Disclaimer: this post is not a request for you to tell me how wonderful I am (though that’s ALWAYS welcome). Rather, this post is intended to name some feelings I’ve had (whether now and in the past) in the hopes that others will relate and gain something from what I have to say.
A while ago I read a blog post on a non-book blog about how blogging reminds her of high school and all of the insecurities she felt: wanting to be accepted, wanting to be part of the “cool crowd”, etc. I wish I’d kept the link, but I didn’t.
So then I was reading at one of my favorite non-book blogs, Smoothpebble, and SHE had a post about blogging and high school and feelings of inadequacy.
And then just today, Bethany from B&b ex libris posted about whether the book blogging community has a cool and uncool group, and her post was the impetus I needed to finally publish this draft that’s been collecting dust.
I think feelings of inadequacy are more prominent in creative blogs (I have a friend who’s really creative and I’ve tried to convince her to start a blog, but she doesn’t want to because she’s not as good as the bloggers she reads), but I can’t imagine that I’m the only book blogger who sometimes feels like they’re back in high school. Let me explain.
In high school, I wasn’t an outcast but I certainly wasn’t popular. I was pretty quiet and generally kept to myself except with my circle of friends. I was usually in the advanced classes, so I was with all the other “nerds” anyway, so I never felt particularly nerdy myself. I don’t think the word “cool” would have described me at that time. I was nice to everyone, so I was never picked on. But having graduated more than 10 years ago, I’d be surprised if anyone other than my circle of friends remembers me.
But now, with blogging, I have a lot of the same feelings I had in high school. I wonder if people like me. I wonder if I’m nice enough. I wonder if my posts are good enough (even though I was in the advanced classes, I was never the smartest. In English, my teacher never held up my paper and said, “THIS is good writing.” like she did for another student (that happened to be struggling with anorexia….but I digress.)). What does this translate to? What does all this angst really spill over as? This:
Why don’t I get linked to more often?
Why aren’t my stats as good as so-and-so’s?
Why don’t publishers send me more books?
Why don’t I get as many comments as so-and-so?
Why doesn’t so-and-so like me?
Why aren’t I as funny as so-and-so?
Why can’t I be as chummy with authors as so-and-so? (erm…that might have something to do with my amazing ability to stuff both feet in my mouth at the same time and still talk)
Perhaps all of this has to do with my Type A personality, my drive to do better, do more, and do it all perfectly. I really want to do a good job.
Here’s a quote from Blue Yonder:
On the other hand, blog surfing can be, well, kind if intimidating. It can make you feel pretty inadequate. You can start to think that “So and so would handle this so much better than me” or “SHE would probably never raise her voice” or “That person would never forget about the birthday party and buy some plastic noise making junk to wrap in the car on the way over. Oh no, SHE would make something beautiful, something that would be treasured into the birthday boy’s retirement.” or “I’ll bet SHE never has piles of unfolded laundry on her couch for days.”
When I peruse the blogosphere, I often have to remind myself that I’m looking at someone’s life through a pinhole. I’m only seeing the wee-est little bit. If I knew them in “real life” I would see all the rest, and it would probably look as messy as my life.
I love this quote because while I struggle with feelings of inadequacy about my blog, I remind myself that I’m not someone else. I certainly don’t begrudge blogger’s their success! But it’s hard not to compare myself to others, so I have to remember that my life is what it is. I have a husband. I have a full time job and a part time job. I enjoy knitting. I have (however few) real life friends that I hang out with. And in the end, not everyone has the same circumstances and it’s not fair to compare myself to someone else, because it’s comparing apples and oranges.
I can only compare myself to me. Is my writing getting better? Are my insights into books getting more thoughtful? Is the traffic to my blog, which is tangible, growing each month?
But I think what might sum up this whole post is what Marta said on Twitter when talking about Bethany’s post:
I think whether you feel like you’re in or not depends on hormones and your chocolate supply also.
I’m thinking I need an extra supply of chocolate.
I want to reiterate that this is not a request for you to tell me how wonderful I am. Rather, this post is intended to name some feelings I’ve had (whether now and in the past) in the hopes that others will relate and gain something from what I have to say.