Do you suffer from blog envy?

Barbie head with green eyes

Do you ever…

– Experience feelings of inferiority when other blogs seem to have many more followers and/or comments and likes on their posts than yours does?

– Feel waves of self-doubt when you struggle for ideas on what to blog about, and yet others seem to have a never-ending stream of great ideas?

– Start to feel insecure when you see people who have stopped commenting on your blog, are still commenting on other blogs you follow?

– Question whether there is some kind of conspiracy going on when you see blog after blog being Freshly Pressed, and you secretly feel that some of your posts have been better than some of the Freshly Pressed ones? (for non WordPressers – being Freshly Pressed is like receiving an Oscar for your blog. And for those of my followers who have been Freshly Pressed, I’m obviously not talking about YOUR blogs, no, it’s the others).

– Start to feel possessive of your blogging friends when they seem to be getting all super-friendly with a new blogger on the block?

– Notice that when you are congratulating other bloggers for certain successes, you are doing it through gritted teeth? (What exactly are gritted teeth?)

Gritted teeth

If you ever experience some, or all, of those symptoms, then you may be suffering from blog envy. Don’t worry, you are not alone. Another sign is that alongside those feelings are also feelings of guilt; those blogs that are recipients of your envy may be blogs and bloggers that you really like, those that you consider to be friends in the blogging world, and so you berate yourself for feeling anything other than pleased for them.

If any of that sounds familiar, then fear not, help is at hand. I give you Vanessa’s five steps to dealing with blog envy:

STEP ONE – As you may guess, the first step is to admit that you have these feelings. So I will start the ball rolling…

I am Vanessa, and in the time I have been blogging, I have on more than one occasion, experienced some or all of the above. There I’ve said it. And I feel better for it. I’m not talking about real green-eyed monster jealousy here, just some mild nighttime wailing and lamenting.

STEP TWO – Recognise that the envy and subsequent guilt has absolutely nothing to do with the blogs you are directing it towards, and everything to do with you and how you feel about yourself. Look again at the words I used in the list – inferiority, self-doubt, insecurity. They are feelings you have about yourself, and your abilities, and you are choosing to direct them towards other bloggers and what they are doing, rather than taking responsibility for them. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s called tough love baby.

STEP THREE –Β  Understand that envy of any form is a destructive emotion that only serves to make you unhappy. Really understand that. Make yourself a cup of tea, maybe nibble on a cookie, and think about it some more.

Squirrel eating cookie

STEP FOUR – Write down your three main reasons for blogging. Then do a review of your blog. Are your posts ticking those three boxes for you? i.e. are you being true to yourself and your blogging purpose with your posts? If you are, then remind yourself of that regularly and be happy in that knowledge. If your posts aren’t meeting your blogging purpose, then think about why that is, and what you can do about it.

STEP FIVE –Β  Accept that in the blogging world, you have to give in order to receive. You might be writing the most wonderful blog posts in the world, but unless you are investing as much time in reading and commenting on other blogs then you’re unlikely to build up a decent amount of followers and commenters. Also consider whether you are being a good host on your blog. Are you making visitors feel welcome by acknowledging and replying to their comments? All of that is your choice of course, but accept that you cannot expect to receive more than you give.

Whoa there Vanessa! I started out this post intending it to be very lighthearted and it ended up pretty serious there in places. Ah well, I’ll go with it anyway. I’ll leave you with one final thought, if all else fails, just remember that for every blog that you feel envious of, there is probably at least one blogger feeling envious of yours – well hey, you’ve got to get your comfort where you can, right?

Comfortable dog

Have you ever experienced any symptoms of blog envy?

green eyed barbie photo credit: swirlingthoughts via photopin cc
gritted teeth photo credit: drinkerthinker via photopin cc
squirrel photo credit: Tomi Tapio via photopin cc
comfortable dog photo credit: Josh Liba via photopin cc

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130 responses to “Do you suffer from blog envy?

  1. Awesome post! I’ve totally had blog envy on more than one occasion!

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  2. Heh, sometimes.
    Okay, more than sometimes. πŸ˜‰

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  3. I am totally guilty of blog envy! I’ve pondered and pondered what I’m doing ‘wrong’. Then I thought to myself, you know what, Jenny, you blog because you like to blog. You blog to share information. You blog to improve your writing. You blog because it’s fun. So what I don’t have 85,000 followers. I mean, that would be nice but there is no way I could keep up with all of them and make them feel like they’re part of my happy family. I love my followers. We’re all a nice, comfy group, and they are loyal and true. I’d love to be Freshly Pressed, but having a loyal following and ‘true’ blog friends that I can eventually meet and become friends with is far more important. All I can do is be me. I’d rather have 200 followers and be authentic, than have a million and have a sterile blog where I know no one. Just my thoughts.

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  4. Blog envy is the main reason I stay far away from the Freshly Pressed page. That’s when it tends to flare up.

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    • I sometimes look at the Freshly Pressed to see if those that get through are a certain type, but they are pretty varied so I find that quite reassuring actually! At least there isn’t a specific mould we have to fit in to (that I can see).

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  5. This rings a few bells(!) I only get envious occasionally, but the problem I suffer more from is that I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to reading other people’s blogs. I see something I quite like and think “ooh, I should do a bit of that”, then I see a theme on someone else’s blog that would be perfect for mine, then I wonder what I should be doing to increase traffic or comments or followers, and before you know it I have a list of to-do’s so long that I know I’ll never start it and feel guilty about neglecting my precious little baby.

    Then I start critiquing other people’s writing and think “Hang on, I’m a better and more original writer than they are, so how come they’re so popular?” Then I immediately start thinking that I’m not actually that good a writer at all and I’m just horrinly deluded. Or that my blog is too broad, or too narrow, or too esoterically named. And eventually I remember that I write simply because I like to write – everything else is just window-dressing – and then I relax again.

    It’s just a shame that I’m only in my ‘chilled’ state 5% of the time … 😦

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    • Yes, I only occasionally get those feelings, and I think it was more when I was starting out. If I started getting many more comments than I do, I’m not sure I’d be able to keep up anyway.

      And for the record, if you ever doubt how good your writing is, come to me and I’ll reassure you! I’ve told you before how good a writer I think you are, and I really mean it πŸ™‚

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  6. Hehee, great post. And yes, I do acknowledge that on more than one occasion I have felt significant blog envy. Then I look at my own blog and the wonderful collection of commenters and likers and realise that I have it pretty good!
    So the feeling never lasts long. :p
    Which is good I suppose.

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    • Yes, I’m the same, if I spent large proportions of my time feeling envious of other blogs then it would probably be time to give up blogging! Much better to recognise those feelings when they come up, and then move on from them.

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  7. Not blog envy, but I do experience blog awe.

    There are some bloggers (the great Madame Weebles springs to mind) who seem to be at one with this medium. Weebles understands the blogging world in a way I never will. Her style is witty and sharp-edged, and the world (rightfully) rewards her with hordes of loyal followers (of which I am one).

    Anne Woodman, on the other hand, quietly goes against the grain by refusing to write in informal blogspeak. I respect that. Her prose is beautiful and unpretentious. Every post is a perfect mini-memoir that I put off until I find time to read without interruption.

    Then there are great blogs like yours that occupy a sort of middle ground. There I find personal stories, or whimsical musings, or essays on writing, or a close-up of your uvula. I have no idea what you’re gonna come up with next and that makes me look forward to your blog with the same level of anticipation as Weebs and Woodman.

    Long story short, your feelings of inadequacy are completely unwarranted.

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  8. I know and understand blog envy — and do not understand why I have not been Freshly Pressed — I think it is because I have not paid the WP people any money to take the wordpress out of my address–I am just flitting along for free and not being rewarded–or, and this is most likely the case, I am just not worthy.
    For what it is worth, I love your blog and am jealous of you–you are smart and can sing beautifully and you put yourself out there–and for all those things I admire you.

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  9. Vanessa,
    Le Clown suffers from blog envy. Le Clown writes powerful and thought-provoking pieces, with magnificentβ„’ photoshop images… And what does it give Le Clown? 90 likes only… When that douche boy Eric gets 130 likes on average for his over-sentimental pieces of crap on jazz, or his wife. Pfftβ„’, I say.
    Le Clown

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  10. Of course I have, but let’s just keep that between you and me, because envy is not a very Buddhist quality. And I appreciate the limited number of curative steps. In AA there are TWELVE and that’s way too much for stressed out addicts to deal with–and we bloggers aren’t all that far away from that description, if you know what I mean ( and I think you do)! πŸ˜‰

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  11. Well, what I really meant is that I love your blog(s). I really don’t know how you manage to hold down a full-time job and write on three blogs. Girl, give me some of your extra hours in the day.

    And yes… blog envy. Wuzzup with Freshly Pressed? I think I’m on the Do Not View list. ; )

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  12. I’m just starting out, so of course I’m envious. Learning from those blogs I envy so much. Even after such a short time, I have caught myself deviating from my goals because of my blog envy and self doubt. Your post was hysterical, and hit quite close to home.

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  13. Unless you are a famous blogger, I think it comes down to step 5. It’s all about reciprocation. How those of you who work in the real world manage to blog at all amazes me. It’s people like YOU who I admire. As for blog envy, I don’t have time for that. I’m too busy envying best-selling authors… πŸ˜‰

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  14. You described the symptoms and cure so well. I think almost anyone who blogs envies other blogs at times. It’s natural. But I like your ways to get out of that quagmire of doubt and self-pity. Blog envy doesn’t help a blogger get any better. Great post…again!

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  15. Not envy. More mystified. Mystified how anyone has the time to engage on a level that builds dozens – let alone hundreds – of comments!

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  16. Hi. My name is Robin and I am a blog envyer. There. I said it. I feel better now.

    Step 5 is where the guilt sets in.

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  17. Blogging, like life, is high school.

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  18. I have a friend who set up a blog that offered for sale an ebook costing approx Β£2. He got lucky (and had a good product, and was brilliant at publicity) and this ebook sold 80,000 copies enabling him to buy a house – how amazing is that? I am in complete awe of this initiative. But most bloggers are (if they are ‘fessing up to envy) only really wanting some more readers, possibly an unobtainable hope now that blogging is such a crowded market. Nicola http://islingtonfacesblog.com

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    • That’s an amazing story Nicola, I love that! I don’t feel envious of that at all, just very impressed! Although maybe if I had been trying to sell an e-book on a blog and was failing then I might have some envy there! Good for him though.

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  19. PS love your footer image!

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  20. I admit I’ve experienced all those symptoms of blog envy on more than one occasion. But as others have already said, I’m also happiest writing posts I enjoy and interacting with my readers, both on my blog and on theirs.

    And while it would be a nice feeling to someday be Freshly Pressed, it would be hard to reply to all the comments. Or worseβ€”not get any because people read it and thought, “What the heck was WordPress thinking on this one?” πŸ˜€ Since I don’t write the kinds of posts that get pressed, I don’t have to worry about that!

    You have no reason to envy other bloggersβ€”you totally rock!

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    • Thank you for saying I totally rock! I hope nobody thinks I wrote this post just to seek compliments about my blog!

      I don’t know that you don’t write the kinds of posts that get Freshly Pressed, I’m not sure that there is a kind – there are some themes that seem to come up a lot, but others are pretty random. You write really well and engagingly and I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be pressed at some point! And if you are, I will congratulate you without any gritted teeth πŸ˜‰

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  21. Guilty. I’ve got my tea mug in hand. Going in search of a good cookie to nibble….

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  22. I think I’ve experienced all of the above, Vanessa… but then again I’ve started liking my own posts, so it’s quite hard to tell…

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  23. Vanessa,
    I saw a great episode on Dr. Phil the other day about blog envy. God, is there anything the guy doesn’t cover?

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  24. Never felt it at all… just surprised that so many look at my blog… then they do and then they don’t… and really I look at others because I enjoy it and get something out… but when time is of the essence… it has to take a back seat… but I’ve never started this to get likes or reads… I did it for fun and whilst it remains fun I’ll continue… and how others are viewed.?? well good luck to them…

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  25. I don’t have the energy for all this envy and whatnot. I started blogging to converse with like minds. Along the way, the best people have stuck out their hands for handshakes. When life intrudes, as I hear it does not only to me, I find it difficult to get back into the swing of things. Fresh Pressed is nice, but I was never concerned about it and it has never been my goal. I’ve been losing some ground in the past couple of months but for me this is not a contest. It’s a LIKE vs LIKE. Easy-peasy but still not enough hours in a day.

    A number of attempts have been made to address some of this. This is, by far, the best one.

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  26. I had no idea what I was signing up for when I started blogging, primarily to promote my book. Haha — I thought that all I needed was to write, sit back and collect ‘likes’, followers, and comments. It’s a lot of work. And it’s a world that I never anticipated. I decided that the most important thing is to be genuine and not distracted by activity on other blogs, although it happens sometimes.

    I know I’m not the center of the universe and that bloggers have lives, other blogs to read, etc. Like Carrie mentioned — I was thinking this the other day as well, that probably only the really famous bloggers like The Bloggess, don’t have to work as hard as the hordes of us. Every so often I sit back and put this blogging business into perspective.

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    • Yes, I expect the Bloggess had to put the work in at first though to build up her followers before it all snowballed for her. For must of us, we can’t expect people to come and read us if we don’t go and read them! And it’s a continuous process isn’t it, because some people drift away.

      I don’t think any of us knew what we were signing up for when we started! Probably a good thing.

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  27. Sometimes, I probably do, but usually not. I think it’s probably normal to feel this way sometimes, because we invest so much into blogging, well for those who do. I try to take everything in stride, do it for me. That said, if no one came to my blog next time I posted, I would feel horrible. I would cry all day!!! I’m kidding you know, but I suppose it makes you feel good when people like your stuff. I want you to know that I like your stuff, Vanessa.

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  28. Yes, yes, yes, I have felt the blog envy. But I do try to learn from it, because I don’t want to get stuck in blog envy. I usually wish that I could write posts that are more humorous and lighthearted, but I always tend to write these reflective, serious posts. I see people come up with these great ideas (like this one) and I think ‘gosh, wish I thought of that’. Then I go back to being my introspective self.

    That being said, I’m always startled when I see that I have people returning to my blog, and when I get new followers on a regular basis. I hope that means I’m doing something right and that people aren’t commenting simply because they feel they have to because we’re part of the same community or whatever. I mean, I hope that people really, genuinely look forward to reading my stuff, that they get something out of it, that I’m reaching them in some way.

    As far as being Freshly Pressed, I don’t read that page. I follow blogs because I genuinely like EVERYTHING they write, and not just the popular posts. I would never start following a blog just because it’s been FP’d.

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    • Yes, there’s really no point wishing we could write posts of a different sort than we do, we write the way we write! You have a good and loyal following, so obviously people like your reflective posts (and I am one of those who do!). You’re definitely doing something right πŸ˜‰

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  29. Blog envy? Been there. Blog awe? That too. When it comes down to it, the number of likes and hits of my posts seldom matches up to which posts I feel are the best. If my own followers can’t pick ’em right, then it shouldn’t be different anywhere else. Certainly the powers that be at Freshly Pressed are no different. When I finally graced the hallowed ground of FP, it was with what I considered to be a weak post.

    You’re right about keeping in touch with why you started blogging in the first place. If you lose sight of that purpose, then a re-assessment is in order.

    Nice post, as usual.

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  30. No, never… well, maybe once, just a little bit… all right, a few times, then. But you’re right when you say there are probably just as many people envious of my blog. Probably. But when I ramble about random stuff I can’t expect a consistent following, can I. Maybe I should start blogging about delicious but unhealthy food or something… πŸ˜‰

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  31. I love how you manage to both poke fun and bring up some serious points, Vanessa. I envy- er, I admire that. πŸ˜‰ I don’t think I get blog envy the way you describe, though. Luckily, or I’d be a total emotional mess! πŸ˜€

    I liken envy to regret: regret over lack of ability or foresight, specifically. But I was told many years ago that regret is empty. It does us no good to dwell on what we can’t control. I certainly can’t control how much better anyone else’s blog or writing might be than mine. I can only control my own output, and I can only make that to the best of my ability. I find I learn so much from the blogs that are better than mine, and I try to apply those little lessons to my own work, I don’t have much energy to direct toward envy of them.

    Sometimes, I’d like to be more popular, or get recognized more often. But, there’s always going to be someone better than me. Instead, I try to be grateful when someone clicks my “Like” button or takes the time to add a comment. Because I just want to do what I do well. And, I genuinely enjoy seeing other people rise to the best of their ability, too. I think that’s what the blogging community – especially the artist blogger community – should really be about: encouraging ourselves and each other to constantly do better.

    Thanks for writing this one, Vanessa. It really made me think carefully about my own goals…and issues. πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks Mayumi. It sounds like you have a good attitude to it all. I realised reading your comment here that, as with most things in life, we always want more! When I started out blogging, I remember being thrilled when I received my first like and my first comment, and my first follower, and then when I started getting a few more, I was so pleased, and whilst I’m really pleased now with the what I have with this blog, I still sometimes find myself wishing for more! I think it’s human to strive for more, in whatever we do.

      I do genuinely enjoy seeing others do well in their blogging as well, that is a stronger feeling than any envy I might occasionally feel thank goodness!

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  32. Another great post, Vanessa.

    I think we’ve all suffered from this from time to time (or on a daily basis) I know I have, but you are right that you have to invest time reading and commenting on other blogs, build your interactions that way. Pay it forward kind of thing. πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks Pete. The investing of time in other blogs is something you don’t realise you will need to do when you start blogging, you kind of imagine people will just start coming to you from nowhere! The reading and commenting on others is very much what I enjoy as well though now, I just never realised that’s how it would be when I started.

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      • I enjoy reading a variety of blogs by writers, some about cooking πŸ˜‰ photography, film. I never realised what this blogging lark was about at the beginning. Still enjoying it though πŸ™‚

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  33. A woman that looks like you, sings like you, acts like you, smiles like you and writes like you should have no envy whatsoever in her life. You have been blessed with much and certainly don’t need a Freshly Pressed badge to prove it. I understand little about the Freshly Pressed process, but what I do know, it is quite random. First, your blog must be read by the people who make the decision and since there are about a million blogs, for even that to happen is quite remarkable. I’m guessing there are certain buzzwords that are more likely to get you Pressed, but I don’t know if that is true. They like to Press newcomers when possible to help them build an audience. They like to Press people with interesting pictures. They are reluctant to Press just words. When they do, they usual ask by email if you will provide a picture. They like to Press variety. Unless you are specifically being Pressed in one of the writing fields, they really don’t seem to care about the writing. It is truly aggravating to see how poorly some of the Freshly Pressed bloggers write. The most important thing to remember is WordPress is a business and they use Freshly Pressed to increase their business. It really is less about the blogger and more about WordPress. That’s understandable. One final word, the lasting effect from being Freshly Pressed is really minimal. You might pick up a few new followers, but for the most part, those that follow seem to disappear quite rapidly and you are close to the same numbers in likes and comments as before. If you really want to build your followship, get in the habit of reblogging the posts of others and form relationships where others want to reblog your posts, too. When a post gets reblogged, the post is instantly exposed to many new readers. HF

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    • Thanks for your lovely comments there HF! I get a gradual steady increase in followers and that works just fine for me, and I get plenty of comments to respond to, so I’m not worried about that – when I first started blogging I was, but as long as you pay out what get back, it all builds nicely! I guess the Freshly Pressed is just a nice to thing to say you got and to put the badge on your blog, but what you’ve said about it is similar to what I’ve heard others who have been Freshly Pressed say, it doesn’t necessarily increase your comments etc greatly in the longer term.

      Thank you for giving such a long and thoughtful comment!

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  34. At the moment I’m using all my envy on the 2000 who made the first round of the Amazon writing competition. My brilliant pitch got tossed! That gives a feeling akin to seasickness.

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  35. I’m finding it hard to comment on this because you got 38 likes on your post and I only got 33.

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  36. Crikey! Look at all the comments you got on this post! I think, I might be feeling…slightly envious. πŸ˜‰
    Great post, Vanessa, well deserving of all the feedback you have received.

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  37. Guilty as charged!
    I am envious of your talent, my friend.

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  38. I get the waves of self-doubt. πŸ˜‰

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  39. My name is Kate and I have experienced blog envy. I’m also giggling at your teeth.

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  40. Thank you! Yes, i have felt all those insecure feelings. This whole process of blogging has been a bit overwhelming. Keep blogging and so will I! πŸ™‚

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    • Blogging is much more than you ever realise when you start out isn’t it! Although I see you have five children, so I’m impressed you manage to find any time for blogging at all! It’s important to find those outlets though. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

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      • Glad to find you out there in the vast sea of bloggers! lol! Are you going to to the A-Z Limebirdwriters blog in April? I signed up for it.

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        • I won’t be doing the A-Z in April, I can’t commit to daily blogging like that, it’s too much with this blog, a second blog I do of recipes, as well as the Limebird blog, my full time job and the kids! The A-Z isn’t actually anything to do with Limebird though, Dennis was just mentioning about it on a post on there, but it’s on his own personal blog he’s doing it. Anyway, I’m following you now, so I will look at what you do for it in April, good luck! πŸ™‚

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  41. Loved the post. Blogging to me is a way to unpack and unload the baggage of my mind. As I hold this perspective, I feel so blessed and light that I find no cause for any blog envy.

    Shakti

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  42. Ha! 120 replies… Feeling the love now, are we? I have all these feelings and more, but I wouldn’t ever think negatively about anyone. I’m perpetually happy for anyone who succeeds. I know that success is only what I build. But I need to decide what comes first… And my family and my writing have to come before the blog, which is only meant to support. Let’s face it… You could live on your blog, couldn’t you?

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  43. Dang! You might not have ever been Freshly Pressed, but you sure have a comparable number of comments!

    So! Is the pity party over, my friend? πŸ™‚

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  44. You sure put your finger on something real here! Many bloggers can relate, it seems!

    I blog for fun, but I admit I often wonder about my ability to write interesting contents. I write pretty specific stuff that most people aren’t fascinated with, of course, but I sometimes ask myself if years of writing mostly university papers hasn’t made me dull. Overall, I don’t really envy other bloggers: I know if I invested as much time as they did on their blog, mine would be better too. And I write for my own reasons, and enjoy interacting with readers and fellow bloggers. Essentially, I use my blog to share works in progress about two topics that interest me (geek culture and anthropology) so that’s a reward in itself.

    Like

  45. Pingback: Vanessa’s Getting All Meta Again | Vanessa-Jane Chapman

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