Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Blog-petition" (and 3 ways to avoid it)

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The other week I wrote about "Mom-petition" on HelloGiggles...and while I was doing so, I started to draft a post here about a different kind of competition - one that may be a little closer to home to many of you...blog-petition. Yes, that's right, I just made up a word! Blog + competition = you guessed it, blog-petition.

Being involved in the blog world is an interesting thing- you're surrounded by people who come from all walks of life. There are chefs and writers, there are designers and crafters. Mommy blogs and pregnancy blogs. Photography aficionados and incredible videographers. There's inspiration around every corner, and sometimes it can be hard to watch all of these amazing people do such amazing things, without feeling like you need to "keep up."

When I first starting blogging I felt that way. Everywhere I looked there was someone else doing something better, wearing something prettier, and documenting it in such a way that it was easy to feel like I would never be able to compare.  But as I matured a bit, and my blog matured, I realized that by turning blogging into a competition, I was only taking away from myself and my own blog.  And sure, competition is healthy (and really great in other arenas), but in a world where I was just trying to find my place and share a bit about my own life, it was completely self-defeating to have these negative thoughts swirling around my head.  I was blogging for me, so why did I feel like I couldn't keep up?  Where was this imaginary measuring stick that I had already determined was way over my head?

And so I decided to just do it for me.  I kept blogging, kept sharing bits of my world, and because my story is indeed unique to my world, there was no competition.  Just as there is only one you, there is just one me...and because we are all so different, each of us our own person, our own voice and perspective, there is no need to compete when you are being your 100% true, authentic self.  And so here are three things that have helped me avoid being "blog-petitive," and maybe they will help you too.


1) Being your 100% authentic self will free you from the need to compete with others.  When you are being you, the real you, the you that doesn't worry about what others think, the you that just creates and produces because it comes from your heart, your mind, wherever, there is no competition. On this blog I share my daily life, my writing, and interesting features from folks all around the world. Sure, as a whole someone could look at my blog and want to compete with me to be the "better" blog, but really, at the root, how is that competition even possible? My life is my life. This other fictitious person cannot have their own Hank, their own Henry, the same Tattoo Tuesday or all of my personal stories and writings- they can't do this because my life and experiences are unique to me. So comparing the things I do and create with the things someone else does makes no sense. Sure, you can say that some other blog is more interesting than that blog, the writing is better, their significant other seems sweeter, or whatever, but when it comes down to it, it's apples and oranges. I am me, and you are you. Thinking about blogging this way has really made me appreciate every individual and their corners of the internet for their own unique qualities, and has allowed me to really figure out what my little corner is all about too.


2) Realize that there is no finish line. There really isn't. There is no one that will one day say to you, "You have written the very best blog in the entire world! You win!" Nope. Not gonna happen. But what there is, is you! There's a feeling after you produce a really awesome post- there's some pride in there, an excitement about sharing it- and that's the feeling you should strive for. Every time you post something that you love, you've measured up, because you are the only one who sees this imaginary measuring stick to begin with.


3) Know and appreciate your own strengths. We have our strengths, and we all have our weaknesses. My strength lies in writing, where as I'm certainly not the best when it comes to fashion posts and I'm definitely not that good at making my posts exceptionally pretty.  Many of my blog friends are extremely great at these things though, but I don't look at them and wish with all of my heart that I could be as fashionable as so-and-so, have such a great eye for design like whats-her-name, or wish I was able to take photos like you-know-who.  Instead I look at what I am good at and appreciate those qualities, then look at my talented friends and learn from them, and get inspired to improve in areas I feel like I would like to learn more about.

In the end, it's all about supporting rather than competing. Lifting each other up instead of fighting to get ahead. Getting inspired rather than intimidated. Comparing yourself to everyone else is a losing battle because there will always be someone smarter, prettier, seemingly happier than you. Turning a positive, fun thing into a competition takes away from the sense of self in each person's space. Find inspiration and motivation out there, but then focus on yourself and what you are creating, and I promise you will find a lot more happiness and value in this blogging community.

Happy blogging!

88 comments:

  1. well said my friend. love you!

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  2. Great advice! I love your authenticity and the way you inspire so many with your positive energy. XOXO.

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  3. Dani, thank you SO MUCH for posting this. I know so many people, myself included, that deal with this or have dealt with it before. It's crazy, but it's true. I've seen a lot of blogs crumble because they got too wrapped up in blog-petition [love that word, haha].
    I think that this is a post that every blogger should read. You've really written it well and covered so many feelings that bloggers go through. High fives to you! <3

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  4. Thanks for sharing this! I completely agree.

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  5. I adore that you wrote this! So well said!

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  6. Absolutely agreed. And, your posts look downright attractive to me. :) But then, I'm another that's better with the writing than the prettifying, so I may not be a fair judge.

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  7. this is a great post! so often i find myself wishing my blog was more like my friends' but i'm learning to put what i have into my blog and let that be enough. thanks for the reminder!

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  8. this is why i read your blog. you are 100% danielle, 100% unique. we should all strive to write as honestly and down-to-earth as you do. thanks for this inspiring and so real post!

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  9. Great post and great advice. Well said.

    Zoe

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  10. wonderful post!! great advice.. <3

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  11. I really can't thank you enough for posting this. I've only been part of the blogging world for just over a month and since there's so much out there to see and read, it's easy to want to compare myself. Especially since I'm such a rookie. But, I know it's quality over quantity and that being ME and letting that shine through is the most important thing.

    Your words are so genuine and offer great advice for all bloggers. Your blog has personally been an inspiration to me and I can tell it's been the same for many other people as well.

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  12. Great post! Every new blogger should read this. Perfectly said...just be yourself!

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  13. Very lovely post. I haven't even been blogging a month and I find myself feeling the same way as you did in the beginning. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm doing this for ME and I want my blog to reflect myself. Stop worrying about others. :) Sea Marie

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  14. thank you for this happy reminder.

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  15. I definitely needed to read this. Thanks for saying exactly what needed to be said.

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  16. Ditto to what James said :) Love you. Lots.

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  17. I'm on of those bad blog readers. You know, the ones who quick-finger scroll just to get to the pretty pictures? Yep, that's me. Sure, I'll read a line or two or what a blogger wrote, but if it's more than that, I've generally lost interest and moved on to the next post.
    Not here. Not with you. I actually enjoy reading your posts. Because you're a good writer, sure. But because you're a good writer who knows she's a good writer and doesn't need to prove it to us (or more likely, to herself) with lyrical frills and wading pool deep metaphors. (See what I did? Used a metaphor in my rant about stupid metaphors. Bad writer.)
    Anyhow, I know you don't need the pat on the back. And that you certainly didn't ask for one, so I'm gonna offer up a high five instead. I like your writing style and your approach to life - you come off as genuine and that's a person whose words I want to read.
    hugs and handclaps,
    me, a reader

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  18. This is the best! You're completely right. Recently, I've been saying things like, "if I had this kind of life" people would be more drawn to my blog. Example: If I were an international traveller living in Paris, rocking chic fashion during the day and DIY-ing by night I'd have so many more people interested in my blog.

    Instead, there's just 18 year old me and my biggest adventure is just going to college in the fall. I don't have the funds to consistently sport the chicest fashion trends, I may never visit Paris, and I'm way too busy working so I can go to college to DIY.

    Thanks for encouraging us to be ourselves and really make our blog a true reflection of our own unique adventures!

    <3

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  19. Love it! Love it a million times over! I can't tell you how many times I've had to stop and remind myself that this is not a competition and if no one ever reads my blog but my mom (haha!) who cares. I love writing it and that's all that matters. Great post!

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  20. How did you know I needed this clarity?! I used to pride myself on not feeling those feelings but it's crept in lately and as much as I try to stay focused on my own voice and strengths, I've been feeling shaky.

    SO, thank you for putting this out there, Danielle. Everything you share in this manner is like a big hug to everyone that reads your blog!

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  21. This is fantastic. You helped me think in a completely different way. I love your perspective and your writing ability!! :)

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  22. You are absolutely right! Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  23. Fantastic advice, and a lovely post xo

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  24. Wise words! Thanks for this! I've definitely been there.

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  25. very well said, completely agree, and thanks for the reminder!

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  26. Most definitely needed to read this today. Your authenticity, and frankly everyones' authenticity is simply inspiring. Thanks a mil.

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  27. "In the end, it's all about supporting rather than competing. Lifting each other up instead of fighting to get ahead. Getting inspired rather than intimidated." I love that so much! Thank you for the post! It has helped me and I am so sure it will help so many more to just be content in who they are and to really just appreciate others. Thank you!

    Cambria
    www.camabia.com

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  28. Oh I love this so much! Great reminders!

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  29. Thanks for posting this, Danielle. One of the many things I enjoy about your blog is that it is so real. if I start to read a blog and get the sense that it's artificial or in some way lacks that "real"ness it quickly loses something for me. Thanks for the reminder, I've found myself getting into this quagmire far too often.

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  30. I loved this. You have certainly carved out a unique spot for yourself which is what I am working on. I am so fulfilled by blogging and satisfied by having a creative outlet that I have control over. Thank you.

    Kacie
    A Collection of Passions

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  31. Thanks for posting this, Danielle. One of the many things I enjoy about your blog is that it is so real. if I start to read a blog and get the sense that it's artificial or in some way lacks that "real"ness it quickly loses something for me. Thanks for the reminder, I've found myself getting into this quagmire far too often.

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  32. I have to remind myself to come back down to Earth and out of the blog-petitive clouds every so often. I love my blog and I never want to it to reflect anything but ME and who I am. I do love to draw inspiration from others, though!

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  33. thanks for this, i so needed this reminder today. xx

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  34. Thank you so much for this post! I have just started blogging (literally I wrote my first post today) and I found myself thinking about what I needed to do to make my blog awesome. You are absolutely right about making it for you! Thank you for inspiration and great advice. :) This is exactly why you have a successful blog and your followers love you!

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  35. I just have to echo everyone else & say great post! There are constantly days when I am down about this! I guess we all wish we could be it all, but it's really unrealistic! I started being happier when I realized I liked writing on my blog & it didn't matter if it's "perfect" because it's just 100% me.

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  36. you are an awesome woman danielle. so genuine and i should comment more. but i am always reading!

    this post makes me so happy. you are really special. it doesn't take much to be all cutesy and fake, and you are just so real and lovely... and it's way better.

    i struggle with this whole blogging competition stuff. i don't have lots of readers, but i still feel like sometimes i can't blog what i am really feeling because it will bore / upset people, or turn people away.

    why do i even care about that? i don't know!!

    xox

    anyway, if this even made sense, the whole point was, you are awesome!

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  37. Well crap! I think you may have just described me...this is both good and bad. Good that I read this post...bad...because of the realization. I've never wanted to be...a lemming or a follower. Growing up I was never been one to "keep up with the Joneses" and I did what I wanted because "I" wanted to and for no other reason. Here on the web it seems I've been doing the opposite. Trying to post the perfect picture...think up the best story. When in reality that's not how it is. We don't spend the day baking cookies, doing crafts and posing for pictures. My blog is meant to be a glimpse into MY life. I need to take your advice and just write from the heart and let the chips fall where they may. Thank-you. This was like an internet slap in the face...telling me to snap out of it.

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  38. May be the best post I have ever read. So well said, love!

    <3

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  39. well said. people so easily forget that blogging should be fun; not competitive and overworked. It's so obvious and such a turn off. being real, true and thoughtful is how to keep and grow followers.
    happy day!

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  40. Well said!! I was feeling really down about my blog when I first started, and didn't know what direction to go in. I was so intimidated. I realized I just had to be me and do what I felt fit my blog best. Great post!

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  41. What a great blog post! I was just talking with my husband last night about the very same thing. I think that a lot of bloggers can feel this way, I know I do! Thanks for such a positive spin and great tips about something that has the potential to ruin a really good thing :)

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  42. I love this post! When I first started blogging I wasn't even a blog reader and it was so much easier to write in my voice. As I've started reading others, it's hard to keep my blog true to me, but i've been working on it a lot in the last few weeks.

    this was beautifully timed for me! thank you.

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  43. YES! This makes me want to stand up and cheer! I agree with every single word. Being authentic and true to yourself is the most important thing.

    Thank you for always being a genuine, honest, refreshing, and wonderful individual, Danielle. I feel blessed to know people like you. <3

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  44. Oh my! I began a blog last autumn and got eaten up with feelings of inadequacy and let my own blog crumble. I often feel inadequate in the world of blogging, but have kept up with it only for myself this time around and have enjoyed it so much more. Thank you for this wonderful post. It was essential to read :)

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  45. you hit the nail on the head! i'm just giving my go at blogging... again and feeling the need to "keep up" is exhausting and intimidating. thank you so much for sharing this post - it's so refreshing!

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  46. Very well said. Thanks for sharing ;)

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  47. This is really GOOD stuff!! Very true! Thanks for posting!

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  48. Thank you so much for this post! I'm a newer blogger and I know I struggle with this. I loved your advice and completely agree!

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  49. Ah what a refreshing and encouraging post! I love how these tips are great for new and experienced because when it all comes down to it we really are in the same place. Thanks for always being a bright light in this community. it is very much appreciated!

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  50. Thank you for this Danielle. It's been a tough week for me and this post reminded me of my own story and while it might "normal" to compare, it's not healthy or helpful. Thank you, thank you!

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  51. Thanks for writing this, Danielle! I have been blogging for nearly 5 years and my blog has evolved many times. The first couple of years I almost quit. No one knew about it and it was really just for me to document my first pregnancy. But during my second pregnancy I stayed home and really branched out. I was immediately taken aback by how inferior my little blog felt! I almost quit again! I just couldn't take the pressure. But I got my mojo back when I realized that I am blogging for my boys. And I am blogging for me. I consider myself a writer FIRST and a blogger SECOND! And that helps a lot. It is about community and supporting one another :)

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  52. Couldn't have said it better myself.

    So true.

    One of my friends that also blogs and I often tell different friends of ours "you should try blogging" and we are always told "about what? no one would ever want to read about my boring life"

    BUT the thing is just as you said it, no one else will ever be you, or have your life, and what is "boring" to you can be all inspiring to someone else.

    You just never know!

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  53. Thank you for this. I don't think a little bit of blog envy is necessarily bad -- we can use it to challenge ourselves to improve. But it's a slippery slope when we start competing, imitating what others do, or berating ourselves for not being able to do what they do. It's important to remember that all we can do is be the best at being ourselves.

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  54. I whole heartedly agree with this post. I've been blogging for almost two years now and I read a lot of blogs. It's easy to think that your blog isn't good enough or to think, wow I should just stop because no one reads this. Not true. I have virtually no followers on my blog and I write it for me and I remind myself of that when I read other blogs and wish that my blog was as nice/popular/etc. Great post, Danielle. :)

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  55. This was great to read and a good reminder for me. I am rather new to blogging and I have felt blogetitive but as you stated, there is no great outcome from feeling that way.

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  56. That is so true! Thank you for posting this. I've been thinking for so long now that there is no way I could ever compete with all the beautiful blogs out there. It bothered me at first, until I realized that I blog for myself because it's fun. It's great advice, so...thanks :)

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  57. Love this! Makes me feel so much better about myself and my blog!

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  58. Such a great post. It really is all about coming together.

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  59. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. It's really inspiring advice, and as a new blogger, just what I needed to hear. I really love your writing style! <3

    opinionsareimmunity.blogspot.com

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  60. I definitely needed this reminder! Thank you for sharing this. I may have to read it more than once!

    The part that really hit me was "Just as there is only one you, there is just one me...and because we are all so different, each of us our own person, our own voice and perspective, there is no need to compete when you are being your 100% true, authentic self."

    So so true!

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  61. thank you for writing this danielle! everything you said was spot on!

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  62. I love this, it is true you get so wrapped up in what the next blogger is doing you loss your self in the hopes to "compete" but what's the prize! Well written hun!

    http://preciouschic.blogspot.com

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  63. this post has resonated so much, with so many.
    thank you.

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  64. Oh, how I love this post. Thanks for the tips! I need to remember this.

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  65. amazing words & an amazing reminder! Thank you for sharing!

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  66. You are so right! In the end, it's all about supporting rather than competing. These are thoughts that I'm sure have passed through everyone's minds from time to time. It's so easy to be overwhelmed by it. That's a great reminder. Blogging is like Happiness, it's a way of travelling, not a destination.
    Great post!

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  67. What a true and lovely post---thank you for this <3

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  68. Wow, this is so great danielle. I think every blogger struggles with this at one point. I know I do. BLogging is fun but it takes too long to post if you're striving to write the perfectly articulate paragraph. I already worry that I spend too much time posting and editing here, why waste anymore time cutting and pasting to achieve "perfection". Besides, chances are the post you thought was so awesome will make you loose a few followers and then you really feel like you wasted precious time. You can't make everyone happy!

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  69. Found your post through Kyla Roma. :) Something I needed to read. I get caught up in the comparison game all too frequently with blogging and it's important to remember that blogging is intensely personal and everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses.

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  70. These are great words of advice and very well said.

    http://thekeypieces.blogspot.com

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  71. Excellent advice and way to put blogging into proper perspective. Thanks!

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  72. Where did you get the baby pink macbook cover

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  73. I wish you could shout this from bloggy rooftops!

    I've been blogging for a while and the evolution of my blog has changed with me and I've always tried my hardest to be true to myself.

    Wonderful post. :)

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  74. This is so much true that being a blogger will make you appear in front of people who really come up with different experiences of life and field. During my blogging experience I see that when you had some thing new t share people will let you find yourself by them.

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