“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
Is your blog the best in the world?
Often when we want to blog, we can struggle with what we see in the blogging universe. These blogs are doing better than our blog. Why is that? This blog has more followers on Twitter, has better and longer comments, has more views, has more Likes…
Just calm down.
Why should you be upset that a blog has more of something than your blog has? Is it really that bad that they are, technically, “better” than your blog?
ProBlogger has more of a lot of things than my blog does, but that doesn’t frighten me and make me want to hide away. No, I carry on blogging, leaving comments on other blogs, and writing guest posts for sites such as ProBlogger.
A lot of the time, I see bloggers get frustrated with themselves because they’ve just encountered a blog that they think is superior to their own. One such blog post from Blogging Bookshelf illustrates this envy. Some bloggers realize that another blog might have something that their blog doesn’t—in this case a better About Me page—and then they become frustrated or overwhelmed at the task that has suddenly appeared before them.
“How can I get my ‘x’ to look as good as their ‘x’?” they ask themselves.
The simple answer is, you don’t.
Just let go
Do you really want to go through your blogging career, come to the end, and then have everyone remember yours as the blog that often tried to emulate other blogs? Do you really want to be known as someone who studied other blogs, tried out their best features and improved their own blog to match theirs, only to find that nothing really worked?
I’m sure you don’t want this, no-one does. Sure, you can study others and what you perceive them to do well, but that’s something entirely different from getting annoyed with yourself and seeking to emulate them.
For example, Steve Jobs and Apple studied from Bill Gates and Microsoft. This is good. But did Apple then get annoyed with themselves for not being as good as Microsoft, and then start doing what Microsoft did? No, they studied from the best, then did their own thing anyway.
Another example, Martin Luther King Jr. studied Mahatma Gandhi and his quest to achieve peace. Again, this is good, but did MLK then become frustrated with himself because Gandhi did things better than him? No, King learned about Gandhi, and then did things his own way.
I could give you some more examples, but I’m hoping you’ll see my point. By all means, study what others did that you admire, learn what you can, but never sacrifice your own individuality and authenticity in an attempt to be like others. You travel in a downward spiral by doing this. Remember, studying and learning is a different concept than comparing and self-doubting.
The comparison trap
The real trap that will ensnare you every time you compare your blog to another blog is fear: fear that this blog will somehow overtake you and reach your goals faster than you. Or that they will become so big that none of their readers will want to go anywhere else to get their blogging fix—and that includes your blog.
The fear that our blogs will somehow “miss out” drives us to keep pushing harder and harder in order to get our deserved recognition, our dues. With the amount of work that we put in, we deserve to have 20,000 subscribers, we deserve to have at least 100 comments on each post, we deserve to have 25,000 followers on Twitter.
We feel that we deserve to have whatever success we can conceive, and that if it isn’t delivered to us, then life isn’t fair and why should we even bother? That’s the awful trap of comparing your blogs to other blogs.
But there is another way of thinking.
To blog for blogging’s sake
The whole idea of a blog (short for web-log) is that we chronicle our thoughts and musings down onto computer form, so that we can share this with the world. It started out as an online diary, but has now become a multiverse of niche websites, content marketing tips and funky YouTube clips.
Blogging has come a long way, but what’s important to realize is that now, there are so many different blogs out there, and so many different successful blogs, that it’s nearly impossible to emulate everyone in the blogging universe. There will always be someone successful who you can’t emulate.
With that in mind, why bother emulating at all? We’ve seen that practically any kind of blog can make it today, so why not your own blog? It’s meant to be creative, and written in your own voice, as it’s your own blog. So why not blog for blogging’s sake?
The idea of blogging for pure enjoyment has become a little lost over recent months. Bloggers need to make money now, they need to be successful. Did Leo Babauta of ZenHabits need to be a mega-blogger? No, he blogged because he loved to blog, and success happened anyway. Even if Leo only got 100 subscribers after two years, I don’t think that would have derailed him. So find something that you enjoy blogging about. Whatever it may be, I’m sure it’s got the potential to be successful anyway.
This means that you need to have some creativity. Creativity is tied in with originality and innovation. You create something that’s not only good, but original and unique, and that can help others. Sound tough? It doesn’t have to be. Helping others is something that comes naturally to us all, no matter how much we hate the world. And you’re being creative every minute of the day, especially if you blog regularly. Publish a post twice a week? That’s being creative twice a week. And originality and innovation? That comes with speaking your own voice. No other voice but your own.
Granted, if you’re struggling to get your blog going and you’re constantly looking to others’ blogs for inspiration, being creative and innovative may seem a little alien to you right now. But at least try. Everyone has got inspiration and genius within them, they just need to dig in and find it. Going back to Leo, he didn’t believe that many people would find his work interesting at first. He just wrote what he felt like writing, and the rest followed. Go back to his first posts, and you’ll see what I mean.
If you’re really struggling to be creative after reading those first entries, then check out this post from Darren, where he discusses nine attitudes of highly creative people.
Your blog is you
Whatever you write about, realize that your blog is your “avatar” in a way. It’s how you’re going to be recognized by the online community, it’s how you’re going to be marked and labelled. Darren has been labelled as a blogging guru. Leo Babauta has been labelled as a Zen guru. It happens to us all, because it helps others to remember you more easily by. Don’t reject it, but don’t pay much attention to it either. Just do your own thing and keep doing it.
This will ensure that you are recognized for being you, and for being no-one else in this world. If you’re known as the blogger who copies from others, then that will be your label, and no-one wants to buy a cheap imitation copy. Just be yourself, every day, every hour, every minute.
How do you bring yourself to every aspect of your blogging? I’d love to hear your stories!
Stuart Mills is an experienced writer who wants to help you improve at life. He thinks you’re awesome. You can often find him at Unlock The Door, where he writes constantly to make it a better day for everyone, and you can subscribe to his content here.