Apr 22, 2014
Bloggers Anonymous: Enough is Enough
Welcome to the first edition of Blogger Anonymous. Not quite so anonymous, but definitely a place where people (mainly me, but feel free to join in), post about issues and drama that is currently plaguing me pertaining to blogging.
I debated about making this post for over a month now. Debated, toiled, fretted, worried, plotted, pondered, agonized -
OK, maybe not agonized.
I feel like this is an issue every blogger faces at some point: Jealousy. And not just "Oh, that's a cute bracelet" jealous. I mean gut churning, dark thoughts, I give up jealous. I seem to be seeing more and more of this, and I will admit I've struggled with this myself.
About two months ago I was truly fighting daily with myself about closing the blog down for good. It's something my friends and my awesome co-blogger knew about, but I felt like admitting it openly - to everyone in the blogosphere - was ridiculous and so not important in the grand scheme of things. But I didn't like the person blogging was turning me into.
What started as a fun hobby had morphed into an obsession that was constantly eating at me. Every instagram post I saw where a blogger got an ARC or 10 I didn't get, I wondered what I had done wrong. How could I be a better blogger? How could I get on people's radar? What new ways could I up my comments? Or bring more page hits?
It got to the point where I was legit obsessed to a point that was scaring me. I feel like since I started blogging I've always been chasing an unattainable number. When I first started it was all about the GFC count. I convinced myself that if I could hit 1,000 GFC followers then I had arrived. Cue the marching band and confetti. (Please don't ask where/why/how my twisted little mind decided that was the magic number.) And then, about a year and a half after blogging, I hit that number. I was elated.
For a week.
But then it wasn't about GFC numbers anymore. I was about my Klout score. My Twitter followers. My Facebook likes, my email subscribers ... Every time I wrapped my mind around one set of numbers, it changed. Now it's page views. Or unique page views. Maybe both (it took me almost a year to figure out the distinction).
Wait - or is it Bloglovin' followers?
HOLD ON! This just in! Something called an Alexa is the new standard by which bloggers are judged? The only Alexa I know was in a couple Spy Kids movies back in the day, but OK....
Blogging stopped being a fun hobby and became a chore that I dreaded. Reading books wasn't exciting - it was a means to an end. Read a book to write a review. Post a review to get some page views. I found myself competing with my friends - I got irrationally jealous when they had more twitter followers than me. Or more comments on their posts.
I finally hit my breaking point one night where I had my cursor positioned on the "Delete Blog" button. I was done. I was over feeling like crap and worrying and freaking out about stuff that - at the end of the day - wasn't the be all/end all of my life.
It took a lot of furious text message sessions between some bloggers friends before I finally settled down and decided to take a step back. I made a conscious decision to breathe and not touch the blog for a week and back away from social media. After the first couple of days, it became easier. Instead of trying to adhere to a a strict book reading and posting schedule, I just did what I wanted.
You know - the way I did when I first started down this rabbit hole 3 years ago.
I guess the reason I'm bringing up all of this now is because I have several friends who are currently struggling with this very thing. And I know we can't be the only ones. I don't want to see a lot of awesome bloggers throw in the towel because they forgot - we forgot - why we started doing this at in the first place.
So what if you don't get that ARC everyone else did? Can you honestly tell me you don't have a shelf or more of unread books somewhere? If people have better stats than you? More followers? More power to 'em.
Every follower you have in every facet of blogging and social media is someone saying, "You're worth it and you matter" on a daily basis. If even 5 people are willing to follow you, that's amazing. You've influenced and touched those 5 people.
So, stop and count. Right now. Do it. How many people have you reached? Can you name them all? How long would it take you to write each and every single one of them a quick "Thanks for following me" note?
I'm not saying I'll never get jealous again. But now I can keep it in better perspective and I'm loving blogging again. It's fun. And isn't that the whole point?