August 11, 2009

Discouraged Blogger

I have officially been a 'blogger' for about 18 months now. Within that time period, I have reconnected with old friends, turned IRL acquaintances into friendships, and forged new friendships across the country with women I've never met face to face. Blogging has been a beautiful outlet for me.

Unfortunately, it can have its downside too. It is hard not to compare my # of comments to the other blogs I read. It is even harder to reign in the feeling of inadequacy when a whole group of women come together because of their writing talent and I'm standing on the sidelines going, 'did I miss something?' That happened this week when in-courage made its debut. My feeling of inadequacy reared its ugly head and rather than being 'in-couraged' I felt discouraged. The comparison game had begun. Again.

Okay, I'm going to be real here, so if you want to walk away now, I understand...

The blogging world is a lot like life. There are groups of women that are joined together because of a common interest. I have come across a few groups of die-hard crafters, quilters, antiquers, cooks, collectors, and even complainers. Blog-world is a smorgasbord of possibilities. I happen to enjoy decorating, so that tends to be the type of blogs that I am drawn to. However, even well meaning women can do what we do best in life: surround ourselves with like-minded women and become oblivious to others outside of our group, or dare I say ... clique.

So in my world of feeling sorry for myself for being left out of some bloggy get togethers, I came to a realization. Why do I read blogs? Why do I write my blog? I have to make a choice to only allow blogs to encourage me. If I am feeling jealous, then I need to reexamine my motives for visiting them. If I am feeling inadequate, I need to remember that it is more important to be ME than to try to write like someone else. After all, that is what draws me to this dear friend. Her beautiful uniqueness. If I am feeling pressure, I need to remind myself that I am New Every Morning for only a short time of the week. The rest of the time I am a wife, mommy, teacher, daughter, sister, friend.

If you are new to blogging (or an old-timer that just needs a reminder) I encourage you to not get caught up in the comparison game. Be yourself. Love what you write. Oh yeah, and leave an encouraging comment =)

46 comments:

Michelle said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this post...I really appreciate your heart and your honesty. I, too, feel very much the way you do. Often times I wonder why I even still continue to blog, to be honest. I've observed the cliques and politics of blogging. I've felt the inadequacy and played the comparison game. Then I think about the friendships that have been made as a result and I realize it's NOT about who is the most popular, who has the most followers, who has the most comments - or anything like that. Thanks for the wonderful words of wisdom you shared in this post.

Have an awesome day!
~Michelle

Shelli said...

Hi from San Antonio, TX...I found your blog a few weeks ago and have to say that I love your weekly Sunday Rest posts...your pictures are so beautiful and the scriptures you pick are so timely.

Christina said...

Amen and amen. I relate very much to what you said in this post. Keep on keeping on.

On another note---we love homemade granola too. Lately I've not wanted to turn on my oven, but looking at yours made my mouth water.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog one Sunday morning. I was home from worship due to a back injury. I came upon your blog via a craft blog. I appreciate the photographs - they are beautiful..along with the lovely writing. You have a gift to share; the gift of being yourself and sharing bits & pieces of your life with others. I appreciate your time and effort. I imagine there are many others who feel the same as I do.
Thank you
kathryn

gigi said...

Hey G,
I love reading your blog. You encourage me. Keep it up.
debbie

angie128 said...

I LOVE your blog and have had you in my reader for a long time.

Totally can understand where you are coming from though.

I'm just out here. Doing my thing. Whether anybody reads or not.

:)

Amy Kinser said...

I also tend to compare myself with others and sometimes become discouraged because I don't feel like I am as smart, as Godly, as "together"...then I am reminded that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by the Great Creator Himself. I do want to continue to learn, grow, and become more like Jesus, but I want to do it in His time. I don't want to try to be someone I am not. I am working on this part of my personality.

I hope the rest of your day is full of wonder. Thanks for sharing your heart.

God bless you. Amy

Anonymous said...

love you friend!!
E

Katherine said...

I've been reading for about a year now, when a google search for Apple Dews led me here! I love your blog because it's consistent, and you haven't changed who you are as your readers increased. I've stopped reading so many of the mega-blogs because they are no longer personal. Thanks for putting into words what so many of us feel from time.
Katherine

Anonymous said...

Have read your blog since you started it & I think it's one of the best. When I go to some of the others that are "recognized" by groups or organizations or whatever, I find myself wondering, "What is special about this one?" I just don't get it. Your layouts are beautiful, you have variety, you give glory to God, you are "real", you don't compromise on values like some do, you have awesome pictures, & your writing skills are amazing.
Keep doing what you have been doing! God has been blessing so many of us through it!

Mom said...

Of course I am prejudiced, but I think your blog is awesome! I also think you have a lot of "lurkers" who are incredibly blessed by what you share.
Do not feel inadequate in any way in this adventure - God has given you tremendous gifts for it!

C-re said...

Oh honey, I'm there. I'll go ahead and admit that I was envious too. Isn't that terrible to feel that way at someone's success? But I remind myself that I am me, I fit in somewhere and I have a couple of fantastic followers who ALWAYS comment.

I'm a crappy blogger these days but I know this. I work FT, I have two children under 4. I teach Sunday School (poorly but I do). I need to start an exercise regime. I'm decorating our house on a dime. I have a garden that is putting forth its bounty and it's my job to preserve that for our family for the rest of the year. I can only do so many things in one day and blogging isn't always it.

I wish I had time to visit more blogs each day and to write each day and comment each day. But know that your posts are read! I heart Google Reader. It's a shortcut but it's how I keep up.

Big hugs. Totally feeling ya

Sheila said...

I too love your blog & check it almost every day. But I'm not sure I've ever left a comment, or if I have, it isn't often.

I don't get very many comments on my blog anymore either. But I have lots of friends tell me that they are always checking to see if I've made a new post. So, I guess we can't go by the # of comments left.

You do a beautiful job! Keep it up...I'll be checking. :)

Sheila in Indiana...& I'm too old to join those "in-courage" girls!

the browns said...

Just a little encouragement... your blog is in my top-10 list of favorite blogs, and I read a lot of blogs! :) I completely understand what you're saying, but don't worry about the number of comments... I'm sure many people are like me in that I read so many blogs, but rarely comment. I'm positive you have a huge audience! Keep up the great work! :)

wendy said...

I check your blog just about every day to see if you've posted anything new. And while I don't always leave comments, I do enjoy your blog immensely.

I also tried your granola recipe Saturday night. It's really yummy :) Thanks for sharing!
~wendy

emily said...

In the midst of your honest reflections, I love how you brought it back to why you do what you do. It always helps me when I get caught up in comparisons or find myself tearing up over something like that to remember my purpose. You have a unique voice and something to offer that is all your own.

And excuse me, but where are you blogging from? You are in North Carolina?! Because I'm sure I have known that at some point, but somehow it has slipped. I know this isn't the intention of your post, but Nester and I tried to think of all the NC bloggers to invite to that swap and I would have loved meeting you there. Would have LOVED it. Next swap, for sure.

Nichole said...

I can relate to what you are saying. I've been struggling the last few months on my blog for some of the same reasons. I'm finally starting to get back into the swing of things because I finally decided that my blog is for me.

Thank you for writing this post. It's good to know I'm not the only one who has dealt with this!

Inksstillwet said...

I think you just read my thoughts and wrote them in this post, but wrote those thoughts of mine so much more eloquently than I could have ever conjured up! Thank you for sharing your heart. Your blog is such a joy to read. Keep doing your thing-it's blessing, whether you ever know it here on earth or not! Blessings, Amy

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

I appreciate your heart...
May I humbly thank you for sharing so transparently?
I am so with you... to simply and solely write for an audience of One.

Just to make Jesus smile...
The words we live, not write, are the ones that matter.

You encouraged me to day... to keep pressing into Him!

Keep shining Jesus-grace,
All's grace,
Ann Voskamp

The Lord Family said...

How did you know? How did you know I was feeling the exact same thing? I had to re-examine the "why" behind the blog...and get back to what brings me joy and try not to worry about the rest of it.
Thank you for sharing your heart!!! This was encouraging to me to know that I'm not alone!!

Tracey said...

The same feelings that you have encountered in the blogosphere will rear their ugly heads in the homeschooling world. Rule number one...never, I mean, NEVER, compare your homeschooling efforts to anyone else. It will send you over the edge.

I would give you Rule number 2, but it's late and I really can't remember what number 2 is...so, until next time...

I love your blog. As far as I'm concerned, you are part of blog royalty! I'm just thrilled that I know you IRL!!

Carpoolqueen said...

Dearest friend. That feeling of inadequacy? I get it every time I look at your beautiful projects and feel like a complete idiot that I cannot put a color scheme together.

I have to stuff those feelings down every.stinkin.time I come visit, because it's so easy for that insecurity and fear to rear it's ugly head.

And yet I press through all of that, because if I didn't, I would have shut myself off from getting to know such a beautiful YOU.

You can be confident in what you're doing, because I see the successful fruit of that - beloved readers (counting myself here!!), adoring family, and the respect of everyone I know.

I love you dearly.

Julie said...

I never leave comments I guess I always feel that what I have to say has probably already been said. But this time I had to comment. I love your blog. I love that it is not full of ads or product recommendations. It is refreshing and real and something I truly enjoy. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.

Samantha said...

You always make me stop and think. That's why I got "hooked". hehe. I also love all the creativity that you have. You are an amazing person, a truly good person that much I can tell from reading and hearing about your life and family. Don't let anyone get you down or tell you otherwise! Your right though life is to short to keep up with the jones of the blogging world so to speak. It's just not worth it! I'm adding you to my blog role, is that o.k.?

Vicki Clifton said...

Your post was encouraging and what I need. You see I struggle with depression/bipolar issues and have felt lead to blog about them as a means to help others feel like they are not alone. I have seen God use it, but I've also reaped the results of someone with an agenda....it has become a huge issue resulting in the loss of helping children through foster care. LONG story, but the fact is I've been scared to blog even tho I know and feel it's a 'mission'. But it's scary and risky to open up and be honest. Thanks for helping to place things in perspective. I appreciate your honesty with your fears.

Linda said...

You know, we all share your thoughts to one degree or another. Why do I blog? Well, I think because I read so many other blogs for a few months and got so many good ideas about thrifting, recycling & repurposing things I have, redecorating, etc., that I thought I should "give back" to the blog world by participating. One the one hand, I hope I might have given someone out there an idea....on the other hand, it seems so superficial. I posted several times a week in the beginning - even a Scripture verse on Sundays - but have settled into the pattern of once a week. For me, I have found that it can consume me....I have a garden to weed, friends (in the flesh) that I need to talk with, grandchildren to see, a house to clean (ha!), etc., etc. I've heard that for every 1 comments left, 10 people have actually visited. Soooo, for me, blogging is like a wonderful, personal magazine. I have to keep it in perspective (which is sometimes difficult). I do "visit" everyone's blog who comments to me. Just remember, Someone is always reading and listening to your thoughts. Be encouraged. Linda

Linda said...

By the way, I just realized that I had read your blog on the granola(love it!)AND the one with your mom (such fun) AND Charles Stanley is a pastor in my city AND I didn't leave a comment :( Linda

Jo said...

I think your post speaks to many of us out there. I personally couldn't agree with you more. Thank you for actually voicing the words.

Jo

The Nester said...

Hi New,

I followed a link from my sister {chatting at the sky's} comments. I am so sorry that you have felt left out. It makes me sad to know that you are feeling that way and discouragement is the opposite of what (in)courage is all about.

As a person who gets a accused all the time of being clique clicquy? cliquish? May I respectfully and with gentleness beg you to understand that sometimes due to sheer numbers of fantastic, wonderful, talented, dear women out there, it's impossible for greatness to not be overlooked. Double negative? Hate me I'm so hard to read when I try to write serious stuff.

I love that you wrote such a kind post about this issue and your feelings and it breaks my heart that you feel this way. I would also encourage you that if there is someone specific that you feel has wronged you to email them and work it out.

Love to you and girl, your blog name, New Every Morning is pure encouragement in and of itself!

New Every Morning said...

I am completely overwhelmed by the graciousness of these comments. While I was just having a nice little pity party, it seems that I have touched a nerve. I had no idea that so many other women were dealing with some of the same issues. Bless you for coming forth and sharing your heart. Let us walk away from this post knowing that we were created as individuals with individual talents and that we are VALUABLE to God regardless of our writing ability, cooking moxie or homemaking talents.

I, in no way, meant for this to come across as directed toward any specific person or blog. It was written as culmination of reading multiple 'mega blogs' and me focusing on others rather than just enjoying the ride.

Be blessed and encouraged today!!!

Terri said...

My first time on your blog! I will be checking it out again. I have only 2 followers, and this past week with my biggest week of posting from my heart, almost no comments... but I have to remind myself that my purpose is not followers and comments. Blessings!

Sunny said...

I have commented here from time to time, yet read almost everyday. As others have shared with you, you are not alone in your feeling of inadequacy. At first, I was full of blog envy and wondering how do all these ladies seem so "together" and "do it all". I took a while away from the blog world to get my head straight. Literally it was putting me in this defeated mode. I have come back to share my life with others and to put "on paper" what is happening in my life - whether others read it or not. I do know that I have friends and some family that choose to keep up with my daily happenings from my blog and so sometimes I speak to them in my posts (generally). I've come to not care how many people comment but rather what people have to say. I care more about the transparency of my life and how I can be a blessing to others while enjoying the blessings that others are to me. So, I'll keep at it! If no one ever read my blog again, I have my own personal history book!

Kellie said...

I feel like that often because most days I get no comments on something I have poured from the soul, yet I realize later that there are those reading who never comment because they think on what I have written instead of comment on it. It is so easy to look at how many followers one has compared to your own. I find I don't do well with the mega blogs because I enjoy the simple musings of friends I have known for a while (you) and those who I may have just met. When it comes from the heart, that is all that matters. I may not always comment on your blog because I sit and chew on what you have written or try in some small way to do in my house what you have done in yours (lol) but I always read. ALWAYS. We may be 20 years and lots of miles apart in our big city, but I still love ya....

whimzie said...

Oh, sweet Gretchen, you're one of my bloggy heroes! Although I hate that you feel it, it's comforting to know that you aren't the only one who has to fight those junior high feelings that make us compare ourselves to others. I resign from my blog every other day or at least think I should just make it private. Then I think of you and your sweet mom and several other women who have become dear friends because you do your thing here and I do my thing on my blog.

I've wished for you this week. I've actually said to myself, "If Gretchen were here, she'd know what to hang on this wall and what window treatments to put in my bedroom." You have a precious gift, my new friend.

Mountain Air said...

Hey Sis,
Well, I don't read anyone else's blogs but I always enjoy reading yours. Just think if it it's only one person who gets a good chuckle or a positive spark of emotion out of a blog of yours, then it's a blessing from God. We live in a secular world where bigger and fancier is always better. But you and I know know that our Father delights in small wonders. So keep blogging Sis, I love ya!

Lacy said...

Ditto, Ditto, Ditto and I would only be repeating the responses above. I know, or hope you know how much I love your blog....Im no super star blogger and always feel mine is no good....everyone else is bigger and better....but then I come to yours and everytime....I am encouraged....I am reminded that God is first to you and the love of your family and decoring and writing follow. To me, your one of the main reasons I check my blog list each day. Your blog is a ministry to me and I feel like we have formed a neat distance friendship. Your life experiences have made me search my heart on so many occasions. I know the Lord is so proud of the way you use your blog....I did a talk on the Body of Christ for an Emmaus Walk and I spoke of the ingredients of the Body of Christ...I compared it to a choc. chip cookie and how we really want and desire to be the star ingredient...such as the chocolate chip, but how important is the behind the scenes flour and sugar??? You bring us to reality and focus so much on the heart of the matter....to me and many other of your readers...that's better than a new plate rack or big blog conference....although I too drool and dream of what it would be like to have a "bigger" part in the blog world. Your truly the Body of Christ through your blog.

Mom said...

You even got your BROTHER to leave a comment!!!! Now that is amazing!

Mom said...

You even got your BROTHER to leave a comment!!!! Now that is amazing!

Amy said...

If I didn't know you IRL, you might think I was a stalker. That's how much I love your blog! I love that you so generously share your awesome ideas and inspiration with the blogosphere.

Becca said...

I LOVE this post. Nothing moves my heart more than honesty and authenticity. Thanks for sharing that today! :-)

Deb said...

Hi,

I'm visiting from Whimzie's place; she linked to your blog in one of her posts.

Compare yourself to someone else.

If Eve hadn't been the only. Woman. Alive at that time.

The devil would have used that line on her too.

And just like us.

She would have fallen for it.

Love this post.

Sweet dreams.

KR said...

I've been out of town for over a week, with no internet access. A little going out of my mind freaky at first, but later delightful. When I came home, I had decided that I didn't need to read all "those" blogs that made me feel inadequate anymore....the thrifty shoppers, cook-at-home-all-the-time for 5 cents a day, crafts, super christian wife & mother with no problems whatsoever, a new made up craft for the kids every 30 minutes (that the mom LOVES to do and makes no mess at all), oh and don't even get me started on the homeschool blogs. So....long sentence. When I got home, after reading 70 gazillion e-mails but only 6 from real people, I read my 4 favorite blogs. ALL from commenters on your list.....you, of course, Carpoolqueen, Heather, and Tracey. I could not WAIT to see what you guys had said in my absence. I admire all of you guys from afar, and long to be "friends" and not just anonymous blog lurkers. I'm not so good at that--but way too good at lurking. At least I do know all of you IRL, and some more than just to say hello, and how thankful I am for that. You are a wonderful, beautiful, humble and godly woman whose life I truly admire. Even from afar. I look forward to getting to know you better. Please don't stop what you are doing, and stop listening to those lies.

Mary Ellen (megardengal) said...

Hi! I came by your blog via a shutter link on someone else's blog and the title to this entry caught my eye. I think if everyone was honest we would all agree that we have felt the same at one time or another. Reputation, what people think, being like able to everyone are just a few of my "idols" that God is desiring to work out of me. I see the competition, and the need to put on a good front each time I blog and am constantly in the repentance/faith mode - I sometimes wonder if I need to just give this blogging thing up and yet it can be so fulfilling in many ways. But the times I am feeling fulfilled is it because I have received great comments.....?

Oh won't it be wonderful when we no longer have this battle with self- when Christ shines through so clearly that nothing else matters... when I come to grips with His Love and acceptance of me is all I need....when I can truly love others... - I hold on to the promise that He who began this good work in my is faithful to complete it!

blessings
mary

mimi said...

Nice to meet you Gretchen! I popped over from CPQ's blog and I'm so glad that I did. I can totally relate to what you wrote. I've loved so many things about blogging. Though, I was starting to realize that I was starting to feel a bit discouraged as well. Feeling inadequate, maybe left out...feeling so.many.things has been a bit draining. I found that stepping back and just sort of "being still" again has helped me to re-charge and re-focus. It's also helped me to prioritize. Thank you for being so honest and sharing this post. You wrote things that I have been thinking about lately. You have a lovely blog!BTW-I recently removed my followers widget-it was very freeing :)

Cathy said...

I'm playing catch up on your blog, but I'm SO glad I came across this today. I feel this often. I have even less readers then you, but each of them are so special.

I, too, throw myself a little pity party that I'm not as witty, funny, or good with words like some are, but I have to remind myself why I started my blog in the first place, and then thank God that I've "met" some amazing people along the way.

We don't need to be those other people for God to lavish his blessings and love on us.

And for the record... I love your blog!

Annette @ Designs By A Rose said...

I just found your blog and when I came across this post, it reminded me of my own thoughts about blogging and how I wish I had 500 followers or 100 comments on each post, but you know what...it doesn't matter. I find myself enjoying blogs in my Google Reader and sometimes I don't get a chance to pop over and write a comment. Some of the blogs I read, I am "subscribed" to, but not a follower. You have to think about all those people too. BUT...if blogging makes you happy, then keep doing it. When it doesn't make you happy anymore...think about all of us that would be sad not to get to read your sweet posts anymore...then you'll be happy again and keep writing those wonderful posts!!