Yesterday, a writer/blogger that I admire very much, and most of you know as “Miz”, wrote about flying the freak flag – about being “unapologietically yourself” and being comfortable in your own skin. It really struck a chord with me, as my entire journey to becoming a runner, losing weight, and changing careers turned into becoming unapologetically, well, myself.
You see, I’m finding myself a little at loss for words recently. I am full of pride and intention – ready to rock ‘n’ roll this coming Sunday, and because of all the support I’ve been shown throughout this journey of mine, I’m finding myself completely overjoyed. With this outreach of friendship and camaraderie, I am finding myself wanting to write more, but having no idea where to start. There are so many thoughts trapped up in this mind of mine, and they’re all bursting to be written down. With this
“writer’s block” “writer’s surplus” has come a recurrence of slight fear of falling off the face of the blogging planet – of not “providing”. Not impressing. Not attracting. Not growing. This was a fear I had suffered from a while back. I was afraid of who I was as a blogger – I was afraid of “me”.
But Miz reminded me of something today.
I had gotten over that fear before, and I had discovered how to become a comfortable, unique blogger. Essentially, I’d discovered how to become “me”. I had noticed that there was a time, semi-recently, when there were many bloggers writing about the all too identifiable comparison trap. Why can’t I write like so-and-so? Wish I logged that many miles. How can I get that many readers? What does this person do that I don’t? – and the list goes on. I was once worried about those very questions, and while I’m continually asking myself how I can become a better blogger, I find that I’m finally at a point where I rarely compare myself to other bloggers, and I just stick to being myself. So why is that? – it’s because I’ve found a more rewarding approach to blogging.
- Embrace your identity. What do you enjoy? What is your sport? What do you eat? What makes you happy? We must understand that if we all wrote about the same sport, the same diet/lifestyle, the same hobby, or the same perspectives, we’d all be “out of a job”. How boring would that be? The whole point of engaging ourselves in a healthy living/healthy lifestyle community is to nourish our well beings. That might sound really cheesy, but it’s true. It’s not only about handing out or seeking advice. It’s not only about documenting our journeys. It’s about supporting each other, about forming relationships, and harnessing passion. It’s not about “fitting in” just for the sake of fitting in.
- Be honest and open. Perspective – I love it. I find it dreadfully boring and monotonous to recap every single day of my life, moment by moment. You don’t want to know that most of my day I’m either reading blogs, cleaning up after kids, bugging the crap out of my work-from-home-husband, or tripping over Marla, our hound. Or yelling at the cat to stop digging to China in his litter box. Or getting “kid wipes” for my now 3-year-old (today) little girl every time she wants to use the potty. It’s glamorous around this house, I know, but come on. lol So because I would even bore myself by writing about my everyday life, I try to delve into the deeper stuff. Sometimes I worry I write heavier material too often, but hey…writing about potty time isn’t as fun for me. Writing about my perspective is refreshing, and I truly believe perspective helps create open minds.
- Make your blog about you. Writing your blog to attract certain people, to please certain people, or to satisfy the opinions of others can be exhausting. I’ve written posts here on my blog that made me fear what you, my readers, would think. Would you stop reading? Would it spark negative commentary? Despite the fact that I have feared this, I still hit the “publish” button and cross my fingers. I harness the anxious feeling I get when I’m about to publish a piece that may result in something I don’t want, and I go for it. Of course I watch my email like a hawk, but I love seeing the words, “I totally agree!” or “Preach!” Why? Because despite the fact that we so often compare ourselves to others…we frequently find that we’re not alone. It doesn’t take much for us realize that we can relate to each other more often than not. So make your blog about you and your thoughts – and watch just how many people you find coming around.
- Stop worrying about growth. I’ve been blogging for nearly 3 years, and I’m just now seeing a growth spurt in my blog. Just now!! Despite the fact that I’ve seen some people start from scratch like me and take off within a year, this is my blog. Remember, your blog is about you. Making it about you and not about numbers can make a world of difference in how you see your blog. Make it your outlet. Put the time into your blog for you and you’ll start seeing it give back. Their numbers didn’t come from thin air and things don’t always follow the same timeline. Don’t post if you’re posting by obligation. Post by choice and when there’s some oomph! Trust me, people can tell the difference.
- Give back. Ever heard the saying about how you can make more friends by becoming interested in others than you can by trying to get them interested in you? It’s true. Give the love and you shall receive the love. I’ve found it rewarding to head to others’ blogs, and not just the “bigger blogs”, and leave love. I don’t mean leaving a single word comment. I mean I try to take the time to write a comment that reflects the fact that I’ve read what someone’s taken the time to write. I’m not perfect, and I have my quiet days or maybe even weeks (as many of my faithfuls know). However, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a lot of you through your blogs and not just the comments you leave on here. I’ve learned so much from others since I stopped comparing myself to them.
Miz probably didn’t have this topic in mind when she wrote her post yesterday, and while it did strike me the way she’d intended it to, it also reminded me of something that’s been on my mind for a while. I’ve learned a lot as a blogger in the past few months, and I’ve really benefited from taking the time to see my blog for what it is – me – and embrace it rather than compare it. I don’t care if I become the most well-known blogger that ever lived or if I remain the same for years. What I do know is I enjoy it, and so should you. So stop comparing yourself (and your blog) to others, and start raisin’ Miz’s “freak flag”.