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.