Bear with me as I have a moment of transparency.
As I delve deeper into the world of blogging, I at times feel discouraged because there are so many amazing blogs out there. Within the subset of travel bloggers, there are many who post amazing pictures and stories of exotic travel experiences on a frequent basis and have a huge following. Additionally, many travel bloggers are able to travel full time which allows them time to visit more places and write about more topics. I have also noticed that there are multiple blog posts about any given topic and it is hard to find something “original” to discuss. I feel hesitant to write a post about a topic if I see another
blogger post about it because I fear it will not compare to their post. The blogging community is large and I hear of people creating new blogs often. When I think about all of these reasons to be discouraged or when I get down about my blog engagement, I have to remember that I started this to have a creative outlet and to have fun while sharing my experiences with others. There is room for all of us in the blogosphere and everyone has something to contribute.
My point of view and experiences are unique and that is something worth sharing. I may not travel as often as other travel bloggers but I work full time as a doctor (working up to 80 hours a week). So for me, travel is a much-needed escape from my busy work life and I think most people view travel in that way. Though I love to read blogs from people who travel professionally, I enjoy reading blogs from others with similar lifestyles as my own who travel and have amazing experiences outside of work.
Whenever you start out, it is easy to compare your first chapter to other’s later chapters, but it will only lead to discouragement. Even after you have gained experience and acclaim, you should not compare any of your accomplishments to others. Remember that comparison is the enemy of happiness. Not everyone’s victory looks the same.
My prescription for finding contentment…
1. Set realistic goals
I can’t expect to have 10,000 page views a month if my blog is only a few months old and I only post 2-3 times per month. I also can’t rest on my laurels and settle for the current 1000 page views a month. So my goal is to have an increase of 500 pageviews each month. I believe this is attainable given that I should able to increase my reach with time via increasing social media engagement and improving my content.
Goals should be specific and quantifiable with a set timeframe.
Setting an attainable and appropriate goal allows you to not only have something feasible to work towards but gives you something to celebrate when you reach your goal. When you set realistic goals, you should not get discouraged if you don’t reach them in your proposed time-frame but use it as motivation to make improvements.
2. Embrace Your Community
One of the best aspects of blogging is being an active part of the blogging community. I am amazed by the creativity of other bloggers and learn immensely from their experience. I recently had a specific question about issues tracking my page activity and posted it in a blogger Facebook group. Within a few hours, I had multiple responses from people offering assistance.
Having a like-minded community keeps you accountable and motivated.
Interacting with others who succeed in areas that interest me inspires me to do the same. You should not view others with similar aspirations as opponents but as allies. Supporting others strengthens your standing in your community which can help you in the long run when you are in need of support. The majority of my blog post comments come from other bloggers and I enjoy commenting on other bloggers posts.
3. Be yourself
As long as you are staying true to yourself, you will find fulfillment in what you do. Trying to become more like others in order to succeed is not sustainable. You will eventually tire of the facade and give up altogether. There is no shame in using ideas from people you admire but tweak it with your own flavor. Authenticity never goes out of style. Your unique characteristics are the things that will set you apart from the crowd.
For me personally, I have been tempted to write blog posts that are in the same vein as the more popular travel blog posts that I see going viral in social media but I want to stay true to myself. I only post about places I have traveled to personally and I try to only use photos that I took myself. I know that staying consistent will attract the readers who are looking for those type of posts.
Though this post was specifically about finding contentment in blogging, this is completely applicable to anyone embarking on an endeavor that requires going out on a limb and practicing patience while waiting for your dream to come to fruition. Nothing worth achieving comes easy and the journey to “success” is often fraught with missteps and disappointments. I wrote this post to encourage myself and you to find peace in the journey. You are doing better than you think. Give yourself a break. Celebrate your wins, big and small. Doctor’s orders :).
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I would love to hear your perspective on this issue. Comment below!