Is Blog Envy Killing Your Blog?

The Color of Envy
But I want to earn that. I don’t want to by popularity. We’re not the Yankees. We don’t use our enormous payroll to buy championships. We earn them.”

Some days the words flow easily and some days they don’t.

Today has been one of those days where it is a battle to bring the words.  My best advice for moments like this isn’t the same for everyone and every moment.

Sometimes I’ll tell you to walk away and clear your head and sometimes I’ll tell you that you need to dig in.

Walking away to clear your head isn’t a bad way to go, but it doesn’t help you tell your inner critic to STFU. It doesn’t help you develop the discipline to create when you don’t feel like creating either.

Is Blog Envy Killing Your Blog?

“This joint has moments of brilliance and moments of mediocrity. Over time it has developed a respectable following. I won’t deny that I think it would be great to have six times as many uniques and ten times the number of comments. It would be great.

But I want to earn that. I don’t want to buy popularity. We’re not the Yankees. We don’t use our enormous payroll to buy championships. We earn them.

One thing ten years of blogging has taught me is I am not immune to feeling envy. I am not immune to wishing I had what someone else does or thinking they got it and didn’t earn it.

Those ideas flow through my mind from time to time.

The words in the blockquote above are my own. I wrote them five or six years ago during one of those moments when I was frustrated because I wanted to center myself

So today I am sharing them with you because blog envy can kill your blog and because I need the reminder today. It is an easy trap to fall into, that feeling of frustrating that others are better and you just aren’t getting it done.

I don’t want people to read my words because I run the best contest and giveaways. I want them hear because they find meaning in what I write, because they relate and because they enjoy it.

Write For Yourself

If you write for yourself, if you write things that are interesting and entertaining you will entertain your reader and stimulate your interest in writing.

Others disagree with this advice. Others will tell you that if you are writing online it is because you want to be read and you should strive to entertain them.

I disagree.

Writing for yourself is like being yourself in person. It is like your parents telling you to be yourself and that you will find friends who like you because you are you and not because you are pretending to be someone else.

It is easier to be yourself. It is easier to write for yourself.

Prime the Pump

Sometimes these moments where I tell you about the words not flowing are important because they are how I prime the pump, they are how I find my way back to making the words flow from my fingertips.

Things are flowing now so I have to go now, but I will be back.

See you in the comments.

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14 Comments

  1. Jennifer Hall June 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    This is really great, Jack! I agree with you that you should write for yourself, first and foremost. I always focus on my reasons for blogging, and try to keep my posts somehow centered around them.

    • Jack June 4, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      Thank you Jennifer. Some of my blogging friends feel very strongly that there is no point writing online if you aren’t interested in having other people read our work.

      But I just can’t get around the importance of trying to make sure we as writers enjoy what we are writing because when you don’t enjoy your writing that comes through to the reader.

  2. Cormac June 3, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I’ve debated this for myself about wither I should be writing for myself or to find an audience. Hence I’ve probably made mistakes in the past, recent past as I am still only blogging properly a short time.

    I’ve an idea of where I want to get to in my writing but I have came to the same conclusion as your good self in that I need to write for myself and learn to find my voice and one that will be of interest to others. I do still worry about answering the question “why would anyone want to read my blog? what am I offering them?” perhaps they’ll get out of it the same thing that I do.

    • Jack June 4, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Hi Cormac,

      I don’t claim to be an expert but what I have seen in 10 years of blogging is that if you aren’t having fun you don’t last so we have to figure out how to make what we are doing enjoyable.

      Your question about why people would want to read your blog is good to ask too, but I would suggest you remember that sometimes what we consider to be very ordinary is exotic and interesting to others.

      For example. I was in a fraternity in college and know a ton of people who were as well but apparently many others haven’t been so any time I write about fraternity life I get a lot traffic.

      Sometimes I get a lot of traffic from posts about life in the U.S. from people who don’t live in the states.

      I am sure you have a slew of things on your side that are similar that you can share.

  3. Jens-Petter Berget June 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    I do think about this for time to time, but I always end up with one thought and that’s the thought that tells me that the only one that can do anything about this is me. I’m the blogger; I’m the person responsible. So, like you said, it’s about practice, and keep writing and doing awesome work. We’ll eventually get there, if we just continue doing what we do.

    -Jens

    • Jack June 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      I have told you before but I think our philosophy about writing tend to be in sync. Write, write and write some more and as we improve we’ll continue to pick up readers along the way.

  4. Sebastian Aiden Daniels June 1, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I found this post to be interesting. I think it depends on what your goals are. Yes you should write for the same time and at the same time if your goal is to gain more of an audience than you have to write content that attracts more of an audience.

    Example if I write a book about unicorns and enjoy doing it then it would be a win in your book. Yet, even if it is a really well done book, I don’t think that vast majority of people will like it. If your goal is to gain an audience than you have to write content that more of an audience can relate to.

    I think it is important to find the middle ground.

    • Jack June 2, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Hi Sebastian,

      You’re absolutely correct about goals playing a role here. If you don;t care about building an audience or being read none of it matters.

      I tend to find that middle ground to be very tough but it is good advice.

  5. Beloo Mehra June 1, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I am happy to have discovered this piece today, thanks to the social media! Thanks for sharing these excellent thoughts, a helpful reminder for someone only a year-old in this world of blogging 🙂

  6. Larry June 1, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    The best kind of writing, in my opinion, is personal but relatable. You are writing for yourself but others can relate.
    I often struggle with blog envy.
    I want numbers and feel dissapointed when I write a piece that I feel is worthy yet it does not get viewership.

    • Jack June 2, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Hi Larry,

      I know that feeling. Sometimes the most frustrating part of blogging is feeling like you crushed the ball and no one notices.

      It is hard to strike the balance between writing and promoting.

      You are spot on about the best writing, I completely agree.

  7. Stan Faryna June 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I was waiting for the gauntlet – just write.

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