Monday, 19 March 2018

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy.

snowdrops blogging comparison

I feel like people are going to take this the wrong way, so it's a risky post to publish - but after reading Rachel's post on differences in blogosphere opinions I'm doing it anyway. Just give me the benefit of the doubt, and read the whole thing before you subtweet...!

Over the last few months, I have really started feeling disheartened by blogging. I've felt interaction has been dropping off, my inspiration has been seriously lacking, and frankly - my usual motivation has been replaced with a huge dose of feeling Not Good Enough.

I've talked recently about how I don't really know where I fit in within the blogging community. My content isn't useful, helpful, funny or smart - and I'm mostly okay with that. Having somewhere to express myself - regardless of whether it benefits anyone else - has always been important to me. I may have only had this blog for two years, but I've been uploading personal writing online for close to 15. When my mental health is bad it's so useful to have a blog. But then I start feeling like I might as well not post, as the only person reading it is me. I'll be real, sometimes I just want to feel like I'm not shouting into a void.

At the moment, as a blog reader, I am in my bloody element. I feel spoilt for choice by the wealth of talent that is around. There are blogs that look more glamorous than any Vogue shoot, and there is writing better than the books on my Kindle. There's a consistent stream of high quality, entertaining posts to read, and I am so grateful to the amazing content creators who put the time and effort into blowing us away with their work.

But that's also kind of my problem. How am I meant to create anything myself when I see how high the bar is set? I can't look at those glossy, luxurious blog posts and then feel completely proud of what I create. It's not on the same level, it might never be on the same level, and I'd be lying if I said that didn't bother me. Before you start thinking that I'm being ridiculous, I know I should be happy with doing my best, and that I shouldn't compare my blog to anyone else's, but let's be real here - that's not how life works. 

Part of the reason I can't seem to bring myself to blog is that the 'competition' is just too bloody strong. How are you supposed to stand out in a huge crowd of bloggers who are just levels above you? There are bloggers out there who take my breath away with their writing, they have a talent I will never possess. And as for the overall aesthetics of blogging - jeez-o, I am miles behind. I mean, there are more and more people hiring professional photographers for their posts. Absolutely nothing wrong with doing that - it's amazing to help support small businesses if you can, and you get excellent photos, total win-win. But if you're not on that level, not able to shell out for that, what are you meant to do? I've almost entirely given up on Instagram because I just cannot compete with the quality of photography, editing, hell even the locations and products are outwith my range.

Everyone has their own voice, and has something unique to bring to the table - I get that completely. And in no way am I saying that smaller blogs aren't good - almost all my favourite bloggers are relatively 'small' (I'll be completely honest and say I only follow/keep up with about four or five bloggers with more than 10,000 Twitter followers). I love getting to know individuals through their blog and I am in total awe of what they produce. I'm honestly just talking about myself, and my own expectations. I have talked before about the fact that I don't even really try new things before I give up on them. I've got this inbuilt preference for not trying rather than taking a risk and failing, and clearly, it's holding me back.

It's coming up to blogging awards season again, and it can feel horrible to read numerous Twitter posts about who people are nominating and not see your name included. Hell, it can hurt my feelings when I'm not included in a Follow Friday list on Twitter, or when I see friends recommending blogs to other people. For me, it's a catch 22 - why would I put my all into something that could essentially 'fail' and not be recognised? But then why would anyone recognise something that is half-arsed (and don't get me wrong, I know full well this blog is half-arsed). 

I'm always being told that if you keep going it'll get easier, but I just am so impatient. I know that the people who I am envious of have worked their arses off for years to build a following, but my rational brain doesn't take the lead on this. Instead, the voice in the back of my mind going "well, of course, no one wants to read your posts or look at your photos when they could spend their time on X, Y or Z's blog!" is pervasive. It's been so loud and so insistent, that of course, I have believed it. 

Well, not anymore. A recent Twitter 'conversation' about entitlement in the blogging world made me realise that I am just as guilty of this way of thinking. Sure, I'm not demanding free products or anything, but I am expecting success and fulfillment without doing the hard graft. Not. How. It. Works.

Okay so I can't afford a photographer, I don't have a body or clothes I'd want to photograph anyway, I don't own any luxury products, I don't really have a way with words. But what I do have is me. I have my own stories to tell, my own thoughts to share, and my own life to live. I can't get better at something if I just give up, and I can't be as good as the people who are beginning to reap the rewards if I don't put in as much work as they did (and I know they did!). My page views may be pitiful, but not writing isn't going to improve them. My Instagram may be faintly depressing, but not taking photos won't boost my following. 

It is going to be nearly impossible to stop myself comparing my output to other peoples, and nigh on ridiculous to expect to stop feeling like I am not as good. But I can't just stop doing something I enjoy just because other people are better at it. Even if it takes me ten years to produce a post I am 100% satisfied with, it will be worth it. 

So until then, I'll be here. Working hard and risking failure, in the hopes of becoming better. 
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8 comments

  1. You're right that the comparison game is always a losing one, but at the same time, it's almost impossible not to play. Especially just automatically.

    Even extrapolating the idea outside of blogging, so much of the invalidation when it comes to mental health is through comparison. From the ridiculous & annoying 'How could you be depressed, you have food to eat' & 'So many people have it worse than you, get over it' etc. To even within our own minds -- 'Why should I get better if there are so many people more worthy than me' & 'Why is she getting better and I'm stuck in this shit?'

    I still don't have the perfect reasoning not to compare ourselves to others, but I'm working on it. I've heard things like -- you only see what they want you to see, they could be hiding just as much pain as you are -- or everybody's an individual and we're too complicated as people to fit into neat little boxes that comparisons need.

    Either way, I understand the struggle with comparison.

    Also, I do really like your blog and have missed reading new posts. You were the first person I reached out to when I started my blog and there's a reason for that -- I think your blog is great. And it's allowed to be different, but different isn't inherently good or bad.

    Anyway, I'll cut the rambling off here, because I think my writer's block has disappeared and I should get back to it. Thanks for the post, it's a good one!

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  2. Beth THIS is what I come to your blog for. I dont come for fashion posts or advice on my life. I come for ramblings, a social comment, a nosey into your life and some realness. I don't go to your instagram for peggy porschen and poses worthy of Vogue. I go for travel inspiration or nature or another reason to add scotland to my bucket list. I'm so with you we see everyone else succeeding around us and we think well i deserve that success too without putting in the effort. I do it ALL the time with brand collabs where I think god I'd be such a better fit but I don't ever approach the brand first, I just sit sulking why they didn't come to me first. Cracking post, loved it as always, will always come back - even if its just you and me reading ;) xxxxx

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  3. I love this post so much, you've expressed so many things that I'm feeling ! Some of the bloggers out there are incredible and it makes me feel a bit useless esoeciespe when I see a lot of them are around 10 years younger than me! I think the best thing to do is if your enjoying it, keep doing what your doing! Comparing yourself to others will never have good results, your blog and your goals are your own not theirs!
    This is the first post of yours I've read so I'll be giving your blog a little nose when I have more time!
    😊 X

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  4. Firstly, welcome back to blogging, Beth, I have missed your posts because despite what you may believe, I think you do always have something to say. I'm extremely envious of your writing talent and how easily and fluidly you are able to express yourself, whether writing on mental health, a book review, or on beauty. I read a post by another blogger a while ago (I can't remember who ) who said that we need to turn feelings of not being as good as others into motivation to do better ourselves. While I'm not suggesting that you're not as good as other bloggers, I think her advice was spot on. And BTW, I love your Instagram feed, it's so refreshing to see such beautiful nature shots in amongst a sea of prop shots and fashion poses. Don't stop what you're doing, please. Apologies for the ramble, I'll close by saying how much I'm looking forward to haveing you back on my feeds again! xx

    Lisa | www.lisasnotebook.com

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  5. It’s super hard not to play the comparisons game. I’m guilty of it as well, and ai think it’s natural to do to a certain extend. But you’re also right that no one is YOU, and no one has your voice.

    I’ve blogged for manyyyy years, just like you, and a year or two ago I completely stopped valueing my content in terms of numbers, instead I just tried focusing on more engagement in my community. That helped a bit, and made blogging a lot more fun and motivating for me, but of course it isn’t everything.

    I’m hapy you’ve found some new motivation to blog. This post is so relatable and inspiring for me. Thank you.

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  6. There's something more to blogging than just your photos and writing (and yours are both fab, as an aside!) - your lovely personality really comes across here and whilst I'm a shitty blog reader, going AWOL for months at a time, I'll always come back :) xo

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  7. What a great blog post. It was so honest and vulnerable. Yep. I can empathize with competition. My mother always told me that there will always be women who are more beautiful, more talented, richer than you but there WILL NEVER BE ANYBODY LIKE YOU. Embrace your uniqueness. You have tons to offer.

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  8. It's an honest, from-the-heart post you have written Beth, and for that, you should be proud. It's human nature to compare and contrast - I'm guilty of it too, and that can be disheartening sometimes. The knack is, to think about your strengths, your unique-ness (because there's no one else who can write like you) and where you want to be. You can write extremely well Beth, and hats off for being uber honest. I am glad I read your post. I feel better for it, and I hope you do too. X

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