I don't usually post on Sundays but if you're one of the few regular readers around here, you may have noticed I didn't publish any new posts last week. I was in a bit of a funk and feeling under the weather. To be honest, it was more the funk-part that prevented me from blogging. After posting somewhat consistently for the last few weeks, I was getting my groove back but what quickly followed were those old feelings of inadequacy and defeat. Why? Because I started to immerse myself back into social media and stressing out over all of the amazing photos and recipes out there. I started to lose focus on why I started blogging again.
If I want this blog to be about more than just sweets/food, then I have to stop comparing myself to other food blogs. I have to stop caring about SEO, checking my stats every few hours, and I definitely have to stop checking to see if my Alexa ranking went up or down every freaking day (sad, I know). I have to stop caring that my Taiwan Tidbits posts receive fewer hits than my peanut butter-swirled banana bread post.
Checking my stats constantly to see what people are searching for made me realize that about 99% of the hits on my blog are for sweets recipes. So, it's a bit discouraging to know that if I post less recipes, then I will receive less visitors to my blog. I fell back into that "rat-race" mentality of wanting to keep up and publish a post just so I could get hits on my blog. But it's a vicious cycle in which, I then fall back into comparing myself to other bloggers.
Ninety-eight percent of the time I love reading and sharing my favorite blogs, but then there is that two percent - the two percent of me that gets ugly/jealous/envious/depressed all at the same time when I see bloggers (not just food) posting 3-4 times a week without skipping a beat, coming up with clever, new, extravagant photos/recipes/ideas that I know I just can't compete with at this point in my life.
So I'm done competing and comparing - with regards to blogging, as well as everyday life. With it being the Lenten season I've decided (albeit, a little late) to stop checking my stats. I've also cut down on my Facebook usage (that's another joy-thief) so that I'm not mindlessly scrolling through feeds with a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). I've "unfollowed" a lot of my so-called friends, whom in actuality are not my friends so that I only see those that I care about. I also streamlined my feed so that I don't see posts from friends that I already follow on some other form of social media like Instagram or Twitter. It gets to become quite overwhelming and not to mention, repetitive. If I want to know what's going on with you, I will make an effort to visit your feed/page or shoot you an email.
As for blogging, I have to stop thinking my photos/recipes/writing should be flawless before I hit that "publish" button. Honestly, if I waited for everything to be perfect, I would never post a thing. Not every post has to be stop-you-in-your-tracks amazing or mind-blowing. My posts don't have to be magazine-worthy or super professional. Who am I working for? It sounds immature, but I'll share what I want, when I want to. This recent post by the Amateur Gourmet really lit a fire in me to write this post. I've been wanting my blog to be an "anything goes" blog but have been slow to proceed for the fear of losing readers. I want people to read what I write, but I also don't want to feel stifled or limited by the fact that I have to keep the same format as every other (food) blogger out there.
It honestly feels so freeing to write this and I'm sure I've offended some people along the way which, is totally not my intention. This is just me, real-talking and admitting that I'm flawed. Admitting that I focus too much on pleasing others; worrying about how I look in comparison to others.
Finally, I want to be able to share a part of me that I feel has been missing from my past 4 years of blogging - even though I've been struggling in my faith in recent years, I believe in God and strive to know Him and His plan for me on a daily basis. I want to be able to write down and share my struggles with faith and perhaps connect with others going through the same thing. Most of the time, I feel like I'm running on empty - thirsting for more... thirsting for God.
Some of you may ask, why not start a separate blog to hash out all of these "feelings"? I actually did a couple years ago, but I wasn't being kept accountable and stopped writing after a handful of entries. This is the space where most people will read; there is a built-in accountability. I know I will lose readers, but that's ok.
It's time I find joy again...a true joy that cannot be wavered or stolen by comparisons.
1. All images/graphics by yours truly - I will be sharing how I create them (without Photoshop or any fancy software) in a future post. In the meantime, feel free to share!
2. Part of the reason why I started sending out weekly newsletters was so subscribers can pick and choose which posts from the week they want to read. If you don't care for these type of posts but still want to read my recipe posts, you can - just sign up for my newsletter here (and if you're receiving this via email, scroll to the bottom and click "unsubscribe" so you will stop receiving emails from my RSS feed). Thank you!