Am I a Blogging Failure?

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“I’ve only got, like 50 followers.”

“I’ve got 32.”

“I’ve got TEN.”

“I don’t know what followers are, but then I only started blogging last week.  Why haven’t I won any awards yet?”

“I never get approached by any companies with any budget.  It’s like, will you give us these 60 follow links for free and a complimentary bottle of bubble bath, and I’m like, talk to the hand Bubbles.  Why aren’t I getting the big money gigs?”

“I hear you sister, I get approached by those companies ALL THE TIME.  It’s like, we’ll publicise it all over our Facebook page.  We have 15 likes and a couple on Instagram.  It will be GREAT publicity for you.  And I’m like, can I pay my bills with 15 likes and an Instagram post?”

“Well, I don’t get approached by any companies at all, so you must be doing something right.  I, on the other hand, am a literal corporate pariah.  No one wants to come near me.  It must be the swearing.  Do you think it’s the swearing?”

“Huffington Post have rejected me again.  They obviously hate me.  They hate my writing.  I am a terrible writer.  I am the worst of the worst.  Someone please shoot me now, for if you are all failures, with your HuffPo articles, then I am just lying here, in a pit of rubbishness.”

This is how the blogging world feels sometimes.  Like we are all competing with one another, and all being found wanting.  Competing for the opportunities, competing for the awards, and competing to have the followers, those coveted followers who are probably only reading our blogs because they want us to read theirs.

The other day, someone referred to me as a “lesser known blogger.”  It was intended as a compliment, but there was something about it that smarted; something about the idea of being “lesser known” that made me simply feel lesser.  Something about it that made me jealous of all those so-called “bigger bloggers,” many of whom have been in this game for less time than I have, but who seem to have built a following which dwarfs mine.

I keep telling myself that my enemy is lack of time.  All those others, I think, they are at home all day.  They don’t have full time jobs.  Most of them have husbands.  Their children go to bed earlier than mine.  And then I think to myself, am I just lazy?  Are those just my pitiful excuses for my own lack of motivation, lack of ability, lack of success?  Everyone has constraints on their time.  Maybe the bottom line is I’m just not good enough.

And then I think, perhaps it’s time for a reality check.  I have become so sucked into this world that I’ve lost sight of how and why I entered it in the first place.  Did I start blogging so that I could work with brands?  To win awards?  To create an online empire consisting of flogging someone else’s products into a cyberspace packed only with my fellow bloggers, all there, doing the same thing?

No I did not.  I started to be creative, to write, to record something of my life, to start to flesh out the bones of a book.  And then I got sucked in.  Sucked into the daily grind of Twitter, of Instagram, of Facebook, which I previously thought was a place for posting photos of life looking more glamorous than it actually was, and perusing photos of teenage crushes and feeling quietly smug when they became obese; and which now seems to have morphed into a vehicle for my own endless self-promotion; something that comes to me about as naturally as boiling my own head.

I didn’t start blogging so that I could participate in a never-ending race for popularity with other bloggers.  We all have our reasons for doing what we do, but just because someone else’s may be different to mine, doesn’t mean that I should measure my goals, my successes-or for that matter my perceived failures-against theirs.

And so what do I do; do I remove myself from the race entirely, or do I keep plodding on, and hope that like the proverbial tortoise I eventually beat those hares who seem to have unlimited time and energy to race ahead in the blogging game?

No one ever achieved what they wanted by giving up, right?

45 Comments Add yours

  1. Yes, we all feel this way, I think! I did not start a blog to get high blog stats but I’m obsessed with the stupid little graph and, yes, getting free shit. I will just urge you not to give up because of these outside influences. You are a good writer, and if you are enjoying writing your blog, that is all that matters. x

    1. Min says:

      Thanks. I do enjoy it, and that’s why I will continue. Like you say, we all feel this way, and I think we all just feel like we are lost in a sea of voices and question the point of it.

  2. Big respect for writing this post. You have managed to write down what thousands of bloggers must be feeling, no joke! As I said to my work mates last week. Blogging is an industry like anything else. There are politics, competitiveness and status driven ambitions (which is fine if that’s your cup of tea). However it our choice which areas of this industry we hang out in. It is not always about awards and thousands of followers. For some it’s about being authentic and truly supporting others. I have proactively encouraged my friends and contacts to blog. It doesn’t matter if there are more of us.
    On the more positive flip side I have found an outlet where my blog is my sanctuary. I have discovered a supportive community I wish I had found earlier, especially when I had PND last year.
    I have been lucky to have met a lot of those in my blogging community and they have been truly supportive. I somehow managed to bring us together in one room the other day. Everyone was so genuine and real. What I love about us all? We are all normal people with the same everyday worries and fears.
    So thank you Single Mum Speaks for being brave and bold to write this post. This is one post where I had to leave a comment before I forget.
    You set your blogging aspirations, don’t follow others as we are all unique. You’re right there is pressure out there.
    There is more than enough room for all of us as we use blogging to air our voice. Don’t know you but I’m proud I’ve seen your post. Keep writing for you. A very timely blog post to read as I’m heading to Blogfest this Saturday. Thanks for reminding me about why I really blog. You’re an inspiration more than you think. Right, time to get ready for bed now. I also need to share your post on Twitter! X Sunita

    1. Min says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment, and enjoy Blogfest! I’m not going this year but I went last year and it was great-really inspiring. I will keep going and continue because I love writing. I just doubt myself sometimes, as I think we all do.

  3. You never asked me if you could use my quote ?

    Great post Min. You’ve said what a lot of us have been thinking. I hope when you get that book deal you’ll think of me x

    1. Min says:

      Haha! I think we’ve all said all of those things. Don’t worry, you lot in the tribe will be right there getting book deals along with me!

  4. Sarah says:

    What Sunita said! What a brilliant comment. And I might only be one of your fellow bloggers now, but I was reading your blog before I ever wrote one & I have always loved it exactly how it is xxx

    1. Min says:

      Thank you! I love your blog too. I didn’t realise you were reading before you had one though-that’s lovely to hear! x

  5. It’s really hard not to get sucked in. But your writing is fab. And from where I’m sitting you look like you write loads so I can’t imagine you’re lazy – let alone the fact you work full time plus are a solo parent. I started getting worried about stats and its hard not to when some days you get like three reads! But then when you realise that one thing you wrote meant one other person related/ felt less alone/ could laugh at it all, then I think that’s way more meaningful than numerous followers which can be bought for a price anyway! Keep on going. People love your stuff. And you have won an award anyway 😉 x

    1. Min says:

      Haha, yes! I forgot the award! Thanks for your comment. I will carry on-just trying to work out a way to still write but not to get caught up in all the other stuff, at least not to the extent that it sucks the joy out of it.

  6. Your my favourite writer, closely followed of course by Hardy. I hear you with this I love writing (although I am much less grammatically sound than yourself!) but I have massive guilt and uncomfortable stomach feelings at the moment as I just have no time in between work, overtime, parenting, buying a house and back and forth from hospital. I think worse is that I feel unsociable not having time to read other peoples fab waffling’s or chat to the tribe. I am like the girl in the cupboard in parties. I have about 12,000 followers across all my channels and a brand still decided to tell me the other day that according to my stats, metrics and followers I was not that appealing. I almost replied…what do you want a kidney? Well find some time in our impossible schedules I’ll come up to visit and we can do shots…write our respective books inebriated, win awards and retire to the Bahamas. Sorted. xx

    1. Min says:

      Haha, love that I’m up there with Hardy. You did mean Thomas though right, not Laurel and? Just checking. I’m angry on your behalf about the brand, but I have to say that the blogs that do the most brand work are very often my least favourites to read, so at least you are maintaining your artistic integrity! Let’s defo meet up and do shots and write our books! x

  7. Emma says:

    You know my thoughts on this. I am so fed-up of how money orientated and competitive blogging has become at the moment. For me I only noticed it when I joined Facebook and joined another pod! Why am I in these fricking pods? Who cares about getting likes, what difference does it make? I feel like I have been sucked into a cycle of artficial shit and I can’t get out. I have removed myself from some pods and I want to go back to why I started blogging. Blogging should be about the writing. (although I love a good vlog too 😉 ) I never started blogging to pedal other peoples’ wares (although the money does help justify the time I spend on it) I started blogging as I needed something for me. Like you I plan to carry on plodding and hoping for the best, and try to work out what I want with blogging.

    1. Min says:

      Please carry on plodding, I love your writing as you know. Argh the pods. I haven’t joined the FB ones. Even the thought makes me queasy!

  8. Could not put this better Min. You’re one of my favourite bloggers and I urge you not to jack it in – it’s absolutely an industry and I can’t believe I didn’t cotton on to that at the start. Easy to get swept up in measuring your success by what others think, and slowly losing the sense of pride you once got from a putting a really good post out there. Much love xxx

    1. Min says:

      It came as a surprise to me to be honest. I blogged in secret (literally my blog wasn’t public) for 18 months before going public, and when I did the fact that a whole parent blogging community even existed, let alone included people earning money through using their blogs to advertise, came as a massive shock. Thank you for your lovely comment. x

  9. This is something probably all of us have grappled with at some point – if not frequently. Interestingly, Bernadette Jiwa’s latest (very brief) blog post talks about this while referencing actor Bryan Cranston’s recently published memoir. In short – it’s more about the ride than the destination.

    I have to tell myself this, too. If I had all the money I ever needed, what would I write about? What would I create? Who would I be doing it for? What would my “why” be?
    Sometimes, it’s helpful to know that we’re doing something because we sort of “have to” or “want to”, regardless of the outcome. That said, learning how to use social media as well as we can, and develop meaningful relationships in which we aim to serve first, will bring their own reward. 🙂

    Here’s a link to Bernadete Jiwa’s post:
    http://thestoryoftelling.com/ignoring-competition/

    1. Min says:

      Thanks for posting this. I’ve just read the blog post and it makes a very good point I think. I think we would all be better focusing on ourselves rather than on the competition in all aspects of our lives to be honest! Thanks for your comment.

  10. I could have written this! I feel the same. And I’m a SAHM and I still only post twice a week, three times if I’m lucky! I still don’t feel I have time but that’s because I choose to spend my time with my daughter or husband and fit blogging in around naps etc. I want to blog when I have something to say and not churn out crap just to keep promoting myself and seen as a ‘consistent’ blogger. I chose to be a SAHM not to be a work from home mum but blogging has become addictive and made me competive, or maybe just ambitious? Either way I’m eyeing up the competition feeling ‘i could do that’ which sounds terrible! What’s worse I have a PG Dip in journalism so should be able to write but I feel my writing must be shit as my numbers are so low. I try not to get sucked into stats but it’s hard. Just keep writing when you want and about what you want and screw the rest. Now, can I listen to my own advice?!

    1. Min says:

      I completely agree that it’s best to blog when you have something to say. I sometimes find when I blog for the sake of it that stats go up briefly, but quality goes down, so it’s trying to find that balance. Thanks for your comment.

  11. The Pramshed says:

    Oh no hun please don’t remove yourself from the blogging world. I love reading your posts, and thats why you are blogging. Blogging is not just about working with brands, and the number of followers you have. As long as your doing it for what you believe in that’s whats important. I’m so guilty for worrying about presence and I’ve not had any brands contact me for ages, but I’m going to try to not think about it. I’ve got plenty of other things to do. Please don’t feel the pressure of blogging x

    1. Min says:

      Don’t worry, I’m not planning on going anywhere. I don’t get contacted by brands either, but equally I don’t really put myself out there for that because although I have done a few things which I felt were a good fit, I can count them on the fingers of one hand, and that’s not really what my blog is about. Like you I’ve got plenty of other things to do, so trying not to worry too much. As so many others have pointed out, I think we all have these moments when we question everything. Thanks for commenting.

  12. JerseyGirl says:

    We all feel like this, so good to know we aren’t all losing the plot. I had a similar epiphany last week and thought the same as you. We do this for creative output, for acknowledging moments in our lives and first and foremost for the writing. Success is what you deem it, if I get a post out every week, that I’m happy with and loved writing it, then I’m happy. Don’t get me wrong easier said than done some days, but I keep going even if it is just for me. My family don’t even read mine and I thought they were meant to be a given!! Keep going Hun

    1. Min says:

      Sometimes family reading can be more of a hindrance than a help! I know what you mean. I’m going at the rate of about a post a week at the moment and barely keeping on top of that. Thanks for your lovely comment.

  13. Chloe says:

    I started blogging a few months ago and I feel like I spend hours and hours which has earned me a grand total of zero dollars haha. I would love it to become a career yet I honestly don’t know where to go or what to do and constantly question if I am good enough. I just hope one day I’ll learn the key!

    1. Min says:

      I’d love to say I have words of wisdom for you, but I’m afraid I don’t! Keep going and good luck!

  14. It’s so easy to get sucked in and caught up and then riddled with self doubt. I have major wobbles all the time. Feel like I’m not good enough, or not doing enough, and I’m crap at the whole social media etiquette! Sometimes we need to take a step back, have some time off and get a new perspective. For what it’s worth I think your blog is great Min, and love your writing.

    1. Min says:

      Thank you! It seems as though everyone has those wobbles from time to time, and I’m naturally self critical so it seems to come fairly often! I am trying to keep it all in perspective though.

  15. I’ve removed myself from a lot as you know and it’s been amazing for me – maybe not for my blog but there is a life outside of blogging and I feel that there is a tendency by bloggers to lose total sight of reality – where is their life outside of blogging – I’ve drafted a post about this but am fearful it will be slated ! Well done for writing this. I could hear those quotes in an Essex TOWIE style accent which made it even funnier – I’m from Essex so am allowed to say that!!

    1. Min says:

      I agree. There was a time when I felt terrible if I wasn’t up till all hours blogging away, and I’m trying to remember that it is OK to prioritise sleep, children, job, family, etc, over blogging!

  16. BRILLIANT post as usual; you don’t know how to write a bad one. I’ve read a few posts of yours where you mention the downside of blogging or your frustrations with it. You are one of my top 5 bloggers because of your way with words (and erm this sexy new theme is fab! Probably not new but I’ve not popped over in a while.) Emma of Island Living mentioned this post during a Twitter chat this evening where a bunch of us – erm well me mainly lol – were moaning about blog angst. Honestly, it’s ridiculous; blogging seems to be increasingly (the more posts I read and bloggers I talk to) a source of stress and anxiety. Many of just lose our way and some of us come back. I am CONSTANTLY questioning what the bloody hell I’m doing. If only I spent less time agonising and more time doing. Pfffft. Chin up chicken xxxx

    1. Min says:

      Thank you Prabs, that’s a lovely comment! I’m the same-a lot of time agonising and far less actually doing! I think for me it just feels as though the blogosphere is becoming more and more crowded, and new blogs are popping up every day, so I just feel as though I’m getting lost in the crowd. I will continue and soldier on though! xx

  17. You nailed it. I love writing, and I think I’m pretty decent and it, but I’m pretty sure I’m not good at blogging. It’s especially easy to feel that way when you’re involved in Twitter/Facebook blogging groups where people are always talking about their latest opportunities, Tots score, follower numbers, etc. I try to not compare myself to others, or think about the fact that people who have been blogging for far less time then I have are much more ‘successful’, but God, it’s hard.

    1. Min says:

      Yep, that’s exactly how I feel. I have to admit though, I will never be number one in TOTS because I’m too cynical to go chasing the numbers. I worry about it, and I get jealous, but then I think it just seems like such a ridiculously unimportant thing to be worrying about!

  18. Natalie says:

    You are by no means a failure. I have like you looked at other bloggers who started at the same time as me or after me and yhey are way up there for followers, engagement etc. So long as you remember why you started your blog and carry on with that mind set then you are succeeding.

    1. Min says:

      Very true! Thanks for commenting.

  19. Amelia says:

    I often feel like this but you’re right, we all need to remember why we started in the first place and I think for many of us, it had nothing to do with stats and money. Great post!

  20. I think every blogger could relate to this post in one way or another. Sometimes I do feel lost in a sea of voices but then I feel like there’s just hundreds more bloggers for me to ‘meet’ and connect with.

    1. Min says:

      That’s a very positive way of looking at it 🙂

  21. Your writing is awesome.
    Swearing doesn’t bother me and I almost read over it.
    I have read in multiple affiliate networks that they will not accept affiliates that have swearing in their blogs.
    I’m definitely not suggesting you change, I love your blog for the unique only blooming flower in a field of common that it is!
    I love your strength and honesty. I think I commented before that I thought your blog was well established. If you wouldn’t have said otherwise, I would have had no idea.

    Best wishes!

    1. Min says:

      Thank you! What a lovely comment to read! To be honest, I’m not much of a swearer. Effing and blinding isn’t really my thing (and it wouldn’t reflect well on me in my day job either) but I have probably been guilty of one or two swears here and there, as I’m not militant about it.

  22. Thank you I needed to read this. I have been feeling down lately comparing myself to others and I keep toying with the idea of quitting but you have put it into perspective for me. I didn’t get into blogging to play ‘the game’ I will just do what I do and let others do what they do.

    Jodie x

    1. Min says:

      Quite right. It’s always so easy to compare and feel ourselves falling short, but we are all unique.

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