Wednesday, November 7, 2012

my latest funk, part one | the comparison struggle

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:

Those words of encouragement couldn't have been better timed. It's a friendly reminder to stop focusing on what I have yet to accomplish and what this blog is not, and start focusing on what it is. Which is what I plan to do. (Thank you Christy for taking just a second out of your day to send me encouragement - it was certainly appreciated!)

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.


  1. Girl, I feel you! I love blogging, but I feel like it's easy to get swept up in the stats, in looking at where other blogs are that started when you did, at where you want to be that you start to forget while you're really doing it -- for yourself. For the good that it brings others. For the voice that you have and the opportunity to share it.

    I don't comment as much as I should, but I want you to know I read every little line you write and love all of your posts -- funny, crafty, serious, etc. So keep it up! And thanks for the great reminder!

  2. when you are genuine and unapologetic about your experiences, you find your voice. you are someone i always look to for that caro, and i am so proud that you are speaking out about quieting the inadequacy "noise" that creeps into all of us. not only are you speaking out but you are taking a stand for what you deserve and the insane amount of greatness you are capable of. i am inspired by you and your words. always.

  3. Hi! Just wanted to tell you: I {rarely} post a comment, but just wanted to let you know that I am fully caught up on all aspects of clumsy, crafty, happy. Your posts often make me laugh out loud and without fail, I am always impressed with your way with words, original topics and creativity. I thank you for the 5 minutes of care-free entertainment and inspiration during which I can relax, read your carefully crafted thoughts and relate them to my own life. I'm grateful to know such a wonderful person such as yourself and thankful for the moments I have spent with your blog!

  4. You always seem to post stuff about the same emotions/funks I am going through too :) I love hearing about the stuff that inspires you and the ways you get out of it. Thanks caroline!

  5. ditto to what everyone else is saying - just keep being you :)

  6. You rock. And are growing wiser every day. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Ginna - thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and for reading my posts. I'm so glad I'm not crazy and you can relate to the pressure that comes with blogging too. I love your new design by the way! We'll just keep on keepin' on together because it's what we love to do!

  8. I love you to pieces. You always know just what to say to make me feel valued and loved! Thanks for being such a true and inspiring friend, and for being a source of joy in my life!

  9. Thank you so much, Sash! For being so encouraging and for being a loyal reader! Your support means a lot!

  10. Thank goodness I'm not alone! Sometimes I think I'm crazy and then other times I'm reminded we all go through the same things at one time or another. If I've helped you come out of a funk, even in the smallest way, that makes it all worth it! :)

  11. Thanks, Olivia and thank you for your words of encouragement! It reminds me to stay true to my voice!

  12. I so appreciate that! Thank you for always being so encouraging!

  13. I love you TOO Grama! I'll try not to get in any more funks, okay? All smiles for a while!

  14. Kevyn, you've always been so supportive of my endeavors, and it really means a ton to me. Thanks for keeping up and for taking the time to comment!

  15. I completely understand how you feel!!! Since I have decided to start my blog I have been doing tons of research and familiarizing myself with the blog world by reading and following tons of blogs. But lately I have started to have major doubts about my ability to put together a blog that is as amazing and professional looking as the ones that I have grown to love and follow (yours included!.) I am having these doubts and I haven't even launched mine yet! This post has been a tremendous help to me. It just reminds me that no one is perfect at anything when they first start out. I am a baby to all of this, in a way I am just learning to crawl. I can't compare myself to those girls out there who are "teenagers" in the blog world. I will get there eventually. Thank you for reminding me of that, and for continuing to share parts of yourself with us. You are so many things but at the top of that list is definitely relatable! Oh and don't forget to put it into perspective, and remember that there are many of us that look at your blog with envy and feel the same way about Clumsy Crafty Happy that you feel about those other blogs. So while you are comparing yourself to them, someone is comparing themselves to you!

  16. Ruth, I don't know how I missed this comment before but thank you so much! And yes, I know that you will definitely get where you want to go in time because you are a very passionate, very dedicated lady! It will be a learning process so just remember that going into it (just like I need to remember that myself!) I can't wait to see what we come up with together!