Last week I spent time with a young blogger who was completely stalled with her blog (for the purpose of this post I’ll call her Sally).
Sally’s blogging had started with a bang and had put together 3 great months of content and had started to build a readership but then it suddenly all came to a halt.
I arranged to catch up for coffee to see what had happened and see if there was a way to get her moving again and she told me a story that I’m sure many readers will find familiar.
Paralysed by Comparisons
The reason Sally started blogging was that she had been a reader of another reasonably well known blogger. She had been so inspired by this established blogger that she simply had to start her own blog – which she did.
The problem that brought Sally’s blog to a grinding halt started a few weeks after her blog began when Sally began to compare her fledgling blog with her hero’s blog.
It started innocently enough with her noticing that this others blogger’s design just seemed to flow much better than Sally’s. However in the coming days and weeks Sally started to compare other things too.
Her hero seemed to blog with more confidence, she got more comments, she had a larger Twitter following, she was more active on Pinterest, she was getting some great brands advertise on her blog, she was invited to cool events…
Once Sally started comparing she couldn’t stop. She told me that she would sit down to work on her blog and end up on her hero’s blog and social media accounts – for hours on end – comparing what they were doing.
On one hand Sally knew it wasn’t a fair comparison – she had only been blogging by this stage for a couple of months and her hero had been blogging for over 4 years… but logic was clouded out by jealousy and Sally found her blogging beginning to stall.
She started second guessing herself. She would work for days on blog posts – hoping to perfect them to the standard of her hero only to get to the point of publishing them and trashing them instead for fear of them not being up to scratch.
Days would go by between posts and then weeks. Sally’s blog began to stall… and then it died completely.
The Comparison Trap
Sally isn’t the only blogger to fall into the trap of comparing oneself with others – in fact I’ve heard this story (or variations of it) numerous times. If I’m honest, it’s something that at times I’ve struggled with too.
I remember in the early days of my own blogging comparing my style of writing with other bloggers that I admired who wrote in a much more academic, heavy style of writing. I tried to emulate this over and over again and never felt I hit the benchmark that they set.
The temptation was to give up – but luckily I found my more informal and conversational voice through experimentation and persistance.
Comparing Is Never Fair
As I chatted with Sally last week a theme emerged in our conversation – the comparisons were simply not fair.
Sally knew this on some levels but needed to hear it again.
Her hero had been blogging for years. Sally had been blogging for months.
Not only that – Sally was comparing herself to tiny snapshots of this other blogger.
She could see her hero’s Twitter follower numbers, how many comments she was getting, how many times she Pinned on Pinterest and the instagram photos of this blogger at glamorous events – but she didn’t really have the full picture of this other blogger.
She didn’t know how many hours that blogger worked, she didn’t know whether that other blogger had people working for her, she didn’t know if that other blogger was actually happy with her blog or life and she certainly didn’t see the instagrams of that other bloggers boring, dull or hard moments of life.
I’m not saying the other blogger is hiding anything or doing anything wrong – just that the comparisons Sally was making were of everything Sally knew about herself (and her insecurities) with tiny edited snapshots of the life and work another person.
Run You Own Race
Sally is a remarkable person. I’d love to tell you her real name and story because she’s overcome some amazing things in her life, has some unique perspectives to share and has an inspirational story to tell.
My encouragement to Sally (and to us all) is run her own race. Yes she’s running beside others that at times seem to be running faster or with more flare… but nobody else around her has her unique personality, set of experiences or skills.
Nobody else can blog like Sally – so the sooner she gets comfy in her own skin the better.
I fall into the comparison trap more often than I’d like to admit. I also tend to start things (blogs) over when they don’t go perfectly. Amusingly, a blog I set up as a hobby and “forgot” about (I didn’t delete it or start it over) ended up building over 1,000 monthly visitors over a period of six months of just sitting there. I slapped AdSense on there and now I’m making between $10 and $20 a month. Before this, I made less than $3 over the course of a year or more. That’s about as lucky as I can get!
I’ve fallen victim to this exact same trap before. I got started with a blog and a few weeks in got really intimidated. Had to stop visiting the blog for a while and focus on just producing my content.
Thanks for the resource
blogging is my hobby and my passion
your articles make my mood better now because sometime i got my mood very down because my prolem of life
Yes I know what you mean about comparison. I just started really attacking my blog site four months ago and I’m still only sniffing the surface of getting some real good traffic. When I look at Steve Pavlina website who has been doing this for about nine years then look at my site, I’m like man…… no comparison at all, but I’m hopeful. You see I know that if I keep doing me by being unique and working diligently then I too will have that type of site one day. Of course I feel drained and wonder if I’m wasting my sweet time some days, but I just step away from my computer for a few hours then come back and start to work again. When it comes to blogging you have to believe in the unseen.
I’m not a great writer and I struggle with putting my ideas into flowing eloquent academic sounding paragraphs. I know what I want to say but my english style needs work. I compare all the time and its hard out there to compare yourself to so many great writers:(
Thank you for this post, I will keep working on it.
Interesting read. This will sure help me to remember never to compare my little effort with others. we may never know how much blogger is working on a single blog. I know most of the blogger works solo, but once it gets into serious business you must have some help to manage.
So comparing your own blog with something big is only devastating.
I fall to this comparison trap over and over,
Thanks for the input, It is a really a help.
i know now that my content is not that good, Im making changes and my hopes are still high.
I love this blog, It uplifts and give meaningful insights.
It is really hard sometimes not to fall into that trap, I’m a beginner blogger and there are a lot of questions that have been buzzing around my head for the last several months. Sometimes we dont know why someone has a such a good following and we dont, I think that for us beginners it the learning process that is key. We do something, it has a certain result and based on results (or not) we know what direction to go from there. for me its a real issue of what to put more emphasis on content or backlinks, and then how to go about it. Its a maze that is truly hard to navigate through.
I would advise Sally this line from Desiderata, “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. “.
I also experienced comparing my blog to my mentor’s, but not to the point that it made me feel disappointed on my work. When I see something lacking, I see it as a challenge, I hope Sally continue to strive blogging.
Thanks for the article…..I get a little down on myself sometimes but then I just think……keep on working girl……it will only get better with time!
Wow this is exactly what I needed to hear! I follow a lot of blogs that are similar to mine, and I do compare myself to them! I just really want to grow my blog and I’m trying to sort out the best way to make it happen. Thanks for this post!
Thanks so much for this article – its a timely reminder for me as I ran into this issue a few weeks ago. It really paralysed me – I felt like I could not see the forest for the trees. Today I noticed that I got my mojo back, and I realise that I am an individual and my blog is mine! I think its important to remember why you start your blog in the first place. :) Happy blogging days ahead – yes I think so! xo