When I was seeking potential topics for posts, Yuli (of My It Things and Style Coalition) threw this one at me–“You should write on how not to lose perspective, avoid jealousy and stay thankful,” which I thought was a great idea. To be honest, I'm not always the best at all three, though I try to be. I honestly believe they're 3 of the most important things a blogger can do to keep themselves invested, enthusiastic, and engaged in their sites for the long run. And luckily, I also believe they all work hand in hand.
On Keeping Perspective
Perspective can be one of the first things we lose as a blogger, especially if we start our blog with a goal of tons of readers, freebies galore, and making a full time paycheck right off the bat. Especially after 4 years of blogging, it's easy for me to lose perspective: Why isn't my traffic higher when I've been doing this so long? Why am I not networking with more bloggers? Why do I keep missing all the great conferences and how is that impacting my growth?
Perspective is necessary. Blogging is hard work (and even harder if you're working a full-time job). We only have so many hours in the day.
So to keep your perspective, try asking yourself:
- Can I do more with the available time I have? More being more posting? More commenting? More interacting? If so, great–do it! If not, don't beat yourself up over it–you have limits to what you can do.
- Do I have to give up something in my life to make time for more? Am I willing to do that? It's okay to say, “No, I'm not giving up my 1 hour of The Bachelorette to blog.” It's okay to say, “My weekends need to be spent with my partner and kids.”
- What am I REALLY willing to do to achieve my goals? It's really easy to say, “I'm willing to do whatever it takes to become a professional blogger,” but in reality, we all have our limits. What are yours? I'm not willing to quit my salaried job just yet, or sacrifice all of my time with my partner, friends, and pets. Life is too short (and New Orleans is too great a city) to spend all of my time cooped up in front of a computer. If it delays my ability to do this full time, that's something I have to come to terms with.
On Avoiding Jealousy
I believe that jealousy CAN be a useful emotion; obviously someone or something is triggering deep feelings inside of us. Jealousy can be great if it prompts us to get our asses in gear and make changes, start ideas, and follow our dreams-but how often does it REALLY do that?
Keeping perspective on your life is great for decreasing jealousy issues–because jealousy in blogging is quite frivolous. Blogging presents such a small microcosm of our lives that no one reading ever gets a full picture. So why be jealous that a blogger has an amazing shoe collection and you don't? You may not see the hours she works to pay for those, the mountain of credit card debt she's hiding from, or the loss in her life that led to shopping as an emotional crutch. You may be jealous that someone has a stellar photographer boyfriend taking her amazing photos–but maybe he's working hard to become a professional, is just out of school with no portfolio, or the photographer-blogger relationship is taking its toll on them.
The point being–why waste your time on jealousy when you can't know the hundreds of variables impacting any blogger's life? It all comes back to keeping perspective–keeping a perspective about the lives of others will prevent the green eyed monster from showing up too frequently in yours.
On Staying Thankful
This one may be the easiest for me. Do you know what helps me avoid jealousy most often? Reminding myself of the many things I'm thankful for in blogging.
I'm super thankful that I count some AMAZING bloggers as my friends and colleagues–like the lovely Jennine of The Coveted/IFB. I'm super thankful that my blogging has given me the opportunity to write for IFB twice a week. I'm super thankful that my site gets a bit of traffic each month, and that brings in some extra cash to save for beautiful pretties or pay down my credit cards. I'm super thankful that I'm still writing Dramatis Personae after 4 years, while maintaining full-time job, that my partner is supportive and kind about it, and that I have a full-time job that allows me to pursue this passion without worry about paying my bills.
When I write it down and out, it's so eye-opening. Wow–I have a lot to be thankful for in my blogging. You probably do, too.
Maybe you're thankful that, even though only your mom reads your blog, that you have the time to pursue a passion. Or that you're intensely passionate about something in the first place: do you realize how many people aren't? Or never take action on their passions? It's incredibly gratifying feeling to think about that! Or hell, let's all be thankful that we're in a position of privilege where we have internet, personal computers, and the freedom to express ourselves.
What do you do? To keep perspective? To avoid jealousy? And most importantly–to stay thankful?
Image by Libby Bulloff