Don’t Keep Up With the Blogging Joneses, Just Keep Up With Yourself

The amazing ladies of this blogosphere never cease to amaze me!  I’ve read some amazing posts last week that (once again!) have simply inspired me and got the wheels in my head turning.  Participating in Beautifully Invisible’s posts We Are Women. We Are Beautiful. We Are Real Part 1 and 2   made me think about what it means to be a real woman.  In Vahni’s Intro to the LALM round up this week she talked about how she couldn’t stand all the “fame-whoring and big-noting going on in the fashion blogosphere (and Twitterverse)” (I just couldn’t explain it any better than that!).   I read this post from Kate, called I Want Pretty Pictures: To DSLR or Not which I felt not only applied to cameras but to anything related to fashion blogging.

When I thought about what it meant to be a real woman, one thing I learned fairly recently that it means going after what you personally want instead of what everyone else has.  My twenties were spent chasing everything that was outside of me instead of listening to what my heart really wanted.  Now that I’m approaching 30, I’m tuning in now and finally finding my direction in life. 

Blogs often start as affairs of the heart, something that you just had to let out of yourself that just couldn’t be contained anymore.  You are overwhelmed with ideas and creativity and you are just soo in love with your blog because it’s yours.  Once you’re firmly on your blogging feet, you start getting on twitter and sites like IFB and soon you are discovering the blogging community.  You realize rather quickly who the big names are, what events are really jumping off, and who the big brands are sponsoring.  A little Blogger Jealousy may sink in and then once you’re over that, you’re saying to yourself, “I want to be just like X and I’m going to do Y right this second!”  Maybe you start spending money you may not have just to make sure you are rocking every single trend and drop major bread on a camera, thinking that you will instantly have gorgeous and amazing pictures.  You want to work with major brands, and maybe you snag one. All of a sudden you may feel you are on top and the line between sharing great news and fame-whoring, like Vahni put it, gets really blurred. 

It’s so easy to fall into that trap and the longer you’re in the game, it becomes easy to lose that very thing that started your blog in the first place – you!  You’re so busy trying to keep up with everyone else that you forget what your heart told you to blog about.  You’re chasing everything outside of you and trust me, it will not make you happy, nor successful.  No amount of sample freebies is going to keep those envious thoughts away.  No event is ever going to make you feel like you made it.

Just stop yourself for a minute and go back to the day you decided to start blogging.  What was it that your heart wanted?  Where did you want to take your writing?  Is the blog you have now a reflection of you, or everyone else?

Your compass should not be dictated by what others around you are doing.  Your blog’s direction and focus is inside you.  It’s inside your passion.  It’s inside your heart.  If you’re ultimate dream is to blog professionally, then yes, it makes sense to buy that camera because, like Kate pointed out, you will continue to have that passion you need to learn how to use it.  If you want to one day work for a major brand, then go out to those events because you’re not there to brag about it, you’re there to network and get yourself seen.  If your blog is just your creative outlet from a day job you love, then attending Fashion Week or spending money on a fancy camera isn’t necessary and you won’t care about not doing either! 

When you start doing what you love, true success that is meant for you will follow, keeping you gracious and humble along the way.  I may not have the biggest blog on the block, but I feel successful every day.  I’ve met and befriended some of the most amazing people, had opportunities that I wasn’t even looking for find me, and discovered new things about myself just because I’m following what really and truly makes me happy.

So there’s no need to keep up with the Blogging Joneses. The only thing you have to keep up with is your passion.  Everything else will fall into place!

I really want to hear from you!  How to you keep your blog true to you and not to everyone else?


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35 thoughts on “Don’t Keep Up With the Blogging Joneses, Just Keep Up With Yourself

  1. Veshoevius says:

    Hahah! Awesome post MJ and beautifully put – agree with everything you say from beginning to end! I blog because I enjoy it and the whole keeping up with the blogging jones drives me nuts sometimes. I’ve actually turned away commercial opportunities to drive more traffic to my blog by getting involved in things because I felt it would just take the heart out of my blog. And if I’m not writing something from the heart or that I believe in than I don’t want it on my blog. Congrats on LALM!

  2. Debbie Baker Burns says:

    Sometimes, when I start to feel a little overwhelmed, I remember that thrill of having my own little world in my blog. When I start to get burnout, I remember that post I wanted to write or that outfit and the dreamy way I wanted to shoot it. I agree…to be happy with your blog, you’ve got to remember what it was you wanted to do with it when you started…the thing that was in your heart. Debbie

  3. Cii Barnes says:

    As a fellow blogger, I feel like I completely understand what you are saying here. Too often and too easily we compare ourselves with our favourite blogs but really that doesn’t accomplish much besides losing confidence and trying to fit into someone who we are NOT. Though I love my blogger friends, I wouldn’t want to be them and though I admire certain blogs (and, yes, maybe envy them just a tad! ;) ) I’m glad to be me at the end of the day. Thanks for the beautiful words, pretty lady.

  4. M @StyleSizzle says:

    Oh, I love this post! You are so right. It’s so easy to get sucked into “blogger jealousy”. Sometimes it’s “why is she so popular anyway?” or “yes, that truly is a great idea.” But I do genuinely believe it is about caring about what you’re doing and working hard because that always comes through in your posts. I try to keep in mind this quote, “The only competition you’re in is with yourself” and apply it everywhere, especially blogging which can sometimes turn into a “fame-whoring” game, as you put it. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. nneka says:

    MJ, to say that you hit the hit the nail at the point is an understatement. Well written. I’m starting to think this might happen to me, but I dread it. Reading this post will always help me to remember how I started, my real passion for blogging and why I’m blogging. Thanks a lot for this post. I’m happy I found you.

    • MJ says:

      It’s something you shouldn’t dread! It’s all part of the experience and journey as a blogger. It may not be fun to go through but once you come out of it you gain a whole new perspective on not only your blog, but yourself too! :)

  6. gen321 says:

    Love this post! It reaffirms for me, that it is ok to blog for the love of blogging. I almost got caught up in blogger envy and blogger insecurity, but when I get the text, email, fb msg, or comment from someone at church telling me that something I wore inspired them, I know my blog is a sucess.

  7. tiara says:

    I cant believe this post found its way to me today… I’ve been blogging for 2 years and have had a lot of success, but I’ve been feeling lost with my direction trying to be someone that I’m not and also feeling very disgusted with blogging and bloggers as a whole lately. It’s gotten to be so self-important… I started my blog as a professional tool and a fun and creative way to share my writing and that’s what I need to remember going forward. I dont want to get caught up in the hype and whirlwind of 10-minute fame or feel like I need 2,000 followers. You make a lot of great points. Thanks for a great post!

    • MJ says:

      I found myself falling into that trap too and sometimes we just need to step back and make sure we are taking our blog where we really want it to go! I’m soo happy you found this helpful!

  8. Kirstin Marie says:

    An amazing post, MJ. Sometimes as a newbie blogger it is difficult to not get caught up in all the “fame”, so to speak. The feeling of never being good enough or pretty enough to be successful in blogging is such a daunting feeling. I didn’t start blogging for “fame” or “success”. I started blogging because I was bored one day, and because I was feeling really crappy about myself. It inspired me to take better care of myself, and in turn, success & phenomenal relationships are coming from it.

    • MJ says:

      Thank you! It’s true that it’s easy to get caught up in all the hype especially in the beginning. I remember telling my BFF that I wanted my blog to blow up like now in the first few months of it! LOL.

  9. Michelle says:

    LOL @immediate gorgeous pics. Truly I can relate. I get very few comments on my blog and I be blogging my little heart out LOL excuse the grammar. (its the only way I could get my point across)

    Then I sometimes feel like what am I not doing right? But I am not going to compromise and try to be like someone else. I’m just going to offer the best content I can and then pray lol

    • MJ says:

      You definitely shouldn’t compromise yourself! It took me a long time to get conversations going on here but when it does, your people will have a whole lot of blog reading to do! :)

  10. Mel says:

    Wow! What a wonderful and well written post!! As a new blogger I find this post very enlightening and inspirational. Thank you for writing about this topic.
    “Your compass should not be dictated by what others around you are doing. Your blog’s direction and focus is inside you. It’s inside your passion. It’s inside your heart”. These are wonderful words and I couldn’t agree more.
    I started my blog for myself, as a creative outlet and way to befriend new and interesting people. But, I have already felt a bit of pressure to keep up with everyone else. Post more often, take better pics, make a better template, buy more…all that stuff. So far, despite the pressure, I have avoided the “keeping up” and have stayed true to myself. I hope I can keep it that way. And the way I see it is, Do I want friends/followers based on something that isn’t really me? Nope.

    P.S- “Once you’re firmly on your blogging feet, you start getting on twitter”. This cracked me up because I have been avoiding Twitter since its beginning but I joined this week because of the blog. But it led me to this wonderful post so I think joining was a good decision. Oh and I’m definitely re-tweeting this. :)

    • MJ says:

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! I felt that same type of pressure too in the beginning and had to learn the hard way – aka burnout!

  11. Suze says:

    Like, like, like, like, like! You are awesome. You’re ALWAYS true to yourself, and I love that you write what you feel. You’re one of the first bloggers I really felt like I connected with, and I have been reading your blog about as long as I’ve had my own!
    You rock, and I totally agree that you need to do it for you, not to keep up with anyone else.

    • MJ says:

      Suze you are awesome! You set a great example of how to stay true to yourself when blogging and you are one of the first blogs that I have (and still!) read on a daily basis! Thank you soo much! :)

  12. Kate says:

    This is a great post MJ. It is something that I have struggled with on a number of occasions since starting my blog. There were are number of moments where I came quite close to giving up and quitting blogging all together because it simply was no longer enjoyable. After I took a step back and really thought about why I started blogging, I realized that now I was trying to hard to be like all these other bloggers, and had lost myself. So I took the time and effort to refocus on the things I love, and have not looked back since. Blogging is far more enjoyable now because of this.

    Thank you for the shout out, by the way. It means the world to me.

    • MJ says:

      Absolutely because you’re blogging about what you love! There isn’t any undue pressure on yourself when you do that!

      And thank you for that awesome camera article! I really enjoyed that! :)

  13. Jamillah says:

    Such a beautifully written and thoughtful post and I could not agree more with all your points here. Being yourself is what will ultimately lead people to want to know you and read your blog and I firmly believe that. I certainly don’t have a huge readership but I love my blog and I love all the people I’ve met blogging and I consider those things huge successes.

    “Your compass should not be dictated by what others around you are doing. Your blog’s direction and focus is inside you. It’s inside your passion. It’s inside your heart. ” So eloquent, actually that whole paragraph is all kinds of wonderful.

    • MJ says:

      Thank you so much!

      You have to appreciate the small things when it comes to blogging and to life in general so when they big things happen you can truly enjoy it with all the graciousness and joy in your heart! :)

  14. Lizzy says:

    I have to agree with Beautifully Invisible, this is a brilliant post. I think that bloggers, and very often new bloggers (like me) can feel under huge, often self-inflicted, pressure to be able to run with the big blogs right off the mark, to amass enormous followings and brand collaborations in a few short months, and if we haven’t then what the hell is wrong with us! My general rule of thumb seems to correlate with your views: if I’m feeling even slightly stressed or pressured by my blog, I have to back off for a bit, take some time and do other things. Otherwise my ideas fester and my content suffers as a result. I try to inspire myself by reading – books, magazines, fashion or otherwise – taking my camera out somewhere, or getting my sewing box out and doing a bit of DIY. Anything to get the creative thoughts flowing again!

    Thanks for this post; in keeping with Vahni’s LALM challenge, I am going to retweet this post right now :). xx

    • MJ says:

      I definitely feel you on being stressed and burned out. About a year into my blog I was crazy stressed out from it because I felt I had to post everyday, sometimes even twice a day because a lot of the bigger blogs were doing it. I put soo much pressure on myself that it left me uninspired and worn out and like you said, content suffers. I learned the hard way that I had to do what worked for me!

      Thank you soo much for stopping by and retweeting this! :)

  15. Lexy of BeautyFash says:

    Great post! I thank God and my parents everyday that I have the inate desire to be different. I will blatantly NOT do something, just because someone else is doing it. I think it’s important to strive to be different as a blogger, with original content and ideas. Especially since there are so many blogs out there. It’s easy to follow what everyone is doing, but for me – being different is what makes a great blog stand out. Forever, my motto will always be: “you be you and I’ll be me.” I am proud so day that my blog is a true representation of ME. :)

    • MJ says:

      You are absolutely right and I thank my parents for that too! There are a ton of blogs out there and if we took the time to really look at the big ones, you’ll see that they have a style and flavor all of their own and just stuck to being themselves! I definitely like your motto! :)

  16. stylishthought says:

    “Your blog’s direction and focus is inside you”. Truer words haven’t been spoken. I couldn’t agree more and I love that you point out that if you want to blog professionally there is nothing wrong with that. I think once you decide for yourself what the course of your blog is then you are free to follow that course and not be influenced by the course of other “big” blogs.

    • MJ says:

      I have to admit that I’ve fallen victim to the influence, especially at the beginning and found myself doing things that I just didn’t want to do with my blog. After taking a step back and following what I wanted to do, I’ve achieved more than I ever did and could never be happier! :)

  17. Beautifully Invisible says:

    MJ this is magnificent. I don’t use that word often, but it truly is! Vahni’s challenge was a great way to knock everyone back down to earth a bit, and this takes that a step further. It can be SO easy to get caught up in the idea of growing your blog into something HUGE when we are surrounded by so much REAL talent. Taking the time for a reality check is a good thing for many, many reasons. Thanks for this and thanks for the shout-out!

    • MJ says:

      You will always get a shout from me! One of things that I thought was soo cool about your blog was the fact that you were a fashion blogger and didn’t do outfit posts! I loved that about your blog and that made you stand out to me because you were being yourself! I can’t help but be inspired by that! :)

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