In the spirit of including more personal blog posts, I figured that today I would discuss something that comes up a lot in the blogging community. And that’s jealousy. I will admit, I run rampant with jealousy.
The ‘I’ve only just started, things will pick up’ reasoning
When I first started blogging it was easier to fight off jealousy because, of course, I was just started out and so it was to be expected that I wouldn’t have as many followers or comments as someone who had been doing it for years. Except that didn’t last for long. About a month after I started blogging I noticed a new book blog pop-up that was beautiful! I was jealous of everything from the website design to the blog post format. Hell, I was even jealous of the blogger’s profile picture. But what got me what the number of comments and followers she already had. And that just about killed my ‘I haven’t been blogging for long enough’ reasoning.
The ‘maybe I’m not posting the right content’ excuse
But I moved on. And I decided to start interacting with this particular blogger and trying to learn from them. This is how I came to realize that CommentLuv might be a better commenting system than Disqus regarding gathering readers. It was also how I came to start participating in Top Ten Tuesday, of which I did ultimately drop off. But I tried! And for that period, I was all right, but of course, jealousy reared its ugly head again. This time, it was when I was visiting a blog that I, and I’m being honest here, felt didn’t look nearly as snazzy as mine. And yet, they have a lot more post engagement than I had ever had. This is where resentment and inadequacy entered the mix. I both simultaneously felt my content must be absolute crap, and felt resentment towards a blogger of whom I felt at least somewhat superior. Which I know is terrible, but jealousy is an ugly emotion for a reason. But just like before I thought, ‘okay, I’ll learn from this person’ and I started debating posting more engaging content and lists vs. reviews.
The ‘how nice to have so much free time’ superiority complex
In the beginning, I was posting maybe 3 or so blog posts every week and struggling to keep up with Top Ten Tuesday, insert my own Quote Day Thursday, and then have a review ready every single week. I started looking at other blogs that seemed to be posting at all times and wanted to throw my hands up like ‘who has time for all that?’ And that is where I developed a new jealousy coping mechanism. I have a full-time job and a one hr commute, how could I possibly compete with teenage book bloggers who must obviously have TONS of free time on their hands. I mean, it’s kind of a miracle that I’m posting this much anyway. Right? Except no. Teens have homework, classes, extracurriculars, and trying to smash a social life in on top of it. Even people with stay-at-home careers may end up having just as much time to blog as I do after they finish their to-do list for the day. I’m not the only one making time for my hobby, and so that complex died a quick death.
The ‘it honestly doesn’t matter what I do, so I’m just gonna do me’ inadequacy circle
Now I had fewer posts so that I could have a more lax schedule, more engaging material, and changed up my website design. I had done as much as I felt I could do, and saw some improvement in my engagement. Which I was happy with, at the time. Then I realized that the peak engagement I had reached was still small compared to others. Should I pay a huge chunk of cash for that Pinterest course? Did I need to re-examine my content? Except I didn’t want to do any of that. To be honest, I felt defeated. I still loved blogging and interacting with the small base of commenters I had, but I felt like certain things were suddenly beyond me. I wouldn’t ever have a viral post. No one would ever mention me in a link-up of ‘cool things bloggers posted this week.’ I wouldn’t ever have an email subscription list of 100+ subscribers. I felt down on myself, and my new way of coping was just to do whatever I wanted. If people commented, fine. If not, fine. And this would have been an excellent way to move past jealousy, except I was pretending not to want things I really did want. It matters to me if people comment on something I post. I don’t just blog for myself. I blog to engage with the community in a way that I, frankly, don’t engage with people in real life. And so I got caught in a circle pretending I didn’t care, feeling sad because I did care.
The ‘girl, you better work!’ mentality
And here we are in the present. I recently followed a blogger who I hadn’t heard about before, and assumed was rather new. Then I looked at their Twitter following and almost passed out. They had almost 10x the followers and had been blogging for less than half the time I had. And then I sat back and had a novel thought. I thought ‘yeah, that makes sense, they’re always tweeting and retweeting things.’ More than that, they were always tweeting to ask for help, and giving thoughtful blog comments, and visiting lots of blogs. And then came the big revelation. You get what you give. If I’m not visiting and commenting on a bunch of blogs, why would they be commenting on mine? If I’m not following 1000 people on Twitter, why would I have 1000 followers? If I’m not putting myself out there in the community, why would they come flocking to me? Maybe this seems like common sense, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m rather self-centered. Call it only-child syndrome, but it is what it is. And he’s the new coping mechanism: I can’t be jealous of success I’m not working for. If you don’t work hard, you can’t expect results. And so my new goal for myself in blogging is to start making more effort to engage with the community and focus more on interaction and less on my success.
Blogging jealousy is a very real thing. We all get it at some point in blogging, and it is, unfortunately, a part of the experience. But I think what’s important it so always fight against it, and think about why you’re jealous, and how to transform it into something positive. Turn jealousy into admiration and learn something new from someone. Or burn it off working hard at getting better. But don’t let it compromise the enjoyment that comes from blogging.
What things have made you jealous of other bloggers? How did you get over it?