Sunday, January 23, 2011

Overcoming Blogging Insecurities

chloe aftel studio (via design is mine)
Remember my new years resolutions and how I promised to be more honest with myself?  Well, part of that honesty thing is learning to overcome my blogging insecurities and I hope as I share my own struggles and observations, that you too will be encouraged or at least not feel quite so alone.

I've had some discussions with a few blogging friends concerning what we like LEAST about blogging and the consensus seems to be that blogging can feel a hell of a lot like being in high school and I don't know about you, but I really disliked high school.  I think a lot of the nostalgia about our pubescent struggles and the similarities we find in blogging stems from insecurity, plain and simple.

One would be hard pressed not to feel insecure in a highly competitive online environment where bloggers have no problem using words and phrases like "popular, popularity, blog stars, up and coming, top blogs, top 10, top 100" and the list goes on and on.  In an environment where connections and relationships coincide with stats, rankings, link exchanges, number of comments, and advertising it can be difficult to discern the genuine from the disingenuous, friendships from connections, and success from popularity.  In the midst of all this, that little negative nagging Nancy in all of us can pop in and say, "you'll never be good enough."

The point of this post is not to have a bitch fest friends, quite the contrary.  None of what I've said above is any way shocking or new, it's simply the online atmosphere and it's not that different from other aspects of our lives (i.e. school, jobs, family, friendships) except that with blogging, there comes a certain vulnerability when we put our ideas out there creatively through our writing, curating, and editing.  If you've been blogging for any time at all, I'm sure you've figured out that every niche has it's own cliques, it's own "blog stars", and it's own elite.  The structure that exists within each niche is natural but it can make some people (myself included) feel like they're on the fringe, waiting to be acknowledged or included.   We all want to be recognized for our hard work, our unique talents, and the thoughtful opinions we bring to the online conversation, but just like in high school,  our grades don't always reflect our intelligence and our social connections certainly don't reflect our self worth.

I've asked myself some questions that have helped me come to a good place (my happy place if you will) whenever I'm feeling discouraged:
  • Do you enjoy blogging? 
  • Are you happy with the content you put out on a daily basis? 
  • Are your online relationships genuine or are you just out to meet the "right people?"  
  • Have you grown as a blogger or are you feeling stagnant?  What changes can you implement to feel satisfied with your growth as a blogger, but most importantly, as a person?  
  • Are you putting too much emphasis on numbers and do you, perhaps, need to redefine your definition of success? 
  • What are your actual goals with blogging?  Do you need a magazine mention, a book deal, or a higher google page rank to be happy?  Do you need a "top design blog" mention to be happy?  Do you?
  • Are you OK with quitting the blog?  Does blogging on a daily basis bring you joy or does it feel like a chore?  
  • Why is your blog special?  Does your blog have a voice or does it just try to blend in with the "popular crowd?" 
There aren't any right answer to these question, but I find that when I go through my little list, I realize that my insecurities stem from how I view myself rather from how I think other people are viewing (or judging) me.  I realize that I really enjoy blogging, that I value the friends I've made in the community and it's OK with me if my stats stagnate or decline because my self worth cannot be quantified.  Ever.  Not by my salary and certainly not by D&OC's page loads.   
If you've made it this far, I applaud your perseverance and thank you for hanging in there with me.  I'd like to pose a question and I'd love to hear your thoughts and I hope that this will be a positive forum that will encourage each of us.  Keep in mind that everyone feels insecure at some point or another no matter what their "ranking"(or self perceived place) is in their niche or community.  
How do you deal with blogging insecurities?  If you aren't a blogger but have experienced insecurity in reading blogs where the facade of some people's lives seem to be picture perfect, how do you deal with it?  


Roxy Te said...

I go to my happy place just like you! Of course I'd love for my blog to grow, and it seems it's going so slow, but then I remind myself how much I love to write and to explore and to discover all the inspiring things out there in the blogging world :) I figure if I'm doing what I love it can be nothing more than a win win in my book!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this. It is true and realistic. I am insecure in alot of ways. Trying to overcome them day by day.

Nichole @ Parlour said...

This is something I can definitely relate to/identify with. It is a struggle some days, as is does feel like a re-run of high school. Complete with mean girls. But, the difference is, I am now an adult. And, I can choose to let it bother me or not. Like you, I know my worth. I have my list of q's when I am discouraged that help to reassure me in what I do. I think that all we can do is just know we belong, and that who we inspire are who really matter, not the others who choose to judge rather than lift up. Just what I tell myself when I start feeling insecure.

Ashley said...

I hate that I have to always compare myself with others. I like to say "I'll do me, and you do you, and we'll just enjoy each others differences!" I think I get addicted to the validation that blogging can bring rather than knowing I am valuable no matter what any one says. I guess its what I am looking for? Good post!

Erin said...

Great post!! Ugh, yes, the insecurities are my least favorite part of blogging. When it gets to me, I just remind myself that I'm doing what I love. I started my blog just for me, and never expected anyone to read it. The fact that others get enjoyment out of it makes me so happy, so I try to focus on the that...the nice emails and comments really keep me going. But really, I'd keep doing it without anyone even reading (although probably not every day!)

Claire Kiefer said...

Christina, I love you for writing this post! It's so brave to talk frankly about these things. I've managed to avoid a lot of these blogging insecurities cause I've never aspired to be in the "big leagues," but I am not exempt from the discomfort that comes with losing followers, etc. I always wonder--what did I say to make someone go into their dashboard and remove my blog from those that they follow? Or worse, am I BORING to someone? It's so ridiculous, because logically, it clearly happens to everyone! But the brief feeling of insecurity is there.

Another insecurity I face is when I read, love, and comment on a blog daily, and the author of that blog never reads or comments on mine. :) Again, silly . . . but I can't help it!

Ultimately I LOVE the friendships I've made through blogging, and I love the connection with the girls whose blogs I read daily, so it's all worth it in the end.


Down and Out Chic said...

erin- nice emails and comments are definitely a source of great motivation. it's a good reminder to me that i should comment and encourage others more (when i have the time, of course!)

claire- i definitely agree that it can be discouraging when your commitment to reading and commenting on a blog is never reciprocated by a blogger. i try to imagine myself on my busiest day and assume that the person who never responds is simply incredibly busy (whether it's true or not isn't the point :) xo

Kathy said...

I'm feeling you. I overcome the insecurities by just trying to be true to me, and remember what I set out to do in the first place....a quick, light beauty-shop type mag read that you throw in the pile when done...hoping that I and my reader/friends have gotten some sort of pleasure out of it or learned something.I'm not one of the popular girls, but the few comments and emails that i receive (plus a few new clients!) have been truly rewarding.....thanks for posting this...K

Jenny said...

I have been blogging for about three years now, and I mainly blog to share things I like, talk about recipes, books, music etc. I try not to take blogging too seriously. I simple do it to journal each day, and if other people like it and leave me comments or follow, well thats cool too. I don't need to win blog awards, be featured, or have the most followers. I do like to read some of the quote unquote big blogs, but I do it simply for entertainment. When I start putting pressure on myself to take notes to make my blog the best of the best, I've lost all enjoyment. Don't get me wrong, I do notice how many followers people have and wonder how they became so "popular." I hope we can all enjoy blogging and not make it a popularity contest :)

jes said...

thanks for writing this post. i feel a little bit insecure every time i post anything remotely personal, always thinking how people will receive it. thanks for reminding me that everything we write about is for us and if people connect with it that's great but if they don't its ok too.

Down and Out Chic said...

i think the lines of blogging for yourself and blogging for an audience can get blurred when blogging becomes your job, whether part time or full time. just like any job, there comes a point where you have to pay attention to your numbers (revenue) and keep track of you stats for ad purposes. sometimes what feels like a popularity contest isn't one at all, because i think there's room for many people to be successful and make money from their blog. for me, success is about finding a middle ground where i'm making some money while simultaneously being genuine with what posting.
just thought i'd throw that out there :)

Ginger said...

I always have blogging insecurities. It always feels like everyone is blogging better content, getting more comments, etc. Usually, I just try to hang in there and hope my readers stick it out until I blog better.

Lora said...

thank you for this post! i've been asking myself the same questions lately. and i can get overwhelmed if i start to compare myself and my blog to others. bottom line is - my value and worth does not come from what other people think of me, only what God thinks of me. and that is enough. :) MORE than enough!
thanks for challenging me to keep on asking those tough questions and re-evaluating the "why" of this whole blogging thing.

Gina said...

I am so happy you wrote this post!

I will admit - when I first started blogging a year and a half ago, it was all about numbers. I wanted followers, comments, etc. Now, I just do it for myself.

A few months ago, I moved my blog over to a custom domain and lost 90% of my followers. What that showed me is that only 10% of those were reading and enjoying what I had to say.

I made a few promises to myself with the new blog domain: Stop worrying about numbers. Don't hold back when I have an unpopular view. Write what I feel like writing. Show what I feel like showing. And since then, I have picked up a lot of new followers/readers…just by being myself.

A blog is a personal place. If people like it, they will stay, if they don't, they will go. No harm done.

Reminding myself that it isn't about numbers, it is about doing something I enjoy and if that something speaks to someone, then all the better.

Carpe Diem said...

I've had some insecure thoughts when it comes to my blog, but then I easily and quickly remind myself that I first and foremost blog for myself. When other bloggers love it, choose to follow, and take the time to read and comment, it is simply one positive...but the icing on the cake is the fact that I enjoy it..and it serves somewhat like a scrap book ...for me.

amy good house said...

I have come to terms that 99% of feedback I receive from my blog comes from my mother :)

I recognize that there are the absolute stars of the blogging world, but I'm usually turned off by the bloggers who shamelessly promote their perfect lives and i always end up deleting those blogs from my reader. I much more enjoy reading about regular people who have regular setbacks and concerns as well as their triumphs.

Paige said...

Oh man... that is a big question :)
Let me first say that I really appreciate what you wrote. I really liked the list of questions you asked yourself and I think they can reveal where those insecurities lie. I think the one thing that has helped me is to follow the truth wherever it leads... there is freedom in honesty, and I think just the admittance that I am insecure can bring me peace somehow. And there really is freedom for me in honestly evaluating my goals with blogging, and then walking through how the things I am insecure about relate to those goals. I fight to remain true to my asthetic and to be protective about my creative instincts. If other people don't get it, that's fine... but I can't sell out and be someone I am not. The same is true for my content... I write alot about my relationship with God, and I lose followers almost every time I publish one of those posts. But I can't become false. It isn't worth it. I really like your blog, and I live in Athens too. Thanks for sharing.

Jillian said...

what a wonderfully honest post!
this is the first time i have visited your blog-- now following :)

i have only been blogging for a few months but i can see how insecurities do arise. i am not a "what i wore" blogger because i don't think my everyday wardrobe is all that interesting, i have noticed that people who post a lot of personal information or photos have a lot of followers. i enjoy blogging but i don't want it to become a chore or get too obsessed with getting a lot of followers. i think these are great questions-- and when in doubt i will ask myself them. thanks!

xoxo jcd

Rebecca @ Poshery said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

You're very brave for writing this post. I think that a lot of us feel the same exact way about blogging, but don't have the guts to bring it up so publically.

On bad days, it's easy to compare myself to those blogs that everyone LOVES, only to find that I come up short in regards to comments, mentions, friends, etc.

But on good days, I look at what I've accomplished, and it still makes me happy. I'm proud of myself for making a committment to something that brings me such joy. When I stop loving it, I will stop blogging - plain and simple.

Flynn said...

This is a really good post - the comments are insightful, too. The pic at the top reminds me of Daisy Buchanan from the Great Gatsby, which is also nice.

I blog mainly so that I can stop spamming my friends with enormous online photo albums of my projects. It's really fun if someone else sees them and likes them too, but I've started to want to branch out from that into slightly different things and am wondering how I'll handle it if someone has anything negative to say about my content. Here's hoping I rise to the occasion ;)

I like this blog a lot. It's always new and inspiring and funny to read. I think you consistently do a lovely job.

Heather-Gathering Spriggs said...

Thanks for this honest approach to a little discussed topic in blogging. You know I remember bloggers talking at the beginning of the year about how the face of blogging and e-commerce is changing (you know the stuff generated from the poppytalk post) and the overwhelming response that I heard was " we can be the change we seek" or something like that. well, you have started that change. we are starting to "talk" about these issues. its something i decided to start approaching in my blog too. we are starting a conversation... that's huge. you are not the only one that feels this way. for sure. you have touched on a truth we all feel.
i was just asking myself all these same things today. and how we navigate blogging now. i don't know that i have all the answers. maybe more questions but at least we are talking about it! a step toward change.
thanks dear!
ps. i love what you do and since you started your new job i don't know how you keep up with all you do here.

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

I'm so proud of you! Lady, you're full of wisdoms!
there's a moment- or even moments, when I felt like hitting the delete button on my blog! Meanwhile, this whole popularity complex will continue to keep me humble! Plus, I'm still having fun thus far!
ps: you're one of the sincerest bloggie pals I know!

xo* as always!

FENNOfashion said...

This was a great blog post & I am sure everyone here who commented can relate in some way or another to what you had to say,we all just haven't put it out on the table.
The questions are great, and your blog is fabulous!

ana b. said...

Thanks for this, Christina. A great post and something I'm sure every blogger has had to struggled with. The bane of my life is comments. I look askance at the number of comments on some people's blogs and think, "Really? Honestly?" (eg endless reblogs, blatant copying of other 'big' bloggers, horrible text, terrible photos, etc). When I do a quick scan of the comments, I see the majority are the most trivial, frivolous things you could say. I've come to the realisation that I would rather have two or three really good, insightful comments and feedback from intelligent and supportive people than sixty-plus one liners from fifteen year olds on their Apple laptops. My insecurity stops when I realise that the depth of connections I've made with some bloggers is worth gold compared to the hundreds of sycophants who sometimes gather on others' pages. I remember this every time I feel that a post Rob and I have worked on doesn't feel the feedback I think it deserves.

S and O said...

Yes, yes, yes, yes! I totally know what you mean about feeling like your on the fringe and your existence is going by unacknowledged (not to be too dramatic), I get that feeling sometimes too :)
But I think how you perceive the blogging atmosphere has a lot to do with the mindset you go out with, for instance, I blog because I LOVE it, straight up love it. And because I love doing it so much and have such a great time I don't really let those insecurities get to me. I don't know, maybe it's just me but I'll think about everyday insecurities with blogging and then they'll just roll right off me.
I never find the time to get too affected by them because they are so insignificant!
But that's not to say that I don't have my down days because I totally do, I just know that they are temporary and will pass :)

This is such an interesting topic though, because you are so right about the similarities of blogging and high school cliques, they do exist.

And if I may answer one of your questions for you, from a readers view of D & O chic...your blog does have a voice! A great one. And I hope you keep writing because I'll keep reading ;)


Sam said...

Great post! I think I gave up any illusions that I'd be a super star blogger long ago and I just pop up stuff that I like and admire when I can! I know what you mean though - I can feel that "competition" vibe sometimes when I'm surfing around!! Happy week to you!! XOXO's

sittastary said...

just be positive, i think that is the key for blogging. because we're coming from different countries, and so with blogging we can make a connection to others in this universe. im enjoying this kind of blogging things. i can post anything i like about art , daily and specially about crafty or DIY things (which is i love 'em the most). i made my own blog for spreading the information or posted my own DIY things. because i had so much fun when im doing it. so, i think this is will be the 'real' mediator for me to present what i like.
well, im just saying anyway :D
*and of course to practice my english-sorry if its bad :p

17 Perth said...

I have definitely enjoyed reading this. This is beautifully written and honest. Thank you for sharing. Daily I read blogs---currently I do not have my own, but not that you present your "insecurities about blogging", I think my insecurities are the reason I haven't started one. Deep down I think---what if no one reads and cares? But yes, when I read others blogs who seem to be a part of a niche and whose life seems perfect, I try to either a)let it motivate me to get those nagging "to dos" done or b)conciously look at my life and say thanks for the things I am proud and thankful for.....I will admit---sometimes this is easier said than done.
Nevertheless---I applaud you for being honest and admire you for your beautiful blog.

Jess said...

Christina - I'll echo others here when I say thank you for this.

I, too, often feel this way - and being outside of America as a blogger seems to compound this feeling, as most of the 'big' blogs in my niche (if not all) are American.

It can sometimes feel like there is this exclusive 'club' that I am excluded from - but when I feel that way I need to take a step back and look as what I have achieved.

My blog is a big part of my business, so I do have to 'watch the numbers' - but I still enjoy it, and am always working on how to make my blog more of what I am, and what I want it to be - and I think that's enough.

Blogging is the ultimate in egalitarian publishing. Anyone can blog, and that's what I love about it. It may sometimes feel like there are 'gatekeepers', but really, there aren't. As long as the blogger is enjoying themselves, the readers will come, and stay.

Stephanie said...

This was a fantastic post!

I've always felt insecure about... well, pretty much everything, not just blogging. But I'm apparently really good at pretending otherwise, at least in real life.

When I do start to feel insecure about my blog, I have to remind myself of why I started it. I started it for me. It was a way of recording my thoughts and experiences when I started my jewelry business. Now I include stuff from other aspects of my life and will periodically make announcements about my business since I know there are people actually reading it.

It's been a great resource for getting feedback from potential customers or advice from fellow crafters. For me, it's not about being "one of the popular kids" or making money (though if someone decides to buy my jewelry because of something they read on my blog, that would be great!). It's a place where I can share my thoughts and experiences, and hopefully find ways to improve my business as a result. But the wonderful sense of community I found while doing so has been a pleasant surprise!

a star lost in the space said...

I've started blogging just a month ago and I find your post very useful... it has helped me to focus on what I want and which path I'd like to follow. Thanks! I hope not to find many insecurities, however, I think they'll be part of the 'process' and of this new experience...


jdavissquared said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head! This is so interesting to me, because it coincides with something I've been thinking about alot lately. I think we, as women, tend to be pretty hard on ourselves. {the majority of blogdom is made up of women} I know I have a tendency to think I'm the only one struggling or having doubts. After a long talk with a good friend last week, I realized that we {women} just don't talk about those things. I mean, we're all dealing with the same stuff. I think we need to get better at sharing our struggles and helping eachother through. Obviously, this is probably more applicable to "real life" but, maybe not.

It's all a matter of perspective too. I mean, I certainly view you as one of the "successful" bloggers I read!

When I'm feeling insecure, I always try to work on a post that goes back to why I love blogging. Something fun, just for me. Those are usually the most popular anyway!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog!! Keep up the great work :)

Kate said...

I don't blog very much because I don't have time but I want to say thank you for writing this. You are spot on and it was for these same insecurities that I was so resistant to starting a blog to begin with. For now, I just don't check my stats very often . . .

As for your blog, I LOVE it and thank you for all your hard work!

KC said...

I view the success of my blog as a way to keep evolving my personal style. I don't ever plan on making a living off of blogging, but if I can look back over a series of posts and see how my style has changed, I find that rewarding in itself. Keep up your good work, your blog has inspired me many times and influenced where my personal style is today!

Iva said...

I love this post and your courage. I love you and your beauty both inner and outer! You are a fantastic blogger who need not ever be insecure!! EVER! {but of course I understand, it always seems to creep in at various times!}


stephchows said...

You are so right on with all of this. I go through phases of not caring at all to being bummed when super new blogs take off like mad crazy (what's their secret!?!) You have to just do it for you and for fun... once it becomes a chore it's not worth it. I def. took time off around the holidays and didn't feel guilty about it, I needed some recharge time. Do I wish I could quit my job and just blog HELL YEAH! But I also know I don't put that level of effort into it right now... so I can't expect it to happen out of nowhere... still would be nice though ;)

drollgirl said...

oh the struggles of blogging. i have such mixed feelings about it, but overall i still love it. i have some insecurities about blogging, as it is easy enough to find a blog that looks better, has better content, and/or is more successful, but whaddya gonna do. at my best i like my blog a lot, and at my worst i feel like my best posts are behind me. but i keep plugging along. it takes a lot of time and work (and i make next to no money off of it -- dang it), but the rewards are pretty fab. i love the comments and the connections i have made with people. i could go on and on, but i'll stop for now!

Hiking in Stilettos said...

I'm so glad that you posted this, Christina. I feel exactly the same way sometimes. In fact, Lesley and I talked about it the last time I saw her.

Overall, I honestly value the friendships I have made through blogging, but in all honesty, there are also times I just want to be noticed by another blogger. It's frustrating. But I try to remind myself why I even started blogging, and that was for me. A place to be creative and document my inspirations and interests. And even if no one else reads, it's still nice to see something that I created.

Anonymous said...

now i feel guilty because i never subscribe to blogs + have never even commented on the blogs that i love...i check your blog everyday!! maybe there are lots of us out there who aren't accounted into your "stats"....

either way, i love your blog and i think we can all relate the the insecurities whether it's blogging, etsy (which i think feels the same way sometimes... the super shops that always make the front page, etc), or "real" life.

keep it up! xox

Brittany said...

As someone who was a blogging virgin until the middle of last year, I appreciate you voicing your honest feelings about the world of online opinion, feelings, critiques, relationships. I never knew how vast this world was, nor did I know how personal blogging would become for me. An honest, authentic blog is one where you can be yourself and allow your vulnerabilities to arise. While I'm enjoying learning how to be one of those blogs, it's great to know there are successful bloggers like you out there, who also sometimes have doubts. Thank you!

Natalie said...

I love that you posted this, Christina! Before you and Lesley pointed out that blogging can sometimes feel like high school, I never made the connection...but in some ways, you guys are so right.

Keep doing what you're doing, and your passions will continue to inspire others.

Thanks again for writing such an insightful, honest post. You rock.

Christy said...

Hey Christina-

I'm one of those lurkers who never comment-but I really appreciate your blog! It always makes me happy and interested. I don't blog myself but I think theres a tough pull to sell yourself out just to become the flavour of the week in much of blogging. I think you should pride yourself on giving content you're not only comfortable with, but proud of. I hope your blog continues to be successful!

Christy said...

Hey Christina-

I'm one of those lurkers who never comment-but I really appreciate your blog! It always makes me happy and interested. I don't blog myself but I think theres a tough pull to sell yourself out just to become the flavour of the week in much of blogging. I think you should pride yourself on giving content you're not only comfortable with, but proud of. I hope your blog continues to be successful!

Marsi @ The Cottage Cheese said...

It's so wonderful of you to post the thoughts that many of us feel. I love to blog, but my biggest anxiety is that I really have nothing different to show or say than thousands (millions?) of other bloggers. I'm not a great writer or photographer, although I am posting more personal posts lately because it keeps me more connected with my own life. Does that make sense? (As much sense as I can make at 7am pre-coffee, tee-hee.

You know this from personal experience: when working two jobs it's difficult to find the time to explore the web and find new blogs that I connect with, much less keep up with my favorite bloggers that I've grown to love. So I suppose for me, my blogging goal has become more to maintain friendships and make new friends.

Anyway, this is my long-winded way of saying that you are one of my favorite bloggers for many reasons. Your openness and warmth and encouragement of others is absolutely refreshing in this often-competitive environment. Thank you for being YOU, Christina! XO, Marsi

the southern hostess said...

I'm so glad you shared this. I feel the same way sometimes and it's nice that someone said it out loud.

KP said...

I read your blog all of the time but I have never commented until now!

First off, I enjoy reading your blog because you seem "real" and I LOVE seeing the types of styles and fashions you put on here.

My blog is private so I don't really struggle too much with competitive blogs; however, sometimes when I "blog hop" around, I really do feel insecure and "not as picture perfect" as people's blogs who I read.

However, I do enjoy reading those blogs, too because they inspire me in so many ways. I think the way I deal with my insecurities, while reading other people's blogs, is understanding that everyone has problems and insecurities but unless you want the entire world to know about those issues, you're only going to post about the happy things in your life, versus the negative. I think its so important to keep that in mind while reading and looking at other's blogs. A blog is only a glimpse of someone's life- not the entire picture.

Personally, I enjoy reading about happy things because it makes me happy and realize how much good there still is in the world today.

Overall, I wish I had a cooler blog but I like it private and for that reason I will never have many readers. But thank you for sharing your talents and thoughts everyday. I truly enjoy reading and looking at your blog!


christina said...

I pretty much had this exact conversation with myself this morning. Do I really like blogging? I seem to agonize more over it than I enjoy it. I've toyed with quitting; but then I think of all the wonderful, genuine people (like you!) that I've met here and I don't want to give that up. I have to keep telling myself that the real reason I blog is for me. If others enjoy what I put out there, great. If not, at least it's something I love doing.

P.S. Thanks for your post. Exactly what I needed to read today.


Down and Out Chic said...

kristy & kp & jess- thank you for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it and it's nice to know you're out there!

marsi- right back at you!

Colleen said...

Amen sista! Could not have said it better myself.

Lillian said...

I have never read your blog until today, arrived here from a link from Jessica Van Den. I have been considering beginning a craft blog for quite awhile now. Your post clarified some of my fears, however I think my biggest fear is my age - I am old enough to be your's, and the majority of your reader's, mother at least, if not grandmother! I am quite creative and know I have something to offer - I just need to get over my fear of rejection. Your post certainly helped me see that.

Laura.K said...

I just want to thank you for this post. I'm very insecure about a lot of stuff in my real and blog life. But I try to make it better.

Thanks for sharing this.

Down and Out Chic said...

lillian- thank you for stopping by. i hope that you do start your blog as i believe you have something valuable to offer- experience and creativity. craft/design/lifestyle bloggers come in all ages and i can think of a few bloggers that i follow who's ages range from 16yrs old to 50+. i hope you'll start something and let me know if you do. xo

heather said...

i have a personal blog that i started for friends and family. i quickly became intimidated by all of those other, more "professional" and "better" blogs out there, and i noticed that i felt self-conscious each time i posted.

i've realized,though, that my blog can be what i want it to be - which is just a fun way to share things with friends.

thank you for this thoughtful post!

Brigitte said...

This may sound counter-intuitive, but when I'm insecure I try to push outside of my comfort zone by reaching out to another blogger that I consider to be a level above me, either to pitch a guest post, say hello or request an interview. I do this because the first time I reached out to a big blogger, I received such a warm response. It totally brought home the point that we're all humans on the other end of the screen.

Even when I've been turned down, it's always with such class.

It's one of the few areas in my life where I am brave. But it helps soooo much to have tangible proof that we're all human and we're all busy.

And if I'm really too down to do that, I call one of my very trusted blog friends to share the experience. It helps an immeasurable amount to just talk to a girlfriend.

Emily @ Merrypad said...

It was so nice to read this post and realize that I'm not alone with the insecurities and being outside of the clique. I've read some very elitist comments from groupies of ALT and other conferences, and I've been looking in on that world and thinking either that I'll never be a part of it, or if I am a part of it, I'll have to have conformed to be "one of them".

Let's put those worries aside and do what WE each perceive is great work. One of my biggest worries (maybe only worries) is losing readership if I can't maintain high post volume (like, 25-40/month). If you like me, and I miss posting on a Thursday because you felt more like watching reruns of Renovation Realities on Wednesday instead of drafting something crafty, don't hold it against me too much, ok?

In the meantime, one of my biggest hurdles is trying to figure out how to make this a full-time thing. I'm not over-zealous, I know stuff takes time, and I'd like to work hard to get it, but it's hard to find truly objective help when it comes to identifying prospective companies who might want to advertise with you. Any advice available would be wonderful, so that 3, 6, 12 months down the road, maybe I'll be lucky enough to employ some best practices. Until then, I'll be thinking and willing to share my own ideas.

Let's be friends?

Much love, and thanks again for posting something so pure for us all to identify with.


LouBoo said...

Hello, I think I am late to join this discussion but I came to your blog post from Gathering Spriggs and a thought-provoking post. I just wanted to say, I too spend an inordinate amount of time trying to work out what I want to achieve through blogging and why I do it. Unlike many I am not selling it really is just me and my thoughts. In some way if I were selling a product I think it would validate the exercise of blogging. I do track stats and then wonder why. I put my thoughts out there and then find a stack of people read them and a handful comment and I wonder if that seems a little strange? If I read something that touches me I comment and acknowledge that the blog post meant something to me. But clearly there is alot of popularity wrangling and that is a bizarre side effect of blogging that I never anticipated. I just posted today on something about this topic...anyway - your post was very thought-provoking :-) Lou xx

Down and Out Chic said...

emily@merrypad - i just want to clarify that my post was not meant to call out any conferences or bloggers that attend conferences. in fact, i hope to be able to attend something like ALT one day if the opportunity arises.
i point out at the end of the post that my insecurities often come from how i THINK others are perceiving me and/or the blog. i also point out that cliques exist in all facets of our lives and this is natural. i don't think bloggers mean to be exclusive but i think the jargon used can sometimes sound elitist. of course, there are egomaniacs out there as well, but i'm certain the majority of bloggers are normal people who, overall, tend to be quite kind.

thank you for your comment!

Maggie Rose said...

Thanks for sharing this Christina!

I think part of what creates the high school feeling is exactly what you were pointing out - numbers. When before social media (and I'm counting blogging in that) were you able to quantify how many people liked you?? The numbers are out there for everyone to see, so comparison is so so easy.

Really we're all coming from our own perspective. I definitely can feel left out and left behind and "why aren't my posts getting X number of hits" and "why hasn't so-and-so emailed me back" but then I get a comment from someone else asking how I have such great connections, how to boost their traffic, etc. To one person, I'm just a puny blog trying to get noticed, to another, I'm livin the life!

It is also helpful to know that there are so many others who share this feeling!

Stacey said...

In a past life, I had a blog - it was a personal one, but it was updated regularly and had a fair number of readers. My current blog has a small number of readers and I struggle to find time to post.

But I want to improve. And I think that knowing there is room for improvement - and what needs to be worked on - is a big step. The next challenge is finding time to implement the changes...something I'm sure will take some time :)

Flynn said...

I'm a little late on this bandwagon, but do you know a good link for web etiquette? Like, is it more appropriate to cite someone's site's name, or is it better form to have the picture link back to their site, etc.? I've just started blogging, and sometimes I'm not sure if I'm the guy typing in all caps who doesn't know he's "yelling." Any advice is appreciated :)

Down and Out Chic said...

flynn- yes, i do! grace from design*sponge has a lot of great things to say on the subject

that particular link is part 1 and there will be more posts on the subject from d*s.

i think that citing the name as opposed to just linking a photo is good practice because with re-blogging, sources tend to get lost. email me though and we can discuss more. xo

bg said...

What a great post, thank you!
I'm a supernoob to blogging but I went in with this hunch that there is something inside that wants to come out and if I just keep writing, i'll find my voice & whatever that something is will come spilling out. I would like to expand into an etsy store for the little things I normally make for friends... a chance for some extra income of course and to see where it goes from there (if anywhere).

I've had some difficulty with letting people know I even have one to be read but I know I need to just tell my inner Polly Perfectionist to cram it. :)

Kelly's Adventures said...

You are so right and I've been thinking about this a lot to. One thing I noticed I find myself doing is that there might be a blog post with 100 or more comments and I think to myself in a sea of that who would ever even think to read my comment. I find I am more likely to comment on someone with less comments.

and I think that stems from what you are saying in this post.

jennifer ▲ i art u said...

really truly enjoyed this post. thank you so much!! i love how real it is and i know that a lot of people struggle with these issues--me included! i find myself constantly having to check myself...making sure i am staying true to who i am! it is so easy to be "swayed" but what is popular in the blog world. the most beneficial thing for me a lot of the time is to step back (sometimes this involves taking a blog break--whether it be breaking from reading or breaking from posting) and re-evaluating my inspirations and reasons why i blog!

again...thank you for this post christina!!

Hell Notes for Beauty™ said...

Great post and not to mention the comments. I post because I needed a place for me to place all of my recipes, thoughts and daily inspirations.

Not to sound vain but I kind of knew I would have at least SOMEONE like it and for me that was enough. The support helped me stick through and not to mention I love to help and just share things I feel are unique to me and will help others become unique in their own ways.

I tend to be a litle naive sometimes so I guess the cliques really don't even exist sometimes. Overall I'm stilllooking for my niche but withno pressure just going witht the flow.

Bromeliad said...

You are the kind of person I would have wanted to hang around with in high school.

jena said...

I'm late to the conversation, but just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed this post and completely agree! And I feel the same way, the same insecurities, still- after 5 years of doing this. Because I was never the popular kid in high school, I was too shy- and now I feel so open, on my blog. And it's hard to be so open and still not feel totally accepted, or acknowledged.

But then there are those days, like with this post that you wrote, where I'll write something that seems to really connects with people, that encourages a conversation like you've done here- and that is such a big reward, that moment of understanding and recognition.

And that helps me realize, that even if I'm not the most "popular" one or don't feel like I fit in with the "cool kids", there are people who understand and connect with the real, open me, and that's all I can ask for. And I think that's what keeps me blogging everyday, even when those insecurities start creepin.

kate gabrielle said...

wow, I don't know how I missed this, but I wish I had read it a few days ago. I had a major blogging meltdown two days ago when I had two more people unfollow my blog (it's been like a massive exodus lately .. those 2 brought the total to around 20 in just a matter of weeks) and my blogging confidence just plummeted. It really is hard to put yourself out there and stay confident when so many forces are conspiring against you .. people un-following, leaving mean comments, stats dropping, competition, etc. As someone who went through hell in high school, I think the analogy you made is spot on -- it really is all tied to insecurity and feeling inferior to other people (popular girls in high school or bloggers now) who are more successful and don't seem to be nagged by the same self-doubt that we feel.

I'm copying those questions you have at the end & saving them on my computer so I can remind myself whenever I'm having a blog-low that I really do it for myself, and because I love the people I've met through blogging. You're completely right - the numbers and statistics don't matter! One thing that keeps me blogging is the idea that my blog is a sort of online diary. I love the idea that if I keep at it, years from now I'll have a daily account of my life, what interested me, what I loved, what music I liked, what I looked like, etc. Even if everyone unfollowed my blog and nobody read it.. that alone should be reason enough to keep forging on :)

For what it's worth, your blog has been one of my favorites for almost two years now and I hope that your answer to "Are you OK with quitting the blog" is always "no!" :)

Diana said...

I know you sent me this ages ago but i remember I said to myself i'll read it when i can fully inhale it all.

Wow, this should be a how-to for all bloggers. 10, 100 or 10,000 readers, this is something all bloggers deal with. This is exactly what blogging is at times, we post what we want the world to read but forbid the idea of what we're really feeling at times.

Vulnerability is a scary thing, and very few people (including yourself) are able to balance a sense of personalization and privacy at once. I really enjoyed reading this, Christina. Thank you.

fee @ chipper nelly said...

Great post - my blog (usually say 'little blog'...clearly insecure!!!)
is still in it's infancy and sometimes i do finding myself checking the stats as though it's the only measure of success.

Then I will get a lovely comment from someone on the other side of the world and it makes me smile inside.

I frequently remind myself that my reason for blogging was as a way to share my days with friends and family (my Mum often reads it twice, and she sees us most days!!)
as well as connect with some of my customers - who love to see where the inspirations for certain products come from.

Your post (and the one on Papernstitch) really made me think...thanks!
fee ♥

Hey There Carole! said...

I just found your blog and will be adding it to my list of reads. I just started mine and I was being to wonder if I'm wasting my time. But after reading your blog I asked myself... Do you like your blog? Are you having fun with it? And, the answer is YES.


Hey There Carole! said...

I just found you blog and will add it to my list of daily reads. I just started a blog and I was beginning to feel as if I was wasting my time. But after reading your blog tips I asked myself some questions. Does it make you happy? YES. Are you having fun with it? YES.

Thank you!

Lana @ Eclectic Leverage said...

thank you for your blog questions. it is very helpful. i really like your blog too.

Linda Leyble said...

Boy, I am telling you - that finding this post was a breath of fresh air. Thank you for this honest post.

I have been blogging for awhile, but only seriously since last December or so. I have been discouraged sometimes - like when I create a beautiful ceiling design in my dining room (and I get a lot of great comments) - but then I will be on some one else's blog and they rubbed two sticks together - and got 299 comments!!

I know that I do beautiful work - and that's what I want to show on my blog. It's wonderful to get responses - it keep me creating more and writing more (and trying and learning to become a better photographer). So - I try to hold on to the purest reasons why I started to blog.

I don't have any advertisers or sponsors yet - I will wait until me and my blog are more seasoned. For me - number of advertisers equaling success is not a factor.

Thanks for posting - and I am going to read some more of your blog. Great work - great content - thank you...thank you!


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