When I wrote my first pattern in 2013 I included step by step instructions with photos for almost every step, even ironing the seams! I wanted to make sure that anyone who read the pattern would know exactly what to do in every step along the way. I was terrified that someone wouldn't understand the instructions, or would criticize my design, pattern, and writing.
Three years, and several patterns later, I have realized a few things:
1. I still worry about my instructions being clear and providing an error free easy to understand pattern because I don't want people to be frustrated or disappointed, but I don't obsess about it to the point that I'm afraid to put the pattern out there.
2. You can't make everyone happy. It isn't your job, and you'll just make yourself unhappy trying to do it. After 1000s of downloads of this first pattern in the last three years, I have received one e-mail that simply said I was "stupid and should never write again", and one e-mail that said "Your pattern is crap. I could have figured this out on my own." I'll be honest that out of the 1000s of people who didn't e-mail me, or did and said they loved the pattern, these two negative e-mails made me want to never write another pattern, leave social media, and never sew anything again. That didn't last long though because I realized that whatever is making them unhappy enough to be nasty with someone they don't know isn't about me or anything in my pattern, and that all of the other people who enjoyed making the table runner are what matters.
3. No matter how many times a pattern is read and re-read, and how many people do it, there's still a possibility that an error is overlooked or I accidentally change something when I decide to a use a better diagram. It's terrible and I hate it, but it happens and I fix it immediately.
4. A file full of a hundred pictures and step-by-step instructions with photos of sewing a seam, pressing a seam, and squaring each block is overkill, and not a pattern but a tutorial. I still try to make everything clear and easy to understand but without all of the unnecessary repetitive instructions and photos.
5. The whole process from idea to finished pattern is time consuming and sometimes feels like there is no benefit to actually bringing that design in my sketchbook to life. At the end of the day I write my patterns to inspire others, and it's worth it to see one finished project on IG, or an e-mail or comment that says that someone enjoyed making the project or learned something new.
Thanks to everyone who supports and encourages others, and who inspires the creativity in their fellow makers.