Self-doubt is like a snowball. You start with one little pebble of imperfection and, before you know it, you find yourself with a towering boulder of inadequacy.
It started Monday, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Normally I would just blame it on daylight savings time (5:30! It gets dark at 5:30! How am I not supposed to be depressed about that?!) but this felt like something more, and somehow I knew it had to do with this blog.
The truth is, I've been struggling for a while now to find my place with this whole blogging thing. I started this blog in May of last year because I felt like I had these thoughts all the time - funny thoughts, philosophical thoughts, thoughts about life and love and happiness - that I wanted to share. Even if no one ever read my words, at least I'd be able to go back and visit versions of my former self from time to time. You know, get a snapshot of who I was and what I was doing at a certain point in time. I also wanted to develop a distinct writing voice, something I felt so many of my favorite bloggers at the time had mastered.
Then, along the way, something happened. Whether I changed or my goals for the blog changed, who knows, but I just started to want more. I didn't just want this place to be a sort of virtual journal that I updated once in a while; I wanted it to be a place that people could count on for inspiration, whether it be for life or creativity or happiness. I wanted to reach more people. I wanted a more modern design that felt all my own. I wanted more ideas for posts and more new features. More.
But here's the problem with more. Since that change, I feel myself caught in this weird blogging identity crisis (blogdenity crisis?) The more I feel myself investing in the new direction I want to go in, the more I feel held back by the very thing I originally loved about my blog (all the personal, relatable, life-cataloguing stuff) AND the more pressure I feel to live up to the oodles of other creative/DIY/design inspiration blogs I see.
And that's where that nagging witch, comparison, comes in. Suddenly it's impossible to see the things that I love about my blog. Because that's how comparison works, right? You become laser-focused on what everyone else is doing better than you.
Suddenly it seems EVERYONE has the most clever blog name ever or the most gorgeous photography ever or the most super-original DIY ideas ever or a bajillion readers. Their graphics are more well-designed. Their branding is more consistent. Their social media posts have more interaction. It's such a double-edged sword because while I feel so inspired sometimes, it can also make me feel so... small.
The truth is though, I know my blog has something that is completely unique and impossible to replicate. And that's me. My voice. My experiences. My thoughts. And that's what I'm going to continue to do, because it's what I love and it's the reason I started this whole journey in the first place.
After I had my little pity part this week, I realized that comparison is only going to leave me feeling lacking. What I need to remember is all of YOU. You guys that continue to read my words on a regular basis. There may not be thousands of you (yet), but you are important to me nonetheless because YOU are the ones I want to inspire. You are the ones that I bear my soul to, hoping that some of you out there that might be thinking or feeling the same things.
I know that feeling of 'wanting more' won't go away any time soon, but for now I'm trying to reframe it. I want to get back to the heart of WHY I do this whole blogging thing, and where I want it to go in the future. I don't want to try and be anyone else's blog but my own. And if that means entertaining you all with my ridiculously random anecdotes and my far-from-perfect photography, so be it. Imperfections are what make things relatable, and if I'm anything at all, I hope I'm relatable to you guys.
Just when I thought comparison was going to get the best of me on Monday, the universe came to my rescue and delivered just the message that I needed to hear (in spades!)
First, in a beautifully-written post by Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind titled 'Why I Blog,' which reminded me that a lot of my favorite blogs have been around for a long time and they've battled with their own evolution and reinvention. I'm still so knew to this (and new to adulthood for pete's sake!) so it's okay that I don't have it all figured out yet. I'll continue to do what I do because it's a part of who I am now.
I also came across this image on Facebook, which has the word I'm going to continue to meditate on: evolution.
I love the phrase "learn to be an editor at heart." Hello, this girl's heart is ALL EDITOR, baby!
And lastly, but most certainly not least, I woke up Tuesday morning to find this lovely message on CCH's Facebook wall, left by Christy Kelsey of the fabulous yet practical fashion blog, Love Your Clothes Love Yourself:
Tune in tomorrow for part two of this harrowing tale if you'd like. I want to talk about blog branding, and how feeling the need to "hone my brand" has played in to this whole feeling of inadequacy.
Until then, thanks for listening (err... reading) and thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting this blog. Whatever it is has been, whatever it is now, and whatever it will become.