements from them but have been carrying a balance of ~$6, not enough to hit the $10 threshold for getting an Amazon giftcard. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not complaining, nor is this a plea for money or for people to use my affiliate links to items on Amazon. I'm just intrigued with the idea of supporting, in however small a way I can manage, people who offer free content that I find valuable.