Have you ever felt this way?
I suspect that even the most secure, independent individual has had at least a few moments in which they stare at the computer and wonder, “Weren’t those last couple status updates or tweets funny or clever enough? And what about that last post, the one I poured my heart into? Why aren’t the comments there?”
The deafening silence can cause you to doubt yourself and wonder where you went wrong.
But this just in: If you’re doing what you want to do—not what you think you should do—you’re doing everything right.
Here’s a Secret
Along with running out of hand sanitizer, the “recent posts” sidebar to the left of what you’re reading can cause me anxiety at times. When I publish a new post, an old one gets knocked off the cliff like the little hiker guy on the classic “Price is Right” game.
That means certain older posts that I liked are banned from the spotlight forever (unless I annoyingly link back, which I probably will,) forcing me to resist the urge to gently caress them while softly whispering, “You’re awesome. Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not.”
Because while you’re the sum of your work and you build a community by consistently putting yourself out there, at the end of the day it’s truly a case of “What have you done for me lately?”
It gets harder to think of new things to say when you’ve been doing this blogging thing for a while, and there are a lot of times I wonder how much more I can blog, how many more things I can possibly talk about.
(After all, you can only bury a cat in a bright red sweater so many times before people say, “Hasn’t she said that before?”)
And I openly admit that I still fall prey to feeling insecure when something is greeted with silence, but I’ve also accepted that’s just human nature and there’s nothing wrong with that.
We want to be liked. We want to be acknowledged. We want to connect somehow.
This is where it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon and do what seems to be working for everyone else. That’s why it often seems like there aren’t many new ideas —simply new people regurgitating the same things people have said in the past and being praised for reinventing a wheel that’s been rolling for years.
But when you sacrifice authenticity for external validation or cling to attachment to results — (see cartoon above) — you sacrifice the chance to truly show off who you are.
I don’t want to mirror what’s around me, especially if it’s mediocre.
And while being the “first Abby” and not the “next (insert name of popular person I’ve probably never heard of here)” is sometimes greeted with silence, that’s better than way too much noise.
However, once in awhile it’s okay to want someone to whisper, “You’re awesome. Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not.” Or wish for a laugh track to play after every lame joke that I make. And a round of applause when I remember to take the recycle out the morning before they come by…
Anyway, just be you and someone might like it.
If you’re lucky, that someone is you.
Like the blog? Buy the book?
You’re awesome. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not.
Now, since you have a real beisbol team can you tell me how to get through the summer with my.mediocre one?
Seriously, watching you on the Grand Rapids need tellme that humor heals. You and I are friends because of our authenticity. Thanks for publishing this
Thanks for being you and keeping it real, my friends. And it’s a long, long season. Chin up!
I don’t comment as much as I should, but I think EVERYONE can relate to this. We all are vulnerable at times and it really is reassuring to hear that I am not the only one (even though in the back of my mind I know others feel the same way). Still, to have you express in words what often times I feel is comforting. Keep it up Ab! What I should really say is, “Thank you.”
I miss you and thank you for commenting. 😉
Authenticity prevails, my friend.
I go through long periods of feeling completely disenchanted by this whole blogging lark. It scares me. I worry I’m not funny enough, or my writing just doesn’t cut it. I compare myself over and over to everyone else, and then I have a mini-meltdown and seriously consider giving it all up.
“But this just in: If you’re doing what you want to do—not what you think you should do—you’re doing everything right”
– This, THIS. I tell myself something similair each time – and this is what pulls me out of the negative cyclone, because you know what? I am being true to myself, and my writing reflects that. I’m not selling out, or copying everyone else, I’m not writing just for the sake of writing or heaving out post after post, just to keep up with the conveyor belt. I write when I feel like it, and I write from my heart and soul.
I like that about me. (Most of the time).
Oh, and ps, you’re awesome.
I love that about you. (All of the time.)
You ARE awesome. I’m not whispering, I’m yelling it and I don’t even have kids around me making noise that I have to shout over.
I never “think” of posts to write. I let whatever organically comes to me, come to me. I’ve had ideas actually make me laugh out loud, I’d so proud of them coming out exactly how I wanted them to, then….crickets….tumbleweed…nothing.
Others that I don’t even think about, just pop out of me and I’m like “Eh, I’m compelled to write to this, I doubt anyone’s listening” are the ones that get shared and commented and lots of pats on the back. It’s so confusing.
What’s even more confusing to me, is having lots of visitors to a post, and almost zero comments (You know I see the stats, I know you see the stats, you gotta be with me on this one).
I am guilty of this. In the name of Saving Time, I often read, laugh, enjoy, then don’t say a damn thing because i’m an asshat.
I’ll stop that, especially for writers like you who I want to make sure feel my encouragement to write more. Because you’re awesome.
Yeah, the comment thing is weird and I totally agree. However, I’ve also detached myself from attachment to comments as well, as I know I’m guilty of exactly what you just described. I should probably work on that as well, as I know how one comment can change my perspective!
We totally need to start a really long comment thread about commenting.
Well said! I’m so glad you finally posted this. The toughest thing is remembering all of this when it feels like the walls are crashing down and you’re ready to throw in the blogging towel.
Part of what most of us have to remind ourselves of is the fact that we aren’t getting paid to do this. It doesn’t necessarily make us feel better when the traffic or comments aren’t there but it’s not tied to our income. It’s supposed to be fun and an outlet.
At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
Exactly. I’ve gotten a lot better about this and try to keep it in perspective. It’s a hobby and a connection, not my meal ticket or the only thing I have in my life. However, it’s an important thing, so it’s important that it reflects me. I know you get it 😉
Ah that’s true. I think it’s impossible not to be at least a little insecure as a blogger. You’re sharing your creations – it’s vulnerable in itself!
It is easy to get insecure about things you throw out there. There are often times where I’m like “omg, what is with that word vomit I posted a few days ago?” and others where I”m like “somone please read this before it disappears from my home page forever!”
The word vomit happens more often than not, but you make a good point in that it’s there for me. I like being able to ramble or work through thoughts on here. And as long as I’m happy with it, then I should just keep on keepin’ on…
Or at least I will until I get enough comments that say “what the hell are you doing publishing such nonsense?”
My favorite thing is when I post to facebook, I almost always end up losing a fan for one reason or another. If I don’t post for a couple days, I gain 2 or 3. It’s like the old insurance saying: I’m worth more dead than alive. That always makes you feel loved. 🙂
So in other words, I should fake my own death so I can actually sell another copy of my book? Deal. We could go into hiding together and really strike it big.
I love your analogy about pushing previous posts off a cliff. I feel the same way. I’ll admit, if I post something that I feel really good about I often wait before posting again so my “favorite child” has a chance to be in the spotlight a little longer.
Glad I’m not the only one!
I needed to read this post this morning. Really. Thank you. “But when you sacrifice authenticity for external validation or cling to attachment to results — (see cartoon above) — you sacrifice the chance to truly show off who you are.” I identify. My signature is raw honesty and when I get away from that, even for a second (like I did yesterday) a rabbit dies somewhere. Or something like that. Thank you for writing what (I suspect) a lot of us needed to read. I am going to share this on my FB Page.
Exactly. I can tell when I post something I’m “meh” about simply because I felt I should write something. Not every post has to be what I consider great or anything–I have to let go of that expectation as well–but I have to make sure the motivation is there. I’ll always cling to the old ones though…
Yes. If I felt a *burning need* to write it, chances are the post will be good. If, however, I glared at the computer screen, struggled to throw something together and hit “publish” with reluctance, it is going to rot. AND there is this weird pressure to live up to the best we’ve written before, you know? Yeah, you know. Take good care Abby.
You’re very right. I’ve had those same feelings about my old posts. (Like a mother loves her awkward child.) I’m going to keep writing and keep up my efforts to attract readers. That is ultimately important to me. Somehow, there’s a happy medium between being the uncompromising me and striking the right chord that will appeal to the masses.
What an excellent, insiteful post. And, yes, you ARE awesome!
Oh, I wasn’t looking for the affirmation, but thank you anyway! 🙂
You’re beyond awesome and always keep it real. Big smiles xxxx
When I was younger, I wish I would have listened to people when they said “just be yourself” and “you’re wonderful the way you are.” I think we, as humans, have to learn this lesson for ourselves. We have to go through the heartache of feeling inadequate and lost before realizing that to find the inner peace that comes with knowing who we are requires doing and saying what you like and feel, not what you think others want you to say or do. It’s so liberating to just be yourself and opens doors to other good, honest people who can appreciate you for you! Great post, I can relate!
Awesome comment. You said what I didn’t say, and much more eloquently than I would have said it.
I’m learning I’d be a lot happier if I was just “me” more. Does that make sense? One of the reasons I plan on starting a new blog is to be more “me” and to attempt to write about everything, not just the happy/funny/sarcastical stuff. And I like it when you’re “you”. YOU’RE AWESOME.
“This morning I ate a muffin” sometimes the right person will post that on Facebook and get 58 comments. And this “right person” is never me.
I am the salmon. Swimming against the current. Sometimes I am actually the salmon walking in the field wondering what ever happened to the river. We sit and read other people’s blogs, tweets, status updates and think to ourselves how great it would be to be THAT person. Meanwhile, chances are THAT exact same person is looking at us, with our originality, our differences and our quirks and wished they were US.
You have issues and they make you the amazing writer that you are.
So, so true. And I’m the salmon on a bicycle, wondering if I should tweet that I’m a salmon on a bicycle. However, I am no different than you or anyone else. I write. Some people read. We connect. That’s what makes blogging so cool 😉
The funny thing is, I often feel insecure about posting comments on other people’s blogs. I think it’s human nature to want the blog writer to like your comment. It’s like a vicious circle of blogger and commenter insecurity. Your advice to be yourself no matter what the venue (blogging or commenting on blogs) is a good one. I always worry that my dry sense of humor comes off as bitchy or intimidating in writing. The only recourse is using insipid emoticons which makes me seem … insipid. I can’t win! See, I’m even insecure about using emoticons to reassure other people that I’m not being mean. Ugh. Anyway, you’re awesome. 😀
I’m far from awesome. I just put it out there and hope no one throws metaphorical eggs at my head (but if they do, omelettes for all!) I actually feel the same exact way about what you said in your comment, even about commenting. But at the end of the day, we think people worry about what we do way more than they actually do. All the more reason to just be yourself. YOU are awesome, as cheesy as that is, simply because you are you and not some recycled version of somebody else.
I suffer the same affliction. But I do, truly, love you.
Are you still taking painkillers? 😉
Recognise this ahh too well. That’s one major reason why I didn’t start blogging until very recently. I always wanted to but I was so afraid of what people would say and the comments and lack of them etc…
Then I just stopped caring about my fears; after all most of us are blogging primarily for ourselves, whether it be for validation, sharing your gift of writing or as a tool for recovery like in my case. I’ve been very lucky to meet some great people through my blog which I believe happened because I have been myself.
You on the other hand are a wonderfully talented writer! Always a pleasure to read your posts. 🙂
It’s so important to have support when you’re going through recovery for anything, and the blogging community is pretty darn amazing on that front. It’s good to remember that they know all your “issues” and still like you anyway, so don’t worry about things that they say. They already like you, and if they don’t, screw ’em.
I really wish that I hadn’t told so many of the people I know IRL about my blog, just for the fact I have to hold back a lot. I really envy people who are able to put it all out there while I have to worry about who’s reading and if what I said will be an issue.. I think my content suffers sometimes because of it and I often wonder if I’d have more reader interaction if I were able to just be honest about more of the details of my everyday life.
PS I heart your face.
I feel the same way, as I always worry about who’s reading and what they might think of how neurotic I am, so I do keep some things for myself. But a majority of it is me–good, bad or ugly–and people might as well just get used to it now if they’re going to be around me for any length of time. And for the record, you have great readers and I heart your face even more. The end.
I certainly hope so. And any time I come across a writer struggling with issues of authenticity I tell them about your blog.
Maybe who cares if you write something new and exciting? Maybe it’s just that we’re all having a conversation and we like it when we hear whatever new idea our favorite bloggers are thinking, even if it’s BLEGH, just to know we’re alive and still connected. So just be you and write about whatever you feel like writing about and don’t write when you don’t feel like it. We’ll be waiting for you.
Great point about the conversation thing, as I often forget that not every post has to be a story in and of itself. Sometimes it’s just me or you or whoever, and sometimes that’s all that you need.
Don’t be discouraged! Your blog rocks, and most of us (well, me at least) could only dream of having such a great, active following. Keep it up!
I’m not discouraged at all–quite the opposite! I just need to put the reminder out there from time to time 😉
It’s strange and quite common that nothing ever seems enough. Comments, money, whatever. Windfalls titillate us – of course. But titillation is always fleeting. WHY? Oh WHY…
Oh – I found my way to your blog via Dan Perez.
Recently on my blog: @tweeting_lies writes about how he feels Out of Step http://wp.me/pbg0R-J8
I have this same problem all the time. I never know when what I post will become popular or really resonate with people. It always seems there’s one post a month that I think will really hit home that never does.
Or people just don’t comment on it and I never know. Could be either.
Oh my Gosh, did you write this for me? Are you in my head? I’ve bookmarked this post so I can go back and read it when I’m feeling down about my blog. Thank you.
Firstly, (jenn whispers)
You’re awesome. Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not.
That said, I’m one of the guilty ones who visit, read and run most of the time. Sometimes I’m confident enough to comment but many times I feel a little unworthy. You are such a funny wonderful writer and you also have funny wonderful commenters commenting. I feel less funny and less wonderful and wonder if you even care what I may write. I’ll stop thinking that right away.
You’ve pointed out that YOU, Abby, one of the funniest writers I’ve come across in the blogosphere, feel insecure sometimes. ME TOO! So, I’ll decide to feel more confident and comment more, because I usually want to, until now though I’ve been a little reticent. Sowwies. :o)
Oh no! This post wasn’t at all about people not commenting, as I’m just as guilty of that as anyone else. It’s just a reminder that most of us are insecure, but honestly, we have no reason to be. Whatever you say, whatever you do–if it’s you and it’s real, then who cares? 🙂
Well said, Abby. It’s very easy to forget your individuality at times, but being yourself is very important. ^.^
#lights up applause cue” I love reading your blog, I’m just not a big commenter…mostly because I feel I have nothing original or to add than what’s already been said. But, I do read everything you post, and usually highly identify with it.
#original or funny to add. Damn typos
Thank you. I feel this way all. the. time. I wish for more noise on my blog because sometimes, all I hear are crickets! But yeah, I know those who read me love me. Just like I keep coming back here. You are you. That’s what I like.
I couldn’t agree more! Likewise, when someone doesn’t like me I don’t particularly care because I know I’m always being myself. Everyone isn’t going to like everyone and I’m not one of those people that changes what I say and how I act around each different crowd of people. Ok so your post was more about blogging…but I think you hit a deep point here. 🙂
Technically, it is about blogging, but let’s also say it’s a metaphor for life 😉 Spot-on comment and I concur. Can’t please ’em all, and why would you want to?
Great post. Thanks for being brave enough to express what I’m sure we’ve all felt. And sage advice to follow.
No one will ever get as close to knowing my Busi like I do. But I must say, it humbles me and makes my heart happy to know that there are a bunch of awesome people out there that ‘get her’ probably better than I. And for that, I am so thankful to know she touches so many more than me. I love ya Abs. Thank you for stickin by me always. xoxo
Perfect, perfect, perfect. And timely. And perfect. I’m favoriting this post so I can reread it when I’m feeling rejected, or ignored, or generally insecure (so that’s, um, pretty much daily). 😉 You ARE awesome. Thanks for using your words to make me feel that way, too.
Stumbled upon your blog on Best Posts of the Week and I love your writing. And I’m extremely picky about which blogs I read. And how people write. So, you have me hooked.
Brilliant. You know very well my feelings on this topic. I’ve struggled with identity and place ever since I started blogging. And I STILL have those “what the hell” moments when I wonder why someone who seems completely unoriginal and boring gets five million more comments and readers than me. I guess I’ll always have those moments. But when I’m completely and authentically me, I tend to be more proud of myself and that’s worth more than a million comments, popularity, and a bag full of chocolate glazed donuts. Maybe.
“If you’re doing what you want to do—not what you think you should do—you’re doing everything right. ”
Amen to that, Abby!
And you ARE awesome. Don’t ever doubt that, or let anyone tell you different!
gah. such a dead on post. authenticity is always the way to go.
i put sooo much energy and time into writing. and its not even my job. sometimes i wonder why. but i love it, so i know the answer.
there were a few months way back when that i really thought about making my blog into something more, something career like perhaps? i dont know. i didnt have specific ideas, but i just didnt understand why certain blogs that i found pretty dull were such big hits. but in the end, i couldnt compromise what i wanted hhh to be. or put nursing on the sidelines.
your blog is awesome. its you. and thats why i read it. keep doing it 🙂
My last few posts have felt pretty forced so I’m taking a week off. No matter what I do, I want to make sure my blog is totally authentic, not like it’s some chore or obligation. That’s how I’m starting to feel. So I’m going to start fresh in a few days and see how it goes.
I love you, even when I don’t comment. When I post and get no comments, it sucks. Almost as bad as seeing that four people actually visited by blog this month and still didnt’ comment.
You know,Abby, this is a really great post that is quite informative and thought-provoking. When I first started blogging, I felt pressure to be funny, because those are the blogs I am drawn to. And, while I love to laugh and joke around and be irreverent, I found it difficult to do this in writing. So, I just started writing about things that interest me and I that like to share with others. Some day I may get those thousands of followers. Or not. Who knows? I just know that I had to be ME and sometimes I’m funny, sometimes I’m angry, sometimes I’m sad. But always I’m passionate about life and what we can do with our lives here on earth, as well as all the regular people who are doing amazing things in the world, and that is something I can write about over and over again.
I wouldn’t want those thousands of followers if it meant I wouldn’t get thoughtful comments from the people who do read, like this one.
I love you being you. This is why this is one of my favourite Blogs
And this comment was an awesome way to start my morning. Thank you for that!
Hey, know what I discovered this late in my freaking life…that one day I went to bed 15 and ended up married with a hubby, 2 rugrats, a dog, a rabbit, 2 fish tanks, and a Jackson Chameleon named “X”? Life is too short to worry about what people think… in fact, I am totally convinced that the world is full of whackadoodles with some very crazy agendas. Finally, I am thoroughly convinced that the best company in life is me, myself and I. We so totally get each other 😉 Coffee… does a mind good early in the AM! LOL Love ur posts… you go girl. Hey, bury another critter in a red sweater. U do it with style!
I love just about everything about this comment–especially the animal round-up and your use of “whackadoodles.” 😉
“But when you sacrifice authenticity for external validation or cling to attachment to results — (see cartoon above) — you sacrifice the chance to truly show off who you are.”
Thanks for that reminder.
I usually have no problem being myself and pushing forward with my own thing, whether I’m getting recognition for it or not. But that doesn’t stop the occasional gripe from the Inner Critic and the self-doubt of not being “good enough.” (Whatever that means.)
Frankly, I know a lot of people are probably like me. They read, they enjoy, and they don’t comment – for lack of anything in-depth to say.
So, I’m both trying to be better about commenting on things I read *and* trying to wean myself off the desire for comments. (The latter’s probably not going to work, but oh well.)
Being able to write authentically and honestly is exactly why I abandoned my old blog (after working on it for a year and a half) and started Honest Mom. Too many people IRL knew about my old blog and like some commenters above, I felt like I couldn’t write honestly.
I wanted to write about when I was frustrated with being a mom without everyone in town talking. And write about depression without everyone IRL knowing about it. It was hard to start over but now, in just three months, I have more readers and followers than I did on my old blog. Which means the realness is paying off. 🙂
As I’m new to blogging this post hit home. Though the comments indicate this is relevant to newbies and veterans. Thanks for the post. It reinforces we are not alone in our thoughts of self doubt. We need to shove it aside and hit publish!
I’m new here but I’m definitely and can’t wait to come back. So much of what you wrote — I *absolutely* relate.
You’re awesome. I am, too. Thanks for the reminder. I keep forgetting.
Finely written, my friend. You’ve clearly tapped into a writing conundrum we can all relate to. Readers can tell when someone is being authentic or just pulling something out of their ass for attention. I don’t post as often as I once did, but I’m doing some different types of things not — short fiction pieces and other writing experiments. I hope people enjoy them, but ultimately you have to be true to yourself and accept that not every post is going to be a hit out of the park. Having said that, I’m still one for whom immediate gratification is a drug of choice. 😉
Really a thoughtful, good post, Abby. Awesome!
Yeah, I’m pretty much in love with you…
You’ll always have people like me, falling for your blog, developing an extreme girl crush, and looking through all your posts. And they are all spectacular.